Family Travel, United States

Funtastic Things to Do in Palm Springs with Kids

February 16, 2018

With over 300 days of sunshine, 100+ renowned golf courses, and temperate winter weather, Palm Springs, California is a year-round vacation destination. But what about the kids? Is Palm Springs for families? Absolutely! It’s one of our favourite family holiday destinations. These fun things to do in Palm Springs with kids will help you start planning your family vacation.

Make a Splash

Be sure to pack your bathing suits! In a city with over 40,000 swimming pools, it’s easy to find a place to make a splash. Resort pool complexes, aquatic adventure parks, and private pools sparkle under the abundant desert sunshine.

Swim Fun things to Do in Palm Springs with kids

Explore the Living Desert

The Living Desert botanical garden and zoo, dedicated to desert preservation, includes replicas of North American and African deserts. Here visitors can learn about desert animals, plants, and explore the Sonoran desert on a series of scenic trails. Visitors of all ages rank The Living Desert as one of the top fun things to do in Palm Springs with kids (or without) – it’s fantastic!

Feeding the herd of giraffes is one of the highlights of any visit to The Living Desert. Be sure to check the feeding times when you arrive. Feeding-Giraffes-Things-To-Do-Palm-springs-with-kids

The model railroad at The Living Desert is a 3/4 acre development with trains operating on more than 3,300 feet of track. Children (and lots of adults) love watching the locomotives chug through historical scenes including Mount Rushmore, a mining town, and the Grand Canyon.

Things to do in Palm Springs with kids Living desert trains

Follow the Trails

Palm-lined canyons, paths winding through a Seussical landscape, and scenic trails above Palm Desert are a few of the many hiking options around Palm Springs.

Things to do in Palm Springs with kids Bump and grind hike

Carry a lot of water when you are hiking in and around Palm Springs. I read that you need a minimum of one liter of water per hour of hiking. When half of your water is gone, turn around and head back.

Joshua Tree National Park

The Mojave and Colorado desert ecosystems come together at Joshua Tree National Park – the landscape is surreal. In this unique destination, you can hike past twisted Joshua Trees, desert plants, and massive boulders.

Joshua Tree things to Do with Kids in Palm springs

Located about one hour from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park offers trails ranging from stroller and wheel-chair friendly to expert.

Palm Canyon

Older children will enjoy hiking into Palm Canyon, part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. Check the website for access hours and admission. You can park at the Trading Post and hike through hundreds of native palm trees in a desert oasis. The Palm Canyon Trail is over 15 miles long, but you will encounter the palm tree oasis in the first mile of the hike.

Bump and Grind

Located on Painters Path behind the Target in Palm Desert, Bump and Grind (also known as the Mirage Trail) was our first family hike in Palm Springs. Over the years, the boys progressed from making it to the top of the Mike Schuler Trail at the beginning of the Bump and Grind, to completing the entire 5 km loop.

Bump and Grind Things to do in Palm Springs with Kids

Get into Art 

Approachable and family-friendly, the Palm Springs Art Museum is an excellent first museum experience for kids. Read more about why we love to visit the Palm Springs Art Museum here.

Palm Springs with kids Art Gallery

Hit the Gas

If you have older kids, visit the nearby BMW Performance Driving School in Thermal, California. It’s an opportunity to accelerate your driving experience with high-performance BMW M vehicles – I can’t imagine more fun behind the wheel. Drivers must be 15 years old with a valid driver’s permit for Teen School. You must be 18 years old for all other BMW Schools (and require a valid driver’s license).


Getting There – Things to Do in Palm Springs with Kids

Palm Springs International Airport, California

Travel in style at the easy-to-navigate international airport in sunny Palm Springs, California. Walk through palm-filled outdoor spaces before claiming your luggage, and hopping into your rental car. There is no need to schlep bags and queue for a car rental shuttle bus in Palm Springs. The rental cars are parked steps from baggage claim area.

Things to do in Palm Springs with kids Airport

Drive to Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs is about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles and 1 hour and 45 minutes from Anaheim. We often visit Palm Springs before or after a trip to Disneyland and Orange County. If you are coming from San Diego, it’s a two or three-hour drive depending on the route.

Travel Tips – Things to Do in Palm Springs with Kids

  • Palm Springs has accommodation options ranging from boutique hotels to five-star resorts. Visit the Greater Palm Springs destination website to find your perfect place to stay.
  • If you want to learn more about Palm Springs architecture and design, be sure to visit the city during Modernism Week (February 13 – 23, 2020) or the Modernism Week Fall Preview (October 17-20, 2019).
  • We often fly Alaska Airlines to Palm Springs. Here is a review of Alaska Airlines Premium Class.
  • The following Google map includes our favourite things to do in Palm Springs with kids and family-friendly places to eat and shop.

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  • Reply Janice February 16, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Looks like the perfect spot for a family getaway! Especially during this ongoing winter❤️

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily February 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you – I agree! Palm Springs sunshine would be lovely 🙂

  • Reply Danik February 17, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Would love to take my baby girl here in the future and go for a splash (and soak up the sun rays at the same time). Great ideas here for a great family break.

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily February 17, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Congratulations on your baby girl, Danik! Palm Springs is a favourite family destination – I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

  • Reply steph and zach dorworth February 17, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Nancy, this was a wonderful post! We have been to Palm Springs once and did a few of these things. Absolutely love it there. Especially seeing the giraffes! But we didn’t make it to the Joshua tree park so we will have to go back for that.

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily February 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks Steph and Zach! I’m happy to hear you’ve experienced Palm Springs.

  • Reply Kavita Favelle February 18, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Wildlife, swimming, and amazing landscapes, I can see why it’s great for family fun but also for those of us without kids too! I’ve only ever been to the coast when visiting family there so great to know how much I’ve been missing out on!

  • Reply Marissa February 18, 2018 at 8:42 am

    This is perfect timing, I’ll be there next month! I definitely plan to go to Joshua Tree National Park, as it looks beautiful. I love all the hikes that are available in the area.

  • Reply Claudia February 18, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    You know how much I love me some Palm Springs time! 😉 While we’ve enjoyed the PS Oasis desert sunshine several times as a couple, we’ve never taken our boys. It’s a shame since, as you rightly point out, there’s so much to do there for kids of all ages – The Living Desert, hiking Indian Canyons and Joshua Tree National park, and playing some tennis would be right up their alley.

    • Reply LuxeTravelFamily December 5, 2018 at 7:21 am

      Thanks for the comment, Claudia. I know how much you love California and the PS Oasis. Palm Springs is such a diverse destination. I’ve been with my husband, girlfriend, sister, and kids. There is so much to do!

  • Reply Janine Thomas February 19, 2018 at 6:45 am

    I wouldn’t mind living where there are 300 days of sunshine! It looks like a fabulous place to visit. Exploring the Joshua Tree National Park would be high up on my list. It looks fascinating. With all the outdoor activities I can see why it’s a great spot for families.

  • Reply Vanessa February 19, 2018 at 6:59 am

    I would absolutely love to visit Joshua Tree National Park. We’ve seen quite a few other National Parks in the area but this one just hasn’t made it into our plans in the past. It looks just breathtaking.

  • Reply Linda de Beer February 20, 2018 at 2:08 am

    Wow, over 40,000 swimming pools in Palm Springs! It must get really hot ?. But I totally get why it’s a great destination for a family holiday. The Living Desert will be on our itinerary even if it is strange to see giraffe outside of Africa. And I would love to go for a hike in Joshua Tree National Park.

  • Reply Holly February 20, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    I love Palm Springs. Such a fun and relaxing place. I didn’t know there was a BMW Performance Driving School.

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