My first foray into Palm Springs was in the dead heat of summer for a stay at the chic Parker Palm Springs. Even though the temperature was over 110°F (43°C), I loved the desert—and now lug my family there whenever possible.
As a mom, I appreciate how fun and easy Palm Springs is with my family. Just about every recreational activity is on offer, including hiking, biking around town, and even rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park. My family also loves the Palm Springs Air Museum, Living Desert Museum, and Moorten Botanical Garden. And of course, we all love time by the pool. Here’s how to have three days of family fun in the Palm Springs sun.
Summer months get incredibly hot, with temperatures well above 100°F (38°C). Plan to be indoors (or by the pool) for most of the day.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a trip to Joshua Tree National Park.
Palm Springs is a fun place to bike around, since it’s a small, flat city. Rent a bike or join a tour to check out the amazing mid-century modern architecture that has become an iconic symbol of the desert—start with the neighborhoods of Deepwell Estates, Twin Palms, and Indian Canyons.
Later, head to Palm Desert (a 25-minute drive) to take a mule-drawn covered wagon ride and experience life as a pioneer in the Coachella Valley. Afterwards, enjoy music, games, campfire s'mores, a BBQ dinner, and beautiful starry skies. Alternatively, grab dinner (and date shakes) on festive Palm Canyon Drive.
Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country and makes an easy day trip from Palm Springs. My favorite stops include Hidden Valley Nature Trail, Skull Rock, and the Cholla Cactus Garden, all on the main out-and-back driving route through the park.
For dinner, head to Pappy + Harriet’s in Pioneertown, where you can walk through an old western movie set (if the wait is long, head back to Pie for the People in Joshua Tree). Then head back into the park to enjoy great stargazing (the east side of the park is ideal).
Palm Springs' surrounding Colorado Desert harbors slot canyons, desert washes, and palm oases. Join a tour to explore this fascinating landscape by Jeep along the legendary San Andreas fault. On the way back, check out Shield's Date Garden in Indio to try the region's most famous agricultural product.