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Desert Vibes: Indio and Palm Springs

Enjoying the warm desert evening at Wyndham Indio

Two weekends ago, Sami and I took a mini break to get away from the stress of virtual learning and life in Los Angeles County. I love Indio as it is an easy two hour getaway from where we are down Interstate 10, and the World Mark Indio is a very nice resort. Sami especially loves relaxing the lazy river; unfortunately that amenity is closed thanks to the continued Covid19 pandemic, but the pools are still open. In addition to the fun activities at the resort, there is a ton to do in the area surrounding Indio and Palm Springs. And I mean more than the myriad of golf courses the desert cities are famous for.

San Jacinto State Park

Last year we took a trip to Joshua Tree National Park over Spring Break. The entrances to the national park are located within an hour’s drive of where we stayed in Indio, and the experience was so pleasant in early April. For more outdoor adventures, San Jacinto State Park is within close driving distance. Mount San Jacinto, at 10834 feet, is the highest peak in the San Jacinto Range, and is a popular hiking spot for So Cal hikers. Our Scouts hike San Jacinto every year as part of their training for their summer Sierra Trek. We also took our family up to the state park a few years ago. Sami loved looking for pine cones on our nature hikes, and the boys loved their first ride in the Palm Springs Aerial Tram.

Idyllwild is another fun outdoorsy destination. It is a small town nestled in the San Jacinto mountains, with cute shops and a number of trails for day hikes. When the kids were little, they enjoyed sweet treats from Candy Cupboard, a cute candy and ice cream shop on Circle Drive. In years past, I used to enjoy visiting Idyllwild for snow play among the pines and manzanitas.

When the kids were littles.

Jacob’s favorite destination was the Palm Springs Air Museum. This really cool museum of planes was opened in 1996, and displays 59 aircraft from World War II, along with the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Many of the docents are veterans who are willing to share their stories. The museum is dedicated to preserving and restoring vintage military aircraft in order to educate others on the role that aviation played in preserving our current freedom. On our visit to the museum in 2013, we even got to attend a presentation by Tuskegee Airman Rusty Burns. He is a resident of the Coachella Valley, and one of the few still surviving at time of writing. It was an amazing experience, and one that puts into perspective the difficulties that they experienced as black men, though they were truly American heroes.

Palm Springs Windmills

I have found in our many trips to Indio that part of the fun of heading in the direction of Palm Springs is the Instagram-able landscape of windmills in the San Gorgornio Pass. These tall, white wind turbines are a source of ‘clean’ renewable energy, something that California’s powers-that-be are requiring more of each year. The San Gorgornio windfarm contains about 4000 windmills, each harnessing the power of the gusty pass. I have no idea why this became a thing on social media, but the stark white, imposing towers amidst the painted backdrop of the San Gorgornio Mountains is really pretty in an otherworldly way. Of course, we like many, pulled off of I-10 at 20th and took photos among the windmills. And posted the photos on Instagram. If you’re really into the windmills and want to learn more about them, there are windmill tours.

Wild as the wind blows.

There are many great places to eat in the desert cities, but if you want a truly unique Palm Springs treat, stop over at Hadley’s for a date shake. I can’t count the number of times that I passed by Hadley’s old location and never stopped, but last year on the way home from our spring break trip, curiosity finally got the better of me. We stopped at Hadley’s Fruit Orchards on Morongo Trail at their new building in Cabazon. We ordered one date shake, which uses a Delget Noor date, for you date aficionados, for its soft texture and sweet taste. The kids and I split one just in case we didn’t love it. It was interesting. I thought that the flavor was good, but it was definitely more grainy than a traditional milkshake. Three of the kids refused to try more than one sip, but after one reluctant taste, Nate really enjoyed it and polished it off.

This is just a snapshot of what fun can be had in the areas surrounding Palm Springs and Indio. From mountains to desert, life is an adventure meant to be shared. And if all you need is rest and relaxation, floating on a lazy river is not a bad way to do that either. Happy trails!

If you bring your pupper, Station 87 in Indio has a nice dog park attached to it.

To plan your trip, visit:

For source information:

Kennedy, C. (2018, August 21). Tuskegee Airman Rusty Burns shares World War II stories, tales of triumph over discrimination. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from

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