Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage: Family Spring Break


Adventures under the warm desert sun in the Coachella Valley

Palm Desert, CA – Years ago, our family stumbled upon Palm Desert for the first time. We instantly fell in love with the area and it has become a regular landing point for our desert adventures. It has all the elements of family fun and is a popular destination for snowbirds less than 15 miles from Palm Springs.

The spring landscape is incredibly colorful. From wildflowers illuminating the desert to waterlogged suburban landscapes, this desert oasis welcomes the weary traveler on the road with vibrant displays of flowering plants of all kinds.

Palm Desert also boasts Civic Center Park, which is the most beautiful community park we have yet to encounter in our California travels. Grab your morning coffee and take a stroll here before the real heat arrives. Did you find a worthy competitor? Please, let us know.

Palm Desert Civic Center Park
Civic Center Park, the best!


Accommodations to suit any budget and style are readily available. From the pampered golf resort to the country club to the budget traveler and everything in between, it’s easy to find the perfect base for your excursions in and around the Coachella Valley. advice: If you plan to go swimming, make sure your hotel has a heated pool. The weather may be hot, but not all pools are heated during early spring.

Civic Center Park is a desert oasis.

Shopping and dining

If you have someone in your family who enjoys shopping, Palm Desert offers the gamut from the upscale El Paseo shopping district to the busy Westfield Mall. Walking through the El Paseo shopping district is a great place to stretch your legs and take in some great scenery, custom boutiques, and art galleries, or to enjoy dining in the great outdoors. The River in Rancho Mirage at Highway 111 offers outdoor dining and shopping in a quiet location surrounded by an oasis of cool water features.

Dining options are also plentiful in and around Palm Desert. For those with young children or grandchildren, the The Spaghetti Factory at Rancho Mirage Provides a relaxed and lively dining environment in a relaxed setting. For a casual lunch or late dinner, we stop regularly at the famous restaurant, Sherman’s Daily. Among our fun picks and family favorites are a classic New York-style deli and restaurant. Shermans gets pretty crowded, but it’s worth the wait.


Sunnylands – Rancho Mirage

Last year, we made our way to Sunnylands, Annenberg’s former estate in Rancho Mirage (just off Bob Hope Drive). Famous for hosting numerous presidents and beautifully inspired mid-century modern architecture, tours of the park are a free and worthwhile stop to explore. Learn more online at

Joshua Tree and the Living Desert Zoo

In the spring, things start to heat up and it’s time to get out and explore. No trip to the Palm Desert would be complete without a trip to The Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Compared to the other zoos we visited which is really unique, The Living Desert Zoo is a treat that everyone should visit at least once. For more on The Living Desert, go

Joshua Trees
Joshua Trees at sunset.

Every year, our family’s main event is scouting Joshua Tree National ParkAbout an hour’s drive from Palm Desert. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and good hiking shoes. Joshua Tree National Park provides opportunities for all ages to experience and explore this desert wonderland. We highly suggest taking the east-west route two hours before sunset for an unforgettable experience.

From an air-conditioned vehicle tour, to a day hike to the full desert camping experience, Joshua Tree remains a California treasure.

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