Go Out - and Take It In

Our natural setting encourages recreation



Tour the turbine fields in the north end of Palm Springs.

cynthia smalley

Anyway, the wind blows
The turbine fields at the north end of Palm Springs attract attention, but many folks don’t realize they can tour them. Palm Springs Windmill Tours (1-760-320-1365; www.thebestofthebesttours.com), reputedly the longest continuously operating windmill tour business in the world, offers a 90-minute tour of the Coachella Valley’s working windmill farms.

Get off the road
Hop in a Jeep or Humvee for a firsthand look at the San Andreas Fault or to explore desert geography. A host of companies operate tours celebrating our natural beauty, including Five Star Adventures (1-760-320-1500; www.fivestaradventuresinc.com), Adventure Hummer Tours (1-760-285-0876; www.adventurehummer.com), and Desert Adventures Eco Tours (1-888-440-5337; www.red-jeep.com). To explore by bicycle, call Big Wheel Tours (1-760-779-1837; www.bwbtours.com).

Pedal pushers
Bike paths take you through star-studded neighborhoods or along verdant golf courses and bucolic washes. The City of Palm Springs provides a map of bike paths, available from Bike Palm Springs (1-760-832-8912; www.bikepsrentals.com), which also offers a fun map of the stars’ homes. For the truly adventurous, local mountains provide ample opportunities for mountain biking along rugged trails and fire roads. The Funseekers! website (www.4funseekers.com) is an excellent source for off-road biking information.

Pony up
Enjoy the thrill of thundering hooves on grass and athletes with astounding aim and finesse, and the speed both generate in the game of polo. Empire Polo Club in Indio (1-760-342-2762) offers world-class competitions open to the public. Grab a seat in the stands or tailgate on the edge of the grass. During seasonal competitions, an announcer helps you understand the rules of the game and the skills of both polo ponies and riders. If you’re looking for participatory recreation of an equestrian nature, horseback riding opportunities can be found at Coyote Ridge Stable (1-760-363-3380) and Crazy Horse Ranch (1-760-831-6450), both in nearby Morongo Valley.

Raise a racquet
There are plenty of places for tennis players to serve and volley — from public courts to resorts. The premier tennis facility, however, is the home of the PNB Paribas Open (in March): Indian Wells Tennis Garden (1-760-200-8200; www.iwtg.net). Reserve one of 24 courts or take advantage of lessons, drills, and clinics to hone your skills. Other tennis facilities open to the public include Plaza Racquet Club (1-760-323-8997; www.plazaracquetclub.net ) and Ruth Hardy Park (both in Palm  Springs).

Enjoy the high life

Once you’ve explored the desert at ground level, get another perspective: the bird’s-eye one, that is. Palm Springs Plane Rides (1-760-574-3644; www.palmspringsplanerides.com) and Palm Springs Biplanes (1-760-216-3700; www.psbiplanes.com) offer blue-sky adventure in 1940s-built, open-cockpit Stearman biplanes.

On the waterfront
We may not have an ocean, but we do make waves — at Knott’s Soak City water park (1-760-327-0499; www.knotts.com), open March through September. In addition to an 800,000-gallon wave pool, the park offers fluid attractions, such as water tubes and tunnels, funnels, a lazy river, and a lagoon just for kids.

Climb every mountain
For a peak experience, visit the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center in Palm Desert (1-760-862-9984) for information about local trails that lead to over-looks of the Coachella Valley. Or take a quick ride up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway where you can enjoy 54 miles of cool wilderness at an elevation of 8,500 feet and above (1-888-515-8726; www.pstramway.com). 
 

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