Live the high life in California's favorite desert oasis
Imagine a desert oasis located about two hours south of Los Angeles with 350 days of sunshine, temperatures hovering near 80 degrees all winter long and 25 RV Parks. You could argue that Palm Springs, California, is the perfect winter destination for RV travelers.
Palm Springs has lots to do to keep even the most active visitor busy. Hike on the San Jacinto Mountain or cool off in Palm Canyon. Check out the Palm Springs golf courses or spend some shopping time at the Palm Springs Street Fair. Grab a credit card and head to Palm Canyon Drive. No matter what you want to do, you'll be able to experience it in Palm Springs, California.
A Little Bit of History
Palm Springs is located in California's Coachella Valley and was originally home to the Agua Caliente Indians. These Native Americans occupied the land until the mid-1800s when Judge John Guthrie McCallum moved in and helped the Indians build a 19-mile stone-lined ditch from the Whitewater River into Palm Springs, bringing refreshing water for drinking along with needed irrigation.
The area's early pioneers could never have imagined that their desert hamlet would evolve into a trendy community known for lavish golf courses, upscale boutiques and A-list residents such as Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball.
Palm Springs has always catered to the stars and has immortalized a few. As you drive around town look for Frank Sinatra Drive, Bob Hope Drive and Dinah Shore Drive.
When you visit
When you vacation in Palm Springs, count yourself among some pretty good company. You can take a tour of the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, where the King and his bride Priscilla spent their first night as Mr. & Mrs. You can have dinner at Melvyn's Restaurant, located in the Inglewood Inn at the same table that the Rat Pack—Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.— used to sit. If you decide to have dinner at Copley's Restaurant, you'll be sitting in Cary Grant's former estate. You can also take a celebrity tour of Palm Springs and see where all the stars lived and played.
After a long day of seeing how the other half lives, head downtown on any Thursday evening and check out Village Fest, also known as the Palm Springs Street Fair. Over 200 vendors set up shop to display jewelry, unique food, original art and even some original music. Downtown stores also stay open for Village Fest, giving shoppers every opportunity to enjoy the evening.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Palm Springs has a unique mode of transportation that gives locals and visitors alike the opportunity to escape the heat of the desert and head to cooler mountain air in a matter of minutes. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was completed in 1963 and quickly became one of Palm Springs most interesting attractions. The twelve-and-a-half minute ride begins at the Valley Station and passes up North America's sheerest mountain face on its wayto the Mountain Station at 8,516 feet.
Visitors can take as many pictures as their camera can hold of the Chino Canyon and the Palm Springs Valley below. Once you reach the top, you'll find a lodge with dining and history and ecology of the area.
There are also a number of trails that spider web around the mountain and are open for hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter.
Indian Canyon Trails
Hikers and bikers will find the abundance of hiking trails around Palm Springs not only refreshing but absolutely invigorating. Wander into the desert on the Indian Canyon Trails and walk the same paths the original inhabitants walked. The Agua Caliente Indians would escape the summer heat by moving into the canyons during the day where they would find cooler temperatures and refreshing water. Today visitors can once again escape to the canyons where palm trees line the stream edges and where hikers will find a noticeable difference in temperature. There are a number of canyon trails that will delight even the most experienced hiker.
No vacation to Palm Springs would be complete without a trip (or two) to one or more of the 130 golf courses in the area. Palm Springs has been called the most popular golf vacation destination in the United States; some people call it the golf capital of the world. You'll never know until you try some of these world-class courses.
The beauty of the area will keep you occupied while your partner is teeing off. Most courses are set against the backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains with beautiful fairways, lakes and palm trees accenting the courses.
If you visit in the summer, try to get a tee time in the evening since summer temperatures soar to the 100 degree mark. If you are visiting in the winter, you can tee off at just about anytime.
If you're a movie buff and you happen to be visiting in January or June, you'll want to swing by the Palm Springs Film Festival or the Palm Springs Festival of Short Films, also known as the Palm Springs Shortfest. Created by the late Sonny Bono, who served as mayor of Palm Springs, the festival is dedicated to showcasing the work of exceptional new and emerging talents as well as the work of celebrated directors. This is a must-see.
Did you know?
Fascinating facts about Palms Springs:
• The native Cahuilla Indians own more than 40 percent of Greater Palm Springs, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs is the wealthiest tribe in North America.
• Notorious gangster Al Capone is believed to have hid out in an elegantly furnished bullet proof stone house in the hills of Desert Hot Springs, complete with a stone gun turret on the roof. Visitors can stay at the home today, which remains on the grounds of Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa.
• The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians opened the first commercial card casino in the United States established on an Indian reservation in 1980. It is now called Fantasy Springs Casino Resort & Spa.
• Greater Palm Springs hosts the nation's only citywide Golf Cart Parade, held each October. About 25,000 spectators turn out each year to watch more than 100 floats parade up and down El Paseo Drive in Palm Desert.
• The Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the second largest tennis stadium in the world, and the BNP Paribas Open is the fifth most attended professional tennis tournament in the world.
• Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and Katherine Hepburn were only a few of the many 20th century Hollywood stars who frequented the fabled La Quinta Resort & Club.
• Frank Sinatra's former Twin Palm Estate in Palm Springs boasts a famous piano-shaped swimming pool. The luxury home is now available for vacation rentals, weddings and corporate events.
• Palm Springs has the largest concentration of mid century modern residential architecture in the world, showcased every February during the 11-day Modernism Week celebration.
• The "Spa City" of Desert Hot Springs is home to one of the greatest mineral water aquifers in the world. The water is naturally heated to temperatures as high as 180 degrees.
• Since the 1920s, Palm Springs has been Hollywood's desert playground for celebrities to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of showbiz. The legendary "two-hour rule" of Hollywood studios put Palm Springs on the map as a perfect getaway. Actors under contract had to be available within two-hours from the studio just in case last minute film/photo shoots had to occur.
• Several celebrities purchased hideaway homes in Palm Springs, such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., George Hamilton, Bob Hope, Albert Einstein Bing Crosby, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, and Jack Benny. Several ladies were frequent visitors including Marilyn Monroe, Dinah Shore, Kitty Carlisle, Lily Tomlin, Elizabeth Taylor and Susan Sommers.
• Famous couples did rendezvous in Palm Springs, including Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Steve Lawrence and Edye Gorme, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Elvis and Priscilla, David O. Selznick and Jennifer Jones, President Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, and President Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
For More Information:
Palm Springs Visitor Center
California Travel and Tourism Commission