Palm Springs may not be the first California destination that pops into your mind when you think “family vacation,” but there are a lot of great reasons why it should. Palm Springs is more than just golf, outlet malls, and Coachella, and you won’t regret planning a family getaway to the desert city. Here’s why you need to make Palm Springs your next family destination.
Make Palm Springs Your Next Family Destination
Stay in Mid Century Luxury
Palm Springs has been a mecca of the modernist movement since its inception in the first half of the twentieth century, and the city boasts an array of amazing and family-friendly mid century modern vacation rentals. Renting a home is the perfect choice for vacationing en famille (think: room to spread out, privacy, kitchen, and laundry), and you’ll be spoiled for choice in Palm Springs. Try Acme House Company (a Condé Nast Top 10 Pick) for modernist luxury with a celebrity twist where you can stay in a home originally designed for Dorothy Lamour or Walt Disney.
We Get Around
No need to rent a car during your stay in Palm Springs when you can take the BUZZ, a free downtown trolley that hits a list of fun and interesting stops along the Palm Springs Strip every 15 minutes between 11:00 – 1:00 AM each Thursday through Sunday. If you can, try to catch the BUZZ on a Thursday afternoon so you can take in the Palm Springs Art Museum, which has free admission every Thursday from 4:00 – 8:00. After that, be sure to hop back on the BUZZ and head to the Villagefest Street Fair, a local favourite street festival and market.
The BUZZ trolley is a great option, but try getting around town on two wheels too. Check out Bike Palm Springs for a good selection of bicycles for everyone in the family, or maybe take a bicycle built for two out for a spin. The Palm Springs strip along Palm Canyon Drive is easily accessible by bike or on foot, and boasts everything from great dining to eclectic boutiques to mid century kitsch. The strip is not to be missed!
There Must Be Something in the Water
Check out the springs in Palm Springs by visiting the amazing mineral springs in neighbouring Desert Hot Springs, the source of the Agua Caliente hot springs that first drew settlers to the region. Perched in the foothills high above Palm Springs, you can “take the waters” at any one (or more) of 22 of boutique spas and resorts.
And while soaking in the healing mineral springs or taking a dip in your very own private pool are amazing ways to relax, sometimes the kiddos need to expend some energy; there’s nothing like a good water park to wear them out! The all-new Wet ‘N Wild water park boasts two 7-storey speed slides, a tot-friendly splash pool, flowrider, wave pool, lazy river, and much more.
After visiting the Art Museum (remember to go on Thursday afternoon when it’s free), see what other museums the area has to offer.
The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is not your regular old, stodgy museum. Here, kids are encouraged to touch, feel, learn, think, and play. Spark your children’s imagination and curiosity at this hands-on interactive museum designed specifically for children, and we guarantee Mom and Dad will enjoy it too!
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens was established in 1970 to preserve, conserve, and interpret the local desert ecosystem and offers a unique visitor experience. Top-notch educational experiences will inspire awe at the amazing diversity of plant and animal life in the desert and around the world.
On the Quirkier Side
Even if you’re not a propeller-head, you’ll be wowed by the vintage aircraft from World War Two, Korea, and the Vietnam War at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Many of the museum’s docents are veterans with firsthand experience of the aircraft, most of which are still in flyable condition. In fact, adventure-seekers can even book a ride in one of the museum’s vintage warbirds, but be forewarned: the cost of a warbird ride ranges from $150-$195 per seat for a 20-minute ride.
For a classic California roadside attraction, visit the Cabazon Dinosaurs, billed as the “world’s biggest.” Dinny (the brontosaurus) was built out of material left over from the construction of interstate 10 in the 1960s and 70s — construction took over ten years to complete — and is actually not a statue, but a building. Be aware: Dinny is currently home to a creationist museum.
|Indian Canyons – Indian Canyons is a natural oasis with hiking trails featuring lush scenery, beautiful vistas, waterfalls, and creeks that run year round. Great for kids and parents. Find out more on hiking in Palm Springs|
|Palm Springs Tram – The Palm Springs Ariel Tram is an amazing scenic adventure ride to the top of the beautiful Palm Springs mountains, Mt San Jacinto. In the summer, the top of the tram offers a great retreat from the heat and spectacular hiking. Plan your trip to the Palm Springs Tram|
Get Outta Town!
There are a lot of great things to see and do in Palm Springs, but don’t miss the opportunity to explore the surrounding desert. Be sure to take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the summit of Mount San Jacinto. The ten-minute journey takes you to an elevation of 8,500 feet where you will find hiking trails, a restaurant, and spectacular views.
A trip to the Indian Canyons trails on the ancestral lands of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians is like visiting another world. You can explore one of the trails on your own or head out on a ranger-guided hike and talk. Don’t forget to charge your camera batteries first!
Speaking of otherworldly scenery, make Joshua Tree National Park one of the highlights of your trip and you’ll feel like you stepped into a Dr. Seuss illustration. As part of the National Park Service, Joshua Tree National Park offers a range of programming geared at families and children alike.
Sometimes finding a place to eat that will suit everyone’s tastes is the biggest challenge of all. So where can the hungry family go to eat in Palm Springs? Check out our top five picks for yummy eateries that are sure to please even the pickiest palates.
Tyler’s Burgers: Because everyone loves burgers.
Cheeky’s: A local favourite famous for its brunch lineups, but totally worth the wait!
Sherman’s Deli and Bakery: Two words: corned beef. ‘Nuff said.
Elmer’s: Famous for its all-day breakfast.
Lappert’s Ice Cream Shop: Also serves gourmet coffee and Hawaiian shaved ice.
So…what are you waiting for?