A Complete Palm Springs Travel Guide
Need help planning a weekend getaway to Palm Springs? Well, you’ve come to the right place with this Palm Springs travel guide! It’s truly a paradise where the weather is sunny and perfect 300 days a year. It’s set against the San Jacinto mountain range so it’s a great place for hiking, laying by the pool, or just taking in all the retro beauty it has to offer. There is a reason why all of Hollywood have been flocking here for a desert escape since the 1920s. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know before traveling to Palm Springs, California.
Palm Springs Weather
The summers are extremely hot here with the winters being very mild. For the best time to visit travel in the months of March-June and September-November. Lastly, I would avoid going to the desert from late June to early September since the temperatures can rise up to 120° mid-day and nobody can enjoy the outdoors with those temps.
Hotels Palm Springs
While all opinions and recommendations are always my own, my content on this blog post may contain affiliate links for hotels I’ve traveled to, tours I’ve completed, and products I recommend. This means I get a small commission if you book a stay or purchase a product after clicking one of these links. As always, I am so thankful for your support and will continue to share the best properties, things to do, and items I love!
Downtown Palm Springs
If you enjoy being close to all the best restaurants and the energetic streets then you need to stay Downtown. There are multiple hotels to choose from below are my top picks:
- The Avalon Hotel & Bungalows ($$$) Quaint bungalows and hotel rooms close to downtown with a beautiful mountain backdrop.
- Kimpton Rowan ($$) Chic high-rise hotel located on the main street downtown with a rooftop pool and the best customer service.
- The Colony Palms ($$) Smaller boutique hotel with bungalow-style rooms located close to downtown and has an old Hollywood charm.
- La Serena Villas ($$$) Stunning adults-only hotel located downtown with amazing service.
- Parker Palm Springs ($$$) Colorful aesthetic interiors and very secluded. They don’t allow professional photos on the premises.
Indian Wells, California
Indian Wells is roughly 25 minutes from Downtown and is a great place to stay if you want to really indulge in relaxation or love golf (there are over 11 golf courses). It’s much quieter in this part of town. Finally, my favorite hotel in all of Palm Springs is located here, The Sands Resort and Spa. It’s the most photo-worthy property with Moroccan-inspired decor (not to mention amazing service and amenities).
- Sands Resort Hotel & Spa ($$$) Aesthetically pleasing adults-only resort with great amenities.
- Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa ($$) Family-friendly resort with a beautiful pool.
Rancho Mirage, California
There are a couple of luxury resorts in Rancho Mirage which is very close to Indian Wells and has the same relaxing vibe. Not only that but if you prefer home rentals then there are plenty of homes for rent here as well.
- The Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage ($$$) Modern luxury resort with beautiful views and excellent amenities.
Things to Do in Palm Springs, California
Moorten Botanical Garden
The Moorten Botanical Garden is a beautiful 1-acre desert botanical garden. It’s home to the world’s first-ever Cactarium which was created in 1938. With more than 3000 species of plants, this place is a special visit showcasing the prettiest plants that you can also purchase and take home. Not to mention, It’s only $5 to enter. Hands down it’s one of my favorite things to do in Palm Springs.
Mid-Century Modern Door Tour
If you’re a fan of architecture then you must visit the infamous Mid-Century Modern homes that make Palm Springs so legendary. This neighborhood is located off East Palm Canyon Drive and has the most colorful and stunning homes to marvel at. Think Slim Aarons photography coming to life. I will take one of each, please! Also, the Don’t Worry Darling film was filmed in this area. Finally, you can’t miss the iconic “The Pink Door” home located on East Sierra Way.
Relax by The Pool
This seems obvious but it truly is so peaceful out in the desert. Whether you’re staying in a resort, hotel, or a rental laying by the pool with a book in hand will always be my favorite desert activity.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Did you know that there is a Palm Springs aerial tramway that goes to the top of San Jacinto mountain? If you’re a fan of the outdoors then this is for you! It’s only a 2.5-mile ride to the top (10 minutes each way) and you are rewarded with stunning views. Lastly, once you get up to the mountain there are a couple of restaurants, a museum, and hiking trails.
Pro Tip: Remember the weather is 30-40° less than the desert floor so be prepared for cooler temps. (costs $27 per adult and you’ll want to book your tickets in advance).
Once every two years, Desert X graces the desert with its contemporary art exhibitions. They are open-air experiences in the surrounding Palm Springs area. People usually flock here during the festival season between March-May and each year new exhibits are on display. The next one is slated to return in 2023. For more information check out their website.
Day Trip to Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree National Park is only 45 minutes away from Palm Springs and is a great day-trip activity if you have more time. I highly recommend catching a sunset at Chollas Cactus Garden as seen above. I’m linking my Top Photo Spots in Joshua Tree for you to check out if you decide to go!
Night Out in Downtown Palm Springs
If you’re planning a girl’s night out, date night, or just people watching there is no shortage of energy in Downtown Palm Springs. You must experience a night out especially if you’re visiting for the 1st time!
Best Restaurants In Palm Springs
Brunch Spots in Palm Springs
The Pink Cabana: ($$$) My favorite restaurant in this Palm Springs travel guide is The Pink Cabana. Part of the Sands Hotel this spot was designed with the prettiest touches. Also has incredible food! Get the French Toast and thank me later.
King’s Highway: ($$) Affordable brunch spot with a retro diner vibe. They have outdoor seating by the pool to watch all the hipsters in action (I kid, I kid).
Cheeky’s: ($$) Great downtown brunch spot with delicious comfort food (expect a long wait on weekends).
Azucar: ($$$) Another aesthetically pleasing spot downtown with delicious food, make a reservation in advance (great for dinner as well if you like seafood).
Birba: ($$) Italian casual restaurant with great-tasting food.
Farm: ($$) The name speaks for itself, farm-to-table food with an intimate setting.
Mr. Lyons: ($$$) Delicious steakhouse if you want to indulge and splurge.
Eight4Nine: ($$) Contemporary restaurant downtown serving new American food and fun pops of color (great for a girl’s night out!).
The Tropicale: ($$) A staple in the Palm Springs community with a retro interior and a great lounge setting.
- North Lykken Trail: 3.5 miles out and back trail that is moderate/difficult. If you’re looking to get in a sweat, climb rocks, and take in the stunning mountain views then this is the trail for you.
- Andreas Canyon: 1-mile loop easy trail with a beautiful Palm Tree oasis, a small waterfall, and gorgeous mountain views (entry is $9 per person).
- Tahquitz Canyon: An easy/moderate 2-mile loop trail with a waterfall midway located very close to downtown (entry is $12.50 per person).
Best Photo Spots
I created an entire blog post relating to the Best Photo Spots in Palm Springs. Make sure to check it out!
What to Pack for Palm Springs
If you need help packing I’ve got you covered with my What to Pack for Palm Springs: The Essentials post.
That about covers it friends! Thank you for reading my “A Weekend Travel Guide to Palm Springs”. It’s one of my favorite places on earth so I know you’re going to enjoy your stay. As always, comment below if you have any questions. Finally, check out more of my travel guides.
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