Palm Springs and Palm Desert are fashionable desert resort cities near Los Angeles. A visitor may choose to arrive at LAX, Los Angeles International airport, rent a car or hop on a shuttle bus to take the easy drive to Palm Springs. This magical city is located at the southern base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, just off interstate 10. Short commuter flights are also available but are pricey for such a short hike.
Short and sweet and full of things to do and see. Lots of windmills, dry warm air to caress you through the open window to me it’s heavenly. The sun always shines but you do not perspire – what can be bad?
Even before one reaches the upscale desert city at the edge of the Mojave Desert, at the foot the San Jacinto valley, the adventure begins. On the way, west of Palm Springs there are many fun stops. Ontario Mills, where I scored my favorite Ralph Lauren evening dress at 10% of the original price because a tiny button was missing. Then there is the Bass Factory outlet, the Desert Hills Premium outlets which are huge and chock full of the best in designer fare, at 65% discount or more. The 90 minutes seem to vanish before you know it. Flanked by forested mountains that provide shade and a cool refuge from during the sizzling summer. It is also filled with natural hot water springs, said to heal and sooth body and spirit.
Palm Springs or Greater Palm Springs is a must see and experience for anyone lucky enough to be in the area. You have arrived at glitz and glamour, glittering movie star-filled Palm Springs. Golf, a great many authentic hot water springs, glitzy shops, the site of many Hollywood productions and champion golf tournaments. But this is all just the beginning – the greater Palm Springs consists of nine cities: Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella. The area is famous for 354 days of sunshine each year and the shelter of surrounding mountains keeps it warm and dry all year. Winter is averaging at 70 degrees by day and 40 at night. I visited several times in the summer but despite the dry desert heat nearing 100 degrees, it felt like a soft warm caress.
Here are some great ideas of things to do in the area:
- Golf courses
Of course, the best golf courses anywhere in the world. Never muddy, always lush and well kept. Absolute perfection.
- The Tramway
The world’s largest rotating tramcar is a must do with kids. The tram takes you from Valley Station for a 2.5 mile ride, ending at Mountain station, at an elevation of 8,516 feet. As you dismount, you’ll find yourself in San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness area, offering hikes and beautiful nature walks.
- The Palm Springs Art Museum
Located on North Museum Drive, it is a 10,000 foot facility filled with local and regional art, performing art and natural science. There a contemporary art, art glass and sculpture collection to rejoice any art lover. The natural science collection has items from varied fields such as biology, archeology and geology. The theater inside holds music, dance and theatrical performances.
- Coachella Valley Preserve
Located in Thousand Palms just east of Palm Springs, it consists of 880 acres of protected desert wetlands and palm woodland oases. It is also the home of the endangered Coachella Valley Fringe toed lizard.
- Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree national park is a true oasis in the middle the desert. The areas around it are so barren, they’re often called Death Valley, with sand dunes as far as the eye can see. Then suddenly, this miraculous apparition comes to view. Less than 40 miles east of Palm Springs, this park is easily my favorite of national park anywhere. It looks like it’s been there from the day of creation, has seen dinosaurs and seems clearly untouched by human hand. Nature, pure and stunning, stark but insanely beautiful, just as G-d intended. Barren rock formations jutting out of the ground like earth sculptures, surrounded by cactus plants and bushes. There’s an air of mystery there, with its perch in the little San Bernardino Mountains, the reddish rock formation is flocked by the desert vegetation, hypnotically stunning.
- The Keyes View Lookout
This is a great place for a lookout view of the Coachella Valley. Bring food and plenty of water to enjoy a stone age picnic at one of Hidden Valley’s picnic tables. This place has inspired songs, poetry and art. The reason will become clear once you set foot there.
- The Living Desert
This is in Palm Desert, part botanical garden part zoo, set in its extraordinary habitat – the desert. Mountain lions, meercats, bighorn sheep, giraffes and much more.They exhibit about 1,400 species of plants and trees which grow in the desert. Every imaginable cactus, agave prickly pear and palm. Its located 17 miles southeast of Palm Springs.
- Indian Canyon
This is located 6 miles south of Central Palm Springs and can be covered with a 2 hour hike.Palm Canyon, Murray Canyon and Andreas Canyon all sit atop Aqua Caliente, a local Indian tribe. All three offer breathtaking views of desert scenery, horseback riding and authentic American Indian artwork and pottery are sold. The canyons are stunningly beautiful and tranquil but dress in comfortable footgear and wear a hat and a high SPF.
- Tahitz Canyon
Located only 2 miles southwest of midtown Palm Springs, it has a 60 foot waterfall, rock art, a visitor center which shows a film about the canyon and the Aqua Caliente Cultural Museum.
- Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway
For those of us fascinated with Hollywood’s glamour, this place offers a glimpse of the areas’ star studded past, or for the botanists out there – there’s the famous Morten Botanical Garden with a vast collection of lush flora.
You certainly won’t be at a loss for activities and fun. Adults and children alike – there’s an abundance of things for everyone!