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Spoiler Alert: I am going to tell you the best part of the trip to Palm Springs before we even get started! It was winter, and the kiddos got to both swim in the pool in the warm sun and build a snowman on the same trip!
“Best vacation ever!” could be heard throughout our trip.
Let’s now start from the beginning…
Living in Phoenix, Arizona for most of my life, it is surprising that I had never actually been to Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs is located on the drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles, and while I had driven through a countless number of times, I had never actually stopped to stay a few nights and explore what the city had to offer. Well, I am so glad we decided to visit!
The kids are out of school for two weeks each winter break, but we really didn’t have plans for much this year. No big trips, no overnights, nothing. With time off work as well, we often use this “downtime” to work on a house project, reorganize a space, and plan for the next trip or event. We didn’t even have that on the list. So, on a whim, we decided to go to Palm Springs!
The drive from Phoenix takes about three hours which is really pretty easy for our crew. They watch movies, eat snacks and play games along the way. (I mention some of the magnetic games we are loving right now in this post!) This trip was no different, so the drive was fast and easy.
Since this was just a two-night trip for us, we wanted to make the most of our time when we arrived to Palm Canyon Resort on Friday night. What did the kiddos want to do to make the most of our time? The POOL. (The answer is ALWAYS the pool, by the way. If there is a slide, they want to do nothing else!)
Despite it being winter, Palm Springs is always pretty temperate. The winter daytime temperature is 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit meaning it was plenty warm for the kiddos. The pool at our resort was also heated, not gross bathwater heated, but warmed up a bit to keep it from being freezing. To be honest, they might have jumped in regardless.
The pool had a large water slide for adults and older kids as well as a smaller slide for little ones. We got lots of use out of both of them, and spent the evening splashing and sliding and having a lovely time.
Since it was already fairly late, we decided to stay in for the night and play a game we brought from home. If you have not played Oh Snap!, you need this on your game shelf! It is fun for the adults as well as the kids and is easy for even the three-year-old. (If you decide to check out Oh Snap!, let me know how you like it. It is definitely one of the top games in our house!)
Early the next morning we decided to try a local favorite restaurant, Elmer’s Restaurant. Our breakfast was delicious, and the kids enjoyed coloring by the fire. If we are not familiar with a location, we usually find local favorites by asking the front desk for recommendations or simply using our Yelp app. 1500+ reviews can’t be wrong.
We then headed out to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in Mount San Jacinto State Park. Per the website and educational materials at the tramway, this tram is the world’s largest rotating aerial tramway—yes, it spins as it takes you up the mountain!—and takes you up over two and one half miles. The elevation of the mountain station at the top is 8,516 feet.
If you had not pre-purchased tickets (ahem…us), the wait was LONG. We are talking three hours long, and you can’t leave. Honestly, we could have arrived earlier or planned better, but this trip was impromptu. Since we really wanted to ride this tram and see the top of Mount San Jacinto, we decided to brave the wait. It turned out to be just fine as there were places to hike around, trees to climb, rocks to scramble over, waterfalls to watch, and snacks to eat.
By the time our ticket time was called, we were all getting very excited. The tram was AWESOME! The view was amazing, the spinning floor was something we had never experienced, and the “swing” of the tram when we hit each cable tower was scary-fun!
At the top were a couple of restaurants, a mini museum to learn about the history of the area and of the tramway, and over 50 miles of hiking trails.
But the best part? There was SNOW! It was beautiful, and the kiddos were thrilled! We hiked around, built a snowman, had a snowball fight and just generally had an icy time.
Living in Phoenix, we don’t get snow fun like this all the time!
After heading back down the mountain, we grabbed a quick dinner and headed back for a little more pool time before bed. This would be the last night of our quick little trip to Palm Springs!
The next day we had to make one last stop at the pool. Breakfast by the pool it was!
The last day of our trip we decided to see DINOSAURS! Cabazon Dinosaurs is a kitschy, outdoor museum with dinosaurs of all types.
You can climb into the mouth of a T-Rex, dig for dinosaur rocks, hunt for dinosaurs, and climb inside a dinosaur egg. Since Daddy loves dinosaurs, the kiddos were super excited to take him here! We had fun exploring around and taking a few fun photos before heading out.
Despite the quick trip, we would definitely recommend a trip to Palm Springs with kids and hope to go again soon.
Have you been to Palm Springs? Do you have recommendations for things to do on our next trip? We would love to hear them!
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