Palm Springs in spring: what a perfect time to visit. Iconic architecture, delicious food, and fun adventures will fill your days, and you’ll return home with photos you love.
Here are three reasons to go in spring and three adventures to enjoy.
- Adventure #1: Visit the San Andreas Fault Zone.
- Adventure #2: Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
- Adventure #3: Book a Palm Springs Mod Squad Tour:
The Three Lowers: why you should go to Palm Springs in spring:
Lower #1: Lower prices:
Spring, especially late spring, is shoulder season in Palm Springs because most winter tourists have left. Coachella, the art and music festival in neighboring Indio, attracts visitors to the Coachella Valley in mid-April, but by May, it has finished its two-weekend run. And the temperature has started to climb. As a result, many businesses in Palm Springs offer discounts and promotions to attract visitors and fill their bookings,
Lower #2: Lower Temperatures:
While the temperature is higher than mid-winter, it’s still not reached its summer peak, so outdoor activities and dining are comfortable. Even on hot days, most restaurants have misting systems to reduce outdoor temperatures.
Best of all, the combination of warm pool water and air makes swimming a joy. Be sure to choose a hotel with a pool when you make your reservations for Palm Springs in the spring.
Lower #3: Lower crowds:
With fewer tourists, booking tables in restaurants and venue tickets is easier. But book ahead for a table at popular restaurants in the evening and the adventures, too.
Three Adventures to Enjoy in Palm Springs in the Spring:
Adventure #1: Visit the San Andreas Fault Zone.
At first, this may seem like an odd recommendation, and after all, the San Andreas Fault Zone is where earthquakes are more likely to occur. But a morning of exploring in an open Jeep with the Red Jeep Tour Company is well worth your time.
Your trained guide will lead you on a walk through narrow slot canyon walls, explaining the geology and history of the area. Then, you’ll drive from the desert into a natural palm oasis. You’ll learn about the Cahuilla Indians and the early settlers to the valley. Along the way, there’s plenty of time to shoot photos of the patterns on the stark walls and old palms.
The tours are conducted on private land, so this is your only way to visit. They offer other adventures, as well. While reserving tickets when visiting Palm Springs in spring is easier, be sure to book ahead.
Adventure #2: Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
According to Wikipedia, the Aerial Tramway is the “largest rotating aerial Tramway in the world. It was opened in September 1963 as a way of getting from the floor of the Coachella Valley to near the top of San Jacinto Peak and was constructed in rugged Chino Canyon.”
According to me? Don’t miss this ride, even if you’re afraid of heights, like me! The views of the canyon and the valley below are spectacular. And because you’re visiting Palm Springs in spring, you’ll have an easier time reserving your ticket.
During the 10-minute ride, you rise 6000 feet; when you alight at the top, the temperature will be 30-40 degrees colder. Due to the quick change in altitude, pregnant women and infants should consult their doctors before visiting.
At the top, be sure to leave time to visit the small museum and maybe even take a short hike in Mount San Jacinto State Park.
Then, enjoy a delicious dinner at Peaks Restaurant. (You must reserve ahead. Also, buy the Ride ‘n’ Dine ticket for the Tramway, so your timing will work.)
Two quick tips for photographers:
- Bring your GoPro, if you have one, to shoot a video of the scene unfolding under you during the tramway ride. I carry my Canon DSLR with a 24-105mm lens, my iPhone (currently the iPhone 14 Pro Max, my GoPro, and my Theta Z1 360-degree camera. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to use your gear!
- If you shoot in RAW (on your camera or some iPhones), you can expose for the highlights, like the valley view in the photo. Then, using Lightroom or another editing app, you can raise the shadows to see details in both the highlights and shadows. Give it a try! You’ll love the results!
Adventure #3: Book a Palm Springs Mod Squad Tour:
When I told my husband I’d arranged an architecture tour, he wasn’t sure this qualified as an adventure. After spending the morning with Kurt Cyr, he was a believer!
Kurt is a mid-century modern expert with stories and gossip to make the history of Palm Springs come alive. During the tour, you’ll drive by houses owned by celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Liberace while hearing what really happened behind closed doors. And wait until you hear the story about Elvis!
You’ll also learn about the different architectural styles that have made Palm Springs the fascinating city it is today.
Bonus Adventure or three:
You have to eat, and Palm Springs makes dining a culinary adventure! Best of all, when you visit Palm Springs in spring, you’ll find it easier to get into popular restaurants. I love Cheeky’s for breakfast, Grand Central Palm Springs for lunch, and Mirasol for dinner. Check their websites (links below) for times and whether they require reservations.
You also need to sleep! My favorite hotel is Alcazar. It’s a quick walk from restaurants (Next to Cheeky’s!), and the pool is private and peaceful. If you visit during unseasonably cool weather, request a room with a fireplace. Quick warning: It books up for weekend weddings, so a stay during the week will be easier to arrange.
You can drive to Palm Springs on a highway, but why not get off the beaten path and turn the drive into an adventure? Here are directions from my friend and San Diego-based travel writer, Noreen Kompanik. If you follow them from San Diego, you’ll arrive via the Coachella Valley Vista Point.
“I-15 North to Temecula.
Take exit 58 onto Temecula Parkway (CA-79).
Turn right on Temecula Parkway toward Indio/Warner Springs.
In about 18 miles, turn left on Cahuilla Rd (Rt 371).
In about 21 miles, turn right at the T-intersection (CA-74).
This brings you to the heart of Palm Desert. CA -111 is the main route. Left to Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs. Right to Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Indio, and La Quinta.”
Now it’s your turn:
Be sure to carry a water bottle while exploring Palm Springs in spring. The air is dry, and it’s easy to become thirsty!
For your ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, carry a sweater.
You can book your dinner reservations at Peaks Restaurant on Open Table.
To reserve a tour with Red Jeep Tours, click here.
For reservations for a Palm Springs Mod Squad Tour, click here.
Here are links for Cheeky’s, Grand Central Palm Springs, and El Mirasol.
To learn about Alcazar Palm Springs, click here.
For more links to Palm Springs’s adventures, click here to read another post I wrote.
Click here to learn to use your DSLR or mirrorless camera to shoot fabulous photos during your trip.
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