With warm weather year-round, Palm Springs is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities to offer. Palm Springs is a great Southern California vacation any time of year and there is a surprisingly long list of fun family activities beyond the swimming pool. Here are our favorite things to do in Palm Springs with kids.
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.
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Palm Springs Kid Friendly Resorts & Hotels
If you are yet to arrive in Palm Springs, I wanted to share my top five family resorts in Palm Springs. One hotel is my overall favorite luxury spot, one is a boutique pick, another is the best family choice and there is also a budget pick as well as a pet-friendly hotel in there too.
- Family Luxury Hotel: – 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 making this tone of the best family resorts in Palm Springs.
- 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
Palm Springs with kids is a great weekend getaway or a fun family vacation. Just about every hotel has a pool and most resorts have multiple swimming pools, which is a favorite for many kids. Palm Springs kids activities include fun museums, great hikes, the tram ride, botanical gardens, and delicious family-friendly restaurants.
If your family is sporty, there is an abundance of tennis and golfing options as well.
Sherman’s Deli & Bakery
Start your perfect day with a hearty breakfast at Sherman’s Deli & Bakery (401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-325-1199). This is 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 (1701 S. Palm Canyon, 760-327-6555). The garden and arboretum was opened in 1938 and is one of the most popular things to do in Palm Springs for kids. The botanical garden 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 (101 N. Museum Drive, 760-322-4800). 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.
Tyler’s Burgers for Lunch
Once you finished soaking up the art, head to Tyler’s Burgers for juicy hamburgers, sliders, homemade potato salad, and thick malt shakes. Located at 149 S. Indian Canyon Drive, 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 (745 N. Gene Autry Trail, 760-778-6262). 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.
This is one of the most popular things to do with kids in Palm Springs. Kids love checking out the planes and it’s a great lesson in aviation and history.
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.
Try a Date Shake
If you pass by Great Shakes (160 S Palm Canyon Dr, 760-327-5300) during your stroll around Palm Springs, stop by for a famous desert dessert; the date shake.
Date shakes were invented in the Coachella Valley, so Palm Springs is one of the best places to try this sweet treat! A date shake is a milkshake made with dates and vanilla ice cream. They are rich, delicious with a bit of a caramel flavor.
Thursday Night Village Fest
If your visit falls on a Thursday, head to Village Fest, a street fair that transforms downtown into an outdoor marketplace full of shopping and activities. This is one of the most fun things to do in Palm Springs with kids. There is live music as well as street performers and artists that will captivate the kiddos!
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Before dinner, head up in a tram car for sunset. This is the perfect place for views of Palm Springs and to see how many palm trees are actually in this desert city!
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (1 Tram Way, 888-515-8726) is the world’s largest rotating tram car, so it’s a definite must. It travels over two-and-one-half miles along the cliffs of Chino Canyon in the Indian Canyons and into Mt. San Jacinto State Park.
If you arrive in enough time, take a guided nature walk or hike one of the many hiking trails. One of the most popular outdoor activities is exploring this beautiful California state park.
The easiest and most family-friendly hike, is the Long Valley Discovery Trail. This ¾ mile loop is perfect for the littlest of hikers.
Another hike good for the whole family, but a bit longer is the 1.5 mile Desert View Trail. This loop trail leads to a number of scenic overlooks and forest views.
At the top of the tram, there are picnic tables, a ranger station, and flush toilets.
Don’t forget to stay for sundown, because it is the absolute best spot to watch the sunset in the desert.
Dinner at Brickworks Bistro
As dinnertime approaches, head to Brickworks Bistro for a notable selection of pizzas that will ensure everyone is happy. Brickworks Bistro (155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, 760-778-6000) 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 (190 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, 760-699-7486) or an after-dinner coffee at Ristretto (500 S Palm Canyon Dr Suite 100, Palm Springs, CA 92264).
Don’t forget to look up as the clear skies make for great stargazing as your family ends its perfect day in Palm Springs.
Additional Family Fun Activities Include:
Where is Palm Springs?
Palm Springs is located in Southern California. The resort town is part of Riverside County and within Coachella Valley. It is about 25 minutes from Rancho Mirage and about 30 minutes from Palm Desert.
- 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.
What are your favorite kid’s activities in Palm Springs? Let us know your family-friendly favorites in the comments below!