CENTRAL DESERT

Packed with natural and manmade treasures, this region buzzes with activity year-round. To the north is Joshua Tree National Park and the artsy town of Joshua Tree. To the west is Cabazon, with countless outlet stores. Desert communities, collectively known as Greater Palm Springs, stretch south along the eastern base of the wall-like San Jacinto range.

The region’s original inhabitants were Agua Caliente Native Americans, with a history spanning some 2,000 years. In 1774, Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza visited, and, by the late 1880s, a town had sprung up, thanks to a huge underground aquifer. In the 1930s, ‘40s and ’50s, Hollywood stars and filmmakers came to relax at posh resorts between shooting movies in Hollywood. Stars like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra built lavish midcentury modern homes, some open for tours or stays. A new generation of stars is rediscovering the region, and a young vibe keeps things lively year-round.

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