Palm Springs is an oasis in the heart of the Southern California Desert. Take a 2 hour drive east on the I-10 from Los Angeles (when not leaving during Rush hour of course) and you will arrive at this beautiful getaway and escape the big city. Hollywood Celebrities have been doing this for years and it is still a popular destination for people both in LA and all over. A similar drive time will bring you from San Diego or fly direct into Palm Springs Airport which attracts people to the warm desert climate year round.
There are a few desert towns in the valley between the Santa Rosa/San Jacinto Mountains to the West and the Joshua Tree National Park hills to the East. The most iconic desert town is Palm Springs and neighbors another household name, Coachella.
The best time to come here is in the Fall or Spring as the weather is dry and warm. This also coincides with Festival Season (Coachella, Stagecoach, etc.). If you are looking to escape the crowds be sure not to plan a trip on those weekends. You will save a lot of money when booking your accommodations away from those large events. The winter months can be very cold in the desert but mild during the day. The summer months are naturally scorching hot but the pool side parties are frequent. You still may still find the milder California coastal towns a better choice for summer.
Palm Springs has a large shopping area with great restaurants, bars, and casinos. There are also countless contrasting lush green golf courses at all of the desert resorts around the area. This is a great destination to enjoy the weather with a round of golf or sit poolside for the weekend. (Pro Tip - If you are looking to golf, be sure to plan an early morning to beat the heat and book a tee time well in advance).
Neighboring town Palm Desert is just a few minutes south and has a newer desert town vibe which also boasts great shopping, restaurants, and hotels.
Things to do:
There are TONS of golf courses. The JW Marriott and Westin are two beautiful resorts that boast great courses but will have a heavy price tag. The Desert Willow is a nicer alternative and across the street from the JW Marriott. .
Relax or Party Poolside:
The bigger resorts will have large pools. The Westin was a little crowded and smaller than the JW Marriott which has multiple pools including their live DJ blasting the beats on a Saturday afternoon. Many of the pools will bring the party vibes boasting loud music poolside. Other similar options are the Saguaro and Ace Hotel. Rent an AirBNB with a pool have your own pool party.
Dine and Shop:
Palm Springs has an older but also modern Main Street with restauraunt’s, shops, and art galleries. Neighboring town, Palm Desert, has a little of that Rodeo Drive flair housing some high end shops a few miles away.
Test your luck and bring home some cash at one of the neighboring casinos. There is an Agua Caliente casino on the Palm Springs main strip or their larger casino a few miles East. There is also a larger casino, Morongo, about 20 minutes West which has the biggest hotel and resort of the three.
There is no shortage of good shopping in any of the desert towns and in between. There are also some large outlets just 20 minutes away next to Morongo Casino home to many big bame brands.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway located just minutes outside of town will bring you on an adventure ride to the top of a mountain with great trails and views of the surrounding area. Pro Tip - This area can have snow at the peak so be prepared even if the weather is warm at the base.
Joshua Tree National Park is about 45 minutes from town. This is an iconic desert national park. Check out my blog post on Joshua Tree for full details.
Anza Borrego Desert State Park and Salton Sea are a little further away but can provide fun day time activities for something different. Check out my blog post on Anza Borrego for full details.
BMW performance driving center is your place to find your need for speed. Adventure out in a BMW M series vehicle around a race course. Drift, accelerate, and enjoy the “ride” (pun intended).
Places to Stay:
The JW Marriott Desert Springs is my favorite resort. It is the biggest and classiest but that also means it is pricy. However, you definitely get what you pay for here. The resort has a great pool, spa, golf, and grounds. They even have their own night club on site. You may be able to find some cheaper options with their sister property Marriott Desert Spring Villas II which are timeshare villa properties. They have their own pools on property and have a full kitchen inside. Plus - You can still access the main pool at the JW resort as well.
Westin Mission Hills is another beautiful vacation resort. The pool area was a little crowded As it isn’t as large as the JW but the resort is a beautiful spot for a get away. Another great place for a golf or relaxing getaway.
The Saguaro brings some young party vibes with a decor to fit any Instagram. This is a colorful and fun place just a few minutes from downtown Palm Springs.
AirBNB - Rent a big house and have your own party.