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Joshua Tree National Park picture in Palm Springs
garytog / Getty Images

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  • Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.4
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Joshua Tree National Park is an oasis in the center of the desert. From Hidden Valley (which features a nice, easy hike) to the Cholla Cactus Garden (home to many a photo op at sunset), Joshua Tree caters to a variety of active travelers. Meanwhile, with its perch in the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the Keyes View lookout is another great place for a spectacular view of the Coachella Valley.

Whether you're planning on hiking or just driving through, the park rangers recommend bringing plenty of water – this is the desert, after all. What's more, recent travelers suggested bringing food to enjoy at one of Hidden Valley's picnic tables.

Joshua Tree National Park is open 24 hours a day, but the different nature and visitors centers have different hours of operation. You'll find the park less than 40 miles east of Palm Springs, accessible through the Twentynine Palms entrance. A vehicle permit costs $25 and grants you entrance into the park for seven consecutive days. If you're entering as an individual on foot or bike, the cost for seven-day admittance is $12. On-site facilities include campgrounds, bookstores, restrooms, a cafe and several picnic areas. For more information, visit the Joshua Tree National Park website.

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#1 Coachella Valley Preserve The Coachella Valley Preserve may seem like a barren desert, but keep your eyes peeled and you'll see that its 20,000-plus acres are more than just sand and ... Read more » Kit_Leong / Getty Images

#2 Joshua Tree National Park Joshua Tree National Park is an oasis in the center of the desert. From Hidden Valley (which features a nice, easy hike) to the Cholla Cactus Garden (home to many ... Read more » garytog / Getty Images

#3 Palm Springs Aerial Tramway The city of Palm Springs rests in the shadows of the San Jacinto Mountains. The towering, snow-topped peaks of Southern California's second-highest mountain range are beautiful to behold from ... Read more » Don Graham / Flickr

#4 Palm Springs Art Museum The Palm Springs Art Museum, which was founded in 1938, contains a stunning collection of works, including pieces by big names like Andy Warhol and Marc Chagall. You'll also ... Read more » Joe Wolf / Flickr

#5 The Living Desert The Living Desert is part-zoo and part-botanical garden, all in the extraordinary setting of a desert. Along with animals like mountain lions, bighorn sheep and meerkats, there are a handful ... Read more » iShootPhotosLLC / Getty Images

#6 Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway The Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway was first the Las Palmas estate, home to 1960s socialites Robert and Helene Alexander. In the mid-1960s, the Alexanders leased the home to none other than ... Read more » Gary Bembridge / Flickr

#7 Palm Springs Air Museum The Palm Springs Air Museum boasts an extensive collection of aircraft from World War II, including planes that range from the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress to the Grumman F7F Tigercat ... Read more » Photos By Clark / Flickr

#8 Indian Canyons Located 6 miles south of central Palm Springs, these canyons, which consist of Palm Canyon, Murray Canyon and Andreas Canyon, sit on the reservation lands of the Agua Caliente, a ... Read more » Steve's Web Hosting / Flickr

#9 Tahquitz Canyon For stunning scenery and a look at Native American history and culture, check out the Agua Caliente tribe's Tahquitz Canyon. Situated less than 2 miles southwest of downtown Palm ... Read more » Cobber99 / Flickr

Coachella Valley Preserve picture in Palm Springs
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Palm Springs Air Museum picture in Palm Springs
Indian Canyons picture in Palm Springs
Tahquitz Canyon picture in Palm Springs
Coachella Valley Preserve picture in Palm Springs
Joshua Tree National Park picture in Palm Springs
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway picture in Palm Springs
Palm Springs Art Museum picture in Palm Springs
The Living Desert picture in Palm Springs
Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway picture in Palm Springs
Palm Springs Air Museum picture in Palm Springs
Indian Canyons picture in Palm Springs
Tahquitz Canyon picture in Palm Springs

The Coachella Valley Preserve contains several palm tree oases accessible via wooden bridges. Kit_Leong / Getty Images

Desert trees and towering rock formations are just some of the things you'll see while hiking at Joshua Tree National Park. garytog / Getty Images

For a bird's-eye view of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, you can hop aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Don Graham / Flickr

The small Palm Springs Art Museum packs a big punch with works by artists like Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol gracing its walls. Joe Wolf / Flickr

As its name implies, The Living Desert is a sprawling desert attraction filled with creatures like meerkats and giraffes. iShootPhotosLLC / Getty Images

The King and his bride, Priscilla, honeymooned at what is now known as the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway back in May 1967. Exactly nine months later, their daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, was born. Gary Bembridge / Flickr

An array of World War II-era aircraft are on display at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Photos By Clark / Flickr

For hiking trails with epic mountain scenery, head to the Indian Canyons on the Aqua Caliente reservation. Steve's Web Hosting / Flickr

Tahquitz Canyon's visitors center offers sweeping mountain vistas from its observation deck, but if you want to truly experience all this canyon has to offer, hike the Tahquitz Canyon Trail. Cobber99 / Flickr

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