25 Unique and Amazing Palm Springs Experiences

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Palm Springs Tours | Best Palm Springs Resorts| Palm Springs Hotels | Best Palm Springs Airbnbs | Things to Do in Palm Springs | Best Time to Visit Palm Springs

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Photo by Don Stouder on Unsplash

An oasis in the Sonoran Desert, Palm Springs brings to life vintage California vacations in the best way possible. Owning the modernism trend of 1950s and 60s, the city values art in all its forms. In fact, many Palm Springs experiences revolve around the fabulous art festivals that bring culture to the area. Airbnb helps you to find the best of these Palm Springs experiences to immerse you into the culture of the city.

Outside of the city, the trend of history and culture continues with several sites dedicated to preserving historical California. Areas like Joshua Tree National Park, Coachella Valley Preserve, and several of the canyon parks help you to see the natural beauty of the state. Several of the Airbnb Palm Springs experiences take you out of the city itself and off to enjoy these outdoor locations.

Whether you’re a fan of the great outdoors, browsing through unique collectibles, or just relaxing in the water, Airbnb will help you find the right Palm Springs experiences for your upcoming trip.

Local Adventures – Airbnb Experiences Close to Palm Springs

While there is plenty to do in the city of Palm Springs, many of the Airbnb-specific experiences are a bit outside the city limits. However, the short drive will be worth it once the fun begins!

Taste Palm Springs with a Private Chef

Woman being served a gourmet meal by chef
Source: Airbnb

Enjoy a private meal in your own home (or vacation) home with this Palm Springs experience. Chef Kim from Take a Chef comes right to you, providing the ingredients for the meal, the food & service, and the cleanup. Join your chef in the cooking process, or watch the master at work. You’ll have the chance to discuss the menu ahead of time, so don’t worry about any particular dietary needs. While Chef Kim specializes in Asian-Californian fusion, there is definitely room for discussion when it comes to the meal.

Especially if you’re not comfortable going out to restaurants, or maybe if you want a bit of privacy, having a private chef is the solution.

Distance from Palm Springs: Zero miles!

Hike Palm Springs

Group of hikers atop a peak in desert mountains
Source: Airbnb

One of those experiences you’ll never forget, this hike will let you see Palm Springs in a whole new way. Throughout the three-hour hike, take in all the incredible scenery and mountain air as you walk the looped trail. In addition to the landscape, this hike shows off the wildlife in the area, including the endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep, as well as celebrity homes.

Your host provides a backpack stocked with supplies – water bottles and a snack – to get you through the trip. You can also bring some of your own items if you would like…definitely a camera! The guide also has hiking poles for each guest, although if you have your own you are more than welcome to use it.

There are some general health requirements that you should meet before considering this experience. If you have any concerns, the host is more than happy to assist you during the booking process.

Distance from Palm Springs: 4 miles

Meditative Hike in Palm Springs Canyons

Group yoga in desert
Source: Airbnb

One of those experiences that brings together the calming aspects of nature with easy exercise, all while taking in the beauty of Palm Springs. The journey begins as you silently hike to your meditation spot, contemplating the session ahead of you and opening yourself to nature. Your hike will be easy-going – it is not intended to be rigorous, but rather get the blood and energy flowing through your body.

After a brief rest at the meditation spot, your host will slowly work you into a guided meditation to help relax body and mind. When the session in over, enjoy another few moments of silence before ending the experience. As the experience price includes entrance into the canyon park, you are welcome to stay as long as you like after your meditation.

Early risers should try the Tahquitz Canyon hike, which starts early in the morning at the waterfall at the mouth of the canyon. This will be your place of silence before hiking to the meditation area. If you need a more flexible time, the Andreas Canyon hike works for any time of day. For either path, be sure to bring plenty of water, although drinks and the mats are provided.

Distance from Palm Springs: 5 miles

Palm Desert Prowl Scavenger Hunt

Man sniffing desert flowers
Source: Airbnb

Challenge your friends and family to your own version of The Amazing Race with this amazing experience! Start by meeting your host at a local landmark to get your mission, go over the ground rules, and take part in a warm-up. With the formalities out of the way, you’ll be off to the races with your first clue!

The game itself alternates between indoor and outdoor locations, with photo requirements throughout to document the stages of your hunt. There are a couple of extra costs for food here and there, but the hosts are flexible and can accommodate a hunt without these aspects. You can even bring your dogs along for the ride!

If you have any questions or special requests ahead of booking, just ask! Kat, the host and director of the experience, loves to create custom adventures to the meet the needs of any party.

Distance from Palm Springs: 7 miles

Motorcycle Riding in Joshua Tree Park

Man on motorcycle in desert
Source: Airbnb

Bring thrill to Joshua Tree with an incredible motorcycle adventure! While participants do need to have a valid motorcycle license, cyclists everywhere will love this experience.

Work with your guide to build the perfect ride for you and your group. You can stay more on the roads if that fits your comfort level, or take the bikes straight into the park for an off-road exploration. Once you’ve booked, the Airbnb host helps to choose the right experiences for you.

Be sure to bring your own gear, particularly a helmet and boots. This makes sure you’re comfortable, and above all, safe. You’ll gone all day, so if you want snacks or beverages you might want to bring a small pack. The host will have snacks and drinks as well, but you might want to be prepared. Of course, make sure you have a camera, as there will be plenty for you to see!

Distance from Palm Springs: 8 miles

Mission Hills Croquet Experience

Croquet lawn and ball
Source: Airbnb

Whether you’re a master or a beginner, Mission Hills Croquet is a bundle of fun! Meet your host on the croquet lawns in Mission Hills Country Club, where you’ll be sorted into groups for the experience. To start, the host will help you with some basic drills, such as how to properly strike the ball and how to hold your mallet, before getting into the game.

Play singles or doubles, depending on the size of your group. Either way, your host takes on the role of coach for both sides, helping you to play to maximum success. As you play croquet the same no matter your age, sex, or athleticism, everyone is on an equal playing field in this game. It’s a great way to spend a day with the family or try something new with your friends, and your host loves to teach people about the game!

Distance from Palm Springs: 10 miles

Aerial Silks & Circus Intro Class

Aerial silk class and training
Source: Airbnb

Lovers of shows like Cirque du Soleil will love this experience, getting the chance to try out the amazing silk acrobatics of the professionals. Enjoy an hour-long fitness class introducing you to the silks…and learn the strength it takes to wrangle them! While you won’t get to fly through the air on the silks like the performers, this intro class will give you the feel of the feat.

Begin with a warm-up and quick safety briefing before getting into the silks. No matter your flexibility or fitness level, you can enjoy the class. Your host, Chelsea, is a former performer and extremely patient with her students. Since the class is outside, you will get to appreciate the natural beauty as you learn the practice.

Remember, this is a fitness class. Bring water and wear the appropriate clothing. You will also need to sign a liability waiver before beginning the class. Kids eight and older are welcome!

Distance from Palm Springs: 11 miles

Meditative & Joyful Acrylic Pouring

Man making acrylic art
Source: Airbnb

Another unique creative experience, acrylic pouring gives anyone the ability to set their artistic side free. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never made a personal art piece before or if you’ve made hundreds, acrylic pouring is a fun way to spend time together as a group. When you’re finished, you get to take home a one of a kind souvenir!

As part of this Airbnb experience, choose your colors and layer them to create an amazing mixture and pattern. To help unlock the creative process, this particular pouring pairs with short guided meditations. The idea behind the meditations is to calm the mind and increase emotional experiences, which can impact the choices you make with your artwork.

Participants create two paintings using two different pouring techniques. As the paintings need time to set, you can have them mailed to your home or come back to the studio to retrieve them after a couple of days.

Distance from Palm Springs: 12 miles

Check out this video to get a peek at how acrylic pouring works!

Colors of the sea come to life on canvas!

Candle Crafting Workshop

group workshop of candle crafting
Source: Airbnb

During this two-hour class, guests have the chance to blend and create their own scented candle. Begin the class with a bit of history about candle making, as well as reviewing important safety procedures. After all, melted wax is hot and will hurt if mishandled.

After the introduction, choose your scent, or blend of scents that you would like in your candle. This is a great chance for you to let your creative side out and really get into the art of candle making. While the wax cools a bit before the pouring, take some time to decorate your jar. This takes a plain candle and turns it into a masterpiece! To finish, your host will walk you through the pouring and setting of the candle before you leave.

Private bookings are available for this activity, as well as events at your own site. The Airbnb host is flexible to accommodate particular experiences, you just need to ask when booking.

Distance from Palm Springs: 13 miles

Joshua Tree Land Rover Off-Road Tour

Land Rover on rocks
Source: Airbnb

One of the most famous attractions in the area, Joshua Tree National Park marks the meeting of two major deserts in the United States – Mojave and Colorado. Established as a national monument in 1936 and a national park in 1994, Joshua Tree helps to preserve aspects of wildlife and culture in the California desert areas.

For those that love rough, outdoor experiences, this Airbnb host has you covered. Parties of three or more enjoy a luxury private tour of the historic trails used by explorers and Native Americans alike. Off the beaten path is an understatement in this instance!

Safety is the number one concern when off-roading, and your driver will make you feel comfortable the whole time. In addition to confidence behind the wheel, your driver acts as you tour guide, pointing out different aspects of the landscape and areas to take pictures. During the excursion, enjoy the provided picnic lunch (unless you want to bring your own food).

Distance from Palm Springs: 14 miles

Private Hot Spring Sanctuary for Two

Couple in hot springs gazing at horizon
Source: Airbnb

Both more natural and more intimate, this is one of those Palm Springs experiences that is perfect for honeymooners.

Meet your host at the greenhouse on site, and enjoy a short walk to the spring. Along the way, you can enjoy the beauty of the sites as well as get a peek at the local wildlife. A natural hot spring that emerges from San Andreas fault warms the private pool where you and your companion can relax and enjoy the view. Once you are in and comfortable, the host will leave you in private for the duration of your soak.

This is a completely organic experience, which means it is important that you don’t bring outside substances into the area. That includes makeup, sunscreen, perfumes, deodorant, and hair care products. With that in mind, you may want to consider an evening soak and shower ahead of time.

Distance from Palm Springs: 14 miles

Modern & More Bike Tours

50's car in front of Palm Springs house
Source: Airbnb

Cruise through three different neighborhoods featuring incredible modernist architecture on this two-hour bike tour. This is a leisurely ride without any major hills or rough terrain – just nice, flat roads while you appreciate the homes and buildings in the neighborhood. A tour like this is a great way to get outside in the California sunshine while exploring the modernist experiences that make Palm Springs unique. Riders of all ages will be comfortable during this journey, and with so much to learn on this tour you’ll want to come back.

Bikes are not included in this excursion, so you either need to bring your own or rent. The host recommends Big Wheel Tours for your bicycle rentals.

Distance from Palm Springs: 15 miles

Desert Yoga Hike

Yoga by group in desert
Source: Airbnb

Combine a moderate hike with a relaxing yoga session to get the best of both worlds. Your hosts begin by leading you through a mindfulness session and short meditation to get in the right mindset before starting the hike. From there, guests hike just over a mile to the yoga site – a secluded zone right in the middle of the gorgeous landscape.

Tailored to the needs of the class, even beginners will enjoy the yoga session. All the yoga materials, such as the mats, are provided. There’s nothing like being outside in the midst of natural splendor while engaging in such a peaceful practice. After the session, enjoy a light snack and appreciate the views. Don’t forget your camera!

Distance from Palm Springs: 15 miles

Panorama Stables Horseback Trail Ride

Horseback trail ride
Source: Airbnb

Begin your hour-long trail ride at the Hidden Passage Guest Ranch equestrian center, meeting your mount and getting set up to ride. After a quick riding tutorial, you’ll be ready to get out onto the trails. Your guide will take you through the high desert area, seeing the landscapes and wildlife from a different perspective. Throughout the route you’ll have a chance to stop and take photos of the breathtaking views.

Even if you are a horseback riding novice, you will have fun during this experience. The guides are patient and helpful, and the horses are calm and sure-footed. You won’t need to worry about anything other than having a great time!

Riders are asked to wear closed-toed shoes and long pants for their safety. For the safety of the horses, rides cannot weigh more than 190 pounds.

Distance from Palm Springs: 20 miles

Kitty’s Wildlife Refuge Experience

Woman raising hands and summoning ravens
Source: Airbnb

This experience, hosted by Kitty herself, is perfect animal lovers searching for a low-key afternoon. Observe animals in their natural habitats, while learning more about them and their habits from Kitty. Among other animals, there are tortoises, rabbits, and squirrels that roam freely through the property.

One of the key features of the property are the ravens. Over 100 ravens live here, and love to interact with the guests. Kitty also has five handicapped and rescued ravens living in the aviary. She loves to share their stories, so feel free to ask as many questions as you would like!

If you have younger kids, Kitty recommends that you come to the refuge in the summertime. There will be more for them to see close up rather than just observation decks.

Distance from Palm Springs: 19 miles

Escape to the Farm

Source: Airbnb

This experience lives up to its name, giving guests the chance to choose from different farm animal experiences on the Thayer Family Homestead. Spend your two-hour time slot grooming and walking a horse, milking a goat, or cuddling a sheep. Settle in among the peeping chicks and ducklings and learn more about their growth. Visit the famous Miss May the Donkey, petting her and learning her interesting history. You can even snuggle with puppies training to be Livestock Guardian Dogs.

Obviously, you want to come dressed to be on a farm and interact with animals. This experience is intended to be hands on, so you’ll want to be prepared for that. The animals are friendly and used to people, so there’s no need to be afraid to interact. Kids are welcome, and you’ll want to bring your camera for some adorable photos.

Distance from Palm Springs: 25 miles

Off the Beaten Path – Experiences beyond Palm Springs

Just about an hour away from Palm Springs are some amazing locations like Pioneertown, Joshua Tree National Park, and Yucca Valley. These Airbnb experiences give you the chance to get out and really explore the natural beauty of the deserts, or get in touch with nature in a new way. Even though you do have to travel a bit, you’ll want to consider some of these experiences.

Let’s Goat Hike

Man with goats
Source: Airbnb

Enjoy beautiful views of the Mojave Desert…accompanied by adorable Nubian goats! While your human host will show you to the pens and point out the sites, the goats are the real guides in this experience. Once they are let out, you’ll follow the goat herd along the desert trails and over boulders. There will be plenty of spots to stop and rest, so you’ll be able to enjoy the view and relax along the way. Not to mention spend some quality time with your friendly goat hosts.

Even though this is a bit more relaxed, it is still a hike. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Sun protection – sunblock and hat – is strongly recommended. Also pack plenty of water, and snacks if you think you’ll need it. Obviously, don’t forget your camera!

Distance from Palm Springs: 30 miles

Private Wild West HumVee Tours – Pioneertown

Humvee in desert
Source: Airbnb

Explore the Mojave Desert in a unique way – off-roading in a HumVee! Guests get the chance to customize their two-hour tour by choosing from a variety of adventures, building the tour that best fits your party. Thrill-seekers might like the Extreme Off-Roading and Rock Crawl options, while others may prefer to simply explore the desert fauna and flora or look out over the vistas.

Regardless of what you choose, this experience gives you the chance to enjoy a one of a kind experience while appreciating the natural beauty of the desert.

Distance from Palm Springs: 30 miles

Herbal Medicine Making & Plant Hike

Making your own herbal medicine
Source: Airbnb

Have you ever wondered about herbal remedies and how they were developed? This Airbnb experience will answer those questions and more as you hike through Joshua Tree and learn about the local plant life. After this experience, you’ll see plants in a whole new way!

Begin by meeting your host at a location honoring the indigenous peoples of the land, and discover how they developed their herbal medicines. From there your hike will take you through the breath-taking paths of Joshua Tree, as your guide teaches you about the flora of the region. You will also learn about the eco-system of the desert and its impact on the plants that live there.

After the hike, sample some of the previous herbal medicines made by your host, and learn how to make your own. For safety, your herbal remedy consists of plants previously gathered by your guide, rather than wild gathering yourself. It is also required that you bring your own towel, pen, and small wooden stirring utensil.

Distance from Palm Springs: 35 miles

Pioneertown Sound Bath

Pioneertown sound bath
Source: Airbnb

While this may sound strange at first, a sound bath involves the playing of different gongs and other instruments to cover, or bathe, a person in sound waves. In meditation practices, different sounds are considered to be healing to different chakras, or aspects, of a person.

In this experience, your host will take you through a 45-minute guided sound bath meditation, followed by tea and music. The principal instrument in these sessions are crystal singing bowls, shaped and sized to elicit specific tones. Located in an open temple space, you can enjoy the shelter and comfort from the elements while still experiencing the beauty of the outdoors.

Guests should arrive about ten minutes before their scheduled session. This gives you time to set up and be ready for your meditation. You should also consider that this experience is in a remote location, so you might want to budget a little extra time to find it.

Distance from Palm Springs: 35 miles

If you’re wondering what a sound bath really is, check out this video to see a sample meditation:

These crystal singing bowls are similar to what you would see at the sound bath in Pioneertown.

LlamaMazing Fun Tour & Desert Walk

Source: Airbnb

Looking for even more animal fun? Take a walk with a llama! At Yippee Ki Aye Hacienda, you’ll get the chance to take an amazing desert hike with the most unusual hiking companion around.

When you get to the ranch, your hosts will bring you over to meet the four llamas and two goats that live there. After brief meet and greet, one of the llamas gets into their harness for the walkabout the desert paths. Enjoy views of Joshua Tree, Johnson Valley, and Black Mesa as your llama (and human guide) show off the beauty of the natural scenery. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you see!

One of the shorter Airbnb experiences, the llama walk takes about 40 to 60 minutes with a bit of time in the pens after the hike. This experience tends to be in the morning or evening, for the comfort of the animals, however you do need to be prepared with water and sun protection. As this is a hike, be sure to wear the appropriate shoes.

Distance from Palm Springs: 30 miles

Mustang, Burro, & Mini Horse Connection

Child petting a donkey
Source: Airbnb

Can’t get enough of horses? Neither can Deanna, your host and equine liaison for this excursion. Deanna takes guests through a tour of her ranch, introducing your to her four-legged (and some feathered) friends, ranging in size and breed.

The experience begins with a brief introduction and discussion of safety information before going to meet the horses. Get to see the smallest first, starting with the adorable miniature horses Bogie and Cherry. From there, meet Buddy the Pony and Lily the burro. Children can ride Buddy if they wish, or simply lead him with a rope. Even children as young as three can enjoy this part of the experience!

The last stage of the tour is a grooming session with the ranch’s mustangs. Contrary to their wild reputations, these mustangs are trained for riding and gentle around people. Some are even therapy horses, designed to help individuals with a variety of mental and emotional struggles.

End your visit with a question and answer session…and promises to come back!

Distance from Palm Springs: 50 miles

Idyllwild Unseen by Nature Connection Adventures

Landscape image in San Bernardino National Forest
Source: Airbnb

Explore San Bernardino National Forest and other local areas during this nature tour. Your Airbnb host, Peter, takes you through the natural landscapes of his own backyard while tell your group about the magic of the area. Knowledgeable about birds, animals, and plant life, Peter welcomes all your questions as you move through the trek.

Peter wants this experience to be personal to you and your group. If there are certain areas you know you want to explore, just let him know ahead of time. Also, don’t be afraid to book this excursion in the colder months! Peter gladly takes guests out for hikes in the snow or fall leaves, and it gives you a chance to see the mountain in a different way.

Distance from Palm Springs: 50 miles

Joshua Tree Group Rock Climb Adventure

Rock climbing in Joshua tree
Source: Airbnb

Get a chance to try real rock climbing at the beginner level – no colorful fake rocks here!

After a short meet and greet with your hosts, you will follow them in your car to the climbing destination. At the location, guests are fitted with climbing gear before heading to the actual climbing area. During this short walk, the hosts are more than happy to answer your questions about the area, the plant life, or rock climbing itself.

Once you get to the climbing space, the guides set up the climbs and teach you some of the basic techniques to help you be as successful as possible. Everyone in the group will get the chance to climb, with your guides patiently encouraging you through the process. No need to have climbing experience – these guys will help you to feel comfortable and enjoy the experience.

After the climb, you can hang out in the park for the rest of the day, so your hosts recommend bringing a lunch with you. You also want to make sure to dress appropriately for this experience. Guests will have to pay $25 per car to enter the park, and sign liability paperwork before the climb.

Distance from Palm Springs: 50 miles

Hot Springs Soak

Hot springs soaking in a tub
Source: Airbnb

Naturally heated by hot springs, enjoy a soak in the most natural hot tub in the world – a 4,000-pound carved out boulder. With the hot tub-like set up, you have some control over the temperature of the water, as well as the flow and drainage of the tub. The host escorts guests to the tub, and then leaves them to soak in private. This makes for a wonderful romantic evening or a fun small gathering.

Depending on when you book your time slot, you can appreciate the sunset over the desert or stare at the vast expanse of stars on a clear night. It doesn’t matter what time of year, the warmth of the springs will make this a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Distance from Palm Springs: 60 miles

However you choose to vacation, these Palm Springs experiences will help you to make the most of a California trip!

Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer

Grace loves to travel, particularly to Florida or anywhere with a beach. Her ideal vacation is a mix of theme parks, historical sights, and local cuisine. That and a Caribbean cruise.