Palm Springs, California, USA (House Rental)

Beautiful Waterfall Pool in the backyard of rented house.

Now I know for Californians suggesting Palm Springs Rancho or its nearby municipal neighbours Palm Desert/Rancho Mirage as a family vacation destination of choice may be odd but hear me out on this.  The reasons that many would avoid Palm Springs are the very same reasons that we are endeared to it.  

If you are looking for family-fun-in-a-can then you definitely won’t find what you are looking for here and indeed this entire web site will leave you wanting.  We rented a 3 bedroom house from Palm Springs Vacation Connection, specifically a house they call “Fleur”.  This was a well put equipped comprehensive almost upscale rental property.  Everything you needed, and I mean everything, was there.  The pool is small but with wee ones in tow we considered this a blessing.  What is more, the pool has a small shallow ledge for the smaller kids that can’t swim to play in.  It also has waterfalls that provide a great deal of entertainment for the kids.

We are from Canada and while many of our friends have pools, we do not.  Traveling to Palm Springs, located in the southern Californian desert with reliable weather, and renting an exceptionally easy to use house with a pool is a treat in and of itself.  We had a 6 month old baby and were looking for a fenced backyard with a small pool and weather we could trust.  This was a match! 

Many will equate Palm Springs with the playground of the brat pack of the 70’s and their crazy parties.  But the Palm Springs of today is not this.  It is littered with wellness companies, plastic surgery clinics and rehab centres for those bad boy/girl stars and well-healed from nearby Los Angeles.  Admittedly, this is not a selling point but it does say that it’s certainly not touristy.  It’s proximity to LA means that there is a lot of money invested here and it keeps the look and feel of the area as affluent and well to do.  There are a few luxury hotels here and there along with some expansive resorts but in general this is a place where people come to retreat to their owned properties versus visit hotels or rentals.

The local grocery stores are expensive as it is the desert.  However the selection of fresh produce, meat, gourmet cheeses and fish at places like Bristol Farms are to die for.  And yes, the irony of finding some of the nicest fish we have ever bbq’d in the middle of the desert is not lost on me.

The weather is hot, hot, hot.  You can rely on a good day 9 days out of 10 in the spring and it laid the foundation of a daily  vacation regimen.  For the most part we had what we call the 'groundhog day vacation.’  Everyday is similar if not a complete duplicate of the day before.  We would wake up, eat breakfast, swim, snack, nap, lunch, swim, nap, dinner sleep.  Wake again the next day and repeat.  Grocery shopping was expensive and we considered it an outing, almost entertainment when we took our son.  Everyone would pick a treat and contribute ideas for meals.  Then we would return to our rental that we affectionately called “Base Camp Fleur.”  

The rental was in the middle of a neighbourhood and was a short drive to El Paseo, a luxury shopping district with accompanying restaurants.  We often strolled through the stores and would have a snack with the kids at one of the mucky muck restaurants.  But in general we stayed at Base Camp Fleur and stuck with our groudhog day regimen.

To some this vacation will sound nauseatingly boring.  But most parents with small children (5 and under) would say that any vacation where you can get into a rhythm where everyone’s needs are for the most part being met is a lovely thing indeed.  What Palm Springs offers is the ability to keep it simple and to find the rhythm for your own groundhog day.  There are no competing interests as to what you’ll be doing that day (should we visit that attraction or this water park or this museum…?) and I liked that.  We jokingly say that the biggest competition was for the pool noodles!  I think that sums it up!

© Paul-Sarah 2013