The Most Beautiful Gardens in Palm Springs

Sunnylands Center provides a peaceful desert retreat free of charge
Sunnylands Center provides a peaceful desert retreat free of charge | © Yefim Bam / Alamy Stock Photo
Stephanie Andrews

The desert city of Palm Springs, in southern California, is not the place you’d expect to find much flora and fauna. Yet it’s bursting with wildflowers and exotic plants. Our local insiders offer up their favorite green spaces.

1. Moorten Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Did you know that Palm Springs is home to the world’s first cactarium? Moorten Botanical Gardens is a 1-acre (0.4ha) arboretum containing 3,000 varieties of plants, including some of the rarest desert plants in the world. Its founders provided landscaping for the desert homes of Walt Disney, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. The arboretum also makes the ideal location for weddings and photoshoots. Make your visit extra special and call ahead to coordinate a guided tour of the grounds. Recommended by local insider Jennifer Weil

2. Sunnylands Center and Gardens

Historical Landmark, Park

Sunnylands, a 200-acre (80ha) winter home in Rancho Mirage, has opened its doors to some of the biggest entertainment, business and political professionals in the world. Along with providing a peaceful desert retreat, the center and gardens are free to the public. Explore an easy 1.25 miles (2km) of tranquil walking paths while discovering more than 70 species of plants from around the world. The center also offers guided walks, yoga and other family activities between November and April. Grab tickets online for the 90-minute Historic House Tour. Recommended by local insider Jennifer Weil

3. Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden

Art Gallery

Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the desert oasis and outdoor art gallery of the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden. Wind around the base of the Santa Rosa mountains, surrounded by succulents and desert plants, waterfalls and fountains, and curated sculptures from the Palm Springs Art Museum’s permanent collection. Whether you’re looking to find the perfect nook for a morning meditation, or you just want to soak up the arts and culture of Palm Springs, these four acres (1.6ha) of perfectly landscaped garden are a welcome respite from the buzz of Coachella Valley. Recommended by local insider Lauren Malestic

4. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Zoo, Botanical Garden

Rated one of the 10 best zoos in the US by Conde Nast Traveler, the Living Desert Zoo and Garden contains more than 140 animal species and showcases some of the most important desert plants in the heart of the California desert. This isn’t your average rose and tulip garden. Here, you’ll find blooms bursting with color against the arid landscape. From desert willows to cacti decorated with orange and yellow blossoms, this attraction will impress visitors of all ages. Recommended by local insider Lauren Malestic

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