By: Greg Mattson, ERV Editor - Updated Jun 1, 2016
Palm Springs has to be one of our favorite romantic winter getaways!
For Canadians or Americans from cold weather states, a Palm Springs vacation is a quick & great escape out of the cold, and a chance to relax in an attractive desert environment with great accommodation, things to do and shopping. The dry desert air even seems to make people feel better!
Although many people say just "Palm Springs", there are actually 8 desert resort communities in the Coachella Valley. West-to-east they are: Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, and Indio.
You can fly into Palm Springs on several airlines, including American, Alaska, United Express and Delta Skywest. No-frills low-fare carrier Allegiant has some super cheap airfares to Palm Springs from Bellingham, WA, an inexpensive option for Seattle and Vancouver BC travelers.
If you’re flying into LAX, driving time from Los Angeles to Palm Springs is about 2 hours.
Explore Downtown Palm Springs - Palm Canyon Drive is the hub of downtown Palm Springs attractions, shops and restaurants. On hot days you'll love the cool water spraying out from the overhangs.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway - this is one of the most “touristy” things to do in Palm Springs. The rotating tram carries you up over 8,000 feet for a grand view of the desert floor. You can easily see how the Coachella Valley is truly an oasis in the desert!
The top of Mount San Jacinto can be a cool getaway from the heat, and there’s a restaurant, gift shop, and picnic area nearby. You’ll also find all sorts of hiking trails up there too, and it’s even possible to cross-country ski in the winter time!
The Palm Springs Tram is located on Tramway Road just off Highway 111. Prices start at around $24 (2013 Rates), and $36 for the Ride n’ Dine combo.
Golfing in Palm Springs - There are over 125 golf courses in the greater Palm Springs area! You’ve probably seen a few already as several major golf tournaments are held here each year and often televised. The course designs and scenery make golfing in the "desert" a holiday highlight.
If you’re hitting the links anytime in the summer months, it’s a good idea to book an early tee time (like 7AM) so you can avoid the mid-day heat.
Sunset Viewing - A few of the best places to watch a romantic Palm Springs sunset:
Palm Springs Desert Museum - A real "Heinz 57" of museums with at least something you'll find interesting. The Palm Springs Desert Museum, as I recall, included science displays, Native American art, some work by Andy Warhol and a scorpion spider exhibit! An interesting diversion from the usual recreation the area is famous for.
Indian Canyons Hiking - Before the mid day heat (or in the late afternoon/early evening), hiking in the Indian Canyons can be an excellent excursion into the desert. Beautiful and historically interesting, you can also spot desert wildlife, fauna and access the many trails throughout the park, located on Agua Caliente tribal land. Open 8 AM to 5 PM daily, closed summer from July to mid September.
Desert Hills Premium Outlets - every time we travel to the Coachella Valley, we make time to spend an afternoon at Desert Hills, our favorite Palm Springs outlet center in Cabazon, CA. Designer clothes, house wares, luggage and shoes are just a few of the items you'll find some pretty good deals on here.
If you've had enough of the heat by early afternoon, you can shop in air-conditioned comfort (except fo the 10 second walk between stores!)
Desert Hills Premium Outlets is an easy drive from Palm Springs. It's basically in the middle of the desert, located in Cabazon, CA, 20 minutes west of Palm Springs on Interstate 10.
(Tip: Don't plan on a romantic dinner at Cabazon, as it's mostly just fast-food and food-court meals available. Head back to Palm Springs for that...)
In the summer, there’s only one word to describe Palm Springs vacation weather – heat! Average daytime highs between May and September can hit 105 F or higher! You'll want to stay very close to the pool during these months.
The rest of the year in Palm Springs is mostly sunny and very pleasant, with warm days, and cool evenings (the desert can actually get quite chilly at night). This is the best time of year to visit. It only rains 15 to 20 days a year in Palm Springs on the average, and the area receives over 350 days of sunshine annually.
*ERV Rating for Couples: our unique, non-scientific rating formula for romantic hotels which includes: