Visit California, the state's tourism marketing arm, revealed plans to launch a new online platform to promote Indigenous tourism destinations in California.

Visit Native California will launch on in March of 2023 with a series of posts that highlight opportunities for travelers to visit and learn more about California's Native American communities.


The announcement was made at the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in Palm Springs, which is set to open early in the future.

Native Californian tourism

State officials and tribal leaders from across the state gathered for a press conference last week to discuss the new platform and highlight a few of the destinations it will promote.

The Native cultures found, protected and preserved the landscapes that visitors come to California for today. Visitors to California are drawn to the shared culture and lifestyle of the tribe.

She said that Visit Native California will preserve and improve Native Californian stories.

Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Beteta said that Visit Native California would be the first state platform to push forward Native American tourism experiences.

The chairman of the Cahuilla Indians said that the new cultural center would give his people the chance to share their culture and educate the public about who they are. It's us. Our story is this.

He said that sharing our culture helps preserve our culture.

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Reid Malanovich, chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

The CEO of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association said that it was a historic step forward. She said that California is uniquely positioned to impact the growth of tourism and visitors to tribal cultural experiences.

Indigenous experiences across California

The tourism officials, tribal representatives and media in attendance went to the Indian Canyons Golf Resort after the press conference. Some of the experiences and tribes that travelers will be able to learn about on the Visit Native California platform were obtained there.

Travelers can go to the state's northern border with Oregon to see Yurok Country. They can learn about the Yurok's stewardship of the primordial forests and pristine coastlines of this part of California, take guided canoe tours in massive single-piece redwood dugouts, or enjoy pulse-pounding jet boat rides along the Klamath River.

An olive oil tasting courtesy of Seka Hils. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Travelers can meet with members of the Me-Wuk tribe and learn their language in educational sessions and take seasonal guided tours of their ancient way of life in Tuolumne County, which is near the edge of the national park.

Guests at the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation's Cache Creek Casino Resort can sample the gourmet olive oils and wines produced at Seka Hills.

Chef Crystal Wahpepah of Oakland's Wahpepah's Kitchen prepared a special lunch for the meet-and- greet. She is a member of Oklahoma's Kickapoo Nation, but grew up in Oakland, which is where her restaurant sits. Pumpkin squash soup with edible flowers and chile oil is one of the specialties that was included in the dishes.

Young tribe members from Oakland performed traditional dances as the Me-Wuk singers shared their full- throated songs over the course of the meal.

Chef Crystal Wahpepah prepared a special lunch for guests. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Visit Native California will showcase the partners that were presented on the day. Even that was enough to reflect the diversity of experiences that travelers will encounter on the site and is an encouraging step forward in promoting Native-owned and -operated tourism businesses in California, even as other states and other nations around the world start looking to Indigenous tourism enterprises of their own to draw in

California could become a driving force for Indigenous-inspired travel in the United States and beyond due to its large Native population and wide range of activities. Hopefully, that will happen once Visit Native California starts.

Traditional dances performed by visiting tribe members from Oakland. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

There is reason to be hopeful about the future of Indigenous tourism in the state.

Bringing Native culture to downtown Palm Springs

Visitors will be able to learn about the traditional inhabitants of the areas around Palm Springs, as well as their 500-plus modern-day descendants, at the new cultural plaza. The Native American cultural center will be the second largest in the country.

The center will be located at the corner of East Tahquitz Canyon Way and North Indian Canyon Drive and is set to open in the early 20th century. The 5.8-acre plot is right in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, just blocks away from popular points hotels in town.

The center will comprise a few different components and was designed by JCJ Architecture. Art and artifacts from the past will be housed in a new iteration of the museum. The Oasis Trail has a water element lined with native California fan palms.

The Spa at Sec-he is named after the mineral hot springs of Palm Springs. In addition to 22 treatment rooms, visitors will be able to enjoy men's and women's bathhouses, a tranquility garden, a salon, and a fitness center.

You can come for the museum or the spa.

Visit Native California promises to be an exciting first step to highlight the many peoples who inhabited California before Europeans arrived and to support the compelling tourism activities that their descendants have created.