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posted on January 5th, 2017

Desert dreaming

The idea of a winter wonderland generally conjures falling snow and pine trees, but some people have a different idea of what winter should look like: palm trees and deliciously balmy weather. Crazy, right? These snowbirds tend to come from harsher northern climates where winters aren’t all fun and snowball fights. While Florida, Arizona, and Hawaii tend to attract flocks of snowbirds, one of the most underrated destinations is Palm Springs, CA.

Palm Springs is truly unique, whether you’re looking for rare and incredible nature, glamorous shopping, golfing, or amazing mid-century modern architecture, this desert dreamland has it all. If you’re seeking shelter from the storm in Palm Springs, here are just a few things you gotta check out — because every bird needs a sweet desert escape.  

Hiking

Palm Springs is a burgeoning oasis nestled between the seven mountain ranges that border the capacious Coachella Valley — which makes for a lot of hiking, canyons, and hot springs. The Sonoran Desert is way more exotic than it gets credit for. In the summer, temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees fahrenheit, but in the winter, the average temperature is a gorgeous 65-70 degrees.

With hundreds of hikes around the valley’s canyons, you can’t really go wrong. If you’re into lush oases, hike through the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve. If cascading desert waterfalls are more your thing, trek out to Murray Canyon Trail at Indian Canyon.

Shopping

If you’re fancy and live a life of luxury, Palm Springs has some sophisticated designer shopping. Head over to The Shops at El Paseo for a beautiful, outdoor shopping experience with luxury boutiques, art galleries, and some of the Coachella Valley’s best restaurants. This place is high end, think mini Rodeo Drive — you won’t find any teenage mall rats here.

If you’re looking for something a little more casual where you can also catch a flick, check out The River. It’s another gorgeous shopping center with an elegant river that runs right through the middle of it! With tons of outdoor shopping, dining, and a very comfy movie theater, it’s ideal for a desert date night.

History & architecture

Palm Springs is known for being an old Hollywood celebrity hideaway. Celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Bob Hope, Albert Einstein, Cary Grant, and Elizabeth Taylor are known to have frequented Palm Springs in the ’50s and ’60s. All of their beautiful mid-century modern hideouts are easy to find, just google the addresses.

If you wanna get a hike in on your celebrity hide-away tour, check out Araby Trail, which is in close proximity to the home of the late Bob Hope, a unique spaceship-like structure. Or take one of the Palm Springs Architecture Tours so you can get all of the details and nuances of mid-century modern architecture, plus a legitimate peek into the old Hollywood lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Swanky hotels

Palm Springs hotels are only as good as their pools, and this town is serious about pools. Incredible pools are heated in the winter, and they naturally feel like bathtubs in the summer. If you’re looking for the pools that rank above the rest, check out these picks.

THE RENAISSANCE HOTEL

The pool has a beach with real sand, the spa is equally as fancy, and this hotel also has the best restaurants around.

JW MARRIOTT DESERT SPRINGS RESORT & SPA

For those who like options, there are FIVE pools here. They all have amazing scenery and one pool is inside of a lake — come on! The Marriott even has gondolas that transport you to other areas of the huge hotel.

THE OMNI HOTEL RANCHO LAS PALMAS

Two words: lazy river. That’s all you really need to know.

Andi Ferraud is a Content Specialist at Turo. She’s a quirky writer with an eye for design. She loves sharks, spontaneous adventures, and horror movies.