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Palm Springs, California

An Oasis in the Desert
Speaking of boots, what will you do with yours in a glitzy, upscale tourist town like Palm Springs? What’s here for the nature-loving, down-to-earth, outdoors enthusiast?

Well, it so happens that this treasured secret playground of the Hollywood set lies tucked in the midst of acre upon acre of wildly beautiful terrain and southern California wilderness. Here’s another clue: great weather, year round. The average daily temperature is 80°F. A beautiful near-perfect desert climate offers year-round opportunities for outdoor fun. With a mere three inches of rainfall per year, you can usually count on clear blue skies and hot sunny days, day after day. Naturally protected from coastal winds and precipitation, this easy escape destination boasts idyllic conditions perfect for active adventure year-round.

Here you’ll discover a vast and mysterious landscape teeming with life and history. Hundreds of miles of riding hiking and biking trails provide panoramic vistas and close encounters with desert wildlife and flora, including many protected species. Here you can indulge your spirit, revive your body and soothe your soul, as you experience the healing wonders of the natural desert as known by only a privileged few.

Vistas Del Valle
The first things visitors notice are the endless, clear skies overhead and the granite majesty of the mountain ranges all around. They circle the valley in a sheltering embrace. Like Dorothy arriving in Oz, or Alice in Wonderland, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore as soon as you arrive in Palm Springs and the Desert Resorts.

The resorts are actually a string of nine small cities hiding in the Coachella Valley, a low and lush paradise at the extreme western edge of the Colorado Desert. The area was originally the ancestral home of the Cahuilla Indians, who still own and oversee much of the land. With its miles of desert plains, teeming chaparral, forested mountains, and deep, tropical canyon oases, this hidden desert garden is California’s best kept secret.

An unequaled array of outdoor adventures are possible, from the bird sanctuary and water sports at the Salton Sea, to the sand dunes and dry washes of the low desert, or the palm-lined rainbow-walled caverns and canyons of the foothills, to the alpine forests of Mt. San Jacinto. You can pick your ecozone to play in around here.

Healing Water
Now, what’s the best thing about all the active outdoor possibilities offered in the desert and mountains around Palm Springs? You don’t have to do any of them! Here in Hollywood’s backyard, we’ve got relaxing down to an art form. The famous San Andreas earthquake fault line creates an abundance of naturally healing hot mineral springs, bubbling up from deep aquifers along its length. These springs supply the pools and spas which make this area world-famous for “taking the waters.” Need a break? Take a hike, soak in a spa, and get a massage! Experience panoramic desert vistas, then return to natural hot mineral springs which soothe the soul and heal the spirit. That’s living, the way I like to do it. Adventure and pampering all in one package.

About the Author
A recent transplant from the Northeast USA to the Southwest USA, I’m enjoying the day by day discovery of the best of Palm Springs and the surrounding Desert Resort cities and love sharing it with my frequent visitors.

In future installments, I will let you in on all my favorite haunts and more. I look forward to telling you about the adventures and abundance that await sojourners here. Visit me at my Around Palm Springs web site, or email me: aroundpalmsprings@hotmail.com.

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If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our North America Insiders page.

America’s Desert Oasis

It’s not just the world-class golf and tennis that lure people to my desert. The warm, dry climate attracts thousands of visitors each season. Most days of the year, being in Palm Springs and the Desert Resorts is like being in a little piece of paradise.

Whether drawn to this Eden for business or for a holiday, it’s 640-square miles of vacation paradise make a beauteous place to stay and play.

A premier tourist destination of the US, the area boasts more than 100 golf courses. It is the western polo capital, and also boasts some 600 tennis courts and 30,000 plus sparkling swimming pools.

Bougainvillea drapes courtyards, while palms, acacia and cacti line the streets. Brilliantly flowered gardens bloom all year long.

Beautiful downtown Palm Springs, with it’s cobbled streets and unique shops and restaurants, maintains that same quaint village charm that has lured Hollywood royalty for years.

Super chic El Paseo Drive in Palm Desert hosts Rodeo Drive-type shopping opportunities. Art lovers will find works by renowned artists in every media available at area gallery exhibits. Entertainment and recreation options are diverse: sailplanes, parachutes, waterparks, balloon-rides, eco-tours, celebrity tours, live shows, casinos, sightseeing and more.

By day or night the atmosphere and attitude is casually elegant, and above all relaxed. Palm Springs is a unique experience that will bring you back again and again.

Remember, it’s always summer in the desert. Bring a hat to protect your head from the sun. Don’t forget your sunscreen. And when you’re participating in outdoor activities, carry water with you.

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Palm Springs, California

Getting Here
We are easily reached by air, via Palm Springs International Airport. This award-winning facility is just one mile from the heart of downtown, and has regular service from Alaska Airlines, American, American Eagle, Northwest, United, United Express, America West Express, American Eagle, Skywest, and US Airways Express.

Your airline reservationist or travel agent can also arrange connections to and from airports in Los Angeles, Ontario or San Diego (all in southern California), and she can arrange your car rental. Your final destination is just a scenic 2-hour drive inland from any of these major airports.

In fact, Palm Springs is an easy drive from (or to) diverse locations such as Tucson, AZ (381 miles, 6-7 hours); Phoenix, AZ (280 miles, 5 hours); Santa Barbara, CA (199 miles, 4 hours); San Francisco, CA (504 miles, 9 hours); Laughlin or Las Vegas, NV (240-280 miles, 4-5 hours). Detailed driving directions and maps are available from online map services such as Yahoo! or MapBlast.

You can get here by train via Amtrak’s Sunset Limited which runs a scenic cross-country line between Los Angeles and Florida. (800) USA-RAIL (872-7245).

Amtrak’s Bakersfield-to-Indio bus service stops daily in Palm Springs at the Palm Springs Bus Depot, 311 N. Indian Canyon Dr. 325-2053. Greyhound also offers frequent and convenient service from here.

Getting Around
California miles are truly “country” miles. The best way to get around on your own is by auto or bike. Both can be rented by the day or week. If you rent a car, get 4-wheel drive to take advantage of the numerous off-road adventures lurking around every bend. Or try one of the scenic tour companies, whose friendly guides are a wealth of local information and history.

For getting around in town, taxis are available but expensive, since the cities are flat and spread out. Try the bus. We’ve got one of the most non-polluting, eco-friendly public transportation systems in the nation and perhaps the world. The SunBus line uses natural gas instead of gasoline to fumelessly power their buses.

And since people who live here are always in a good mood, you can expect friendly assistance from the natives. As a matter of fact, you probably won’t need it. It’s impossible to get lost – you just have to point yourself at the mountains; they are never out of view. For more information, routes and prices for Buses & Taxis.

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