Embarking on a memorable family vacation is easy when you visit California. For a more focused experience in natural surroundings, there's nothing quite like Palm Springs. Additionally, you'll find plenty of things to do with kids in Palm Springs that will keep everyone entertained and create an unforgettable vacation experience. Consider what kind of activities your family is interested in specifically, and you can create an itinerary packed with nonstop fun that takes advantage of every day you're in Palm Springs. Check out the best Palm Springs kid activities.
Palm Springs kid activities
1. Joshua Tree National Park
If your family is interested in outdoor adventure, you'll find all you need at Joshua Tree National Park. This incredible destination is defined by impressive rocks and the iconic Joshua trees that the park is named for. You'll find opportunities for hiking and climbing as well as bird-watching among a diverse array of wildflowers. Kids will especially enjoy stargazing at night as well as listening to stories by guides highlighting local history. Just make sure everyone is dressed appropriately as this park is located where the Colorado Desert meets the Mojave Desert.
2. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
While the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway may seem like just an efficient way to reach the peak of a mountain, it's actually an attraction all its own if you take the time to appreciate the sights. It's one of the largest rotating trams in the world and can take you 2.5 miles up in just 10 minutes. Along the way, you can enjoy stunning views of the desert that rival those available from the peak of Mount San Jacinto itself. Plus, the hikes available at the tram's destination are relatively easy, to the point where kids and adults alike can enjoy them.
3. Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
At the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, you and your family can enjoy a wide variety of exotic animals, many of which offer up-close experiences. For example, your little ones can get close to a giraffe with a feeding. In general, the zoo and gardens offer specimens from North America and Africa focusing on organisms that can thrive in desert biomes. This includes animals like mountain lions, bighorn sheep, and desert tortoises. Even the flora is diverse and arranged in spectacular designs.
4. Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert
Family fun is easy to find when you visit the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert. As the name suggests, this museum is designed specifically for children with around 80 activities available that cultivate creativity and a desire to learn. The activities can vary quite a bit as well, covering a combination of arts, crafts, and sciences. Don't forget to check out their special events as well, such as Creative Sundays and STEM nights that start after 5 pm.
5. Indian Canyons
At Indian Canyons, your family can enjoy an unforgettable outdoor adventure with more than 60 miles of hiking trails available that are all fairly easy to traverse. Throughout the trails, you'll find stunning views showcasing the beauty of the mountain springs and the waterfalls in the area. This area has one of the largest concentrations of Washingtonia filifera palm trees in the world. It's also the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, so you'll find several important cultural sites here as well.
6. Palm Springs Air Museum
If your kids are interested in planes, the Palm Springs Air Museum is one of the best destinations to visit in the area. You'll find a massive collection of aircraft from World War II, many of which are still operable. Children will especially enjoy the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress exhibit. Not only is this plane impressive to look at, but children are free to climb in and explore what it's like inside. This museum also offers flight simulators and a café alongside vintage car exhibits.
7. Cabazon Dinosaur Museum
At the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum, you'll find a variety of massive dinosaur exhibits and concrete statues that are life-size depictions of these incredible prehistoric creatures. This alone is typically enough to satisfy kids, but it's only the beginning. You'll find a dinosaur trail as well as activities like digging for fossils. The T. rex statues also have a hollow inside that kids can climb inside and play in. This is an ideal destination for families traveling on a budget because admission is free for kids younger than 2 and adults older than 55.
8. Palm Desert Aquatic Center
When you visit the Palm Desert Aquatic Center, you'll find refreshing fun for the whole family. This facility comes with a wide variety of pools including those specifically designed for kids to enjoy with shallow waters and slides. Additionally, you'll find deeper pools equipped with diving boards and other fun activities. The facility as a whole covers 8 acres, so you'll have plenty of room to relax and take a refreshing break from the desert sun whether you're going for a swim or relaxing under a rented cabana.
9. Wet 'n' Wild Palm Springs
Water parks are a classic family attraction, and you'll find some of the best in Palm Springs, like Wet 'n' Wild Palm Springs. This aquatic adventure features 14 slides, and that's just the beginning. You'll find pools and other water rides as well including a lazy river that stretches 600 feet for a relaxing float. Additionally, this park features a funnel for rafting and a simulated surfing experience where you can test your balance. Don't hesitate to bring the whole family along as there's something suitable for all ages.
VillageFest is a weekly event you can enjoy every Thursday evening in Palm Springs that includes street vendors offering art and food along with entertainment like live music. You can enjoy horse-drawn carriages to take you around along with plenty of candy on offer throughout the area. As if that weren't enough, you can even enjoy access to the Palm Springs Art Museum without having to pay the price of admission. Keep in mind that this event occurs every Thursday evening from 6 pm to nearly midnight, so plan your trip accordingly if you don't want to miss out.
11. Shields Date Garden
At Shields Date Garden, you'll find a wide selection of dates growing naturally on towering and vibrant trees. It's one of the best fruits to try while you're in the desert, and here you'll find 17 acres of the stuff. Not only can you sample delicious dates and tour the alluring aesthetic, but you and your family can learn about how dates grow. You'll also find a café and shop here offering things like homemade bread and butter made from dates. The shop even offers vintage toys that your kids can try out.
12. Sunnylands Center and Gardens
When you visit the Sunnylands Center and Gardens, you'll find a wide selection of impressive plants with more than 70 species in total that are all adept at surviving without much rain. Given its location in a notably sunny area, you'll have no problem finding a clear day to take in all the vibrant greenery around this 1.25-mile-long walkway. You can explore this area at your own pace or book a tour with a guide to learn more about the local history and plant life. Keep in mind that admission here is completely free, so it's an excellent destination for family vacations in Palm Springs on a budget.
13. Tahquitz Canyon
Nature-oriented families won't want to miss out on Tahquitz Canyon. This impressive destination offers numerous hiking trails with stunning views of geological formations and a waterfall. The Tahquitz Falls are among the most impressive waterfalls in the area, reaching heights of 60 feet. The trail itself is a short 2 miles, and it's easy enough to traverse that kids can enjoy it. Don't forget to check out the numerous native artifacts on display as well to learn more about the Cahuilla people native to the area.
14. Smoke Tree Stables
Venturing through nature trails can be fun enough on its own, but Smoke Tree Stables lets your family enjoy it from an entirely new perspective. Here you'll find opportunities for horseback rides that take you through trails among palm oases. You can ride on your own if you like, but group packages are ideal for families. You can even customize your booking to account for every member of your family without being forced to pay for more people than you might need. Just keep in mind that kids will need to be at least 5 to ride.
15. Red Jeep Tours
Palm Springs is home to breathtaking desert areas, and your family may not always want to explore it on foot. Fortunately, you don't have to thanks to Red Jeep Tours. Book one of these tours, and you can embark on a desert adventure within a bright red Jeep that will showcase the more obscure paths through the area whether you're exploring the Indian Canyons, Painted Canyons, or San Andreas Fault. This is especially useful for family trips as they allow group packages and can even provide food for everyone depending on how long of a tour you book.
16. Windmill Tours
Renewable energy is the future, and Palm Springs is one of the leading areas for a particular kind of renewable energy. You'll find an array of windmills throughout the area, and Windmill Tours lets your family explore them closer than ever before. The guides will take you on a tour lasting about 2 hours that offers valuable insight into energy technology and lets you see just how fast these windmills can go at their best. Plus, several other energy sources are shown off as well including solar and natural gas plants.
At Boomers, you'll find a family fun zone with a wide variety of activities that your little ones will enjoy. Whether you're looking for an arcade, mini-golf, go-karts, rock climbing, or even bumper boats, you'll find it all at this incredible facility. Don't forget to check out the batting cages as well, with options for slow pitch softball or baseball pitches that replicate speeds up to 70 mph. Keep in mind that there are height requirements with activities like go-karts and bumper boats. If your kids are at least 40 inches tall, they can be a passengers while you take the wheel.
18. Get Air Trampoline Park
The Get Air Trampoline Park is full of thrilling excitement for kids to enjoy. This facility has wall-to-wall trampolines that let kids jump around as much as they like with unlimited trampoline time as long as the park is open. You'll find dunk lanes as well as foam pits for more variety among the standard trampolines. Typically, these kinds of parks have height limits, but this park offers a different kind of solution. If your kid is under 46 inches in height, they can enjoy a special section of the park reserved for smaller children.
19. Robin Hood Archery
At Robin Hood Archery, your kids can practice their archery skills, but that's just the beginning. This facility utilizes archery to hone kids' hand-eye coordination in a fun and helpful way. They even make special accommodations for kids with physical disabilities like blindness. You can book a private session here, or you can opt for a group session. Either way, your kids will have plenty of fun letting arrows loose in this safe and controlled environment.
Top family restaurants in Palm Springs
When you're looking for a delicious start to your day, there's nothing quite like Koffi. This iconic restaurant offers coffee for adults and hot chocolate for your little ones alongside fruit smoothies and cinnamon rolls, with everything made on-site. This restaurant is also known for its stunning lawn with vibrant flowers and towering palm trees along with extensive outdoor seating. Even with all the seating, you'll still find plenty of room for kids to run around well within view of your seat.
21. Chicken Ranch
If you're looking for a restaurant that's delicious and healthy with options for kids, look no further than Chicken Ranch. Here you'll find a wide variety of chicken dishes, all of which utilize free-range and farm-raised chickens. You'll find a wide selection of separate chicken pieces, slices, sandwiches, and salads. Even some of the pickiest kids love chicken, so you won't have to look far to find something they'll enjoy. With sides like thick-cut fries, your kids will be downright excited to try lunch here.
22. Lulu California Bistro
Families looking to enjoy a fancy eatery may want to try out Lulu California Bistro. This stunning restaurant has decorations that are just as varied as the menu items with images of Hollywood legends throughout the restaurant. Additionally, you'll find vibrant colors throughout with radiant lights illuminating the dining room. Among the menu items, you'll find plenty of incredible options like pasta, pizza, burgers, and high-end salads and fish dishes. Additionally, you'll find special gluten-free menus along with menus for vegans and vegetarians.
23. Blue Coyote Grill
At the Blue Coyote Grill, you'll find a notable Mexican and Southwest flair among its menu options with plenty of delicious elevated dishes for adults and simple burritos and nachos for kids. If you're feeling daring, be sure to try out their spicy dishes like chile rellenos. The expert chefs here excel at adding satisfying heat to dishes that enhance the flavor rather than overpower it. If you're not interested in that kind of heat, however, you'll find plenty of other options including dishes focused more on steak and cheese.
Trio is one of the most iconic restaurants in Palm Springs with plenty to offer for the whole family. You'll find delicious menu items with plenty of diversity like chicken marsala and a Yankee pot roast. The drink selection here is quite varied as well, which can be especially refreshing after a long day out. Don't hesitate to bring your kids along, as this restaurant has a robust kids menu packed with popular favorites. The burgers and mac and cheese are particularly popular, especially the latter as it uses 5 cheese in total.
Just about every family in the country loves pizza, and you'll find some of the best in Palm Springs when you head to Brickworks. This stunning restaurant features authentic wood-fired pizzas that are customizable and made with only fresh and locally sourced ingredients. That's just the beginning, however, as you'll find a diverse menu with options like sliders, burgers, pasta, and even tartare. Don't hesitate to try out the steak or salmon as well, as everything here is cooked to perfection and held to a standard you wouldn't normally find at a pizza joint.