California has always been on the top of my bucket list, especially for places to visit in the United States. I’ve actually been twice before: once when I was in college with my boyfriend-now-hubby when we drove down from Vancouver, British Columbia and explored the Redwood Forest in Northern California for a few days during Spring Break. The second time was two years ago when I went to a conference in Laguna Nigel and got to spend one full day in Los Angeles before returning home. I knew then and there that I HAD to go back to Southern California.
So when the opportunity arose to not only attend a conference in Palm Springs, but also partner with Visit California and explore three of their fabulous yet completely unique cities, I was ALL IN!
Over the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing my journey from the desert of Palm Springs to the ocean side of Huntington Beach to the artists hub of San Diego, all while enjoying my mom-cation!
So let’s get started today with my first stop in Palm Springs, California with the best places to explore and rest!
While I was there for a total of five days due to the conference, the first three don’t really count because I didn’t even leave the hotel! But it is worth mentioning from the top of this post that if you are looking for a super Instagrammable hotel spot in Palm Springs, you will want to check out The Saguaro Hotel. While the rooms leave much to be desired on the inside, the outside of the hotel is one of the funnest places I’ve ever seen! Especially with the mountains jutting up from behind with the sky-scraping palm trees all around, this multi-colored Palm Springs hot spot is at least a must-see while vacationing there!
Whether you are simply passing through Palm Springs or are planning an extended vacation there, I wanted to share with you three fabulous ways to take in this oasis in the desert by resting, exploring and finding that famous pink door!
A beautiful place to rest while in the desert is the Omni Las Palmas Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage, which is in the Greater Palm Springs area in the Coachella Valley. This luxurious resort boasts over 400 guests rooms and suites, a 27-hole golf course, a 20,000 square foot European spa, three pools including a kids area with lazy river, five restaurants and so much more!
Designed to resemble a Spanish village, the grounds are absolutely breathtaking, nestled amongst the surrounding mountains and towering palm trees. Every direction you look, there is beauty to behold!
I stayed in a floor level villa that had patio doors that opened up to the golf course and pond. The rooms are very well appointed with lots of extra space and the beds were incredibly comfortable.
The next morning, I was invited to check out the spa with a deep cleansing European facial. It was so incredible and the only regret I have is that I didn’t have longer to spend in the spa! Complete with lounge rooms and it’s own private pool, I truly could have stayed in there all day long!
Palm Springs is such a beautiful vacation spot both for it’s natural surroundings – the mountains, desert and palm trees all mixed in together but also for it’s manmade beauty. Bursting with incredible architecture, much of it reflecting the mid-century modern era, there is an abundance of places to tour and visit to catch a glimpse of a celebrities home or the latest famous door that Palm Springs has become increasingly well known for.
I got to experience an architectural celebrity homes tour while I was there with Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tour. Bob, the tour guide, showed up in an open doored Red Jeep, complete with blankets in case I got cold, and we began the two hour tour all throughout the Palm Springs area. It was clear that Bob had a lot of knowledge about these homes, including which celebrity had lived there, renovations that they had done and occasionally even some juicy gossip about activities that went on at those homes.
Here are some of the highlights from the tour:
- Elvis Presley’s “Honeymoon Home” where he and Priscilla lived from 1966 -1967 after they were married. Their daughter Lisa Marie was born nine months after that. It is now open for daily tours inside and is considered one of the most popular places to see in Palm Springs.
- Piazza di Liberace – Old Las Palmas Property: I saw at least three (if not more) of Liberace’s properties while on this tour, but this estate really caught my attention. Liberace lived in this Palm Springs home from 1968 to 1972 and you can tell that no expense was spared when he designed it. From the musical notes on the fence to the grand piano mailbox to the statues lining the driveway, there isn’t a detail that was missed!
- Marilyn Monroe’s 1326 Rose Avenue Home: Marilyn Monroe was actually discovered in Palm Springs at Charlie Farrel’s Racquet Club in 1949. While there isn’t much concrete evidence that Marilyn actually owned this home, it is believed that she rented it for a time. Even more fascinating, is that Marilyn’s house backed onto Elvis’ honeymoon home and it is believed that they may have rendezvoused while they both lived there.
After a morning of touring Palm Springs, I decided to drive up to Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree is an area that I’ve always wanted to visit and being within an hour of it, I knew I had to go check it out. Joshua Tree National Park is a unique place where two different ecosystems, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert meet, while overlooking the Coachella Valley. It has a very interesting landscape that is filled with the famous Joshua Trees, pilled boulders and even rocks that resemble things like this Skull Rock! How crazy, eh?!
It costs $25 to get a park pass which admits a single car of passengers for up to seven days. So if you are staying in the area, you can plan to spend a couple of days exploring the park! They even have campsites all throughout you can stay overnight at (additional fees may apply).
Arguably one of the most famous doors in the United States, perhaps even the world…it has it’s own hashtag and Instagram account, the pink door is not something to miss when visiting Palm Springs! Located at 1100 E Sierra Way this pink door is a hot spot for Millennial tourists. It was a New York designer named Moises Esquenazi who is responsible for the pink door when he owned the home from 2004-2008 after his mother-in-law suggested changing up the dreary brown door with pink.
This home is privately owned and can be rented out for corporate events. While I don’t normally make a habit of having a door as a tourist destination, when one is this famous and cute (and around the corner from where I was staying), it’s definitely worth a visit!
Visiting Palm Springs for the first time was definitely a highlight I won’t soon forget. From walking out into the airport where there are palm trees and open air spaces inside the terminal to the mid-century modern vibe of most of the city’s architecture to the mix of tropical palm trees in a desert climate, this city just has so much awe and wonder to offer!
I can confidently say that this will be my first visit of many more to come!
Love & Blessings,