Last spring my family spent an entire week in Palm Springs, California.  When the kids are itty-bitty, you can get away with just hitting the pool, naptime, and casual dinners.  As they grow out of strollers and into little people, it’s fun to add some entertainment and activities to the travel itinerary.

I decided to scout out the desert to find the perfect family friendly spots.  If you’re lucky enough to travel with a nanny (or a willing family member) that can give you and the hubby a little alone time, I’ve included a few spots to hit without the kids as well.  I hope this helps you and your loved ones enjoy your next trip to the desert.

travel cecy j hotels and resorts

1. The Colony Palms 
I just loved this little boutique hotel the minute I walked in.  The main entry drops you into the pool area which is where you’ll find the bar & restaurant.  The mood was relaxed, cool and very understated but glamorous all at the same time.  The Colony Palms location also gives you a taste of old Palm Springs.  I did not see the rooms but given that the place got a 15 million dollar makeover in 2008 by famed celebrity decorator Martyn Lawrence-Bullard (currently featured on Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Decorator) I’m sure there is nothing but relaxation and splendor awaiting you.  
 
2. JW Marriott, Palm Desert  
Fun, fun, fun.  Big resort, big property, big everything.  Boat rides, miniature golf, pools, watersides… They recently did a pricey remodel.  I would stay here and be happy.
 
3. La Quinta Resort & Spa, La Quinta
If you have a thing for resorts with a little history and you like to stay on the property (ie, there’s no reason to leave), book La Quinta Resort & Spa.   The resort opened in 1926 and is nestled against the Santa Rosa Mountains.  The grounds are amazing, covered with beds of flowers and framed by towering palm trees.  The property has 41 swimming pools, 9 dining options, a beautiful spa and excellent golf & tennis (the pros use the tennis facilities to practice before the BNP Paribas Open).  There is shopping on the plaza, including a candy store for the kids… and let’s not leave out movie night in the main pool during the hot summer evenings.  There really is something for everyone.   
 
4. Palm Springs Tennis Club 
I was hesitant to put the Palm Springs Tennis Club on the list but I had to include it because they have rooms available with kitchenettes or full kitchens, which is so nice with kids.  Full disclosure, I did not see 1 kid when I visited the property and it definitely had an old school vibe but, for some reason, I just loved the property.  You can’t beat the downtown Palm Springs location and it’s walking/stroller distance to fun dinner spots and tourist shopping.  

travel cecyj family dinners

5. Jackalope Ranch, Indio
Go for cocktail hour and apps.  The kids will love the waterfalls and beautiful grounds.  Ask to be seated in the Palapa Bar Area which does not take reservations, but as long as you arrive between 4:30PM- 6:00PM, seating should not be a problem.
 
6. Mikado, JW Marriott, Palm Desert
Teppanyaki style Japanese fare which doubles as a cooking show.  Arrive 20-30 minutes before your reservation and take the boat ride through the property (the boat picks you up in the lobby and takes you directly to the restaurant).  Hands down my favorite spot for a fun, family dinner.  Shrimp flying through the air and onion volcanoes never get old.   
 
7. Sherman’s Deli, Palm Springs & Palm Desert
Delicious, authentic Jewish Deli.  We did take out two nights in a row from Sherman’s.  We got the matzo ball soup which had the biggest Matzo Balls I’ve ever seen.  The corned beef sandwich was a big hit as well.
 
Las Casuelas, Mexican Cuisine, Rancho Mirage
Good, fun Mexican food in a great atmosphere.  Bright colors, Mexican style fountains and outdoor seating with Mariachis roaming the scene.  

travel kid friendly cecyj

8. Aerial Tramway, Palm Springs
Order beers from the snack bar once you reach the summit & bring plenty of quarters so the kids can use the telescope to see the sights of the desert valley below.  Bring jackets.  We had lovely weather but I can see how it could get pretty cold up there.
 
9. The Living Desert, Palm Desert
Not a flashy amusement park, just simple family fun.  If you have train obsessed kids (like I do) you’ve hit the jackpot.  The artery of the park houses an enormous and detailed model train world that is really magical.  Lots of desert animals, including giraffes, rams and desert cats.  
 
10.  Rancho Mirage Public Library
Darling local library with a terrific kid’s reading room.  We stopped here for about an hour for a short break from the sun.  Convenient location from all the desert cities.

travel without kids cecyj

11. Spencer’s Restaurant, Palm Springs
This was a totally wonderful surprise. Spencer’s is nestled in the Palm Springs Tennis Club.  It was a classic location with great food that would be a wonderful spot for a cozy lunch or a romantic dinner.  
 
12. Viceroy, Palm Springs
Go for spa appointments and then grab lunch or dinner.  You will feel cooler than you are and ready to head back to the family base camp after a night away.
 
13. The Parker Hotel, Palm Springs
Grab a drink at the bar and wander the property.  Relax in the hammocks or park yourself  in the white butterfly chair garden.
 
14. Riviera Resort, Palm Springs
The Riviera has a bit of Vegas in it but it’s well done and a fun spot for cocktails. There are many cocktail locations to choose from including the outdoor pool bar, patio bar just off the lobby or swanky fire pits that are spread around the property.
 
{photo 2 sourced here}
 

Share my love of easy elegance and finds from around the globe that are simply fabulous?  Ready to make your place a space that you adore?  I’d love to help make your house a home.  cecy j is currently accepting new interior projects.  Let’s chat info@cecyj.com