10 Family Activities for a Palm Springs Getaway

After months of the winter blues, it is time to explore an outdoor playground with blooming desert wildflowers, guaranteed sunshine and warm weather. Whether soaring on a giant aerial tram, horseback riding along mountain vistas, or simply relaxing by the pool, here are ten family-friendly activities for a memorable spring vacation in Palm Springs, California.

Palm Springs, California

  1. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: Ride on the world’s largest rotating tram car to 8,500 feet and  explore the pristine mountain wilderness of Mt. San Jacinto State Park (in photo above).  More than 50 miles of walking trails are available including guided nature walks and camping.
  2. The Indian Canyons: Located on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians tribal land, the Indian Canyons offer undisturbed natural beauty only minutes from downtown Palm Springs. The neighboring Tahquitz Canyon has an intermediate two-mile loop trail leading to a seasonal 60-foot waterfall.
  3. Knott’s Soak City: Explore an interactive four-story family funhouse, relax on the lazy river, or ride giant water tubes at this family-oriented water park.
  4. Off-Road Adventures: Join a tour and jump into a Hummer or Jeep… explore breathtaking canyons, rugged trails and lush desert landscape.   Popular tours include the San Andreas Fault, Windmill Tours or the nearby Joshua Tree National Park. Stay away from the pavement, and explore the sand dunes on an ATV or dune buggy.
  5. Horseback Riding: Take a guided horseback riding tour through native palms and streams while enjoying stunning vistas of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain Ranges.
  6. The Living Desert: A 1,200-acre wildlife and botanical park is home to wild animals including giraffes, lions, zebras and more. Family fun begins with an overnight adventure at the zoo with its “Starry Safari” program, with up-close animal presentations and a nighttime guided walk through the park.
  7. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert:  Keep the younger children entertained by having them explore more than 50 hands-on exhibits including art projects, science experiments and more.
  8. Palm Springs Air Museum: Home to the nation’s largest collection of WWII flying aircraft, children and adults alike will be fascinated by the aviation and military history. Three large hangars house vintage airplanes as well as special flight demos, flight simulators and a “Kool Kids” program.
  9. Palm Springs Art Museum: Family activities and youth art programs are offered year-round. The museum has several art galleries, including its family-friendly space, “Zone 101,” perfect for children to participate in art, storytelling, poetry and music programs.
  10. Tee-off with the Kids: Hit the drivers range, take a class or enjoy a round of golf at Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort and other Palm Springs golf resorts. The courses offer unparalleled desert beauty and challenging terrain for all levels.

Getting to Palm Springs:  Palm Springs has its own airport (PSP), and is well situated to other Southern California airports (Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and Ontario) as well.  It’s about a two hour drive from Los Angeles and San Diego.