Young woman stretching body after jogging, sunset at the end of the road; female stretches body in nature USA

September 29, 2022 — 10:32 AM

Travel can restore your well-being. We’re here to help you on that journey with Well-Traveled, a go-to destination for travel recommendations and tips. Our Well Traveled series is sponsored by Delta Air Lines, the airline that prioritizes your well-being with personalized and health-conscious moments from check-in to arrival.

With so many great places to visit on the West Coast, Palm Springs can often be overlooked in favor of other popular Southern California cities like Los Angeles or San Diego. But we’re here to plead the case for a Palm Springs vacation—especially for those who are craving a genuine wellness retreat.

Between all the mid-century modern architecture and stunning desert landscape are countless stylish hotels, natural hot springs, and spas that offer all kinds of alternative treatments for any type of reset you need. Want some examples? There are plenty: You can take a sound bath in a futuristic dome in the middle of the desert. You can hike through Joshua Tree National Park to take in all of the desert’s natural beauty. Or can kick it old-school and sit poolside between dips in the natural hot springs.

Whatever you need to do to relax and recharge your battery, Palm Springs offers it. That we promise you.

Where to stay in palm springs

Whether you’re looking for an entirely immersive resort experience or simply to chill out, there are some really cool places to stay in the greater Palm Springs area.

This stunning hotel offers a modern and laid-back wellness experience for every type of traveler. You can make a retreat out of it, enjoying the hotel’s beautiful 77-acre property filled with treatment rooms, natural hot springs, pools, plant-focused dining, yoga classes, ceramics workshops, and other events. Or you can just enjoy the beautiful landscape and calming atmosphere as a place to rest your head during a more active Palm Springs visit.

  • Price point: $$
  • Area: Desert Hot Springs
  • Amenities: A plant-focused restaurant, spa, natural hot springs, pools, and tennis courts.
  • Book now:

Old-school Palm Springs gets a modern twist with this restored 1950s retreat. Originally the Castle’s Red Barn built by MGM actor Don Castle and his wife Zetta for Hollywood stars to get away in the ’50s, the rustic touches remain intact through exposed beams, open-air spaces, and the horse troughs that can be found as bathtubs in certain guest rooms. To ensure you can really enjoy what the property has to offer, there are no phones or TVs in any of the rooms for serious digital detox if needed.

  • Price point: $$$
  • Area: Deepwell Estates
  • Amenities: Pool, jacuzzi, outdoor fire pits, vegetable garden, Grown Alchemist bath products, rain showers
  • Book now:

If you’re looking for something more central, but still want to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, this is the place for you. Founded by Buffalo Bill’s cousin in the 1920s, Casa Cody is the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs. Decorated with a colorful mix of heritage elements and modern Spanish revivalist, the beautiful hotel is far from dated. It also practices sustainability, using ingredients grown in its own garden for the marketplace foods and beverages, offering complimentary access to bikes and using in-room eco- amenities such as MoonCloth Designs bath products and Parachute bedding.

  • Price point: $$
  • Area: Downtown Palm Springs
  • Amenities: Edible garden, pool, hot tub, complimentary yoga
  • Book now:

Extra spot:

There are a lot of great retreats and spas in the greater Palm Springs area, but none are as intense or beloved as We Care Spa. The mother-and-daughter-run retreat sits in a desert oasis and offers a luxurious wellness escape filled with spiritual practices, liquid fasting, and healing sessions. It’s not for the casual wellness fan, but celebrities like Alicia Silverstone, Cameron Diaz, and Gisele Bundchen swear by it.

what to do in palm springs

From art exhibits to an immersive sound bath experience to hikes through the vast desert landscape, there are a lot of great things to do while visiting Palm Springs:

1. Spend the day relaxing at the spa.

Due to the natural hot springs, stunning desert landscape, and close proximity to Los Angeles, there seems to be an endless number of spas to visit in Palm Springs. You can make your entire visit a spa retreat, or you can indulge in it for a day at a day spa like Azure Palm Hot Springs. Their day packages are filled with hours of pampering through body treatments, massages or facials, and access to pools, mineral tubs, and the stunning desert oasis. If you just want to enjoy the pools and hot springs, then you can opt for the very affordable $56 or $68 day pass.

2. Take a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park.

Less than an hour’s drive from Palm Springs is Southern California’s most beloved national park, Joshua Tree. Sitting between the Colorado and Mojave deserts, Joshua Tree is home to cactuses, wildflowers, and the namesake twisted, spiky Joshua trees as well as a variety of wildlife from lizards to snakes to bobcats and sheep. You can spend the day hiking, picnicking, and just taking in the unique and stunning landscape.

3. Get your flow on in a yoga class.

There are a lot of great yoga studios in the greater Palm Springs area; you can even bounce around and check out a couple during your trip! Even though a lot of the hotels likely offer a class or two, if you want to try something different we recommend checking out Urban Yoga Center. As Palm Springs’ longest-running yoga studio, Urban Yoga Studio hosts a variety of classes for all kinds of levels, from meditation-based restorative classes to faster-pace flows that you can work up a sweat in.

4. Take a sound bath at Integratron.

About an hour outside of Palm Springs sits a historical white dome structure that looks straight out of a Jetsons episode. Inside the multi-wave sound chamber, visitors can indulge in 60-minute sonic healing sessions. This experience consists of a brief introduction about the structure’s history and purpose, 35 minutes of live quartz crystal singing bowls, and time to relax within the chamber while ambient music plays to deliver “deep relaxation, rejuvenation and introspection,” according to the website. Reservations can be difficult to get, so if you are interested in checking out the Integratron sound bath, then you might want to book the experience first and plane tickets second.

5. Check out some local art.

Art is always a great way to take in the local culture. Palm Springs has always had a wonderful art scene, which has been beautifully encapsulated at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Located right in downtown Palm Springs, the museum houses 28 galleries and two sculpture gardens, making it one of the largest cultural hubs in the Coachella Valley. Permanent collections feature everything from contemporary California art to Native American art to classic western.

what to eat in palm springs

Between all the old-school restaurants, steakhouses, and gastropubs are a handful of cute, cozy, and—most importantly—delicious vegetarian hot spots you have to check out while you’re in the Palm Springs area.

This place is just like your favorite classic deli—only there’s a twist: There’s no meat on the menu. Longtime Palm Springs resident Tanya Petrovna created a casual eatery featuring plant-based sandwiches, salads, and bowls. There’s even ice cream! In fact, Chef Tanya says the must-try is the plant-based/vegan organic oat milk soft serve at Chef Tanya’s Kreamery.

  • Price point: $
  • Area: There are a couple of locations all over the Palm Springs area, including Palm Desert and near DeMuth Park.
  • Dietary consideration options: Plant-based; gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan
  • Setting: Casual
  • Menu & info:

If you’re driving back from Joshua Tree, this roadside pit stop isn’t your average American diner. It serves organic plant-based versions of comfort food using locally sourced ingredients. Some standout items include the biscuits and vegetarian gravy, a black bean burger, and lots of chopped salads.

  • Price point: $
  • Area: Joshua Tree National Park
  • Dietary consideration options: Plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, organic
  • Setting: Café
  • Menu & info:

Do you want to really treat yourself to a night out on the town? This all-concrete restaurant was once the desert’s first theater, back in the 1930s. Now chef Michael Beckman serves farm-to-table dishes that are almost too beautiful to eat. Many of the ingredients are grown at Beckman’s home or behind the restaurant. The seafood comes from a local Newport pier, and the poultry and dairy are from a sustainable farm in Hemet. If you do plan on coming here, we recommend making a reservation in advance as it can regularly fill up.

Local tip:

“The Palm Springs food scene is expanding significantly from the old rat pack days of only steak, potatoes, and martini. Almost every place now has a delicious healthy plant option,” longtime Palm Springs resident Tanya Petrovna from Chef Tanya’s Kitchen says. “Cauliflower steaks seem to be the au courant vegan dish of choice, and those choices are expanding yearly!”

what to pack in palm springs

When it comes to packing for Palm Springs, keep it light and make sure it’s chic.

Bon Voyage // Palm Springs

Now that you can create a mini Palm Springs itinerary for yourself filled with healthy food and relaxing activities, you can sit back and enjoy a stress-free trip. Even if you don’t plan on leaving the hotel, we know you’ll return home feeling completely recharged. What more could you want from a vacation?