Family-Friendly Things to Do in Palm Springs

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A colorful extravaganza of great food, incredible art, and stunning desert views, Palm Springs is a great place to take a family! Try some of our favorite family-friendly things to do in Palm Springs.

I just love Palm Springs. It’s truly like a different world! A little colorful oasis in the desert.

Some folks think that it’s not an ideal place for a family trip but I’d beg to differ! Our kids have been coming to Palm Springs since infancy and at every stage, there’s something for families to enjoy.

Read on for some family-friendly things to do in Palm Springs (including a secret hike and our favorite easy places to eat!).

And always check our post with our top travel gear for kids before you head out on an adventure!

Psst — before you dive in, be sure to sign up below for my VIP group, where I’ll send more of my very best travel and family ideas straight to ya.

Outdoor Things to Do in Palm Springs With kids

Andreas Canyon Hike. This is a beautiful, hidden hike that’s like a little oasis in the desert. The hike is a loop around a flowing river lined with palm trees and rock formations. Our 6 and 8 year holds handle it easily; the 1.25 mile hike takes us about an hour.

Cabazon Dinosaurs About 15 minutes outside of the city, these giant dinos are a legendary roadside stop in California. You can purchase tickets and go into the museum to see about 50 dinosaurs and dig for “fossils.” Or you can do it like we did it. Don’t buy a ticket and just hang out outside the gates with Rex and Dinny, two giant dinos. You can go up into the gift shop, which is inside a Dinny’s tummy.

Palm Springs Village Fest. Don’t miss this one! Every Thursday evening they shut down Palm Canyon Drive, the shops stay open late, and street vendors set up their wares. There is live music, shopping, food, and lots of fun.

Photo Tour. This one is our own creation! Palm Springs is such a visually interesting place, and kids see it from such a beautiful lens. Give your kids a camera and take their lead, letting them direct you around town to snap photos of things they find interesting. You can even make it a scavenger hunt, or create themes like “red things” or “small things,” and so on.

Wet n’ Wild. Palm Springs has a water park! It’s a perfect spot if the day is really hot, and we had a great time. If your kids are about 3 and up, this is a definite slam dunk of an activity.

Indoor Outdoor Things to Do in Palm Springs With kids

Palm Springs Art Museum. Our kids love museums, and if yours do too this is a must-see! It’s free every Thursday evening during Village Fest, but also worth the price of admission on other days. They have a scavenger hunt for kids that guides them through the various art pieces as they learn.

Shop Palm Canyon Drive. You can wander for blocks along Palm Canyon, ducking in and out of air conditioned shops with all kinds of interesting things for kids and adults!

Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is a fantastic children’s museum. Unfortunately it shuttered in 2020 during the pandemic but they are currently raising funds to reopen. Check back frequently to see if it’s back in action.

Easy Places to Eat with Kids in Palm Springs

When we travel, we don’t necessarily shy away from nicer restaurants with our kiddos. At this point, we’ve laid enough groundwork for us all to enjoy a nice meal out together. Palm Springs has some incredible food and I recommend you try it all!

But if you’re looking for some laid-back places without white tablecloths where younger kids are welcome and celebrated, these places are for you.

King’s Highway A diner in the Ace Hotel with a super cool vibe. We’ve always had great luck taking the kids here — lots of families stop for breakfast.

The Sandwich Spot I’m a sandwich connoisseur, and this place is no joke. Some of the best sandwiches ever. And they have grilled cheese or PB&J for the kiddos. They do have a high chair, you might just have to ask.

Bill’s Pizza A laid-back pizza joint with slices or choose-your-own toppings. Lots of tables, friendly service, and delicious pizza.

Lulu’s This is perhaps a little on the nicer end, but it’s busy enough that a happy toddler won’t disturb anything. The food is great, and both adult and kid friendly. I love it for kid meals because they always have some sort of steamed veggies on hand so you can get something healthy on your kid’s plate amidst all of the travel food. And they have cotton candy for dessert.

Favorite Ice Cream Spots

Ice Cream & Shop(pe) A combo ice cream shop and boutique. Perfect spot to grab a cone and do a little shopping after dinner or on a hot afternoon.

I’m not really sure why, but Palm Springs also has a pretty legit selection of milkshake shops. I’m a fan of Great Shakes — they have a huge menu of fun shakes, and they each come with a little donut around the straw.

You can also go for a famous Date Shake at Shields Date Garden, which is kind of a Palm Springs staple. And at Monster Shakes you can get a crazy, candy-topped milkshake to end all other milkshakes.

How to Beat the Heat

On our hottest trip to Palm Springs, the low was 105 and the high was 116. It can sound daunting but if you have a summer trip planned, there are some smart ways to beat the heat!

For starters, make sure you’re staying in a place with a pool. It’s ideal if the pool has lots of shady seating around the perimeter, and even shaded swimming areas as well. Use the pool as much as you can!

You can also try to schedule any outdoor activities early in the day. If you’re planning a hike or a bike ride, tackle those first thing in the morning. Take lots of water.

Plan indoor things for the heat of the day, like shopping, a great meal, a museum, or seeing a show.

And when in doubt, go get ice cream!

More Family-Friendly Travel Ideas

We have an incredible library of family travel posts, and I took a moment to round up some of the best! Be sure to pin your favorites so you can find them again easily. Happy trails! xoxo

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  1. You didn’t mention the best thing to do in the heat, and also really great in general, the aerial tram to Mt. San Jacinto! We did this last summer when I was pregnant and wilting big time from the heat and it was about 20-30 degrees cooler up there. Plus, the tram ride is fun, very easy walking (would not really call it hiking), beautiful views. It was the best thing we did the whole weekend.

  2. Makes me want to go there. I never had the chance to come when I travelled to LA.
    Tho the heat and me is not a great combination. Which time of the year would you recommend us (with my wife) to come ?

    1. As an ex 10 year resident of Palm Springs i recommend Early Spring to early summer…the weather is Perfect…it may get a little warm but humidity is very low as compared to mid july through mid sept where humidity levels are higher due to monsoonal moisture/ humidity coming up from the east/ southeast can be sometimes unbearable. It may not seem like alot of humidity..20 to 30% but at 115 degrees it can be miserable. But most of all..Have Fun!!!

  3. Pingback: Things to Do in Palm Springs When It’s Hot – Art Corner
  4. Last weekend it’s been absolutely smoking out here, went for a solo camp and shot some cans with one of my .22 hunting rifles . It’s so much better in the woods compared to city, instantly feels like 10 degrees lower!