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Sunny Travels: Palm Springs, California

by kelly / September, 24 2014 01:30

Photos of Palm Springs, CA

Our Block Island Organics sunny travel adventures continued over Labor Day weekend with a trip to Palm Springs, California.  Yes we packed in two trips at the end of the summer.  I'm thankful that we got to experience another great destination although it was hot!  The average temperature in Palm Springs in the summer is around 110 degrees.  The heat is no joke!  That's because Palm Springs is located in the desert within the Coachella Valley (yes where the famous music festival takes place that bears that same name) about 100+ miles east of Los Angeles. But we were able to still enjoy our time in Palm Springs and work around the weather.  With our sunscreen packed, and you needed lots of it, we headed to sunny Palm Springs!


The weekend was arranged by one of our friends and it was really a trip centered around golf.  Yes, even I golfed in the heat (it's probably the first time I played in over two years) and I'll tell you more about how we made it work later on.  Our friend found an awesome three bedroom, three bath house on Airbnb right in the heart of Palm Springs.  Renting, and vacationing in general, in Palm Springs in the summer is actually cheaper than other seasons.  The high season there is from November to April when the temperatures are more mild.  You have to like the mid-century modern style if you are going to rent a place because that's the design aesthetic common out there.  It's probably tied to the fact that Palm Springs became a big resort destination in the 50s and 60s for the rich and famous of Hollywood like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Cary Grant and Ann Miller to name a few.  Here is the place we rented which was perfect for three couples, a dog and a baby!  Ideally if you are going to rent a place in Palm Springs, you should have or be near a pool.  Without one it can be tough to enjoy the daytime temps.


On the first day we arrived, we all settled in as we were tired from traveling.  You can get to Palm Springs by flying into the Palm Springs International Airport or flying into the Los Angeles International Airport.  It's about a two to three hour drive from LA depending on traffic.  On our first night, our friend who is an awesome cook, grilled up some of his special burgers (he says the secret to yummy burgers are bread crumbs and egg - try it out!), hotdogs and vegetables.  You can't really start grilling until the sun goes down, otherwise you might over-heat!  After we digested, we all took a nighttime dip in our house pool.  You can still swim at night in Palm Springs because it's so warm in the evenings.  And if we got a little chilly, we also had a hot tub in our place to jump into.  Yes it was a totally relaxing vacation.


The next morning some of us woke up at 5:30am for a 7:15am tee time at PGA West.  I didn't make this trip, but they woke up early because it took about 45 minutes to drive to the course.  Like I alluded to above, the only way to play golf in the middle of the summer in Palm Springs is to play early in the morning before the sun is full blast.  On our second day of golf, our tee time was even earlier at 6:45am at Desert Willow.  This is where I got a chance to play.  We were lucky and got the first tee time which meant no one was ahead of us.  Great for me as it made me less nervous (I'm a complete beginner).  We played at a pretty fast pace so we could finish early in the morning and beat the afternoon heat.  It's also easier and less expensive to get tee times in the summer because due to it being off season.  I was surprised how well maintained and beautiful the course was and I think I got one bogey on the course!  Pat on the back to myself.


After golfing, we spent much of midday inside our air-conditioned house.  With temperatures of almost 110 degrees, it was hard to be outside.  But as soon as the pool had a little shade - I took a dip!  One evening, instead of grilling out, we ventured to the main street area of Palm Springs called Palm Canyon Drive for dinner.  Here we found lots of restaurants, bars and shops.  We decided upon a fun Mexican restaurant called Las Casuelas Terraza that's great for kids and then finished off our night with milk shakes from Great Shakes.  These were not your ordinary milk shakes - they were decadent!  I got the Oreo Cookie Caramel which included: Ghirardelli ground chocolate with cocoa or vanilla ice cream, crushed Oreo Cookies, their homemade rich, creamy and delicious caramel, homemade whipped cream dusted with crushed oreo cookies and a baked mini donut.  Doesn't that sound intense but delicious - it was!


What else to do in Palm Springs?  Well...outlet shopping is a big thing.  Near Palm Springs, about 20 minutes away in Cabazon are The Desert Hills Premium Outlets and Cabazon Outlets, right next to each other.  You name it and Desert Hills and Cabazon have it.  From The Gap to Gucci, a lot of shopping can be had and bargains to get at these outlets.  I may have stayed away (trying to adhere to a clothes budget!) but my friends indulged a little.  They said getting there early is key to get covered parking, beat the crowds and avoid some of the midday heat. 


There was one thing we didn't get to do when we were in Palm Springs, ride the tram up to the top of the San Jacinto Peak.  Turns out this tram is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world.  Yes mountains surround Palm Springs.  There is a 30 degree temperature difference between the top of the mountain and the bottom from where you start which makes it a tempting summer trip.  In the winter time there is even snow at the top and you can go cross country skiing.  There are also hiking trails, camping grounds and restaurants off the top and it takes about 10-15 minutes on the tram.  Piece of advice - it turns out taking the tram is something you want to do in the morning to avoid the rush.  We went in the afternoon and by that time it was an hour wait to ride the tram.  I think you may be able to reserve tickets in advance, but I'm not 100% sure on that.


So that was my Palm Springs golfing, pooling, shopping and relaxing summer vacation.  I'd love to try Palm Springs in the winter one day as well when the temps are a little more reasonable.  Oh...if you are looking for a little nighttime entertainment, there are a few casinos too.  The big one is called Morongo.  I left that for next time.

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