Believe it or not, there are many things to do in Coachella Valley besides golf. It might not be obvious, given the abundance of golf courses, golf clubs, and golf course communities in the greater Palm Springs area, but it is true. From exploring hikes near Rancho Mirage to discovering craft breweries in Thousand Palms, to treating the kids to a day at the zoo in Palm Desert – there is no shortage of ways to fill a day in the vibrant and scenic Coachella Valley.
Below we’ll walk you through some of our favorite destinations, activities, and attractions, including some day trips for when you just need a change of scenery.
Non-Golf Things to do in Coachella Valley
Hiking Palm Springs – Our Top Trails
Where to Cool Off
- Taqhuitz Canyon Loop: Located in the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, this 2-mile loop is relatively flat and features a waterfall and swimming hole, perfect for a quick, refreshing dip. There is a $15/person fee to enter the park and dogs are not allowed.
- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: This family-friendly rotating tram takes visitors 2.5 miles up and through Chino Canyon into the Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness to the much cooler climate at an elevation of 8,516 ft! Once there, enjoy numerous trails, two restaurants, observation decks, a natural history museum, and much more.
Trails with the Best Views
- Bump and Grind: this hilly 4-mile loop outside Palm Desert is open to hikers and mountain bikers and is rated as moderate.
- Murray Peak: This moderate 6.8-mile out-and-back trail takes hikers and mountain bikers from Bogert Trail to Murray Peak near Cathedral City. Keep an eye out for big horn sheep!
- Araby: This 4.1-mile out-and-back trail begins in a residential area in Palm Springs, but quickly takes you up and up – for a gain of just over 1,400 ft – earning this trail its difficult rating. This area is also home to big horn sheep.
- Art Smith: At 16.7 miles, the full trail isn’t for casual hikers, but since it’s an out-and-back trail, hikers can go for as far as they are comfortable. Great views are available within just the first few miles. It’s also not uncommon to see big horn sheep along this trail.
- The Cross: This Palm Desert trail leads you to a solar-powered illuminated cross and spectacular valley views. At just under 2 miles round trip, it’s suitable for all ages and dogs are welcome!
- Indian Canyons: Located on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, this nature preserve boasts a multitude of stunning trails for all skill levels, educational opportunities, and incredible flora. Admission is required and dogs are not permitted.
- Ladder Canyon and Painted Canyon Trail: This 4.4-mile loop in Mecca Hills Wilderness travels through narrow desert canyon walls and up ladders for an unforgettable adventure.
- Rope Canyon Trail: This 2.2-mile loop connects with the ladder canyon trail to offer adventurous families a chance to scale (or descend) ropes and ladders as they weave their way through the canyon.
Exploring Craft Breweries near Palm Springs
When it comes to breweries in the Palm Springs area, La Quinta Brewery is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts. With two locations in Palm Desert and Old Town La Quinta, this brewery prides itself on producing high-quality craft beer with a focus on using locally sourced ingredients. Their outdoor patio and taproom offer a relaxed and cozy atmosphere perfect for enjoying a cold beer alongside delicious bar bites. La Quinta Brewery's signature brews include Koffi Porter, a rich and chocolatey beer infused with locally roasted coffee, and Poolside Blonde, a refreshing ale that captures the essence of California summers.
Coachella Valley Brewing Company is another top-notch brewery that offers a unique and diverse range of beer selections. Founded in 2013, this brewery prides itself on using water sourced from the Coachella Valley to create one-of-a-kind flavors that embody the region's spirit. Their taproom, located in Thousand Palms, offers a chic and contemporary ambiance, perfect for socializing with friends or hosting events. Some of their popular brews include the Desert Swarm Honey Double IPA, the Phoenix Rising Pale Ale, and the Oasis Wheat, a refreshing, citrusy beer that pairs perfectly with the warm desert climate.
Last but not least, Luchador Brewing Company is a newcomer to the Palm Springs beer scene, but it has quickly gained a reputation for its unique and flavorful brews. Located in the Vista Chino area of Palm Springs, this brewery embraces Mexican wrestling culture with a colorful and vibrant taproom. Their signature beers include the Lucha Libre IPA, a crisp and hoppy beer that packs a punch, and the Coco-Loco Coconut Porter, a rich, smooth beer infused with real coconuts. The taproom also offers a small menu of Mexican-inspired bites to complement their beers.
What to do in Palm Springs with Kids
Palm Springs is a destination brimming with family-friendly activities and attractions. From the stunning natural beauty of the desert landscape to the world-class recreational facilities and cultural events, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The Living Desert Zoo is home to over 450 animals from around the world and offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with exotic creatures. With hands-on exhibits and interactive programs, the Living Desert Zoo is a must-see attraction that will delight kids and adults alike.
The Palm Springs Air Museum is another popular destination for families in the Coachella Valley area. This world-renowned museum is dedicated to preserving the history of military aviation, featuring an impressive collection of historic aircraft and artifacts. With over 60 planes on display and engaging exhibits that bring the stories of these planes and the people who flew them to life, the Palm Springs Air Museum is a fascinating destination that is sure to captivate the imagination of visitors of all ages.
Looking for a unique outdoor experience? Smoke Tree Stables is a great choice for a family day out. Nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains, the stables offer guided horseback riding tours for all skill levels on trails that wind through the beautiful Palm Springs countryside. The tours are led by experienced riders who ensure both safety and entertainment. Children above the age of seven can participate in the tours, making it a family-friendly activity. The views from the trails, overlooking the desert landscape, are entirely breathtaking.
Finally, for a taste of the Wild West right in the middle of the desert, check out Pioneertown. This Old West-themed town was originally built as a filming location for Hollywood Westerns but has since evolved into a unique tourist destination complete with authentic shops, saloons, and entertainment. Visitors can experience gunfights, visit the Old Time Photo Parlour, and even take a tour of movie sets used in countless movies and TV shows. With its unique blend of history, entertainment, and cowboy culture, Pioneertown is a fun outing for all ages.
Best Day Trips from Palm Springs
Palm Springs may be known for its golf courses, but the Coachella Valley also offers a plethora of exciting day trip options. One must-see destination is Joshua Tree National Park, located just an hour's drive from Palm Springs. This stunning desert landscape offers visitors the chance to hike, rock climb, and take in breathtaking views of rugged rock formations and Joshua trees. It's best to visit in the cooler months between November and March.
If you're a wine enthusiast, Temecula is the perfect day trip from Palm Springs. This charming town, located about an hour from Palm Springs, boasts more than 40 wineries and tasting rooms, each offering unique blends of locally grown grapes. Many of the vineyards feature beautiful courtyards and offer live music and food-pairing events. Keep in mind that most of the wineries in Temecula require a reservation to taste. We find the best time to visit is during the annual grape harvest, which takes place from August through October.
For a cooler escape, head to Lake Arrowhead, located in the San Bernardino Mountains. This tranquil lake is a popular spot for hiking, fishing, and boating. But the town also offers a range of attractions, from shopping and dining to cultural events. The best time to visit is in the summer months when the weather is mild and the lake is perfect for water activities.
Finally, Big Bear Lake is another popular mountain retreat that offers a range of outdoor activities year-round. Visitors can enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking, biking, and boating in the summer. The town also hosts events throughout the year, including the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. With a host of fun activities all year round, there isn’t a bad time to visit Big Bear Lake.
Coachella Valley is SO much more than Golf
Clearly, there’s much more to Coachella Valley than tee times, Hollywood glamour, and mid-century architecture. No visit to this area is complete without taking in some of the dramatic high desert natural wonders, exploring the craft beer scene, getting inspired at a vibrant museum, or connecting with the region’s agricultural roots at a one-of-a-kind working farm. With so many things to do in Coachella Valley, it might be hard to make time to golf!
At The Springs in Rancho Mirage, we offer golfers the ultimate golf lifestyle, but we also understand that for many of our members, golf is just one element of what makes the greater Palm Springs area so appealing. Our staff is always available to help members and their guests experience the best of the Coachella Valley, both on and off the course.
Curious about country club membership? Our Membership Discovery Guide is packed with information to help you compare country clubs throughout the Coachella Valley. Learn everything you need to know about membership at The Springs, life in Rancho Mirage, and much more.