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Palm Springs, California Travel Guide

Palm Springs Summary


  • LGBTQ-friendly
  • Plenty of activities for when the weather gets hot, such as the local art and air museums, as well as Historic Plaza Theatre -- featuring The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies senior singing and dancing group
  • Many outdoor activities, like hiking at the Indian Canyons, sacred Native American sites
  • Home to top-notch golf resorts -- Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort and Indian Canyons Golf Resort
  • Hotel rates vary seasonally (cheapest in the summer!)
  • Beautiful surroundings -- not a billboard in sight, thanks to a zoning ordinance
  • Laid-back atmosphere and attitude throughout the town; a perfect spot for ultimate relaxation
  • Only about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles
  • Natural beauty -- San Bernardino Mountains to the north, the Santa Rosa Mountains to the south, the San Jacinto Mountains to the west, and the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east


  • Retirees are the most common demographic (a pro for some!)
  • Most hotels charge resort fees
  • Lacks high-end restaurants

What It's Like

This resort city smack-dab in the middle of the California desert has long had a reputation as a retirement community, but gradual changes have morphed it into a relaxing getaway for a new crowd. Although senior citizens still make up most of the city's residents, many young and middle-aged professionals flock here for some quality R&R.

If you're looking for an active bar scene and the crème de la crème of the restaurant world, you might want to check out other west coast cities, such as Los Angeles. But for more relaxed fun -- golfing, art gallery browsing, and poolside sunbathing, Palm Springs is a great pick.

Palm Springs is also a popular gay and naturist destination, offering multiple gay and nudist resorts. Another key ingredient to Palm Springs' cultural recipe is the presence of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The heritage of this tribe has been well-preserved, as they own half Palm Springs' land.

Where To Stay

While there are some chains in Palm Springs, you won't find a single "motel" throughout the city. Most hotels can be found downtown on Canyon Drive -- the heart of the city. Visitors that want to be within walking distance from all the necessities will probably want to stay downtown. Golfers should check out La Quinta, which has been dubbed the "Best Place to Live for Golf." Meanwhile, Cathedral City, southeast of the main "Palm Springs" center, is a decent option for families, complete with a few high-end resorts, an IMAX theatre, and Big League Dreams Sports Park.

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