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Trip Report Palm Springs with Kids Trip Report

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Just got back from a great week in Palm Springs—thanks to everyone here for the great ideas!! It was just our family—DH, me and 2 kids—8 and 11.

Logistics: We flew into Long Beach because it was half the price of any of the other nearby airports. Easy flight, small airport. We just walked across the street to the rental cars. Great for a family of 4 with all that luggage. The drive is a little long—2 hours ish—but it was fine. We stayed at the Hilton Homewood Suites on Cook Street in Palm Desert. It was a great home base. There is a grocery store down the street and plenty of take out restaurants with in 5 miles. The property is very new. There is a play ground across the street. The breakfasts were very good. And they serve dinner M-Th. Nothing spectacular, but they had wine! And great cookies. I just sort of used it as “happy hour” while kids swam in the pool. My only issue was that the table was really only big enough for 2 people to eat and had only 2 chairs. The kids were happy to sit on the sofa, eat dinner and watch TV but a bigger table/dining space would have been nice. And they had these huge down comforters on the beds. We had the AC down to 65 and we were still sweating. I finally just asked for blankets instead and they were delivered to our room. So if you are from a cold climate—ditch the comforters and go with blankets! And—it would have been nice if they had wine glasses. Didn’t stop us from imbibing, but still..

We ate breakfast at the hotel every morning except for one morning when we slept in. Then we found Bristol Farms grocery store—that was AWESOME. Peets coffee bar, great baked goods, juice bar. Quite yummy. For lunches, we just got whatever was available where we were at the time. One day, we did get sandwiches at Jensens. They were good but we went to the Jensens “quick shop” on Cook and 42nd in Palm Desert. It’s basically a deli in a liquor store. Fine for sandwiches but not other “gourmet” groceries which the other Jensens have. I got food for snacks and other stuff at Ralph’s down the street, which also had a decent wine selection.
For dinners—we like to get take out and eat in the room. It is just more relaxing for everybody. The first night, we ordered delivery from the pizza place across the street. Bad idea. They were SWAMPED. We should have just walked over there and picked it up. It took 1.5-2 hours before we got our food and it wasn’t very warm by then. Other nights, we got food from PF Changs, California Pizza Kitchen, a place called Kabobz which had great Middle Eastern food, and Applebees. On the last night, we went to California Pizza Kitchen in Palm Desert. We walked the tre chic El Paseo and had fun looking at all of the ridiculously expensive cars and enjoyed looking at the art galleries.

Things to Do:
Monday: Living Desert. The place is really awesome. One warning—bring water bottles and snacks. There are only 2 “real” places to eat—at the entrance and the Africa loop. The other loop has a Churro stand but nothing else. I am used to zoos that have tons of snack bars. The lunch we had from the sandwich place at the entrance was quite good actually. We were just all cranky by the time we got our food! The exhibits were great. We all loved the model train set up. And feeding the birds was a highlight for the kids. We spent the entire day there.

Tuesday: Palm Springs Air Museum. This is a great museum. What I actually found to be most impressive was the library upstairs. They have flight simulators up there and the kids and DH had a blast with those. I looked around the library and had fun going through a Life Magazine from the week I was born. It was really cool. They have a B-17 bomber you can walk through. That was cool. All of the planes were interesting. They have a great snack bar—sandwiches and such. After we were done, we went into PS and walked along Palm Canyon Drive to see the stars and get some treats.

Wednesday: Joshua Tree NP. I loved this. Really awesome. Unfortunately, it was the one day on the trip that was rainy and it even snowed a bit on us!!! We hiked the Hidden Valley trail which was perfect for kids. They scrambled all over the rocks and had a blast. I liked it too. Then we went to Skull Rock. We didn’t hike because it was sooooo windy, cold and the rain was coming in but the kids spent a long time scrambling around on rocks and had a great time. I wanted to see the Cholla Cactus Garden. That was cool. The kids were not impressed and managed to get stuck by several cactus—duh, that’s why I tell you to stay ON the trail. I will say that I would not stay in 29 Palms or Joshua Tree as a home base for this park. Maybe stay in Yucca Valley. There just are not enough places to eat etc in the other teeny towns.

Thursday: Children’s Discovery Museum. My kids were too old for it—which you all warned me about!! DS and DH did have a great time building cars and racing them on the track. But it is definitely a place for the under 8 set. I saw lots of younger kids having a complete blast. Then we went to the museums in PS—the Adobe house and the house next to it were very interesting. Fun to see all the old pix of the movie stars etc. The old store is ok—its just stuff to look at though, not very interactive. The Cuahilla museum was really just a time line and some pix. I can see why they want to build a new one! Then we got yougurt at Tutti Frutti.

Friday: Hiked Palm Canyon. This was awesome. The largest Palm Fan Oasis in the world. This makes it all very clear just how the Cuahilla could live in the area. We hiked up Palm Canyon and then back along the ridge line—a 3 mile loop. Hiking along the ridge was interesting. Really rocky and sparse vegetation. Decent views of Palm Springs. I think it would have been just as fun to hike up Palm Canyon and back down though. Could have spent more time exploring the water etc.

The one thing that surprised me about the area was the WIND. Yikes, those wind farms as you drive into town are there for a reason. It was ok in the morning and then by 2 every day it was blowing like crazy. It was so windy that I had to wrap up just to sit next to the pool to watch the kids swim. They didn’t care. But it really was not pleasant for sitting outside with a book etc. Maybe it was just the week we were there…

All in all a good trip. Nice to be in the sun and the warmth that was not too hot.

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