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Week in Palm Springs  during the Off-Season

Week in Palm Springs during the Off-Season

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Last week my husband and I along with one of our best couple friends traveled to Palm Springs for the week… a “workation” if you will. With COVID-19, all of the vacation homes were either rented super quickly back in March and/or restrictions went into place that you couldn’t rent unless you were on the front lines or were renting longer than 60 days. As we have come out of the strictest lockdown, airbnbs and vrbos have begun to open again, though most are booked up through October. Even though we have the beach here in Cali, people are itching for a change of scenery and I don’t blame them! A week popped up in Palm Springs at this adorable home and we took that as a sign and booked it.

 

People in LA kind of thought we were crazy for leaving a heat wave in LA to go the desert. All I have to say is that we don’t currently have air conditioning in our apartment and the Palm Springs house has AC. Any questions? Hah! We saw an ad saying that Palm Springs was no longer just a winter escape. You see, the “best time” to be in Palm Springs is January - May as that is when the temperatures range from 70 - 80 degrees F. When we were there this August, the temperatures ranged from 85 - 115. Hah! It’s a desert, so we knew that it would be hot; however, we didn’t realize just how hot it would be until we checked the weather the week prior. Silly us!

The yellow house is where we stayed!

 

I wanted to write a post on Palm Springs during the off season because bet more people are itching to get out and about right now in a fairly safe manner. Palm Springs is a great road trip from LA. We live on the west-side and it typically takes us 2 - 3 hours depending on traffic. We stayed in Joshua Tree (nearby) last September on our drive in from Texas and we visited Palm Springs for a pool day late last year, but hadn’t really stayed in PS proper. Our VRBO was in the heart of PS - only a couple blocks away from Arenas Road (the main street with a lot of restaurants and shops). We brought food and cooked in the entire time, though I bet it is a great to take advantage of during more popular / more open times.

I thought this was a fitting look in honor of Coachella that didn’t actually happen this year

Silk Scarf | Levi’s 501 Skinny Jeans | Gucci Dionysus Wallet on Chain | Viva Mules

 

Anyway, let’s get to my thoughts on traveling to Palm Springs during the Off-Season.

PROS OF PALM SPRINGS DURING THE OFF SEASON

  • Less Crowded. The town was pretty much dead, but I’m not sure if it was just because our visit was in off-season or because of Coronavirus. One evening we walked all along Arenas Road and saw around 2 people, besides those we saw in shops. Side note - I’m not sure if they adjust their times during the more popular season, but a lot of shops on Arenas road close around 6, so kind of early, but I guess that is when most point-of-purchase / specialty shops close.

  • Cheaper Prices. Hotels and houses often rent for cheaper than in prime season. Save your money!

The pool / view from our backyard - the other side are mountains!

 


CONS OF PALM SPRINGS DURING THE OFF SEASON

  • Very Hot. The coolest day we experienced was last Thursday (08/26). When we woke up it was 83 and it only reached 109 that day. It is a dry heat, so it is much more manageable than a humid heat, but it is still heavy and feels like a weight on your shoulders. We did a short hike that same day around 6:30 am and it was pretty hard because of the heat. Again the heat is bearable with AC and a pool.

  • Some things aren’t open. A lot of hotels and restaurants are seasonal and only open in prime season. There were some places and even some hikes we couldn’t do because they were closed or on summer hours, which usually means only open on the weekend. I will say that some places were set to open September 1st and that is technically still off-season, so you may in fact be able to check out some things as it starts to cool off, but before regular season is open. Research that and know what to expect depending on when you go.

  • The pools feel like bathwater. Speaking of the pool, home pools (not sure about hotel pools) are going to feel more on the warmer side; however, I’d rather have a pool than not have a pool. It wasn’t too bad and we were able to create a little coldness by using a water hose and creating shade. Not a deal breaker, but we wish it were a little cooler for heat’s sake. For reference though,I would not rent a house in the off-season without a pool.

The master bedroom are those double doors! They led right to the pool.

 

RANDOM TIPS FOR PALM SPRINGS:

  • Always wear shoes outside. Your feet will burn, NO JOKE. The pool was right outside our bedroom and we still wore shoes outside because our feet would burn in the 5 seconds we were walking.

  • Don’t play music. This is a city-wide ordinance that states any loud music in vacation rentals will result in fines. We talked about it as a group and think that Coachella / Stagecoach pretty much ruined this for everyone else, but none-the-less it is an issue. You are technically allowed to play soft music, but sometimes that even gets turned in and you will be required to leave. This wasn’t a huge deal, though we would have preferred to have some music on by the pool. Our specific rental requested no music to be on the safe side.

  • Consider AC. If you’re thinking of renting a house, know that the heat is bearable, especially if there is AC. I’m not sure if it was just our rental house or all of them, but we weren’t allowed to turn the AC lower than 76 degrees F, because it would apparently freeze the line and then AC wouldn’t work for 24 hours. It makes sense, but just hadn’t heard of that before. Plus, I can’t imagine that hotels make you keep it at 76? Not sure. We brought a couple fans from home and they had some in the closet, but it was still a little warm when we were sleeping. During the day there were no issues! PLUS we had a pool.

  • Bring a humidifier. Dry heat not only cracks my face and fingers, but it also makes my nose bleed. We brought our humidifier and I’m so thankful we did. I still woke up with a slightly bloody nose most mornings, but the humidifier helped a lot!

  • Check the connection. Another thing to keep in mind, especially if you are trying to work remotely is internet. We didn’t think there would be any issue, but I guess with 4 people on WIFI / making calls, it got a little bogged down. Nick actually had to leave the house at one point to find better internet as it kept cutting out in the middle of meetings he was leading.

View from our Museum Trailhead Hike .

 

Here’s a mini travel guide of places to go / things to do. Check and make sure things are open, but this should be a good list should you decide to forgo lying by the pool ;)

THINGS TO DO:

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This was closed because of COVID-19, but I’ve heard such good things about it.

  • That Pink Door. You aren’t allowed to take photos with it anymore, but it is still fun to see “that pink door” in person, since it has graced so many instagram feeds! You can find it at this address: 1100 E Sierra Way, Palm Springs, CA 92264.

  • Desert Hills Premium Outlet Mall. If you are bargain shopper, these are some of the best outlets and they have a ton of stores!

  • Cabazon Dinosaurs. You an actually see these from the highway, so no worries if you don’t want to stop. Just keep an eye out for the larger than life dinos that were featured in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. They are only a couple exits from the Palm Springs exit, so a super easy stop in or out of town. They are near the outlet mall too!

  • Gamble. There are actually several casinos in town. Nick worked out of the Agua Caliente Casino one day (lol) because they have good internet, but another popular one is the Morongo Casino.

  • Get a Date Shake. It sounds healthy, but really it is just an ice cream shake with dates; however, it was made popular in Palm Springs. A lot of places have them, but I’d check out Windmill Market, Great Shakes, or Lappert's.

  • Go to Joshua Tree. It’s about an hour drive, but worth the visit if you want to go while you’re in the area!

This sign is near the Tahquitz Canyon visitor center.

 

HIKE:

  • Museum Trailhead: We did this Skyline Trail loop and though it is steep, it is beautiful and doable. I’m not sure I could have done anything longer due to the heat and we got there before 7 am!! It’s only .7 miles. Hah! It’s right by the Palm Springs Art Museum and there’s free parking in their garage. There is a longer one that is 3.7 miles and goes to the North Lykken Trail Head if that is something you want to do.

  • Tahquitz Canyon: We tried to do this South Lykken Trail before the Museum Trailhead, but couldn’t because it was operating on summer hours; therefore, it was only open on the weekend. The visitor senter was gated off and that is the only way to get to the trail unless you want to go through a bunch of weeds, rocks, and rattlesnake friends. We were going to do the 3.5 mile round-trip trail that included a waterfall, but I guess we will just have to do it during regular season. Will be better anyway, as it will be cooler and the waterfall will be heavier.

Cacti near the museum // our taco lunch from one day!

 

PLACES TO EAT / DRINK:

Okay so we ate at Patsy’s Country Kitchen whenever we were doing the last leg of our drive from Dallas to LA, but other than that, we haven’t eaten anywhere. We didn’t eat anywhere while we were recently in PS because we brought all our food in, but here’s a list of places we’d consider next time:

  • Felipe’s

  • Juniper Table

  • Norma’s

  • The Barn Kitchen

  • Trio

  • Rooster and the Pig

  • Birba

  • The Sandwich Spot

  • Copley’s

  • Melvyn’s

  • The Real Italian Deli

 

HOTELS

These also have cool restaurants and bars to check out, even if you aren’t staying there!

  • The Parker

  • The Ace

  • The Saguaro Palm Springs

Overall this was a really fun and much needed getaway! Though I can’t wait to go back and hopefully see the town in its prime, I would for sure go again during the off-season. I know it looks like my cons outweighed my pros, but I just wanted to make sure you had the most information to make a good decision and know what to expect! Have any fun things to do / places I left off? Let me know because I’d love to go back and check them out!

P.S. Don’t forget to marvel at the beauty of the windmills!!

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