A Travel Price Comparison for California Palm Springs vs. Yosemite National Park for Resorts, Hiking, Backpackers, and Food

Should you visit Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Palm Springs and Yosemite National Park can help you decide which place is right for you.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a chic, outdoorsy, and ritzy city. Other popular activities here include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a breathtaking, popular, and world-famous national park. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for hiking.

Palm Springs and Yosemite National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to El Capitan
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food


Is there more to do in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Palm Springs than Yosemite National Park, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Palm Springs is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, resorts, and shopping, while Yosemite National Park is more popular for its hiking and impressive beauty. Palm Springs is well known for its golfing, shopping, and mid-century modern architecture. Also, Palm Springs is famous for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Yosemite National Park is well known for its stunning hikes, giant Sequoias, breathtaking vistas, and the granite cliffs of Half Dome.

How is Palm Springs different from Yosemite National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Yosemite National Park and Palm Springs. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Palm Springs is a popular place for its sights and museums. However, Yosemite National Park does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Palm Springs. The Palm Springs Air Museum has an impressive collection of military planes. It's also worth visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum, which has a mix of fine art, natural history, and performing arts. You'll also find botanical gardens and even a zoo around town.

Yosemite National Park does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Palm Springs is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Yosemite National Park is not a good national park for its restaurants.

Dining out in Palm Springs is an experience not to be missed. Fresh ingredients and typical California cuisine is common around town. Brunch is a popular option for visitors and you'll find countless brunch cafes in the area. You'll also find Mexican food, pizza, and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.

Yosemite National Park offers some easy restaurants to choose from. There are a few varied restaurants in the park that offer casual food or packaged meals that you can take away. The food is generally expensive and not always the best, so you'll likely enjoy packing your own picnic food to enjoy within the park.

Is Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park Better for Nightlife?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Palm Springs is a world-class destination for its evening party scene. However, Yosemite National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

People head to Palm Springs just to party. The area is filled with nightlife options that range from cocktail bars to nightclubs or breweries. You can party into the early morning at the dance clubs or enjoy a bottle of wine with friends at one of the lounges.

Yosemite National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park Better for Resorts?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Palm Springs is a world-class destination for its resorts. Also, Yosemite National Park is not as famous, but is still a good national park to visit for its luxury resorts.

For the ultimate resort vacation, Palm Springs is a great choice. Resorts range from luxurious to more laid back. Most have impressive pools and many have their own spas, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Yosemite National Park. There are several grand hotels and lodges within the park. Reservations are a must, especially if you're traveling during peak seasons.


Is Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park Better for Hiking?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is an amazing national park to visit for the nearby hiking options. Also, Palm Springs is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its hiking trails.

Many people visit Yosemite National Park specifically for its hiking. This park has many famous hikes that take you by Half Dome, near Yosemite Falls, and through breathtaking landscapes. Popular hikes in the area include Mist Trail to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall and Mirror Lake Trail.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Palm Springs. There are more than 100 trails in the Greater Palm Springs area that take you through scenic desert landscapes and unique ecosystems. Some of the most popular trails include Andreas Canyon Trail and Araby Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Palm Springs is a well-known place for its shopping areas. However, Yosemite National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Palm Springs. Shopping ranges from outlets to boutique vendors. For the most local options head to Palm Canyon Drive and for an upscale shopping experience, visit the El Paseo shopping district.

Yosemite National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park Better for Families?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

You'll find great kid-friendly activities in either Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park.

Palm Springs is a very family-friendly place to visit. The year round sunny weather and diversity of outdoor activities make this a great family-friendly destination. There are desert hikes, zoos, and even a dinosaur museum. Kids can also pass their time playing at the pool or enjoying the waterslides.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Yosemite National Park is very family-friendly. This park has many hikes, climbs, and activities that kids of all ages can enjoy. When the weather's warm the kids will enjoy getting wet in Merced River. They'll also be impressed by the giant sequoias and the beautiful waterfalls. In the evening the staff host ranger programs that are fun and educational for everyone. The park also has kid-friendly camping and lodges.


Is Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park Better for Couples?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Both Palm Springs and Yosemite National Park are great destinations to visit as a couple.

Palm Springs is a very popular place to visit for couples. Whether you're on a honeymoon or simply looking to escape the city, there are many romantic options in the area. From cozy inns to resort spa hotels, there are a range of accommodation options. Outdoor dining, hiking, and shopping are also popular.

Yosemite National Park makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy nature, rock climbing, hiking, and being outside will enjoy a visit to this park. There is an endless supply of romantic views and fun-filled activities that are perfect for avid hikers or those looking for a more relaxing travel experience.

Is Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is an amazing national park to visit for backpackers. However, Palm Springs is a mediocre city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Yosemite National Park is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. Campgrounds and back country trails make this area a backpacker's paradise.

Palm Springs is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. While the city is more famous for its upscale clientele, there's actually a hostel in town for backpackers.

Is Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is very good for its public transit. However, Palm Springs is a mediocre city for times when you don't have a car.

Yosemite National Park has a few public transit options. There is a free bus service that travels around Yosemite Valley.

Public transit is mostly limited in Palm Springs. There are nine bus routes operated by SunLine Transit Agency, but most visitors prefer to have a car to get around.


Is Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park a more walkable city?

Palm Springs
Yosemite National Park

Palm Springs is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Yosemite National Park is not a good national park for its walkability.

Palm Springs is a somewhat walkable city. Parts of the city are very walkable, particularly the touristy areas along Palm Canyon Drive.

Yosemite National Park is generally not a very walkable city. The park is large and a car is necessary to reach many places within the park.

For even more information, also check out Is Palm Springs Worth Visiting? and Is Yosemite National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Yosemite National Park or Palm Springs?

How long in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

Both Palm Springs and Yosemite National Park have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Yosemite National Park than in Palm Springs. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Palm Springs, and 3-7 days is enough time in Yosemite National Park.

Families should spend more time in Palm Springs than Yosemite National Park. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Palm Springs, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Palm Springs than Yosemite National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Palm Springs that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Yosemite National Park than Palm Springs if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Yosemite National Park.


  • How many days in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Palm Springs 2-4 
    Yosemite National Park 3-7

One day in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

The city of Palm Springs offers museums and nightlife. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Yosemite National Park, many people enjoy the that this popular national park offers. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

A weekend in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

The ritzy destination of Palm Springs offers nightlife and food. This city offers something for everyone. It is common to spend a weekend here. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Yosemite National Park is a fun place to experience. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Lots of people come for the hiking. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.


Five days in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Palm Springs. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

In Yosemite National Park, many people enjoy the that this breathtaking destination offers. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. Lots of people come for the hiking. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.

A week in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

Palm Springs is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Palm Springs. It's no surprise that nightlife is why people visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Yosemite National Park is a popular place to visit. Many people spend one week here. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, and The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Yosemite National Park or Palm Springs?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Palm Springs is $206, while the average daily cost in Yosemite National Park is $129. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Palm Springs and Yosemite National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Palm Springs $120
    Yosemite National Park $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Palm Springs $240
    Yosemite National Park $128
Compare Hotels in Palm Springs and Yosemite National Park

Looking for a hotel in Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Palm Springs


Hotels in Yosemite National Park


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Palm Springs Hotel Prices and Yosemite National Park Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Palm Springs $52
    Yosemite National Park $41

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Palm Springs

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Palm Springs:

  • PALM SPRINGS to Palm Springs Airport (PSP) - Departure Private Transfer: $80
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to Desert Hot Springs Private Transfer: $89
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to ONTARIO - Arrival Private Transfer: $107
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) to SANTA ANA - Arrival Private Transfer: $130
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LA QUINTA/INDIO - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $131
  • Palm Springs Airport PSP to Snow Summit-Arrival Private Transfer: $133
  • Private Transfer from PSP to Palm Desert / Indian Wells: $138
  • Private Transfer from PSP to Vía La Quinta, Indio, CA : $161
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to INDIAN WELLS - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $164
  • Palm Springs Airport (PSP) to LOS ANGELES - Arrival Private Transfer: $174
  • Private Airport Transfer in Palm Springs: $199
  • Desert Hot Springs to Los Angeles Airport Departure Transfer: $255

Is it cheaper to fly into Palm Springs or Yosemite National Park?

Prices for flights to both Yosemite National Park and Palm Springs change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Palm Springs $53
    Yosemite National Park $40

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Palm Springs $29
    Yosemite National Park $19

Tours and Activities in Palm Springs

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Palm Springs are as follows:

  • Journey into Joshua Tree: Audio Tour + Free Locals Guide!: $7.99
  • Joshua Tree's Hidden Valley Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Joshua Tree National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour: $12
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour Joshua Tree: $13
  • Joshua Tree National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Palm Springs Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Death Valley National Park Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $17
  • Palm Springs and Joshua Tree Self-Guided Driving Tours Bundle: $25
  • Paintball Target Shooting Experience located in Joshua Tree: $25
  • Private 1-Hour Archery Experience around Joshua Tree National Park.: $28
  • Las Vegas Day Trip: Hoover Dam, Lake Mead & Red Rock Canyon Tour: $30
  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Admission Ticket: $30

Tours and Activities in Yosemite National Park

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Yosemite National Park are as follows:

  • Yosemite Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Yosemite: Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Yosemite Panorama Trail Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Yosemite: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Yosemite Valley Tour with Transport from Oakhurst: $130
  • Yosemite Valley & Glacier Point Adaptive Tour: $180
  • Big Trees Hike & Riverside Cookout Adventure: $180
  • Yosemite’s High Country Adaptive Tour: $180
  • Yosemite Winter Highlights Small Group Tour: $190
  • Yosemite Highlights Small Group Tour: $200
  • Family Fun Private Half Day Fly Fishing Adventure: $215
  • Semi Private Yosemite Tour with Ahwahnee Lunch and Hotel Pickup: $250

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Palm Springs $13
    Yosemite National Park $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Palm Springs and Yosemite National Park, we can see that Palm Springs is more expensive. And not only is Yosemite National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Yosemite National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Yosemite National Park and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Palm Springs would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Palm Springs than you might in Yosemite National Park.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Palm Springs Expensive? and Is Yosemite National Park Expensive?.