Known for its natural springs, stylish hotels, world class golf courses and selection of incredible spas, Palm Springs has always been a popular port of call in the Coachella Valley. Yet with endless sunny days, spectacular scenery and the world’s largest rotating cable car, North America specialist, Lucie, confirms it is also a great place to take the kids in California.
Only a two hour drive yet a world away from the bright lights of Los Angeles, Palm Springs is so easy to add into any California itinerary and I would highly recommend it for families who love the outdoors. Offering a truly unique desert experience and something very different from the rest of California, Palm Springs really is a must visit on a family road trip in the Golden State. There are many reasons why you should visit Palm Springs but here are my top five…
Palm Springs offers the most guaranteed sunny days in all of California during the winter months. Its desert climate rewards it with low rainfall year-round and hours upon hours of brilliant sunshine. The best times to visit are between March and May and September and November when you can enjoy perfect daytime temperatures in the mid 20s. This makes Palm Springs a great destination for an Easter or October half term escape.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The largest in the world. This rotating tram car takes you on a ten minute journey, travelling over two and a half miles along the cliffs of Chino Canyon to Mount San Jacinto State Park. The tram rotates so you can enjoy spectacular views from all angles. At its highest point, the cable car reaches 8,516 feet, meaning it is delightfully cool during the summer months. You can easily spend a morning or an afternoon there, enjoying the many hiking trails or just whiling away the afternoon in one of its restaurants.
Joshua Tree National Park
Less than an hour’s drive from Palm Springs, the Joshua Tree National Park makes for an easy and very worthwhile day trip. It’s worth bearing in mind that there isn’t anywhere to purchase food once inside the park, so take a packed lunch and plenty of water with you. To make the most of your day, I would recommend entering the park from the west entrance and driving the length of the park on the main route, exiting at the south entrance. There are plenty of places to stop along the way and hiking trails for all ages and abilities. If you have young children, the one-mile loop trail through the Hidden Valley is ideal. Some popular sites, such as Skull Rock, are located right on main road and perfect for a quick pit-stop if time is tight. The most scenic sections of the park are closer to the west of the park. Make sure to take plenty of layers if travelling in spring or autumn as temperatures can be unpredictable.
If you are travelling with fashion-mad teenagers or just in need of some retail therapy, Palm Springs has so much to offer when it comes to shopping. From outlet malls, designer shops and vintage clothing, there is something to please everyone.
Night time lighting restrictions in Palm Springs means that it is one of the best places in California for stargazing. Enjoy a private 4WD adventure tour where you will head out into the desert to the San Andreas Fault and learn about the history, geology, plants and animals of the area. There, you will explore a natural palm oasis and stunning canyons as you wind your way through the fault zone, all before taking in a magical desert sunset and a fascinating stargazing experience.