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Top Things To Do in Palm Springs With Kids

Like many people I never really thought of Palm Springs a family destination. Too glamorous, too full of spas, golf courses and art galleries. So I was surprised and delighted when the Palm Springs CVB sent me a list of family friendly things to do and I actually wanted to do all of them. This is a great list with something for everyone from toddlers to teens. And most of it will appeal to parents as well (we love that). The only question is, where to begin? Here are 11 things for families to do in Palm Springs, California. (Planning a trip to Palm Springs? Read more about Southern California.)

Surprising Things To Do With Kids in Palm Springs

palm springs hiking Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

 The tram car rotates while rising 8,500 feet above the desert floor. Once you’re at the top. explore some of Mt. San Jacinto State Park’s more than 50 miles of walking trails on your own or with a guided nature walk. The adventurous can try camping, too.

Indian Canyons

These canyons are a few minutes’ drive outside of Palm Springs on the tribal land of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Keep your eye out for lizards, butterflies, rabbits, roadrunners and other wildlife while you explore the desert landscape. But go early in the day and bring water, hats and sunscreen. Tahquitz Canyon has a two-mile-long loop trail leading to a 60-foot waterfall in spring and early summer.

Knott’s Soak City

When you need a break from the desert sun, this water park offers a four-story water-themed fun house, lazy river, giant water tubes and a a wading lagoon with small slides for little kids.

Knott's Soak City in Palm SpringsOff-Road Adventures

If you have older kids who don’t mind a little jostling, hop in a jeep or  hummer, an ATV or dune buggy and do  some off-road exploration of  the San Andreas Fault or Joshua Tree National Park.

Horseback Riding

Guided horseback tours are a slower (if still bumpy) way to see the native palms, streams and vistas of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain Ranges.

The Living Desert

This 1,200-acre wildlife and botanical park is home to giraffes, lions and zebras. But the reason to go is the overnight Starry Safari that offers up-close animal presentations and a nighttime guided walk through the park.

the children's museum in Palm Springs is great for younger kidsChildren’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

Even in Palm Springs you need a rainy day fall back (or a break from the heat). CDMOD is highly interactive with a lot of art projects and even a climbing wall, but it’s small and better for the under-8 set.

Palm Springs Air Museum

The museum is home to the nation’s largest collection of WWII aircraft. Kids will love running around three hangars full of colorful planes while adults will appreciate hearing stories from the vets who flew them. Keep your eye out for special events, flight demos and if you have a strong stomach, flight simulators.

Palm Springs Art Museum

The museum has several art galleries including its family-friendly Zone 101 space. Look for classes, tours and workshops for kids ages 4-15 that combine art, storytelling, poetry and music. Admission free during Second Sundays.

the weekly palm springs village fest is fun for all ages.Tee-off with the Kids

OK, there is still golf. But it’s family friendly golf. If you think your kid harbors an inner Michelle Wie, this is the place to bring it out. Introduce tweens and teens to golf by hitting the driving range, taking a class or enjoying a round at any one of several scenic resorts.

Village Fest

On Thursday nights, Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs turns into a street fair. Stores, galleries and sidewalk cafés stay open late while 200 open-air booths offer art, food and handmade items.

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Palm Springs is a more family friendly destination than you might expect. Here are 11 museums, town events and outdoor activities kids and parents can enjoy together on a vacation here. #palmSprings #california #desert #kids #thingstodo #vacation


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  1. emma774
    November 5, 2013 at 10:46 am — Reply

    awesome advice

  2. Marissia W
    May 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm — Reply

    I live in California and some of my family is finally coming to visit me and it so happens that we are traveling south to hit some other family homes. I plan on sharing the spots that you have shared so hopefully we can get to the Art museum I think the kids would enjoy that

  3. april yedinak
    April 28, 2012 at 10:20 am — Reply

    I have always wanted to check out Palm Springs and I love the kid-friendly ideas.

  4. Pinky Sade
    April 27, 2012 at 2:09 am — Reply

    Looks like there are a lot of great things to do there! Especially loving the horse riding activity.

  5. Becca@RWTYM?
    April 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm — Reply

    Thanks for linking up last week – sounds like there is a TON to do with kids in Palm Springs!

  6. Sonja
    April 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm — Reply

    We did an overnight one time at the Living Desert – it was terrific to wake up with the animals!

    • April 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm — Reply

      Thanks Sonja! It’s something we would certainly aim to try on a trip to Palm Springs. sounds like a great, unique experience.

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