Dry heat, dusty wheels and endless blue skies. Our drive up into the desert was filled with equal amounts of anticipation for the unknown and boxfuls of chick-fil-a chicken nuggets. As we drove into Joseph Tree territory, the landscape transformed from sparse buildings to rolling rugged mountains. The whizzing colours fading from stone gray to a gradient of burnt orange, dark ochre and lilac purple. Palm Springs is famed for its celebrity culture due to its proximity to Hollywood, everybody who was anybody (hello Liberace and Elvis!) had a vacation home here amidst the palms. I imagined Palm Springs to be a dusty desert oasis surrounded by, well – call me unoriginal but a hell of a lot of palm trees. I was greeted by a modern glossy vacation down that was indeed surrounded by some impressive palms, but mainly by a hot dry climate, luxury poolside retreats, brightly dressed groups of golden party-goers.
From the trendiest boutique hotels to the best local haunt for you to sway the night away in the desert, here is my guide to the best that Palm Springs can offer in 24 hours.
- Cabazon Dinosaurs
So, who knew that on the drive over to Palm Springs we would encounter the BEST THING EVER? That’s me done. I could have gone home happy after Rex’s Dinosaurs. Call me crazy but I cannot be the only one who thinks that a retro dinosaur roadside attraction beats most things hands down. On your way, please please please drop by this wonderful place. It is a little tricky to pop into, you will have to go on a bridge and drive onto the other side of the highway (towards LA) to slide into this roadside attraction. Once there, cameras out and get snapping! The best dinosaurs are free of charge – hello little T-Rex and Brachiosaurus. If you’re a dino hard crazy fan like me, you can always pay a little fee and pop into the expansive and slightly eerie dinosaur exhibit in the back. Did I mention the Brachiosaurus is also a gift shop? Hop up the stairs to buy some sweet t-shirts and the cutest dinosaur cuddly toys money can buy.
- Customs Coffee @customscoffee 7am – 6pm 1551 N Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA
After that long drive, everybody needs a pick me up. Coffee lovers, head to this cute little coffee joint for a pretty little perk up.
- Arrive Hotel
A modern haven here in Palm Springs, Arrive hotel is by far one of the coolest places I have ever stayed at. The hotel itself looks like the base of a bond villain in the middle of the desert, a bond villain that likes to have fun and parrtaaaay – cue the pink pool floaties and house music. Their pinterest worthy rooms channel all the trendiest forms of desert chic; think succulents, copper lanterns and white marbled showers. The pool is packed with young cool things and hip older adults, who flock in for the weekly weekend pool parties. A complimentary cocktail upon arrival – hello bloody mary! and an all star brunch restaurant to boot, this place is top on the list for meeting new people and experiencing Palm Springs the way you’ve always imagined. Did I mention they make a mean poolside Margherita?
- Las Casuelitas
Dressed and ready, be sure to swing by the bar in Arrive for a nice strong fireball shot and you’ll be ready to get your dancing shoes on at Las Casuelitas. Think live music – your dirty dancing moment has arrived, and sweet strong cocktails paired with delicious Mexican fare and your night is off to an extremely good start. Blood orange cocktails are highly recommended; from there allow your night to take you where it may. In Palm Springs, you can feel it in the air that absolutely anything can happen. Enjoy!
- Reservoir Palm Springs, Arrive Hotel
Brunch and a Bloody Mary please! If your night was half as good as mine, then you will understand that both are necessary to get you through the rest of the day. Luckily for you, one of the best brunches in town is but a few footsteps away. Located past the bar of the hotel, grab a table at Reservoir Palm Springs for some delicious mex-infused brunch. Think breakfast tacos, cheesy burritos and tequila infused pancakes. Egg white frittata and Acai bowls for the less adventurous. Be sure to try a RAW Juicery juice to wash it all down, that and the Bloody Mary, which they make bloody well.
- Joshua Tree National Park
On your way back, be sure not to miss the best of what Palm Springs has to offer. Joshua Tree National Park is 1,200 square miles of protected desert land hosting extraordinary landscapes mostly featuring the namesake tree. The park is expansive but can be explored via car – which is a blessing during the high summer temperatures. We only stayed for the afternoon and explored the sites via vehicle, deciding against any actual hiking. However you can most definitely hike and set up camp in the park, rumours are that the stars are absolutely spectacular when seen from the vicinity of the park.
All photos and opinions in this article otherwise stated, are my own.