Recap: Palm Springs + Joshua Tree, California

Happy almost Valentine’s Day! (Whatever that means to you… I know some people live and breathe for the romance while other people would rather kiss a frog than look at a red roses.)

Mom and I just got back from California, and I wanted to share our trip with you! I have recipes and house updates to come as well over the next week, but this vacation was too good not to share. For years now, we have been taking annual trips together. We’ve been everywhere from Turkey to Wine Country. When Mom told me she had landed a big speaking gig in Palm Springs, I said “count me in!” I am the planner between the two of us; Mom doesn’t care at all, and I’m sure could tell you exactly how we differ on the Myers-Briggs scale. I love to read reviews online and chart our course, which Mom would say is all based on a massive amount of FOMO. Nevertheless, it was a great trip and WE highly recommend it! That 85 degree weather was just what this pasty, grumpy east-coaster needed.

Here is a recap of our itinerary with pics!

On Tuesday, we arrived at the Palm Springs airport (which is open-air and beautiful!), picked up our very red rental Jeep, and then headed to check in at the gorgeous La Quinta Resort in La Quinta, CA.


The resort has been in operation since the 1920’s and is very “old California”. I can’t decide if my favorite part was the droves of flowers everywhere or the semi-private pool outside our doorstep. Everywhere I turned there was something to make my jaw drop.


We laid by the pool Tuesday afternoon and then bumped around La Quinta that evening. I had my first In n’ Out burger that night, and I can tell you that it absolutely lived up to the reputation.

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We woke up (slowwwwly) Wednesday morning. I worked out in the gym, had my coffee in the most blissful silence sitting at the al fresco resort café, and then popped over to the larger pool while Mom took phone calls. #hardlife, y’all.

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Time to work! Mom did such a great job speaking for the Ameriprise conference. She really is a boss and got great feedback from her clients.


After her lecture, we changed clothes and headed out for true Palm Springs. We had a few minutes before our dinner reservation, so we stopped to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tram that overlooks the San Jacinto mountains… 2500 to 8500 feet above sea level in ten minutes! This ride exceeded our expectations and was well worth the stop. The views were breathtaking and really helped us get a feel for our surroundings on a relatively short time in the valley. The pictures cannot do the landscape justice in any way.


After the tram, we headed to Copley’s on Palm Canyon for dinner. The atmosphere was great! The restaurant is actually the property of Cary Grant’s guesthouse, and they have done a great job making it cozy and beautiful. The food was eh (surprisingly). I would probably choose somewhere different for our next trip, and that’s all I’ll say about that. After dinner we walked around the strip on Palm Canyon – tons of great shops, cafes, bars, etc. there.

The next morning, we checked out of the resort, and popped into Cheeky’s for breakfast. I’m glad we stuck out the 15 minute wait because the food was great! With full bellies, we then drove about an hour to the desert. Our VRBO between Yucca Valley and Pioneertown was perfect! Lulu and Matt have done a superb job of adding to but not taking away from the California desert experience. You can find the listing for the Owl’s Nest here.


There is very little light pollution where we were, and the night sky was amazing! I haven’t seen so many stars in yearssss.

We spent much of the afternoon exploring Joshua Tree National Park. It is HUGE. And brown. And HUGE. And full of really weird cacti. And did I mention it is huge? We got great advice from one of the staffers at the visitors’ center… Hidden Valley, Key’s View, Skull Rock, and the Cholla Cactus Garden were among our most memorable stops.

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Some of the best food we ate was at Natural Sisters Café in Joshua Tree. I highly recommend this stop if you go!

Overall, there was not as much to do in the desert as I had anticipated. Which sounds so #duh. But, truly, it is not fancy or busy. What we both thought would be a full two days ended up being very laid back. I laid in the sunroom of our VRBO and read a book, if that tells you anything. We did make it out to the famous Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown for dinner, ordered way too much (delicious) food, and heard the beginnings of the nightly band.


Mom and I laughed really hard that whoever is in charge of marketing for Pioneertown deserves a payraise. There is little to nothing to do… despite a whole lot of hype. It was good to see, but I’m glad we hadn’t planned more than an evening there. Friday morning, we popped around the shops in Palm Springs prior to jumping on an airplane back east.

It was a fantastic three days, and with each trip I am more amazed at all Mom and I can cram into a short time. We ate, drank, laughed, shopped, slept, tanned, sweated, saw, and conquered. Can’t wait for the next one!

2 thoughts on “Recap: Palm Springs + Joshua Tree, California

  1. Janice says:

    What a trip!!!
    You are lucky to have a Mom that can travel and include you too.

    The pics are fantastic….nothing like the east coast, huh?


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