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Palm Springs

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Vetta

Palm Springs

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Palm Springs

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Welcome to Palm Springs, CA

Many millions of years ago, the Southern Desert was the bottom of a vast sea. By 10 million years ago, the waters had receded and the climate was hospitable to prehistoric mastodons, zebras, and camels. The first human inhabitants of record were the Agua Caliente, part of the Cahuilla people, who settled in and around the Coachella Valley about 1,000 years ago. Lake Cahuilla dried up about 300 years ago, but by then the Agua Caliente had discovered the area's hot springs and were making use of their healing properties during winter visits to the desert. The springs became a tourist attraction in 1871, when the tribe built a bathhouse (on a site near the current Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs) to serve passengers on a pioneer stage highway. The Agua Caliente still own about 32,000 acres of desert, 6,700 of which lie within the city limits of Palm Springs. - Copyright © 2014 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. Explore

Things You Can't Miss

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Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Glide 2½ miles up the sheer Chino Canyon. Hike — or snowshoe — through the wilderness at the top, or dine at one of two restaurants.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Image Credit: Ian Dagnall/Alamy

Rodeo Drive of the Desert

Window-shopping and people-watching will fill an afternoon in the El Paseo Shopping District, with its array of big-name designers, art galleries and boutiques.

Rodeo Drive of the Desert

Image Credit: Richard Broadwell/Alamy

A Must for Airplane Buffs

The Palm Springs Air Museum houses one the world’s largest collections of World War II aircraft. Get up close to the vintage beauties.

A Must for Airplane Buffs

Image Credit: Stephen Saks/Alamy

Palm Springs Modern Tours

Hark back to the days of the Rat Pack on a three-hour driving tour of the stunning mid-century homes of such stars as Frank Sinatra.

Palm Springs Modern Tours

Image Credit: Hemis/Alamy

Catch a Camel Ride

At the Living Desert zoo and gardens, take in a palm oasis, a sage and cactus garden, Gila monsters and bighorn sheep. Bring water and a hat; it’s hot!

Catch a Camel Ride

Image Credit: Alamy

Samantha's Pick How About a Swanky Meal, Babe?

You have to have at least one Rat Pack experience, so head to Melvyn’s, where Sinatra ate. His favorite dish? Steak Diane.

How About a Swanky Meal, Babe?

Image Credit: Ingleside Inn

Samantha's Pick Puts Some Gravel in Your Travel

Desert too hot for a hike or bike tour? Take a great Jeep tour instead with Desert Adventures. A three-hour ride through surreal scenery.

Puts Some Gravel in Your Travel

Image Credit: age fotostock/Getty Images

Samantha's Pick This Is Where People Come to Party

A lot of hotels in Palm Springs have become nighttime hangouts. If you don’t like the noise, make sure to stay far away from the pool and bar.

This Is Where People Come to Party

Image Credit: Getty Images

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