How to Do Palm Springs in 48 Hours

2 Day Road Trip to Palm Springs

During the 1990s, Las Vegas launched a marketing campaign promoting Sin City as a kid-friendly location. Unsurprisingly, it flopped. Children and $1 margaritas are not an advisable combination. It’s hard to strike a balance between offering good nightlife, casinos and fine dining, while also being suitable for families.

Four and a half hours away is a city that succeeded where Vegas failed: Palm Springs, CA. Located between Phoenix and Vegas (and a mere two hours from LA), Palm Springs offers wild times at the Dinah Shore Weekend or family fun at Knott’s Soak City waterpark.

Palm Canyon Drive

Those wanting a more grown-up experience should start on Palm Springs’ main drag— Palm Canyon Drive. Amble along, exploring the many home decor boutiques dedicated to the town’s signature decorating style. I think of it as mid-century modern’s glitzy older sister. Designers such as Trina Turk have boutiques here. Even the ‘consignment’ stores can be pricey, as there’s a fine line between vintage collectible and previously used, but window-shopping is free and entertaining.

Agua Caliente Casino

There is only one casino in downtown Palm Springs. However, there are at least five more in the broader area. Over time, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and Indio have merged together, forming a line along the 10 freeway, but it’s easy to travel between the different towns. We checked out the Agua Caliente Casino, which was rebuilt in 2008 for a mere $400 million. The casino has both smoking and non-smoking areas and more than 1400 slot machines.

Next, sample one of the area’s three hookah bars. Between the scented smoke and the burnt orange-colored floor cushions, we found it easy to pretend we were in Marrakesh. I lounged around, while Lane sucked at her mouthpiece. By the time we left, she was thoroughly relaxed.

Best Sightseeing Destinations in Palm Springs CA

As we were in the ‘Golf Capital of the World,’ we felt we should tee off with others who were up to our skill level. So we headed to Boomers for a game of putt-putt! The course was fun and quirky and only $8 per adult. Boomers also have go-karts, bumper boats, a rock wall, and a game room. They frequently run specials and promotions.

Moorten Botanical Gardens

The Cactarium at the Moorten Botanical Gardens was one of the highlights of our day. The garden has three thousand different types of desert cacti, with fun names like boojum tree and bombax. I had no idea that it was possible to be stabbed by plants of such different colors and shapes. Some of the cacti looked like dead octopi or alien life forms, while others displayed beautiful and vibrant flowers.

Ruddy’s General Store

Our final stop was Ruddy’s General Store to indulge in some nostalgia. Entering the re-created general store is like time traveling back to the 1930s or 1940s. I got a kick out of all the old-style lotions and potions and original advertising signs. Ruddy’s is one of the largest collections of its kind in the US and includes 6,000 unused items. Children under twelve get in for free. Adults are asked to donate $.95 per person.

Coachella Valley

The Coachella Valley of California is in an incredible place to plan a relaxing, warm getaway to a reliably sunny area of the west coast. It rains here only a handful of days of the year!

While it may not be directly on the beach, Palm Springs and all of Coachella Valley make up for that in hiking, sightseeing, relaxation, restaurants and pool time. This arid region of California lies about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, and 150 miles west of Arizona. Here you’ll find tips on what to see and do in this incredible desert community of Southern California.

Joshua Tree National Park

Palm Springs once had a reputation as an older person’s town. Nowadays, there’s something for everyone. There are seven theaters and performance spaces, not to mention art galleries galore. The area is known for its horse-riding and hiking – Joshua Tree National Park is only an hour away. There are a large number of bars and clubs, although the majority are aimed at the gay community. Festival lovers can choose between Palm Springs International Film Festival, Coachella, various jazz festivals, and even an international tamale festival. If you can’t find it in Palm Springs, it’s probably illegal in forty-two states.

Westin Mission Hills Resort and Villas

Back at our hotel, we lounged in poolside cabanas, soaking up the sun in Lane’s case, and turning an attractive shade of lobster in mine. We were staying in a one-bedroom villa at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Villas, which was free, thanks to credit card reward points. The hotel afforded stunning mountain views and beautifully landscaped grounds complete with artificial streams inhabited by actual ducks.

The resort caters to both families and couples. There are three pools: one is just for adults, while another has a 60- foot long water slide. Kids can enjoy the on-site arcade, kids club, and ice cream parlor. Families can take advantage of the basketball and volleyball courts. There are abundant hiking trails and a golf course. Rollaway beds are available by request, which might make staying in one of the villas an affordable option.

Palm Desert

Only minutes away from Palm Springs

Summertime temperatures in the months of June, July, August and September regularly reach over 100. Is this your type of thing?

Death Valley National Park

A great day trip on your Palm Springs trip!

It’s not that far, only about 5-6 hours from Palm Springs. Death Valley is also only an hour or two from Las Vegas!

The weirdness, strangeness, and record-breaking hot temperatures are just a few of the things that Death Valley is known for…but did you know that it has some of the most unique landscapes on the planet? It almost looks like a different planet.

What’s Palm Springs Like?

Warm, sunny, dry desert paradise in Southern California

The Palm Springs area lies in the middle of the Mojave Desert of Southern California. The temperature in the winter months usually still stays in the 70s during the day, while night temperatures will be comfortable 50s. Summertime temperatures increase dramatically, peaking above 100 regularly in May, June, July, August, and September. Despite this seemingly hostile summer weather, the air is very dry and manageable if you stay hydrated and use sunblock.

Many different cacti line the desert floor, along with a dry, colorful brush. The towns in the valley are completely surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains and San Bernardino Mountains. No matter where you are in the valley, you’ll always have a great view of the mountains all around you. Natural running water is scarce but can be seen in the wetter winter months from snowmelt and rainfall. Wildlife varies from jackrabbits to coyotes, desert snakes to roadrunners.

Ascending the surrounding mountains around the valley will bring about very different landscapes and wildlife. The temperatures cool greatly in towns like Idyllwild, and offer a wide array of hiking, plant life, and wildlife.

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