If you are looking for a weekend getaway from L.A. the most common spots are Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and Palm Springs. Sure Palm Springs is better known for their trendy hotels, stunning golf courses, world-class spas, amazing shopping and their fantastic dining scene. But, guess what?? There are a ton of Palm Springs things to do with kids.
With plenty of family-friendly accommodations, kid-approved restaurants, and activities this is one SoCal destination the whole family will enjoy. Check out our top 20 things to do in Palm Springs with kids!
Things to Do in Palm Springs with Kids – Attractions
There is plenty of things to do in Palm Springs for kids and adults, including relaxing at the pool A.L.L. D.A.Y. L.O.N.G. which is fine by me. However, if you are looking to get out and explore here are my Top 20 favorite Palm Springs Activities.
1. Living Desert Zoo
The Living Zoo is a wonderful family fun activity and one of our favorite things to do in Palm Desert with kids. The zoo is small making it incredibly manageable to walk around. Yet it’s still big enough to house over 600 animals plus unique interactive experiences that will entertain everyone.
My kids especially loved the Africa area and the Village Watutu. It is designed beautifully and brought back SO many memories of our recent trip to Ethiopia (read more about that trip here).
The kids’ favorite experience at the zoo hands down was getting to feed the giraffes. They are still talking about it!! The Living Desert Zoo also had an interactive butterfly exhibit and camel rides available.
Don’t miss the awesome model train display or the gecko gulch playground. Both provided great entertainment for our crew.
Find more information on the Living Desert by visiting their website here.
2. Jeep Tours
We recently took a jeep tour in Sedona Arizona, they are a great way to explore the desert. These awesome Jeep tours are definitely one of the coolest and most sought after Palm Springs attractions. Some even take you to the San Andreas fault. How cool is that? You can find different Jeep Tour companies here.
3. Hike Tahquitz Canyon
If you visit outside of summer Tahquitz Canyon is a great 2-mile loop hike that includes a gorgeous 60-foot waterfall. The trail is easy enough for kids just be sure to pack enough sunscreen, water & snacks for everyone. Find out more about the trail here.
4. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is probably one of the most popular things to do in Palm Springs with kids in the wintertime. It is the World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar. During the winter you can take the tram up and play in the snow, yes snow!
Bet you wouldn’t have thought you would find snow in the desert 😉 You can also snowshoe or go cross-country skiing if the weather permits.
During the summer camping and hiking trails are options as well. And, no matter when you visit the views from the tramcar are absolutely stunning and kids and adults of all ages will love this activity. Find out more about booking one of these Palm Springs excursions here.
5. Palm Springs Air Museum
Do you have a kid that is fascinated with planes? I know my boys were when they were little. This Palm Springs attraction was actually named one of the World’s 14 BEST Aviation Museums by CNN Travel! Get more info here.
6. Horseback Riding
Our family loves checking out new towns by horseback. So, for us, this is an obvious choice. I was told that Smole Tree Stables is the place to go. Smoke Tree Stables is family owned and operated, and has been for over 65 years.
Located in the heart of South Palm Springs up against “Smoke Tree Mountain,” the stables are located at the base of hundreds of miles of trails. To read more about our horseback adventures click here.
7. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert
I love interactive museums and the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is just that with over 80 hands-on activities this is a great place to beat the heat when visiting Palm Springs. Learn more about this great museum here.
8. Stargazing Tour
What better place to search for constellations than under the desert sky? Take the kids out on a guided tour to learn all about our amazing solar system. Find more info here.
9. Farmers Market
We love a good farmers market. My kids love checking out all the varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables. Plus, they love talking to the farmers and learning how all the produce grows. Palm Springs has a fantastic Farmers Market that is open from October- May.
You can stop by on Saturdays from 8 am-12:30 pm. It is located in the Palm Springs Mall parking lot at 2300 E. Baristo Rd. Read more about it here.
10. Joshua Tree National Park
If you are visiting for multiple days a road trip out to Joshua Tree is pretty awesome. It takes about 45 minutes to get there from Palm Springs but this park is pretty amazing. Don’t forget to bring your camera because it makes for amazing photo ops too! Get more info about day tripping to Joshua Park here.
11. Check out Indian Canyons
If you are into hiking, landscapes, or history than you should also visit Indian Canyons. These canyons are located on Agua Caliente tribal land and have a fascinating history. There are 3 separate canyons and a bunch of trails. You can get all the details on their website here.
Your kids will LOVE Boomers but I suggest you hit this one up in the cooler months as it gets TOO hot in the summer. Boomers is a family fun zone with mini-golf, bumper boats, rock climbing, go-karts, and a fantastic arcade. On Tuesdays, your kids can play all the games they want for just $12! Find out more about Boomers here.
Every Thursday evening Palm Springs comes alive with their awesome street festival- VillageFest. The downtown Palm Springs area features artists, artisans, entertainers, and more! Plus, there are tons of vendors with amazing snacks and sweets. Not to mention all the restaurants, bars, and shops along Palm Canyon Dr. This is an event worth checking out! Find more info here.
15. Palm Springs Skatepark
Have a little skate lover with you. Don’t forget to pack their board so you can head over to the Palm Springs Skatepark. This park is actually known as one of the BEST skateparks in all of CA. Read more about it here.
16. Cabazon Dinosaur Museum
One of the odder things to do in Palm Springs CA with kids actually lies 13 miles west of the city. You can check out the Famous Cabazon Dinosaurs. It’s a California roadside classic stop and one your kids will be totally amused by.
The prices are pretty cheap and the kids will love the ride and climb Dinny- a 150-foot long Apato dinosaur. Find out more about pricing and directions here.
17. Big League Dreams Sports Park
My boys are HUGE sports fans and they all dream of playing in the big leagues someday so a trip to the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City is a fun option. They have replica fields of Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field. Besides checking out the replica fields the kids will enjoy the batting cages and the playground too! Find more info here.
18. Grab a Date Shake
Did you know that 90% of the World’s dates are grown in SoCal? Try out this delicious sweet treat from nature by slurping down a delicious date shake. The most famous spot to grab one is from Hadley Fruit Orchards but you can also save yourself a drive and stop by the Palm Springs Fudge and Chocolate shop to get yours.
19. Hot Air Ballooning
Take in all the gorgeous views as you float above Coachella Valley overlooking the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains. This is one of the most fun things to do in Palm Springs for families traveling with teens. View more info here.
20. Covered Wagon Tour
This is definitely one of the most unique things to do with kids in Palm Springs! Book a tour on a covered wagon. You get to ride in an actual mule-drawn covered wagon through the desert. Although for your comfort this wagon has padded seats and rubber wheels.
But, you get to explore the practically untouched desert floral and fauna as you ride along. The night ends with a chuckwagon dinner and live music. To book a tour click here.
Where to Stay in Palm Springs with Kids
There are a ton of fantastic family friendly hotels in Palm Springs. The type of trip you envision will determine where to stay in Palm Springs with family. Depending on what type of trip you are taking you may prefer a large resort for the family: We love Omni’s Rancho Las Palmas (You can check out my full review here), it has great rooms and it’s own water park with water slides, lazy river and a splash area.
Other great resorts with amazing pools include: Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa or La Quinta Resort & Club
Or you may be better off checking out a vacation rental property. Palm Springs is known for their stylish hipster and modern homes with fun pools. Many times I prefer traveling this way because it is so convenient to have all the amenities of a home when traveling with kids. Check out VRBO for some amazing vacation rental properties!
Not to mention when the kids go to bed the grown-ups can still chill in the backyard or stay up and watch movies in the living room. That doesn’t happen when you are crammed into a hotel 😉
Click here for more Vacation Rentals in Palm Springs.
Places to Eat
Palm Springs has a ton of amazing restaurants for all kinds of foodies. I think you can find just about anything you were looking for. However, with kids in tow, you will want to try out some of our kid-friendly faves including these ones below.
Pizza is the ONLY food option everyone in our family can agree upon so finding a good one in each new city we explore is a MUST! In Palm Springs we LOVE Bill’s Pizza and turns out so do a lot of other people.
In fact, my husband said it reminded him of his favorite pizza place of all time in Coronado, Ca.
Bill’s Pizza was recently named one of the Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in the U.S. by Tripadvisor (2015). The kids enjoyed the Buffalo Chicken and Cheese Pizzas. But, I recommend you grab their Hammer & Sickle or their Elton John both of which are absolutely amazing!!!
The Sandwich Spot
We are sandwich people and with all the outdoor experiences in Palm Springs stopping by the Sandwich Spot to grab some sammies to go is always a great idea. Make sure to get your sandwich served on their yummy Dutch crunch bread.
Kids of all ages love this hometown cafe with big cozy booths and just the right amount of noise to make it feel fun. Try their delicious German pancakes. Their servings are huge and great for sharing too. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner but I would recommend coming for breakfast.
Las Casuelas Terraza
In California we are blessed with amazing Mexican food so I am picky when it comes to this cuisine. Las Casuelas nails it so you must give it a try. Mexican is another option that everyone loves.
If you LOVE a good burger and some tasty fried stick Woody’s Burgers on your list. I highly recommend their Jalapeno Burger (above) for those of you that like a kick in your burger. Pair it with their sweet potato fries and you’ve got the perfect burger combo.
FYI- this is more of a dive cafe, but it still feels cool in a retro kinda way 😉
If you want to feel uber cool head on over to the classically remodeled Denny’s at the Ace Hotel known as King’s Highway. Here you can expect fresh locally- sourced ingredients and knock your socks off yumminess.
Try their Smoked Black Rice and Bloomsdale Spinach Salad or their Buttermilk Fried Jidori Chicken with habanero honey. They offer a kid’s menu as well which keeps everyone’s mouths happy!
You may have started this article wondering what to do in Palm Springs with kids, but I hope you are leaving with a solid idea of why this is such a great place to take a family vacation!
Getting To Palm Springs
Before we get into what to do in Palm Springs, we have to discuss how to get there! Getting to Palm Springs is easy. Here are your options:
- You can hop in the car and drive from kid-friendly San Diego or Los Angeles. Either way, it takes about 2 hours.
- You can catch a flight into the Palm Springs International Airport with daily flights from throughout the US and Canada.
- Take an Amtrak Train! There is a station right next to the Palm Springs Airport.
Once you are in Palm Springs getting around is simple. The town is incredibly pedestrian-friendly. Your resort most likely will have bike rentals and/or shuttle service to and from the main attractions in town as well. Or you can always just grab an uber.
There is also a new trolley service called The Buzz Trolley which is complimentary and runs Thursdays-Sundays from 11 am-1 am. This program has 4 trolleys that stop at 30 locations throughout Palm Springs making it incredibly cheap and easy to get around town.
Keep in mind, there are many things to do in Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indio, and other surrounding cities. If you would like to explore these cities along with Palm Springs a rental car is probably best.
Map of Things to Do in Palm Springs
Frequently Asked Questions about Palm Springs
Where are the best places to eat with kids in Palm Springs?
LULU California Bistro
The Sandwich Spot
Elmer’s. Palm Springs
Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse
Sherman’s Deli and Bakery
Is Palm Springs a good place for families to visit?
Yes! There are plenty of family friendly activities for everyone throughout the whole year. It just depends on what your family likes doing. There are hikes, golfing, plenty of tours, the Aerial Tramway, spending the day at the pool and a ton of delicious places to eat!
Where is the best place to stay with kids in Palm Springs?
Omni Rancho Las Palmas
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort
La Quinta Resort & Club
Hilton Palm Springs
Also, there are plenty of vacation rentals in the area!
Have you visited Palm Springs before? Let me know about your experience in the comments below.
Pin for Later- 20 Things to do in Palm Spring s with kids
You can find tons of information about planning a trip to Palm Springs at the Palm Springs Visitors Center.
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Great list! I just love Palm Springs! It’s so beautiful, especially during the winter months. Since moving to CA a few years ago, I find that we travel there often because there is so many fun and interesting things for kids and grown ups alike to do. I’ll have to bring my kids to the discovery museum. It sounds both fun and educational and it’s one place in Palm Springs that we haven’t yet explored.
Mama Munchkin says
So cool… I didn’t realize you guys were also in California. We should meet up sometime 😉
Ruth - Tanama Tales says
Love this post (especially the food recommendations). I have only done about half (maybe less) of the things in here. I may be going to the areas in about two weeks. I want to go to the Cathedral City Balloon Festival. That should be fun.
Mama Munchkin says
Oh wow… I didn’t know they had a balloon festival. Great to know. Maybe we should head back out there and check it out. It’s only a hop skip and a jump from where we live 😉
I haven’t been to Palm Springs since Spring break many many years ago! It looks like it has changed. I must visit again on one of my CA trips. x
Cathy (MummyTravels) says
What a great guide, so many tips. I didn’t know a lot about Palm Springs except the sunshine and architecture before, but loads for kids to do (I would settle for some warmth and the pool right about now, although I know my daughter would love the dinosaurs). Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says
Fantastic guide! I want to go now! There’s so much to do..I love the sound of the canyon trips and the tramcar although I’m sure my daughter’s preference would be wet n wild! I’ve heard loads of great things about Palm Springs so I look forward to visiting someday – especially now I have the ultimate guide!! Thank you for linking to #citytripping
Melanie @ Nutritious Eats says
Wow, so much to do! When my hubby and I lived in San Diego we drove up for a night but didn’t do much. I’d love to take my kids back to California for a visit. Joshua tree looks amazing!
Wow great pics and I had know idea all these things could be found in neighboring Palm Springs, CA! I will be revisiting soon for Disney tips 🙂
Awesome post. Palm Springs is not in my immediate future (as far as I know), but your guide is a great resource for anyone planning a trip to the area.
Wow – this looks like a great family destination. Thanks for all the tips.