About a four-hour flight from Birmingham (plus connection times) is the popular desert playground, Palm Springs, California. Known for its golf, great restaurants, nightlife, celebrity sightings and more, it can be a great destination with kids.
Published: November 6, 2013
By: Jim Graves & Carol Walsh
My wife, kids and I stayed at the family-friendly Renaissance Hotel (www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pspbr-renaissance-palm-springs-hotel) in a junior suite (with breakfast, it’s in the $300/night range), which gave us a king-size bed and a sleeper sofa for the kids. It was almost like two rooms, adjoined by a hall with a bathroom in the middle.
We had a great view of the mountains, as well as the main central hotel pool and kiddie pool. Downtown was a few blocks away. I noticed that the kids loved the lighted floor, a centerpiece of the lobby.
Palm Springs’ best known attraction is its Aerial Tramway (www.pstramway.com), which takes you via cables up
Mount San Jacinto. The tram is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first ride, and is truly a unique experience for travelers. It’s a smooth, 10-minute ride ($24 adults, $17 kids), with stunning views of the Coachella Valley. Go early, as the crowds can lead to a long wait time later in the morning.
I had gone on the tram as a kid years ago. The most notable new feature is that the floors of the new trams slowly rotate in a circle, giving you a 360-degree view twice as you go up. The temperature between the valley floor and the top of the mountain is about 40 degrees, so you may see snow in winter.
Palm Springs has no shortage of great restaurants, many of which cater to families with children. We tried the highly rated Trio (www.triopalmsprings.com) and were not disappointed! Its moniker is “Where Palm Springs Eats,” and it features “comfort food.”
For kids, they’ll modify their regular menu. And, if you don’t mind eating dinner a bit early, take advantage of their special 3-course menu, served 4-6 p.m. For $19, you receive an appetizer, entrée and dessert. If you want to eat in your hotel room, there is a to-go option (visit www.triotogo.com). And, Trio had great, friendly service and the staff was pleased to attend to our every need. We’ll be returning there soon!
Another great restaurant choice in the heart of downtown is Matchbox (www.matchboxpalmsprings). It is a chain from the East Coast, which has made its way to Southern California. Matchbox has the magic combination, a winning location and great food. It’s a second floor restaurant, and, if you have a balcony seat, you can people watch (and, there’s plenty of activity downtown).
The diverse menu features a wide variety of pizza, salads and seafood, along with a premium selection of beer and wine. The crab cake sandwich was a hit with us, as were the scallops. I had the chicken pesto pizza and spinach salad; again, very good. My wife had the pear and apple salad, which was also top notch. They have a great selection of appetizers, which includes everything from Sushi to sliders.
Palm Springs is a great weekend experience for the whole family. We look forward to returning soon!