One of the many fun perks about having elementary school aged kids is taking the opportunity to vacation when the kids have an official school holiday. A few weeks ago, we decided to plan a family spring break trip, doubling the trip as a celebration for John's "big milestone birthday" birthday. :)
Some of the pre-requisites included:
- Somewhere drivable within California
- A location that offers golf or tennis
- A swimming pool, enjoyable for both the grown-ups (bar service is a plus!) and the kids
- Warm weather
- Offers additional "sight-seeing" and activities that don't involve swimming, golfing or tennis
We landed on Palm Springs, CA as our final destination and the vacation did not disappoint.
Having been to Palm Springs a few times before (both with and without kids), we wanted to be central to the downtown shopping district, for quick access to dining and window shopping plus all that the city of Palm Springs has to offer. (In parent-speak, quick access to hotel room during melt-down moments).
Other contenders for accommodations included The Ace Hotel (we've been there with kids, and while it is fairly family-friendly, I would definitely not say family-oriented), and the Rancho Mirage Resort, located in Rancho Mirage, CA. We also considered some AirBnB homes, but everything seemed booked up in anticipation of Coachella.
We decided to book the Hyatt Palm Springs, located smack in the middle of Palm Springs main downtown area. The room was fantastic and we somehow lucked out with a suite that included an additional living room, where the kids ended up sleeping, as well as a balcony overlooking the main street.
Mornings were spent enjoying the pool, and once the "real" spring breakers invaded the pool area by about noon each day, we took that as our cue to get out of the hotel and do some sightseeing around Palm Springs. There wasn't a fancy water-park like pool (which we were considering at the Rancho Mirage Resort), but the Hyatt pool seemed good enough for the kids, which suited us just fine!
Here are some highlights of our trip and for all you modernists out there, you already know that Palm Springs is the mecca for mid-century modern architecture and design.
One of our half-day trips included a visit to The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, located in Palm Desert, about 30 minutes drive from Palm Springs. It's a lovely park/zoo in the middle of the desert, with a wide array of animals and desert plant life. The kids had an awesome time feeding giraffes, while John and I gained inspiration on desert landscaping ideas that would be perfect for our drought-ridden yards back home.
Not only were there Giraffes to feed, there's a wonderful miniature train set, perfect for those little ones with train-fascination:
Our next few days included more pool time, mixed in with our own self-guided tour of Palm Springs neighborhoods, including the famed Racquet Club Estates area and a drive by the brand new Eichler and the famed Kaufman House designed by Robert Neutra.
There is fantastic home furnishings and accessories shopping in Palm Springs, especially in the design district, but we prefer (more affordable) antique and thrift shops, scoring some nice finds outside of Palm Springs at antique malls and shops located in Cathedral City and on our drive to LA, in quaint Redlands, CA.
There's even more we missed, such as riding the Aerial Tramway and visiting Joshua Tree National Park, but leaves us wanting to definitely come back again soon. Can't wait for the next school-mandated vacation!
Family-Friendly Activities in Palm Springs: Indian Canyon (Hiking)
Gyoro-Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise 105 S Palm Canyon Dr Palm Springs, CA 92262 otootorestaurant.com/
L'Atelier Cafe 129 La Plaza Palm Springs, CA 92262 latelier-cafe.com
Midcentury Modern Neighborhoods
Racquet Club Estates
Indian Canyon Estates
The Kaufmann Desert House, designed by Robert Neutra