Best of the Coachella Valley... Your Favorite Places for Recreation! According to our local Desert Sun readers... these are the valley's best dog parks, hikes, public golf courses, tennis courts, gyms, and more!
Best Dog Park
1. Palm Springs Dog Park, Palm Springs. If you’re looking for a place with an artistic touch to take your pooch, try Palm Springs Dog Park. The iron fence, ornamented with dog designs, was commissioned from California artist Phill Evans. Also practical, it has double gates so dogs inside won’t get out when a new playmate arrives. The 1.6-acre park even has antique fire hydrants. 222 Civic Drive North (behind City Hall), Palm Springs (760) 322-8362; palmsprings.com/points/dogpark.
2. City of Palm Desert Civic Center Park, Palm Desert
3. Freedom Park, Palm Desert
Best of the Rest: University Park, Palm Desert; Centre Point Park, La Quinta; Fritz Burns Park, La Quinta; Joe Mann Park, Palm Desert
Best Fitness Center
1. Indio Community Center, Indio. Part gym, part community center, the fitness center at the Indio Community Center is a heck of a deal. For $25 a year, Indio residents can buff up in the weight room, play racquetball and basketball, or use the indoor walking track. Same thing for Palm Desert residents, who can use the Indio facility because they have a sister center through the Desert Recreation District. But don’t feel left out. For those of you who live in the 13 other local cities the district serves, it’s $50 a year. While you’re working out, your daughter can take a gymnastics class and your son a karate class. In the morning, coffee is served. “We really build community as part of the workout,” says Tatiana Hinkle, recreation supervisor. “We’re on a first-name basis with our guests.” 45871 Clinton St., Indio (760) 347-4263; desertrecreationdistrict.ca.gov.
2. Balanced Training Boot Camp, valleywide
3. World Gym, valleywide
Best of the Rest: Golds Gym, valleywide; 24-Hour Fitness, valleywide; Power Of Fitness, valleywide; Palm Desert Athletic Club, Palm Desert; Next Level Fitness, Palm Desert; Spa, Spa Resort Casino, Palm Springs; The Basic Gym Palm Springs
1. Bump and Grind Trail, Palm Desert/Rancho Mirage. Gyms and workout classes are effective, but there’s nothing quite like breaking a sweat outdoors. The Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert is again the valley’s most popular hike thanks to its scenic views, wide trails and plentiful opportunities to burn off calories. The hike doesn’t offer much as far as solitude, however, so the best strategy is to get an early start and, as always in the desert, bring plenty of water. Find the trailhead behind the Desert Crossings shopping center on Painters Path, south of Fred Waring Drive.
2. Indian Canyons, Palm Springs
Best of the Rest: Tahquitz Canyon, Palm Springs; Ladder Canyons, Mecca; Eisenhower Mountain, The Living Desert, Palm Desert; Murray Canyon, Palm Springs; Andreas Canyon, Palm Springs; Lykken Trail, Palm Springs; Art Smith Trail, Palm Desert
Best Place to Take Kids
1. Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, Palm Desert. The Living Desert is family-friendly central in the Coachella Valley, offering easy-walking (or baby stroller) trails to fun, year-round educational programs plus menus designed with kids in mind. Bonuses: lots of shade trees and benches for resting and a new merry-go-round populated by endangered species. 47-900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert (760) 346-5694: livingdesert.org.
2. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert, Rancho Mirage
3. Pump It Up, Indio
Best of the Rest: Knott’s Soak City Waterpark, Palm Springs; The Gymnastics Academy, Palm Desert; Boomers!, Cathedral City; Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Palm Springs; Indian Canyons, Palm Springs; Net-Jam, Palm Desert; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs
Best Public Golf Course
1. Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Wells. Renovating both golf courses and building a new clubhouse at this municipal facility has paid off for Indian Wells in the currency of excited golfers. The Celebrity Course, redesigned by Clive Clark, and the Player Course, renovated by John Fought, share relatively wide fairways and tall, mature trees. But the courses are certainly distinct. The Celebrity Course, the home of two Skins Games, features more water and lush landscaping, while the Player Course is a bit more demanding of a golfer’s game. 44-500 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells (760) 346-4653.
2. Desert Willow Golf Resort, Palm Desert
3. SilverRock Resort, La Quinta
Best of the Rest: Indian Canyons Golf Resort, Palm Springs; Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, Palm Springs; Marriott’s Shadow Ridge, Palm Desert; Eagle Falls Golf Course, Indio; Indio Municipal Golf Course, Indio; PGA West, La Quinta; Classic Club, Palm Desert
Best Public Park
1. Palm Desert Civic Center Park, Palm Desert. The Palm Desert Civic Center Park is conveniently located next to the College of the Desert campus and includes public tennis courts, volleyball courts, tot lots, picnic pavilions and plenty of shade trees on its 70 acres. The park also holds fireworks shows during Fourth of July and occasionally even hosts concerts. Fred Waring Dr. and San Pablo Ave., Palm Desert (760) 568-9697; cityofpalmdesert.org.
2. Freedom Park, Palm Desert
3. La Quinta Civic Center Campus, La Quinta
Best of the Rest: Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms; Ruth Hardy Park, Palm Springs; Whitewater Park, Rancho Mirage; Demuth Park, Palm Springs; Sunrise Park, Palm Springs; Fritz Burns Park, La Quinta; Bagdouma Park, Coachella
Best Tennis Court
1. Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Indian Wells. The Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the home of the second-largest tennis stadium in the world. It is the site of the annual BNP Paribas Open, the largest combined ATP World Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event in the world. It’s also a teaching facility where rank beginners can learn the game while seasoned amateurs can pick up challenging matches on adjacent courts. There are 13 sunken championship tennis courts, six lighted clinic and practice courts, two Har Tru clay courts, locker facilities, a fitness area and pro shop. 78-200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells (760) 200-8200; iwtg.net.
2. Palm Springs Tennis Club, Palm Springs
3. Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage
Best of the Rest: Plaza Racquet Club, Palm Springs; Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Indian Wells; Tennis Club, La Quinta Resort, La Quinta; Palm Desert Civic Center Park, Palm Desert; Tennis & Lawn Club, Desert Springs, JW Marriott Resort, Palm Desert; Whitewater Park, Rancho Mirage; College of the Desert, Palm Desert