If your vision of a wintertime vacation to the California desert includes purple mountains, exotic cacti, comfy resorts and dog-friendly things to do, you’ll hit the jackpot with Greater Palm Springs. The region hugging the Interstate 10 corridor cuts through five counties and encompasses not just the celeb-saturated city of Palm Springs, but the neighboring communities of Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Indio, La Quinta and Coachella. Greater Palm Springs is the gateway to California’s vast Desert Region and an ideal place to stage your getaway. Here’s how to get started.
Greater Palm Springs is head over heels in puppy love with our furry pals—especially when it comes to pet-friendly hotels where you can lay your heads (and paws) after a long day of exploring.
We’re partial to several dog-welcoming establishments, including the Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, a four-star establishment at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, whose jagged silhouette rims the background. Also in the luxury category, La Quinta Resort & Club has taken pet-friendly to a new level with its PAWS La Quinta Experience, geared to make pets feel as pampered as their people from the moment they arrive. Also on our doggie bucket-list is the Parker Palm Springs, featuring 13 acres of secluded "Happy Chic" for two- and four-legged guests.
All the usual motel chains are represented in Palm Springs, and the city also abounds in boutique motels and resorts sporting retro architecture and modern amenities. The desert-modern Ace Hotel & Swim Club, a refurbished Westward Ho! property dating to 1959, is one such gem. Caliente Tropics, a tiki-themed blast from the past; and Riviera Palm Springs, with an Old Hollywood theme, are among others.
When stomachs growl, you won’t have to look far to find pawsitively perfect patio dining opportunities. Dogs who dig yappy hour shouldn’t miss the Pinzimini patio at The Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage. Not only can they lap up a cold one (water, that is), they also can dine on their very own bowl from the Patio Pooch menu. Melange, shoreside at The Chateau at Lake La Quinta, offers pooch-friendly patio dining with a view-and, yes, a special menu for four-legged companions.
Feel guilty about splurging on food without building up an exercise-generated appetite first? For a fun and educational activity you can enjoy with your four-legged friend, head to Moorten Botanical Garden, where the two of you can stroll around a “living museum of desert lore” and admire more than 3,000 desert plants plus dinosaur fossils and petrified trees. The Palm Springs Museum Trail, rising above the Palm Springs Art Museum, tempts seasoned hikers with a 1.5 mile climb to a summit offering sweeping views of the Coachella Valley.
Another moderate-grade trail that intersects with the Museum Trail is the North Lykken Trail. The other option is the South Lykken Trail, providing excellent views into Tahquitz Canyon. And local favorites don’t stop there: the Whitewater Canyon Loop Trail is rated easy but gets you up close and personal with desert landscapes, while the Homestead Trail rewards with sweeping views of the Coachella Valley as you trek to a lighted cross on top of a hill.