Things to Do in Palm Springs with Kids
About late February, the moss encrusted souls of the Pacific Northwest will succumb to the drizzle doldrums (DD). This seasonal disease can only be partially remedied by coffee, chocolate and light therapy. Thankfully, God created Palm Springs.
*Note: Palm Springs is just 90 miles to Anaheim, home of Disneyland California. Click here to see Sleeps5 Anaheim family hotels for 5, 6, 7, or 8 people.
Palm Springs and the neighboring towns have many things to offer families of all interests. First of all, the natural beauty and of course reliable weather create an immediate draw to the great outdoors. Numerous hiking trails offer opportunities to explore the geological land forms, desert flora and fauna, and scenic vistas; alternatively your family can take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a bird’s-eye-view.
In town, families can easily rent bicycles for exploring neighborhoods, visit farmers’ markets (amazing raisins and dried fruit), street fairs, the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert (Rancho Mirage), the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Palm Springs Air Museum.
For those kids hankering for pool time, check out the Aquatic Center at Civic Center Park and or Wet-n-Wild in Palm Springs. And lastly, whatever you do, don’t forget to eat or order take out from Sherman’s. Yum!
Coachella Valley Preserve: There are a few hiking options here on this 13,000 acre preserve including the McCallum Trail which is two miles round or the very easy Willis Palms Trail which takes only 10 minutes to the 1,000 palm oasis.
Indian Canyons: There are a number of hikes at this location of varying difficulty. The trails are well marked and the difficulty level is noted in the parking area. Children under five are free, adults are $9.00 and children 6-12 are $5.00 at the time of this posting.
I have hiked in this area where I have seen families of all ages enjoying themselves amongst the palm trees along streams, and rocky desert outcroppings. At the time I was last there, in mid February, cacti were blooming as well as delicate wild flowers along the path. Spectacular!
Big Morongo Wildlife Canyon Reserve: The reserve is about 25 minutes from Palm Springs. It has six trails that range from easy to strenuous. The reserve provides walks through marshland, desert terrain, views of geological landforms and indigenous critters.
Please Note!! Hikers should always carry plenty of fluids. A good rule of thumb is to turn around when you are half way through your water supply. There may or may not be water available at the trail heads. Also, don’t forget the sun tan lotion!! Can attest to sitting next to an over-toasted Kindergartner on the plane ride home. Ouch.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: The Tramway is a large rotating tram with a capacity of up to 80 passengers. This is a very popular tourist attraction. At the top, folks can enjoy nature trails, a burro ride or play in the snow depending on the time of year. Please be prepared for the top of the mountain which can be as much as forty degrees cooler. Dress accordingly.
Bike Palm Springs: We used this bike rental company and were very happy with it, but there are others to choose from. The bikes are like old fashioned cruisers with comfy seats.
Also, the visitors bureau Visit Palm Springs has bicycle tour maps as well as listings where bicycle racks are located.
Palm Springs Air Museum: Vintage flying machines galore, kid friendly and pet friendly, too. Active Military Families receive free admission as do all children under five.
Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert: Located in Rancho Mirage. This is a chance to explore how things work, with hands-on exhibits both science and art based. A day off from the sun provides lots of stimulation for the curious minded.
Palm Springs Art Museum: Free admission on Thursdays 4-8pm at the time of this posting.
Family Hotels in Palm Springs for 5 or 6:
(Affiliate disclosure – at no extra cost to you, using TripAdvisor or Booking.com through the links below may result in a small commission to Sleeps5.)
La Quinta Resort and Club: Located south of Indian Wells, includes Kids Kamp, 41 swimming pools, nightly childcare, playground, and pet friendly. The Spa Villas can accommodate a family of five or six. You must contact reservations directly.
Click here to compare reviews on TripAdvisor for La Quinta Resort and Club. Click here to check prices on Booking.com.
The Riviera: Large suites available, large swimming pool, located in Palm Springs. Reservations for families of five can be made directly on the hotel’s website.
Click here to compare reviews on TripAdvisor for Riviera Palm Springs Resort. Click here to check prices on Booking.com.
Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage: Splashtopia–need we say more! Reservations can be made directly on the hotel’s website for a family of five. Guests 13 and up are charged as adults.
Click here to compare reviews on TripAdvisor for Omni Rancho Las Palmas. Click here to check prices on Booking.com.
Ace Hotel: Retro laid-back vibe, swimming pool, Fido-friendly with a dog park, and kid-friendly with marshmallow roasts.
Click here to compare reviews on TripAdvisor for Ace Hotel and Swim Club. Click here to check prices on Booking.com.
Finally, Palm Springs has a convenient airport minutes from town. However, airfare can often be substantially more for this convenience.
If it is likely that your family will be renting a car, consider flying into the Ontario, California airport which is about an hour and 15 minutes away or LAX which is 2 hours away. Also, there are a number of smaller airports in the Los Angeles area that may have better fares depending on your city of origin.
Those of us wintering in the gray skies of the PNW or wherever we may be are ever so grateful to our neighbors to the south for hosting us in a place where we can dry out and revel in the sun.
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