Blue sky, purple mountains, turquoise pools, nodding palms and lots and lots of sunshine make Palm Springs a winter oasis for everyone from Hollywood celebs to Canadian snowbirds and avowed desert rats. All those demographics include packs of DogTrekkers, who rank Palm Springs as one of the most dog-friendly destinations in the state.
Outdoor living is what Palm Springs is all about in winter, and dog-friendly patio dining is a given. For something novel, leash up your pup and head to nearby Indio and the Eldorado Polo Club, where the two of you can dine outdoors at the Cantina within full view of horses, riders and spectacular sunsets. Another favorite is Sherman’s Deli & Bakery, a kosher-style family restaurant with a dog-friendly patio that sees lots of regular canine visitors.
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. For hikers, the Homestead Trail, also known as The Cross Hike is a good workout for your and your dog, and the Mission Creek Preserve offers more than 17 miles of dog-friendly trails through stunning desert scenery.
If exercising a credit card is more your style, put paws to the pavement in the El Paseo Shopping District, (the “Rodeo Drive of the Desert”) in Palm Desert, about 20 minutes from Palm Springs. Many of the 300-plus shops and galleries in this upscale enclave are dog-friendly, as are the outdoor cafes along the street.
When it comes time to rest your paws, Palm Springs offers dozens of dog-friendly options. All the usual motel chains are represented, 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, is another. In the luxury category, La Quinta Resort 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.