Once the vacation spot of the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, Palm Springs continues to be the oasis of the Coachella Valley. With 300 days of sunshine, a myriad of outdoor activities, and fun nightlife, it is the desert getaway you've been dreaming of.
The two best transportation options for a getaway to Palm Springs are by plane or road trip. Flights glide daily from SFO (San Francisco) to PSP (Palm Springs), in a quick 1 hour, 20 minutes. Weigh that effort -- time and costs to and from airports, rentals, taxis and whatnot -- against the tried-and-true road trip and chart your course.
To make the 7-hour drive from San Francisco to Palm Springs, pack snacks and playlists, and cross the Bay. Take Interstate 80 to I-580, and turn south to go long on I-5. About the time highway signs start calling out nothing but L.A. area this and that, you're going to hook left around as much of it as possible on I-210. Past Pasadena, the interstate will become State Highway 210.
Take Highway 210 until it bends around San Bernardino and turns into I-10 at Redlands. That's your last road change until Palm Springs ... unless, of course, you feel like a pitstop at Cabazon Dinosaurs (20 minutes shy of the Springs, along the interstate).
It's one of those classic roadside attractions that's kind of a must-do, like seeing the biggest ball of yarn. It's home to more than 50 life-like dinos, and has more than one Hollywood cameo under its belt (Pee-Wee Herman's Big Adventure, anyone?).
The Motel 6 in downtown Palm Springs is a great budget option amid the swank. It covers what you need while having a solid location to put you on the hot track to whatever you're wanting to do. Only 10 minutes away are the Big League Dreams Sports Park and the Agua Caliente Casino. And the Palm Springs Air Museum, Moorten Botanical Gardens and Desert Fashion Plaza are within reach, too.
The Ace Hotel and Swim Club serves up style for days with its fresh designs and better-than-home comforts. With "swim club" in the name, you know there are pools, two of 'em. There's also an outdoor fireplace for hanging back in the evenings, a fitness center to charge up your mornings, and a full-service spa, restaurant and bar. Mountain views, amazing service and location that puts you in close proximity to golf, shopping and all the main Palm Springs action round out this amazing experience.
The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa is on 360 acres in nearby Rancho Mirage, and is more than worth the extra couple miles' drive. Highlights include two world-class golf courses and a full-service spa. The resort offers tennis courts with available lessons and a gym. The 14,000-square-foot spa offers beauty treatments and massages. A 60-foot water slide is a standout feature at the outdoor swimming pool.
If you’re looking for an amazing breakfast or brunch spot, run FARM to the top of your list. Crepes, eggs, and mimosas are a great way to start, but this menu built on fresh ingredients and bold flavors only serves winners, so call up whatever urge strikes.
Woody's celebrates American cuisine, and especially is known for being the best burger joint in Palm Springs. The mushroom burger is one of the most popular. For those who can’t choose, the sampler lets you choose three flavors. But the menu runs plenty long with mouth-watering options, so if burgers don't satisfy everyone in your crew, have no fear. The live music kicks bass, too, so consider making this your evening hangout spot.
If an elegant dinner is what you’re looking for, Le Vallauris has some dishes to die for, including mouth watering escargots, Maine lobster, and creme brulee. This French restaurant is popular with locals and travelers alike, so get your reservation in and plan to make a special night of it. This is the kind of place people leave saying, "Best meal I've had in a long time."
Great for children of all ages. The many interactive exhibits stoke imagination and curiosity. Take a break from the heat with some playful exploration throughout the museum, or just make it a solid half-day (or more) on your itinerary. Admission is $10 for visitors one year and older. Military veterans get a discount.
The Agua Caliente Casino offers the full package, day and night. Play the tables of cards and dice or melt into a day of spa treatments. On-site restaurants and shows make it easy to throw away your watch and enjoy the full lineup of entertainment without missing anything.
The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort offers two courses: Pete Dye and Gary Player. The full-package resort offers the perfect opportunity for a getaway foursome to make the day all about the links, or to part ways with a mixed itinerary. A full-service spa is on-site, as are restaurants where you can meetup for lunch or dinner after enjoying your own style of leisure.
In the mood for an evening at the theatre? The Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre offers an intimate theatre experience, with a schedule of plays, dance and musical productions. Concerts get top billing at the Rancho Mirage Amphitheater if you're feeling more the casual groove and outdoor environment. The 600-seat venue is big enough to feel special, but small enough to spark that community feel.
In the midst of so much sunshine, day spas and championship golf courses, Sunnylands is the draw that has welcomed the mighty and powerful from countries around the world. Presidents, Prime Ministers and royalty have convened at Sunnylands to sort out solutions and peace. And the grounds are open to the public, for tours of the historic estate, gardens and all-around beauty.