Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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Palm Springs itinerary in 5 days

Including La Quinta and Palm Desert
Where to go in La Quinta
Hotel

Palm Springs:

Hotel California

♥♥♥♥

This cute boutique hotel in Palm Springs is a renovated, Spanish Mission style building with pool and lush desert garden, surrounded by a beautiful courtyard. Their rooms have been updated and are nicely decorated. 

Legacy Villas La Quinta

♥♥♥♥

We rented a lovely condo in the town of La Quinta which is about a half hour drive from Palm Springs. Our unit was a three-bedroom, three bathroom unit. The peaceful resort is immaculate with twelve pools. We rented through Airbnb but you can rent directly through the Legacy Villas management office as well.

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I've been to Palm Springs several times. The first time we stayed at a cute, renovated, Spanish Mission style hotel in central Palm Springs called Hotel California, but on my last trip we decided to rent an Airbnb and stay in the small town of La Quinta. This sleepy town in the Palm Springs area is beautiful and peaceful. You will need a car when visiting this area but the driving is easy - no big-city traffic jams! There is definitely something very therapeutic about the desert. I love the gorgeous backdrop of the mountains and the tall palm trees everywhere you look. There is great hiking and even some nice museums to visit.

Hiking Trails

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert. They have three different marked trails, all with interpretive signage and exhibits. 

Indian Canyons located in Palm Springs. There are several hiking trails. We hiked along the Andreas Canyon trail which is a one-mile loop in a tranquil setting with magnificent palm trees, interesting vegetation and a year-round flowing stream. It was a moderate-level hike. 

We also hiked part of Palm Canyon trail which leads down into the canyon. This is also a moderate-level hike. 

La Quinta Cove in La Quinta. This is a nice walk along more rugged terrain. The paths were not very clearly marked.

Joshua Tree National Park. Named for the bristled, twisted Joshua trees typical of the area, this large park has many hiking trails, at a variety of levels, and beautiful views of the Coachella Valley below.

Day 1

La Quinta

 
Where to go in La Quinta Palm Springs

Afternoon

We arrived in La Quinta from Los Angeles and checked into our Legacy Villas condominium. This beautifully landscaped resort-condominium complex is a perfect spot for families and groups of friends. The complex has 12 pools and a club house. 

We went for a walk around the complex to familiarize ourselves with the area and then went to do some grocery shopping. There are plenty of grocery stores and markets in the area.

Evening

We drove to Palm Desert this evening for dinner and ate at Evzin Mediterranean Restaurant. The food was delicious and plentiful.

Noteworthy Restaurants
  • Evzin Mediterranean Restaurant. Located in Palm Desert, this small Middle Eastern restaurant serves delicious food and generous portions.

  • Lulu California Bistro. Right on the strip in Palm Springs. The food was fresh and tasty, with a diverse menu and large portions.

  • Stuft Pizza. Located in Old Town La Quinta. It has a lively atmosphere serving pizza, sandwiches and salads.

  • JC's Patio Cafe. On El Paseo Drive in Palm Desert. Cute cafè with an outdoor patio. They have a nice menu of fresh salads, sandwiches and soups.

  • Grill on Main. In Old Town La Quinta, this is a delicious spot for dinner.

Favourite Museums
  • Palm Springs Art Museum. This small but impressive museum has three locations. Today we visited the main one in the heart downtown Palm Springs. It houses a beautiful modern art collection, a glass collection, as well as  mid-century modern furniture. They offer docent led tours several times a day.

  • Sunnylands. This former home of the wealthy Annenberg family, located in Rancho Mirage, has been declared a historic site. There are several tours offered on the estate. To tour the house, tickets must be purchased at least one month in advance. Check their website for availability. There is an open-air shuttle tour of the grounds and gardens. Tickets for this tour can be obtained on location.

Day 2

Where to go in La Quinta, Palm Springs Art Museum

Morning

This morning following breakfast, we headed to Old Town La Quinta. A short drive from our condominium, this cute village has small boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. It is surrounded on one end by a beautiful park with ponds and walking paths. We spent some time walking around and had a coffee.

We then headed to the Palm Springs Art Museum. This small but impressive museum has three locations. Today we visited the main one in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. It houses a beautiful modern art collection, a glass collection, as well as  mid-century modern furniture. They offer docent led tours several times a day which are highly recommended. We did a tour about some of the artists who were inspired by the California desert.

Afternoon

Following the museum we decided to walk around the main street of Palm Springs on South Canyon Drive. There are lots of gift shops and restaurants along this lively strip.

We had lunch at Lulu California Bistro right on the strip. The food was fresh and tasty, with a diverse menu and large portions. After lunch we continued to window shop for a little longer and then headed back to our condo.

 

After a short rest we went for a hike around the periphery of the complex and at the base of the mountain behind our resort, followed by some relaxing on the hammocks at the resort.

Evening

This evening we stayed in and had dinner in the condo.

Itinerary Add-ons

This itinerary can be combined with:

Day 3

Where to go in Rancho Mirage, Sunnylands

Morning

After breakfast today we headed to the beautiful Annenberg Estate, also known as Sunnylands. This former home of the wealthy Annenberg family, located in Rancho Mirage, has been declared a historic site. It has been the vacation site of several celebrities and is still used as a conference centre for dignitaries and public officials. It is sometimes referred to as "Camp David of the West".

There are several tours offered on the estate. To tour the inside of the house, tickets must be purchased far in advance. Unfortunately we were not able to obtain tickets to tour inside but we did an open-air shuttle tour of the Sunnylands grounds and gardens which are stunningly landscaped. 

Afternoon

After Sunnylands we decided to stop at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert where we walked along their hiking trails and paths, while also admiring some of the animals. They have three different marked trails, all with interpretive signage and exhibits. This was a lovely way to spend the late morning and early afternoon.

We headed to Old Town La Quinta for lunch. We had pizza and salads on the patio of Stuft Pizza. It was a nice and lively restaurant. We walked around the town after lunch and stopped for a coffee and dessert at a local cafè before heading back to the condo.

Evening

This evening we stayed in and barbequed at our condo.

Day 4

Where to go in Palm Springs, Andreas Canyon, Indian Canyons

Morning

This morning we drove to the Indian Canyons located in Palm Springs where there are several hiking trails. We chose to hike along the Andreas Canyon trail which is a one-mile loop in a tranquil setting with magnificent palm trees, interesting vegetation and a year-round flowing stream. It was a moderate-level hike and the views were gorgeous. 

After the hike we drove to the Trading Post within the park and were able to hike part of Palm Canyon trail which leads down into the canyon. It was very beautiful.

From there we drove to the Moorten Botanical Garden where we had a tour led by a Master Gardener docent. We learned about desert vegetation as well as the water and light requirements for these plants.

Afternoon

We stopped in Palm Desert and walked around El Paseo Drive - the upscale shopping district in Palm Desert. There are lots of galleries, high-end clothing stores and many restaurants. We stopped for lunch at a small outdoor cafe called JC's Patio Cafe. They have a nice menu of fresh salads, sandwiches and soups.

After lunch we walked around the strip and stopped for cappucino and a treat at Il Sogno, which is a cute patisserie along El Paseo.

We returned to our condo for a short rest and then went for a hike at La Quinta Cove. This was a nice walk along the rugged mountains. The paths were not very clearly marked.

Evening

This evening we went to the Grill on Main in Old Town La Quinta for a delicious dinner.

Day 5

Where to go in La Quinta

Morning

This morning we did a jeep tour to Joshua Tree National Park. Named for the bristled, twisted Joshua trees typical of the area, this large park has many hiking trails and beautiful views of the Coachella Valley below.

There are several companies that offer jeep tours to the park. At this time I don't have a recommendation for one, but there are reviews of several online.

Afternoon

After an enjoyable morning at the park, we headed to Los Angeles.