A popular destination among local Californians and visitors from further abroad, Palm Springs is a desert oasis that provides great relief from the chaos of Los Angeles. It is known for its wellness services, luxury hotels, and glamorous history, with people from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley calling the area home at different points in time.
Our getaway guide to Palm Springs provides you with everything you need to know for your trip to this vibrant and extravagant destination.
Palm Springs is not just a city. It’s also the name given to a large region that is made up of 9 individual areas.
The greater Palm Springs area consists of:
These areas are quite spread out so it’s important to do your research when selecting your accommodation. To give you an idea, the trip from La Quinta to downtown Palm Springs takes 30 minutes in the car. If you are going to be spending a lot of time in town, make sure that you factor this into your plans.
The most popular time to visit Palm Springs is between November and April. The weather this time of year is warm and pleasant with temperatures typically sitting in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit, as opposed to May to September when temperatures skyrocket and regularly reach 108 degrees Fahrenheit.
That being said, temperatures are not the only thing to skyrocket during peak season. The cost of accommodation is significantly inflated as people flock to the area for a sun-filled getaway. If you are on a budget, May-September is a much better time to visit. There will be fewer crowds and the cost of your trip will be much less. You will need to be prepared to brave the hot weather, but if you’re happy to get your hiking done in the morning and spend the rest of the day enjoying indoor activities like shopping or museums, you won’t have a problem. If the heat gets too much you can always relax by the pool with a cocktail!
You can get to Palm Springs either by car, bus or plane. It takes about 2 hours on the road from Los Angeles so it is a fairly comfortable journey. If you are only going for a few days and don’t want to take your large bags, leave them behind at an LA luggage storage facility.
Flixbus runs multiple services a day between Union Station in Los Angeles and Palm Springs North and downtown Palm Springs.
If you’re arriving by plane, you’ll land at Palm Springs International Airport. It’s located only about 6 minutes from downtown Palm Springs so it’s quick and easy to get a taxi here if that’s where you are staying. Palm Springs International Airport offers services from 10 different airlines so you will have plenty of options.
Once you are in Palm Springs, it will depend on where you are staying as to the best mode of transport to get around. If you are based in downtown Palm Springs, you will be able to get everywhere on foot. If you are staying in one of the areas such as La Quinta, you’ll probably want a car to get to all of the main attractions. There’s also the Sun Bus which operates in the area and only costs $1 per ride.
Where you stay will depend on a range of things: budget, personal preferences, and potentially even age. The following properties are all excellent options when it comes to choosing a base for your Palm Springs vacation, but are significantly different from one another.
The JW Marriott is the epitome of resort luxury. With hundreds of rooms, this resort is huge. It offers high-end luxury with marble bathrooms, 5 pools, and 2 championship golf courses. You can spend your days lounging with a cocktail, having a hit of tennis, or experiencing the resort’s waterways on a gondola. There are even flamingos in the resort lake!
This boutique hotel is a perfect representation of Palm Springs. Parker oozes elegance with its exquisite styling and romantic vibes. Boasting a wellness center and 3 pools, guests can fill their hours playing croquet or tennis, or dining in the on-site restaurants, Mister Parker’s and Norma’s.
For those of you looking for a party and endless fun, Saguaro is for you. This hotel is easily recognizable by its rainbow styling, which provides the perfect backdrop for its epic pool parties. There are two on-site restaurants: El Jefe, which serves up all your Mexican street food favorites and tequila (of course), as well as Rocco’s Electric, an excellent brunch spot. Saguaro is for the real partygoers who enjoy DJs and frozen drinks by the pool.
With a range of activities and attractions available, you certainly won’t get bored in Palm Springs. If you feel like venturing away from the pool for a day, here are some must-see Palm Springs attractions.
Offering spectacular views over Palm Springs, this aerial tramway takes you over the stunning cliffs of Chino Canyon to Mt. San Jacinto State Park. The journey only takes about 10 minutes but the views provided by the rotating tram car make it worth the visit.
El Paseo Shopping District is known as the ‘Rodeo Drive of the Desert’ and with good reason. If you’re craving some retail therapy, this is your spot.
Looking to escape the heat? Head to the Palm Springs Art Museum for an afternoon filled with impressive exhibitions. There are also art classes and workshops available if you want to have a go at creating something yourself.
The well-known Joshua Tree National Park is only a one hour drive from Palm Springs, making it the perfect place for a day trip. Head out to the park to experience the desert magic for yourself.
Palm Springs is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. If you’re feeling a little run down or just need to get out of the city, it’s worth making the trip!