15 Fun Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Palm Springs, California

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dogs are having fun in palm spring ca

Palm Springs is a popular tourist town in southern California. Located in the Coachella Valley section of the Colorado Desert, the city is known for its hot summers and mild winters. Because of the great weather, there are a lot of parks and other recreational spaces in Palm Springs, including some great off-leash dog parks. The only thing you will not find in Palm Springs is a beach. However, there are several lakes and rivers to enjoy with your pup.

Being a pup parent, you probably make sure a place is dog-friendly before you make any travel plans. Because nobody likes to leave their cuddle buddy at home. Luckily, Palm Springs is one of those places that welcome pooches in all sorts of places. 

First, there are over 1,100 rental properties that allow dogs, including 43 dog friendly hotels. You will also find over 60 eateries that love dogs. So go ahead and pack some doggie bags, extra water, and treats because there is a lot you can do with your canine companion in Palm Springs.

Stay at the Best Hotel: Desert Hot Springs Inn

Some hotels are so awesome, you may not want to leave! Desert Hot Springs Inn, located in northern Palm Springs, is one of those places. Not only is it a dog-friendly hotel but it also does not charge you any extra fees for letting your pooch stay with you. Also, they do not care what size or breed your pooch is, they are all welcome, from tiny Terriers to rowdy Rottweilers. They are welcome anywhere in the hotel as long as they are well-behaved. 

In fact, you do not even have to keep a leash on your pupster if he is voice-controlled. He can join you at the mineral water pool, the bubbly hot spa, and the backyard lawn. Each room has an astroturf patch for pooches, a modern room with a private bathroom, a stocked kitchenette, and a terrace or patio that takes you to the pool. They even offer spa services. Nearby, you and Fido can visit The Wildlands, Palm Springs Dog Park, or grab a bite to eat at the Palm Greens Cafe.

To discover all the dog-friendly options Palm Springs has to offer, be sure to check out our dog-friendly Palm Springs travel guide, which provides extensive information on places to stay, eat, and play with your four-legged companion.

Walk through a Garden: Moorten Botanical Garden

In southern Palm Springs, just 2.3 miles from the city center, you and your cuddle buddy are welcome to spend the day enjoying the flora of California and beyond at the Moorten Botanical Garden. Just make sure you keep him on his leash the whole time and bring lots of doggie bags to pick up what he drops. For just five bucks, you can see some awesome greenery you may not expect to find in the desert. Granted, some of the flora is not native, but a lot of it is. 

For example, they have the first Cacterium in the world. Along the trail, you will find a variety of cacti and other drought-tolerant plants, including some rare ones you cannot see anywhere else. You can browse through over 3,000 different plant varieties, including the Palm Grove Oasis, bombax, and South African Karoo, and they even have fossils and crystals. Make sure you do not miss the Cactus Castle, which used to be the Moorten family home. 

Meet Some New Furry Friends: David H. Ready Palm Springs Dog Park

Not all dog parks are the same. Some are just wide open spaces for dogs to run around in, others are separated for large and small fur babies, and some have a variety of obstacles to enjoy. The David H. Ready Palm Springs Dog Park (Palm Springs Dog Park for short), is just 2.5 miles east of Palm Springs city center on the western side of the airport. Palm Springs Dog Park has over 1.6 acres separated into sections for small (and shy) dogs and large (and rambunctious) dogs. 

What’s more, the grass always seems to be green, which is much appreciated in the desert area. The agility stations include jumps, tunnels, ramps, seesaws, and weave poles. Pup parents can enjoy benches and tables made from recycled materials, drinking fountains, and doggie waste stations with bags. 

Learn About Airplanes: Palm Springs Air Museum

On the other side of Palm Springs Airport, you will find the dog-friendly Palm Springs Air Museum, where they have the largest collection of aircraft from WWII in the world. Although most museums frown at bringing your pooch into their establishments, this one welcomes them with open arms. Just be sure to pick up his poop and keep his leash on. Also unique, there are no barriers to keep you from touching or interacting with the exhibits. 

They have five different hangars with various types of aircraft, including the Pacific Navy with its Pearl Harbor diorama, the European Army including the Thunderbolt, Warhawk, and Spitfire, B-17s featuring a kids’ exploration center, Vietnam with Saturday programs, and the F-117As with a brand new Nighthawk Black Devil. The library holds more than 12,000 volumes as well as flight simulators, and the theatre has documentaries running all the time. You can even buy some souvenirs at the gift shop, like toys, t-shirts, hats, and models. 

Enjoy a Brew with Your Buddy: Coachella Valley Brewing Company

Right across the street from Petland Animal Samaritans SPCA, just a few minutes east of the air museum, Coachella Valley Brewing Company has a soft spot for dogs. As long as your canine companion is leashed and cleaned up after, you can take him to the brewery to sample some craft beers. They opened in 2013 and have become a major attraction in the Coachella area due to their farm-to-table beer crafting. They recycle everything, including their used grain. 

The taproom holds nightly themes and events like Wednesday Trivia Nights, live entertainment from locals on Saturdays, and open mic night (comedy, magic, music, and more) on Thursdays. And there are more than 24 different craft beers on tap, including flavors like sour blue razz beer slush, strawberry lemonade shady fruited ale, and happily ever after pilsner. If you get hungry, they have food Thursdays through Sundays. Bring your own doggie bags and a water bowl for Fido.

Hit the Trails: San Bernadino National Forest

No matter where you go in California, you will find numerous trails for biking, hiking, and even horseback riding. With over 823,000 acres, the San Bernadino National Forest is one of the best with more than 135 different day trails in six different recreational areas. From the Pacific Crest Trail starting in northern Palm Springs to Big Bear Lake, about 100 miles to the northwest, you can spend months hiking the forest without repeating the same trails.   

Take note, there may be some trails where Fido cannot go because of the protected areas, but they will be clearly marked. Also, you should always pack extra water, snacks, and poop pickup baggies. Many of the areas have campgrounds (there are 42 in total) where you and your fur buddy can stay a night or two should you want to. Other areas allow wilderness walk-in camping, and some even have resorts. However, the resorts usually do not allow pets.

Go Shopping: Desert Hills Premium Outlet

Need a little retail therapy or looking for unique souvenirs to bring home to friends and family? Take your pooch to Desert Hills Premium Outlet. It is less than 15 miles northwest in the middle of the Morongo Reservation, just up Interstate 10 from the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa. They have over 180 different shops, eateries, and entertainment areas, and your leashed pooch is welcome in the common areas. Some shops even allow your pup indoors.

Many of the eating establishments have outdoor seating where dogs are welcome so you and your cuddly canine can enjoy a meal together while you shop. They really have everything here, from AG Adriano Goldschmied to Zumiez. The outlets are 25% to 65% lower than regular name-brand stores, so you always get the best price. You will need to bring your own doggie bags for easy cleanup and make sure you pick up after him right away. 

Check Out the Dinosaurs: Cabazon Dinosaurs

Just a few short miles east on Interstate 10, you can find the world’s largest dinosaur park. See their newest attraction, the Pee-Wee Herman T-Rex tribute featuring a 65-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex wearing a tuxedo. They also have a brontosaurus named Dinny that is 150 feet long, a pair of friendly dinos painted pink and blue, and a variety of amazing sculptures all over the roadside park. You will have to keep your cuddly canine compadre on a leash and carry them, so this is probably not a great spot for those with a 200-pound Great Dane. 

Cabazon Dinosaurs was begun by Claude Bell in 1964 after he did a group of concrete sculptures for Knott’s Berry Farms. A museum was built and opened in 1999 but has since closed. However, you can still see all of the giant dinos, including the green one with blue polka-dots visible from the highway. Then there is a triceratops, stegosaurus, wooly mammoths, and a couple of diplodocus. 

Have a Pooch Picnic: Ruth Hardy Park

Right in downtown Palm Springs, Ruth Hardy Park has 22 acres of recreational space where dogs are welcomed with open paws. Located in what is considered to be the Movie Colony neighborhood, it is common to run into celebrities who are enjoying the park, too. You may see Leo Di Caprio walking his dogs or Sia out enjoying the sunshine. Try not to be too obvious when you see them or chase them down for autographs. They are there to relax, too.  

Be sure to keep your pup on a leash six feet or shorter, and you can barbecue some burgers for you to enjoy at one of the many picnic tables. They also have playgrounds and a tot lot for the little humans, restrooms, and water fountains, as well as basketball courts, volleyball, and tennis. Please remember to pack plenty of cleanup baggies to pick up anything your cuddly buddy drops during your visit. 

Chow Down with Your Chow Hound: Bongo Johnny’s Patio Bar & Grill

On Palm Canyon Drive in the middle of downtown Palm Springs, right across from the private O’Donnell Golf Club, Bongo Johnny’s Patio Bar & Grill loves fur babies. In fact, they have a special menu for dogs featuring dishes like Rover Easy scrambled eggs, Chicken Chew-Wa-Wa cubed chicken breast, and for dessert, a Cold Wet Nose bowl of ice cream. The patio is perfect for pups to join their humans as you enjoy the view, as well as some delicious food and drinks. 

The place is known for its burgers, which are considered to be the best you have ever had. They used Gold Canyon premium Angus Chuck burgers with all fresh ingredients. And they serve everything from breakfast foods like eggs and bacon to daily dinner specials of steak and potatoes. Try their mac and cheese, fish and chips, or four different kinds of tacos. For dessert, they have lemon drop cheesecake, lava cake, vanilla ice cream, and carrot cake.

Explore the Valley: Coachella Valley Vista Point

The Coachella Valley is known for its arid desert, with a valley that runs 45 miles from the Salton Sea to the San Gorgonio Pass. Surrounded by the San Bernadino, San Jacinto, and Santa Rosa Mountains, it is one of the most popular winter resort cities in the area. Home to several music, film, and art festivals, as well as golf and tennis tournaments, you will likely see a few famous folks out enjoying the southern California weather. 

Located about five miles south of downtown Palm Desert on Highway 74, you and your leashed fur baby can explore 26 different trails, from short and easy one-mile Andreas Canyon Loop to the difficult 8.1-mile Hopalong Cassidy Trail. Remember to bring lots of water and doggie bags because you are not going to see any restrooms or water fountains. What you will see are the most incredible views of the surrounding areas that you can only see from here. 

Give Your Pup a New Look: Miriam’s Grooming Services

In southern Palm Springs, just two miles from the city center, Miriam’s Grooming Services is where the stars take their cuddle buddies to relax. They do everything from puppy facials to hydro baths here. The hydro bath includes a full brush out with a mani-pedi, ear cleaning, and gland expression. Or get the whole package with a blueberry facial and full body cut that will fit your little canine compadre perfectly.

Miriam is a celebrated dog lover from Zurich, Switzerland, where she graduated first in her prestigious class for interior design. But in 2006, she decided she would rather pamper pups instead. She has been awarded Groomer of the Year for the past five years in a row by the Desert Sun Magazine. With all-natural products, state-of-the-art equipment, and dog-loving friendly staff, you and your pooch will love it here. They even have artists who will do a sketch or portrait of your little fuzzball while you wait.

Watch a Polo Match: El Dorado Polo Club

Even if you are not a big fan of polo, the El Dorado Polo Club is a pup popular place to spend the day. Located about 20 miles southeast of downtown Palm Springs in Indio, the polo club has been open since 1957 and is open from January to April. The perfect daytime temps in the winter make it the place to be for world-class polo competitions. Your friendly fur puppy is welcome to join you as long as you keep his leash on and pick up after him. 

The Cantina is open Thursday through Sunday and serves all sorts of great food. You and your pooch are welcome to enjoy a meal or just have an adult beverage on the patio. Right alongside the polo players and the bigwigs. If you want to watch a polo match, be there on Sundays when the clubhouse opens at 11 AM. They have 10 polo fields, stables with room for 800+ horses, and even weekend pool tournaments. 

Go Offroading: Joshua Tree Land Rover Offroad Tour

For some truly exciting offroading with your furry friend in tow, head to Joshua Tree, about 24 miles northeast of Palm Springs city center. Located at the northwestern tip of Joshua Tree National Park, the Joshua Tree National Park Offroad Tours are an outstanding way to see the park. The trip takes several hours and includes some of the most popular stops, including Key’s View, Ohlsen Ranch, Arch Rock, Skull Rock, and Cholla Garden. 

Keep your pup on a leash or in a carrier for the bumpy ride into the backcountry and through the rugged Mojave Desert. The park boasts close to 800,000 acres, and it is impossible to see it all in a few hours, but you will get some awesome views of the Joshua trees, rock formations, and places that most people do not get to go. It includes water and snacks as well as a fantastic day of adventure but bring your own doggie bags.

Take Your Pup Swimming: Saltan Sea State Park

If you want to take your fur baby swimming, head southeast to the Saltan Sea State Park. Dogs are not allowed on the swimming beach, but there are plenty of other waterfront sites in the park where you can let him play in the water. He must be on a leash no longer than six feet, and you have to bring your own water and some poop bags to pick up after him. Saltan Sea is one of the largest inland seas in the world, with over 130 miles of shoreline.

Pack your fishing gear and some bait, and you can also try to catch some of the awesome saltwater tilapia. The park also has five campgrounds with more than 200 sites to choose from. Be sure to plan in advance and reserve a spot. You and your leashed pooch can also explore miles of trails, enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic areas, or go boating. 

The Final Woof

Whether you want to see some awesome flora and fauna, take a hike through the mountains, let your pooch play off the leash at one of the dog parks, shop til you drop, or go on an offroad adventure, you can find all that and more in Palm Springs, California. You can also enjoy a scavenger hunt tour at Palm Springs Art & Infamy or Palm Desert Prowl Scavenger Hunt. They both take about two hours to complete and will include your leashed fur baby. You can also learn to paint on canvas with Melody & Gideon in La Quinta or make candles at a candle crafting workshop. Wherever you go, bring along water, treats, and lots of doggie cleanup baggies.   

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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