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Riverside County is Calling
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Riverside County is Calling

Here's your guide to Riverside County, home to the famous Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, plus numerous natural wonders.

Margaret Flores

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6 min read

November 11, 2022

The fourth most populous county in California, Riverside County spans from the greater Los Angeles area to the Arizona border, covering a diverse geographic area with varying climates. While the region is known for its famous California musical festivals – Coachella and Stagecoach – which attract hundreds of thousands of people each year, there are many more reasons to visit. With mountains, fertile valleys, rivers, and nearby beaches, the county offers natural diversity that few other places can match. Wherever you decide to travel to, a trip to Riverside County is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.

Dive into the Natural Wonders of Riverside County 

The County of Riverside is brimming with breathtaking natural gems. In fact, most of Joshua Tree National Park is located in Riverside County, California, serving as a desert playground for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to hike, bike, rock climb, or camp. The Dos Palmas Preserve is another unique desert sanctuary complete with lush wetlands, swaying fan palms, and an array of animal species. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, San Bernardino National Forest, and Sand to Snow National Monument are also waiting to be explored in this abundant area known as Riverside County.

Joshua Tree National park is one of the only places where you’ll find the peculiar looking Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree National Park 

Outdoor enthusiasts will vouch for this otherworldly location and its incredible presence: Joshua Tree National Park. While the arid California desert does not exactly seem like the best place for a getaway or for a fun adventure, Joshua Tree National Park has what it takes to reel you in for one of the best outdoor experiences of a lifetime. This is where two very distinct ecosystems meet, the Colorado and the Mojave desert, which is quite a peculiar phenomenon and offers existing things to do.

A vast protected piece of land, one of the best ways to discover and explore this untamed environment is by going hiking. And Joshua Tree National Park hikes just so happen to be among the most popular and impressive ones in Southern California. Not to mention one of the most popular places for outdoor rock climbing and bouldering considering its impressively massive rocks. Brave the heat and set out on your desert adventure (don’t forget water and sunscreen!) and discover natural wonders like the Singing Dunes, Skull Rock, the Joshua Trees, and different types of wildlife along the way. 

There are also many activities one can indulge in by staying overnight, such as stargazing and desert camping. Given the fact that the park is situated far away from any artificial lights, the night sky will be as clear as day, and you will be able to effortlessly witness the magic of the Milky Way.

Hidden Valley Nature Center and Wildlife Area

Located along the Santa Ana River, Hidden Valley Nature Center and Wildlife Area are among the best places to visit if you would like to explore what Riverside County’s nature has to offer. There will be various species of wild animals roaming the premises, such as rabbits, snakes, turtles, and toads. The Hidden Valley Nature Center is without a doubt a must add to the list of fun things to do in Riverside County

If you are visiting with your youngsters, you are in luck! The Nature Center also provides some kid-friendly activities, that are both educational and entertaining, which include presentations about the Wetlands, Native Americans, and geology.

Visit one of the most charming Riverside County cities, Temecula, and feed the ducks at the pond!

Temecula Duck Pond and Park

The town of Temecula is one of the most popular Riverside County cities, and for good reason. It is known for its pristine weather, and unusual things to do such as horse-drawn carriage rides, hot air balloon rides, and so much more. The Temecula Duck Pond and Park is part of what makes this town so charming and attractive. Perfect for a day out with the kids, filled with beautiful picnic spots, pretty pockets of nature, and the cherry on top, the pond where you can feed the ducks. 

Discover the Amazing Festivals of Riverside 

Now that we’ve explored some of the great outdoors of Riverside County, let’s take a look at the next category: Riverside Festivals. Riverside is home to some of the most amazing festivals you will ever have the opportunity of attending. 

The Festival of Lights set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is definitely one of the free things to do in Riverside County

MISSION INN HOTEL & SPA FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

If you are visiting Riverside County throughout the colder months of the year, the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa Festival of Lights is a definite must-see. Arguably one of the best free things to do in Riverside County, attending this festival will light up your Holiday spirit and get you pumped up. Part of the nation’s largest holiday light collections, the Riverside Festival of Lights is also one of the region's most significant events. The annual festival continues to grow in popularity with every coming year, and brings in thousands of people eager to experience the magic of the Holiday Season. 

Annual Riverside Tamale Festival 

This celebration of family, food, music, and art is definitely one you will want to keep an eye out for. The Annual Riverside Tamale Festival is rather meaningful, and amidst all the fun and yummy tamales, it actually serves a purpose. By attending, you will be providing aid to the Spanish Town Heritage Foundation with their goal to preserve the Trujillo Mansion, revered as a historic landmark within the region. Participate in an array of fun activities and events that will bring the entire community together, and create lasting memories for everyone at the festival. 

A Blast to The Past 

A trip to an undiscovered area is not complete without gaining some insight into the history and culture of the land you walk on. Be sure to immerse yourself in all that Riverside County has to offer by learning about its rich history and connecting to its soil.

Mission Inn Museum

Located inside the famous Mission Inn Hotel, the Mission Inn Museum is a great place to visit to learn about the history of Riverside County. On your trip to the museum, you will stumble upon a variety of artifacts from Frank Miller, who is coincidentally the founder and owner of the Inn. The Miller family played a significant role in helping Riverside become a center of economic and cultural activity. There are multiple tour options available for you to go on, which include exhibits and events dating back to the founding of Riverside. 

The citrus industry in California has a long history behind it, originating from Riverside County itself. MissionInn.Jim, Public domain.

California Citrus State Historic Park 

Did you know that Riverside County had a huge effect on the citrus industry of California? Thanks to one of the Riverside founders, Eliza Tibbets, who planted and successfully grew the very first hybrid Washington Navel Orange trees in California. Opened in 1993, Citrus Park serves as a living outdoor historical museum, sharing the history of the citrus industry with every newcomer to the area.

Experience the retro-relaxation Palm Springs has to offer - once being home to all of Hollywood’s elite as their go-to vacation spot.

Unwind Under the Palms  

Visitors desiring a more pampered experience often head to one of the resort cities in Riverside County—such as Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, or the iconic Palm Springs—which boast haute hotels, world-class eateries, luxe spas, and high-end shopping destinations. All of these cities are hotspots for tourists on vacations or Angelenos looking for a quick but effective weekend getaway. 

A getaway is never fully complete without having a room to be able to relax in, with mouth watering high quality foods and amazing hospitality. From pools and jacuzzis, to spas and saunas, if you want to feel like you’ve gone on a luxurious vacation without the travel time and hit on your wallet - Riverside County resort cities are where to go.

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