A Budget-Friendly Travel Guide to Palm Springs

Experience this desert resort town with these affordable activities

The Vacationeer
Joshua trees and sandstone rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park

Palm Springs, California, nestled in the Coachella Valley, is known for ritzy resorts and trendy music festivals. If you’re looking for a desert oasis with a mix of things to do, however, Palm Springs is a haven for all kinds of travelers, no matter your budget. Check out these 20 affordable things to do in Palm Springs on your next vacation.

Road through the desert of Joshua Tree National Park 

Outdoor Adventures

  1. Hike around Joshua Tree National Park on one of its many scenic hikes. Take the Barker Dam Loop Trail to the Wonderland of Rocks for unique rock formations and Native American petroglyphs.
  2. Join a guided night hike with Friends of the Desert Mountains to beat the heat, see spectacularly starry skies and learn about the desert’s nocturnal creatures.
  3. Boat, bird watch and fish on one of the world’s largest inlet seas, the Salton Sea, about an hour away.
  4. Explore the desert ecosystem at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a desert oasis that’s home to rare species of birds, bighorn sheep, 74 species of butterflies and more.
  5. Stroll along Moorten Botanical Garden for a picturesque walk among an extensive cactus collection.
  6. Sip on a Californian date shake (a local specialty) while walking the date grove and botanical garden at the Shields Date Garden.
  7. Palm trees and a view of the San Jacinto Mountains from Palm Springs, California 

    Must-See Museums

  8. Soak in contemporary art at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Admission is free on select Thursday nights, though it’s first come, first served. The neighboring Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden is always free, with four acres of desert gardens and outdoor sculptures to enjoy.
  9. Learn about Palm Desert, a city within Greater Palm Springs, and the city’s journey from date farms to resort town at the free Historical Society Museum. Then see artifacts from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and learn how the tribe helped develop the Coachella Valley.
  10. Stop at the World Famous Crochet Museum for a quirky roadside attraction and homage to the craft.
  11. The Palm Springs Air Museum, rated one of the top air museums in the world, is full of historical aircraft and related aviation artifacts.
  12. A roadside attraction of dinosaur sculptures near Palm Springs, California 

    Unique Photo Opps

  13. Visit the Palm Springs Walk of Stars and see which of your favorite celebrities lived in the area, from Elvis Presley to James Earl Jones.
  14. Step back in time at Pioneertown, and take plenty of pictures at the old Western movie sets.
  15. If you’re in Palm Springs in the winter, check out Robolights for an eccentric art and light display: colorful sculptures of robots decked out in millions of Christmas lights.
  16. Snap a selfie with the Cabazon Dinosaurs, one of California’s most iconic roadside attractions.
  17. Pose at “Forever Marilyn,” a 26-foot tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe located outside of the Palm Springs Art Museum.
  18. Take an Instagram-worthy picture at one of the sparkling outdoor pools of Hilton Grand Vacations Club Palm Desert.
  19. A midcentury modern home in Palm Springs, California 

    Activities for Art Enthusiasts

  20. Across the street from the Palm Springs Art Museum, see the unique sculptures “The Babies on the Move” from David Černý, and learn about the bizarre art installation.
  21. Backstreet Art District is a collective of local artists. Enjoy the galleries of paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry and more at your own pace, or join the artwalk, held on every first Wednesday of the month.
  22. Rock out at a free outdoor concert, and enjoy a lineup of live musicians with other passionate rock music fans.
  23. Take a self-guided tour of Palm Spring’s iconic mid-century architecture.  

Don’t sightsee on an empty stomach. Check out “12 Best Places to Eat in Palm Springs” for top restaurant recommendations.

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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