Things to Do With Kids in Palm Springs, California

Parents and kids can get their creative juices flowing at the Palm Springs Art Museum
Parents and kids can get their creative juices flowing at the Palm Springs Art Museum | © Richard Cummins / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Elena Alston
17 July 2020

Palm Springs provides the backdrop to many a ’60s Hollywood movie – and don’t mention Coachella. But it’s not all spring breaks and pool parties. It’s also an unlikely family-friendly destination, packed with cultural treasures and kid-approved adventures. Culture Trip’s local insiders share their tips.

Palm Springs Air Museum

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One of the best aviation museums in the world, the Palm Springs Air Museum allows visitors to climb inside the exhibits (aircraft), talk to pilots (some are veterans who used to fly the planes) and even enjoy biplane rides. The museum’s library also has a massive volume of first-person aviation accounts from World War II. Plus, in summer, children up to age 12 enter for free (kids five and under get in free year-round). Recommended by local insider Jennifer Weil

Brandini Toffee Factory Tour

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In 2006, in an attempt to earn money for a school trip to Italy, two teenagers handcrafted a batch of gourmet almond toffee, which they sold to raise money – and then kept on selling. Today, Brandini Toffee is a thriving family-run business, and its factory in Rancho Mirage offers visitors an all-comprehensive tour for just $5. The toffee samples – particularly the almond bites – are melt-in-your-mouth good. Recommended by local insider Jennifer Weil

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Amusement Park
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It’s the world’s largest rotating tramcar and takes visitors 8,000ft (2,438m) high over the cliffs of Chino Canyon and into Mount San Jacinto State Park. Picturesque views of the rocky, pine-dotted valley below make for some picture-perfect opportunities, and at the top, visitors are met with two restaurants, hiking trails, a theater and a gift shop. It’s a top attraction, so make sure you buy tickets in advance or go early in the morning to beat the crowds. Recommended by local insider Jennifer Weil

Palm Springs Art Museum

Art Gallery, Museum
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Founded in 1938 and located in Coachella Valley, the Palm Springs Art Museum offers visitors a massive array of art exhibitions, including 3,000 sculptures, paintings and prints, as well as 2,000 fine art photographs. The museum also features a sculpture garden, kid-friendly activities and a craft area. Recommended by local insider Lauren Malestic

Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours

Natural Feature
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The best way to see Coachella Valley and the Palm Springs desert is by taking to it on wheels. These famous red Jeeps are open-backed, allowing passengers to soak up the sights and listen to local tour guides as they swoop through the area, explaining its past. Recommended by local insider Lauren Malestic

Smoke Tree Stables

Natural Feature
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Riding a horse through the desert? You can’t get more cowboy than that. Smoke Tree Stables gives riders of all ages the chance to take in the Palm Springs scenery on the saddle. Smoke Tree also offers several packages that include picnics, barbecues and fun events. Recommended by local insider Lauren Malestic

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