25 Best Things to Do in Idyllwild, CA

Idyllwild, CA
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It is hard to believe that a sleepy town with a population of fewer than 4,000 residents can be a tourist destination.

However, that is what Idyllwild in Southern California has become.

Millions of visitors fly to this city to enjoy its natural beauty and small-town charm.

Surrounded by glorious peaks and cradled in lush green forests, the city offers stunning views.

The mystery behind its popularity makes Idyllwild an allure for tourists.

Interested to know more about this stunning place?

Here are the 25 best things to do in Idyllwild, California:

Hike Devil’s Slide Trail

People hiking at Devil’s Slide Trail
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Get a refreshing physical workout by taking a hike along the Devil's Slide Trail.

Relish the scenery by taking short stops on the trail's benches.

In addition, the views of the ocean from this high vantage point are stunning.

Equine lovers will enjoy the opportunity to go horseback riding on this trail.

Savor the joys of delicate art at the Artspresso Gallery in Idyllwild.

Like the city, it is a small venue with several curated artworks.

The excellence of these pieces will spellbind you.

They have a wide array of works on various different media.

Pleasing photographs, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and ceramics by local artists adorn the walls.

In addition, some items from international artists augment the hard work of the regional artists.

Rock Climbing at Suicide Rock

Daytime view of Suicide Rock
Benjamin Crowell, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go rock-climbing at Suicide Rock, with more than 300 courses to challenge climbers of all levels.

If you are not in the mood for intense exercise, stroll along the Suicide Rock Trail.

The 6-mile stretch energizes you with its fresh air and warm atmosphere.

Everyone will surely have a gala time walking here.

Rock climbing on Suicide Rock
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Sip a Coffee at Café Aroma

Exterior of Café Aroma
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com

People often take their pet dogs along with them to Idyllwild.

The reason behind this is the large number of outdoor activities in the city.

If you are worried about your pets when you sit down to eat after your outdoor adventures, fret not, as there are many pet-friendly restaurants in this warm city.

One of these is the beautiful Café Aroma.

You can pamper your tastebuds with their rich menu of European, Asian, and Latino culinary delights.

All this while your little four-legged friend nuzzles you as you bask in the outdoor sun!

The only precaution they demand of you is to keep your pet under a leash.

Trek the Tahquitz Peak Trail

Daytime view of Tahquitz Peak
Andy Konieczny / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to yet another thrill ride on what used to be a fire lookout only a couple of decades back.

A hike on the Tahquitz Peak Trail is one of the most popular things to do in Idyllwild--and for a good reason!

The panoramic visuals on both sides are stunning.

Once again, you can stomp your four-legged friends with you.

They also let you cover the course on horseback if you are crying at just the thought of having to walk the entire trail.

This trail is unique due to the fantastic wildflowers dotting the sides.

Catch a Movie at The Rustic Theatre

View of Rustic Theatre entrance
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Movie buffs can enjoy popcorn, and their favorite Hollywood flicks at the Rustic Theatre.

The 117-seat hall houses superior theatre equipment to give the audience supreme cinematic experiences.

These hi-tech facilities include a wide-screen, concert high-quality sound system, and a well-designed stage.

In addition, the theatre offers another perk of watching a movie in a small town – it is pocket-friendly!

Exterior of The Rustic Theatre
Randy Heinitz, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dine at Gastronome

Gastronome is the ideal place to get gastric juices rushing and experience a food bonanza!

The restaurant is unique because it offers three different categories in one place – fine dining, informal fast food, and the special alfresco dining experience.

The main dining room is the traditional fine dining hall.

You can expect liveried serving staff and exquisite tableware to add to the delectable main courses.

Now, if you are in a casual mood, you should dine at the Café.

Their menu provides a rich assortment of fast food galore!

Enjoy some toothsome sandwiches, fajitas, and pizzas.

Finally, lovers of alfresco dining can have a dedicated area on the outside.

Colorfully named The Deck, this section offers tasty recipes at an affordable price.

Pay a Visit to Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum

You can learn about the rich past of the San Jacinto Mountains at the Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum.

Do not be misled by the small size of this museum.

Its exhibits showcase rare moments from the history of this place delightfully.

The volunteer-led Idyllwild Area Historical Society manages the museum.

It has been regaling history buffs since the 1930s.

If the names Tahquitz and Suicide, or the song Elvis Presley’s “Kid Galahad” ring a bell for you, trust us – this museum is your hotspot in Idyllwild!

Have a Cup of Coffee at Mile High Café

The Mile High Café is famous for providing one of the best fine-dining experiences in Idyllwild.

In a delightful mountain-themed setting, you can relish delicious jalapeno, burgers, and benedict eggs.

Bibimbap and beef bulgogi are the other boastful items on the menu!

Peppy and energetic live music caps off the charming experience of the place!

Have Fun at Humber Park

The crowning jewel in Idyllwild’s bouquet is Humber Park.

The trails here are delightful, allowing hikers of all levels a healthy trek through the area.

You can amplify your fun by leading over your trail into the San Jacinto Wilderness region.

Once you get here, you can stroll carefree amid the majestic landscapes!

The ideal way to connect with nature in a new union!

Visit Lake Fulmor

The waters of Lake Fulmor
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More outdoor delights await at Lake Fulmor and its gorgeous surroundings teeming with fantastic wildlife!

You would be mesmerized by the simplicity of nature and life here.

In addition, the shimmering lake waters are too alluring not to take boat rides on them.

Boardwalk over Lake Fulmor
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com

A plethora of activities are on offer here. You could dip your angle line and wait for the perfect catch to hook your bait!

Shutterbugs can capture these exquisite sceneries in high-quality images.

Explore the Eastside Reservoir Project

The Easterside Reservoir Project is an engineering marvel.

If modern feats of human ingenuity fascinate you, you will have loads of fun at this site.

The three enormous dams between the Diamond Valley and Domenigoni mountains stand tall as hallmarks of the indomitable human spirit.

The Eastside Reservoir has played a vital role in making the state water-sufficient.

The beautiful surroundings add to the precision of superior engineering in a stunning juxtaposition.

Walk, hike, stroll or even camp in these regions, and return with life-long memories!

Wander around Idyllwild Regional Park

Rock climbers can test their mettle in the many rock-climbing contests held at Idyllwild Park.

Located toward the town's periphery, you can enjoy lush greenery, wide spaces, and a rare chance to get some quiet time.

It is one of the most popular hang-out spots in the city.

Locals and tourists flock to its relaxing grounds to recharge their worn-out spirits with a much-needed respite from city life.

Grab Some Wines at Middle Range Winery

Delight in the aromatic spaces of the upscale and classy Middle Range Winery.

Watch their crafting process first-hand, and learn insider tips from the welcoming staff!

Their wines have won several industry-best awards.

The best ones to try are the 2015 Pinot Grigio, the 2014 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, and the 2012 Meritage of California!

You can sip on delicious selections from their rich bouquet.

A shop at Town Gallery
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Fine arts lovers can rejoice at the outstanding works dedicated to Idyllwild's lustrous natural beauty at the Town Gallery.

Founders Rick Martinez and Jon Millhouse set up this place with one pioneering vision – to encourage local artists and bring their talent in front of the larger world!

The collection in the gallery isn’t restricted to only paintings.

Other aesthetically designed items, such as custom furniture and reclaimed wood, adorn the halls.

See the Idyllwild Nature Center

Welcome sign of Idyllwild Nature Center
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Nature enthusiasts can gain in-depth knowledge of the local flora and fauna at the Idyllwild Nature Center.

After finishing their theory sessions, visitors can head out into the open surroundings to see their readings come alive in real life!

Finally, you can set up your lunch basket in several picnic spots.

Many trails also cut across the area to provide hiking opportunities.

Visit Mount San Jacinto State Park

Hiking in Mount San Jacinto State Park
Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock.com

You can't afford to trek to Mount San Jacinto State Park on your trip to Idyllwild.

The stunning park offers a web of delightful trails for hikers to enjoy on a field day!

Plus, the rich plant and animal life further add to the beauty.

Finally, to have maximum pleasure, you must set up an overnight camp.

Nightime amid the endless stretches of a natural park can be an experience of a lifetime!

Experience Camping at Idyllwild Pines Camp and Conference Center

Idyllwild Pines Camp and Conference Center was established in 1923 and has hosted Christian retreats, activities, and outreach for over a century.

They are a 52-acre complex that is open all year long.

They provide various meeting venues in multiple capacities to make your time at camp as enjoyable as possible.

Experience their historic 3-story Emerson Lodge while staying in one of their typical summer cottages, which can accommodate different types of campers.

They are available to assist you in creating your trip, whether you are a small team seeking all-inclusive accommodations or a huge guest group looking for plenty of activities like paintball or archery!

The Idyllwild Pines Camp and Conference Center wants to make your camping trip in the mountains of Idyllwild an unforgettable one!

Attend a Workshop at Mountain Pottery

In stunning Idyllwild, California, there is a pottery workshop and gallery called Mountain Pottery.

It is situated adjacent to the Idyllwild Fire Station, alongside the Art Department and the Art Garden.

Artisans of all skill sets provide a variety of seminars, workshops, and special events in a laid-back, artistic setting.

Private parties, other art programs, and homeschool classes are hosted in the Mountain Pottery studio.

They feature ten local Idyllwild artisans' gorgeous handcrafted pottery and ceramics displayed on shelves.

Unwind at Idyllwild RV Resort

The grounds of Idyllwild provide expansive mountain views hidden from the intense Southern California heat since they are situated in the San Jacinto Mountains.

A panorama of pine-covered mountains gives the ideal area for hiking in the summertime and snowshoeing in the wintertime for those looking to stay active.

Additional activities include fishing in the pond or using the swimming and wading pools to soak up some midday sun.

Idyllwild RV Resort provides rustic tent camping and cottage accommodations for RV campers and non-RV campers.

Visit their California campsite for RVs now!

Fill Up with Delectable Italian Cuisines at Fratello's Ristorante & Pizzeria

Drop in and enjoy a meal at Fratello's Ristorante & Pizzeria, a family-owned and managed Italian diner in Idyllwild, California.

The proprietors are four brothers with more than 15 years of experience in the culinary sector and preparing Italian cuisine.

Along with wood-fired pizza that will take you to Italy, their mission is to provide only authentic, fresh food.

You are invited to enjoy a delectable dining experience at Fratello's Ristorante & Pizzeria in the center of Idyllwild.

Savor a mouth-watering meal with a bottle of wine or a can of beer, and then indulge in their wonderful desserts!

Soothe Your Body at Idyllwild Pilates and Massage

You've arrived at the ideal location if you're searching for the greatest Pilates and massage in Idyllwild.

Massage and craniosacral therapy benefits include increased calmness and stress reduction while supporting the body's optimal performance.

You are invited to a session of relaxation and pampering for singles or couples at Idyllwild Pilates and Massage.

Receive a soothing and thoroughly relaxing massage surrounded by the stunning mountain scenery.

Idyllwild Pilates and Massage offers group programs and exclusive sessions for both men and women.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Experience the Rotating Tramcar at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Daytime view of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Nature's Charm / Shutterstock.com

Are you drooling at the prospect of riding the world's largest rotating tramcar?

If so, you may enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

This legendary tramway first opened its doors to the public in 1963.

Connecting the Coachella Valley to the San Jacinto Peak, you can relish the beautiful scenery on either side along your ride.

Tramcar of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Once you hit the peak, you can hike on several trails crisscrossing the slopes.

Some of these are suitable even for novices.

However, it will be better to try the others only if you are a seasoned campaigner.

People at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com

Visit Palm Springs

Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium at Palm Spring
Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

If you are smitten with Hollywood’s craze for cacti, you should head out to Palm Springs near Idyllwild.

You can take a day trip and return in the evening of the same day.

You will enjoy the fresh air and wide variety of flowers and plants displayed here.

The must-visit sites include the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium.

Exterior of Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium
Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

Besides looking at the rich flora exhibited here, you can also learn exciting facts about them.

Another place to check out is Wet’n’Wild Palm Springs.

The on-site pools provide the perfect opportunity to dive and splash in the calm waters.

Flora at Palm Springs
Inga Locmele / Shutterstock.com

Explore the Indian Vista Scenic Overlook

A trail at Indian Vista Scenic Overlook
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com

You can catch breathtaking telescopic views from the high vantage point of the Indian Vista Scenic Overlook.

Situated around 9.5 miles from the main town on Highway 243, this spot is a must-visit for all tourists of Idyllwild.

Hikers at Indian Vista Scenic Overlook
Rosamar / Shutterstock.com

Additionally, you can spot a wide variety of rare and not-so-rare wildlife.

Some animals roam the region are deer, bobcats, gray foxes, and coyotes!

The view from Indian Vista Scenic Overlook
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Final Thoughts

The multitudes of acres available for recreation and exploration ensure that outdoor enthusiasts never grow bored.

Idyllwild provides a variety of activities, including hiking and other outdoor pursuits, dining at delectable regional restaurants, shopping, and more.

Nevertheless, being in town also allows access to intriguing events like pottery courses and museums.

Take a break and visit Idyllwild with your loved ones for a tranquil getaway!

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