One Tank Getaways: Palm Springs Restaurant Week. Part 2: Play

Photo of Paul and Teresa Lowe
9 February 2017

Palms Springs, in southern California’s Coachella Valley, is a rich, fertile farming area only a couple of hours’ drive away from Los Angeles. Check out the second part of The Culture Trip’s three-part guide to where to eat, what to do and where to stay in Palm Springs.

Darrell Eisman “Blackfeater” takes guests on a tour to the San Andreas Fault in Palm Desert, CA

Beneath the desert floor is one of the largest aquifers in the world. The region leads the nation for table grapes and date fruit production. Perhaps you don’t know that Palms Springs has a 2500-year-old history and is also home to one of nature’s more eye-catching and potentially catastrophically dangerous geological faults – the San Andreas earthquake fault. There are at least 500 small-scale earthquakes daily in the area. Contrary what you might see in a Hollywood movie, being in that fault canyon might be one of the safest places you could be during a major quake. There are no buildings anywhere around to fall onto you. An up-close view of the San Andreas fault with all of its jagged cliffs, carved winding canyons and upwardly shifting rock and sand is located just a two hour drive east of Los Angeles, the second most populated city in the United States. Most ‘Angelenos’ have certainly heard of the San Andreas fault but have never seen it up close.

Walking through the heart of the San Andreas Fault

Desert Adventures Eco Tours and Events – The Big Red Jeep San Andreas Eco Tour

Seeing part of the San Andreas fault is certainly worth the drive. Along one part of the fault area you can stand with one foot along the North American tectonic plate and the other on the Pacific plate. One of the more exciting ways to see the area is taking a tour with Desert Adventures guide Daryl ‘Blackfeather’ Eisman. In an open-air red jeep, your adventure is almost like an ‘Indiana Jones’ movie. From the start of the trek, you will discover that Daryl is your personal walking encyclopedia of the Sonoran Desert region. As you ride through the winding and extremely narrow canyons of the San Andreas fault you learn about both the indigenous palms trees that thrive from underground streams and the indigenous people – the Cahuilla (Kah-WEE’-ah) Indians. Their descendants are the present-day Agua Caliente nation, the actual landowners of downtown Palm Springs. There is evidence of a once-massive lake that covered Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. If you kick up the dirt around the San Andreas fault, you will still find seashells and ocean shale rock. Remnants of that lake and a levee break around 1900 created what’s now known as the Salton Sea.

Desert Adventures Eco Tours and Events, +1 (880) 440-5337 or +1 (760) 340-2345

This giraffe wants to see you! He is one of the animals in The Living Desert in Palm Desert

The Living Desert – Walking/Riding Tours

The Palm Springs desert is home to a variety of indigenous animals, birds, reptiles and flowers. Inside the ‘Living Desert Park,’ you will experience desert creatures not only from the local area but also from various regions of the world. The park’s live-in residents are, at times, very friendly. Giraffes sometimes walk up to the visitor fence and pose for your pictures. In addition to the desert lands of the park there are beautiful lush shaded gardens for you rest and enjoy a tranquil afternoon. Inside the park’s offices you can marvel at fine artworks and also view rooms and halls that are perfect for wedding ceremonies and private parties.
The Living Desert 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, California, +1 (760) 346-5694

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway – Tours/Rides

Rising high above Palm Springs is the San Jacinto Mountain State Park. At 8,000 feet atop the jagged mountain, there is a pretty fantastic restaurant and undisturbed natural landscaping of granite rock, towering trees, water streams, birds and cliff-dwelling wildlife such as owls, eagles and sheep. Getting to the park from the Palm Springs side of the mountain means taking the Aerial Tramway. This is a fast and smooth ride inside a rotating passenger cabin. The word spectacular is often over-used, but for this ride the verbiage is appropriate. During your ascension, you experience the stark change of terrain and rapid temperature change. During the summer there is sometimes a 30-degree temperature difference between the peak and the desert down below, so be sure to dress appropriately.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, California, +1 (888) 515-TRAM or +1 (760) 325-1391

Splashtopia Water Onsite Waterpark at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa

Fly over Palm Springs and you will discover that this quaint community has more than a thousand swimming pools, making it a true oasis of the desert. One of the more unique and family-friendly places you can cool off at this summer is the ‘Splashtopia’ pool and water park at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort. The water park features two 100-foot water slides, a lengthy lazy river and plenty of splash fountains for kids, as well as The Splash Grill for delicious burgers, kids’ meals and cool tropical drinks. There are also private lounging cabanas with water spray-misters, all making this a favorite resort for vacationing families. When you’ve cooled down at Splashtopia, the Omni Rancho Las Palmas also offers guests a free round of golf by day, and outdoor family-themed movies on the greens at night.
Splashtopia at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, 41-000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, California, +1 (760) 568-2727
By Paul and Teresa Lowe

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"