North America : United States of America : California : Desert : Palm Springs

Pics from Palm Springs https://flic.kr/s/aHsjSSGs8U

Many of our friend from LA make a beeline to Palm Springs whenever they need a weekend away from the city. I always thought of Palm Springs as a sleepy, desert town where a lot of people go to retire. Boy was I wrong. We had a blast there.

It’s a great weekend getaway from LA and, for those in SF like us, it’s a great weekend getaway if you can snag cheap airfare. We were able to plan in advance and track flight costs and snagged $118 roundtrip tickets between SF and LA. We just rented a car for the weekend and drove out to Palm Springs. Without traffic the drive is about 2.5 hours from LAX. I would highly recommend having a car while you are out there.

The highlights of our trip were just laying around the pool at our hotel and hiking around the Palm Canyons. Or more accurately, we hiked and then lounged around the pool. Most of the pics are of Palm Canyons, which are a short drive from the heart of Palm Springs and very accessible and easy. There are a bunch of trails at Palm Canyons and a variety of trail lengths so you can go for a short, easy 1-hour stroll to spending the day on hard terrain. If you do go to Palm Canyons, the best pictures and most interesting parts of the trails are where there is water. It’s remarkable how a little water can transform a desert landscape into lush vegetation.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Palm Spring a 6. Definitely a great weekend getaway spot for those in LA, San Diego, or San Francisco. Though I don’t know how many times I would want to visit and I don’t know if I would not get bored if I spent more than a 2-day or 3-day weekend there.

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North America : United States of America : California : Desert : Joshua Tree

Pics from Joshua Tree National Park. http://www.flickr.com/x/t/0095009/photos/atish-babu/sets/72157641102425835/

Surprisingly very few of our LA friends/colleagues have ever been to Joshua Tree. It’s one of the nation’s newest national parks, so perhaps it is still somewhat undiscovered.

We recommend going during a warm winter weekend because the desert heat probably will be brutal when it gets warmer. Keep in mind that it’s the desert so it’s very dry out there. Bring lotion for dry skin and lots of water. Even though it was a cool day (high 60s, low 70s), we were surprised at how much water we were drinking to keep from getting parched.

One thing we did not fully appreciate before we went there was that the area is great for rock climbing and bouldering. We wished we were better prepared and allotted more time for rock climbing.

If you are ever going out to Palm Springs for a weekend or holiday, I highly recommend to spend one full day at Joshua Tree. Get up early and spend the morning bouldering or rock climbing before it gets too warm. The main sites/attractions (including the odd-looking Joshua Trees themselves) are driveable and/or accessible on short hikes, so save them for the afternoon.