Palm Springs may be known as the playground to the stars, but this desert oasis, just about 2 hours from Los Angeles, is also a fun playground for families looking to relax. With warm weather year-round, Palm Springs is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities to offer.
Where to stay in Palm Springs
If you are yet to arrive in Palm Springs, I thought I would share my top five places to stay in the town. One hotel is my overall favorite luxury spot, one is a boutique pick, another the best family choice and there is also a budget pick as well as a pet-friendly hotel in there too.
- Family Luxury: – Parker Palm Springs – The hotel describes itself as “Happy Luxe” which they define as luxury without formality, beauty without pretension, elegance with comfort. There are no officially planned kids’ activities, but the resort has croquet, four pools, a volleyball net, and a free lemonade stand that kids love. The hotel has spacious modern rooms, bungalows, and villas with stylish white decor and balconies which all have plenty of room for families. The Parker is a great choice for families looking for a luxurious stay in Palm Springs.
- Boutique Hotel – The Ace Hotel & Swim Club – This is the perfect hotel if you want a hotel with a bit of a hipster vibe. While it does have a hip style, it is still kid-friendly. The hotel and Swim Club features 2 outdoor pools and an outdoor fireplace. They also have fun activities such as movies, drum circles, and swim parties.
- Family-Friendly Resort: – Renaissance Palm Springs – This resort is located in the heart of Palm Springs and close to everything, making it a great location. There is a daily kids club that offers arts and crafts, games and other fun activities. There is a large swimming pool and of course beautiful pools!
- Budget Choice: – Inn at Palm Springs– A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. The Inn at Palm Springs is the first hotel when you come into town. They offer studios up to a king suite and all rooms have a pool and/or mountain view.
- Pet-Friendly Hotel: – The Saguaro Palm Springs– This resort welcomes two dogs of any size for an additional fee of $50 per stay. There is grass on the side of the hotel for dog fun that also serves as a doggy potty zone. It’s a colorful hotel property with a fun atmosphere and lively pool parties.
Family Fun Day in Palm Springs
Sherman’s Deli & Bakery
Start your perfect day with a hearty breakfast at Sherman’s Deli & Bakery, an authentic New York-style deli in the heart of Palm Springs. While Sherman’s is known for its deli meats and desserts, it’s also a full-service restaurant with an impressive offering of breakfast fare.
Not only does the restaurant have plenty of options for parents, but children are welcomed with a pack of crayons, coloring sheets, toys, and a kid-friendly menu. Enjoy breakfast on the patio to take in the desert scenery and warm air.
Moorten Botanical Garden
With your appetites satisfied, grab your cameras and head to Moorten Botanical Garden. The garden and arboretum was opened in 1938 and was created to share the beauty and extraordinary varieties of desert plants. The featured desert trees, plants, and cacti come from around the world and range in size from miniature to giants! There are more than 3,000 different desert plants from around the world. Take a guided tour or explore the arboretum at your own leisure, and walk the plant-laden path as you enjoy desert flora and fauna.
The arboretum is home to an abundance of cacti and succulents, and you just might catch a glimpse of desert rabbits and birds on your visit, too. After you finish the walking trail, stop by the garden area as it makes a perfect backdrop for snapping a few family pictures before you leave.
Palm Springs Art Museum
After enjoying the desert flora, the next stop for your family’s perfect day in Palm Springs is the Palm Springs Art Museum. Children age 12 or younger get in free and can enjoy hands-on activities in a family-friendly zone meant to encourage free expression in children and adults alike.
The museum offers a variety of interactive classes and is always adding new art activities to their schedule, so drop in and get creative with the family. Classes cover art forms such as photography, painting, storytelling and music.
Once you finished soaking up the art, head to Tyler’s Burgers for juicy hamburgers, sliders, homemade potato salad, and thick malt shakes. This popular burger bar often has a waitlist but is well worth it, so go early to avoid the rush. Sit on the covered patio while you enjoy authentic, fifties-style burgers.
If you didn’t make it to Sherman’s Delicatessen for breakfast, it’s a solid option for lunch. If you love a traditional pastrami sandwich on rye, this is a must!
Palm Springs Air Museum
After lunch, experience history at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Next to the Palm Springs airport, you’ll find one of the largest collections of World War II aircraft in the world, and kids and parents alike are welcome to get hands-on and climb on the aircraft.
Tours are also available and will enlighten your family about military history as you examine the aircraft up close and personal. Children can also experience what it’s like to be a pilot through the museum’s flight simulators. Flight demonstrations are held regularly so your family may get to see these historical birds up in the air.
Palm Canyon Drive
No trip to the desert is complete without walking through the main street of downtown Palm Springs. Lined with boutique shops that sell everything from clothing to candy, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Grab some homemade fudge for your sweet tooth or an iced drink to keep cool, and don’t forget to buy a few souvenirs to remember your perfect Palm Springs day.
If your visit falls on a Thursday, enjoy Village Fest, a street fair that transforms downtown into an outdoor marketplace full of shopping and activities.
As dinnertime approaches, head to Brickworks Bistro for a notable selection of pizzas that will ensure everyone is happy. Brickworks Bistro’s pizzas are known for their gourmet thin crusts and artisan toppings, but picky eaters are welcome as pepperoni and plain cheese pizzas are available.
After dinner, take your time to finish exploring the nearby shops as the sun sets behind the San Jacinto Mountains. Grab a self-serve frozen yogurt at Jus Chillin’ – Frozen Yogurt, Gelato & Sorbet or an after-dinner coffee at Ristretto. Don’t forget to look up as the clear skies make for great stargazing as your family ends its perfect day in Palm Springs.
What & Where
Sherman’s Deli (401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-325-1199)
Moorten’s Botanical Gardens (1701 S. Palm Canyon, 760-327-6555)
Palm Springs Art Museum (101 N. Museum Drive, 760-322-4800)
Tyler’s (149 S. Indian Canyon Drive, 760-325-2990)
Palm Springs Air Museum (745 N. Gene Autry Trail, 760-778-6262)
Downtown Palm Springs (North Palm Canyon Drive)
Brickworks Bistro (155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, 760-778-6000)
Jus Chillin’ – Frozen Yogurt, Gelato & Sorbet (190 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-699-7486)
Ristretto 500 S Palm Canyon Dr Suite 100, Palm Springs, CA 92264)
Where is Palm Springs?
Palm Springs is located in Southern California. The resort town is part of Riverside County and within Coachella Valley.
- Palm Springs to Los Angeles is about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Palm Springs to San Diego is about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
- Palm Springs to Santa Barbara is about 3 hours.
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are a few recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis. Click here for a DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses and Palm Springs Travel alerts..
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
Marissa Willman is a freelance writer who specializes in travel, health and lifestyle writing.
Based in the Southern California desert, Marissa’s chronic case of wanderlust has taken her across Asia and the West coast. She spent two years living in South Korea as an ESL teacher and holds a journalism degree from California State University, Fullerton. Her work has appeared in USA Today Travel Tips, 10 Magazine, The Desert Sun and 52PerfectDays.com. Marissa’s portfolio can be found on www.marissawillman.com.