Cool Summer Activities in Palm Springs
When temperatures soar in the desert our favorite place to take shelter from the swelter is under the misters on a luxe lounge chair in the Descanso courtyard, preferably sans swimsuit. But if you’re in the mood to explore the world beyond our gardens, here are some cool activities for hot summer days.
Hitch a Ride on the Tram or to Idyllwild
Dramatically cooler temps can be found at higher elevations just outside of town. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway travels 2-1/2 miles along the beautiful cliffs of Chino Canyon from the Valley Station (elevation 2,643 ft) to the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 ft). Temperatures at the top of the tramway are usually 30-40 degrees cooler than on the desert floor, and the scenery and views are absolutely stunning. Enjoy observation decks, a natural history museum, an upscale cliffside restaurant, cafeteria, and lounge, plus over 50 miles of hiking trails in Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Getting there is an easy 15-minute drive from Descanso and the Tram is open every day of the week with extended evening hours in summer.
If you’re up for a little excursion, the scenic 80-minute drive to the charming town of “mile high” Idyllwild is a favorite day trip for both locals and visitors alike. The drive itself is gorgeous, winding past spectacular vista points as you climb from the desert floor and reach deep into the San Jacinto Mountains. Once you arrive in Idyllwild you’ll find an artsy village with galleries, antique stores, restaurants and other surprises like wine and coffee tastings. Or bring your hiking shoes and explore the quiet, forested wilderness area high above the Coachella Valley. Temperatures in Idyllwild are usually 10-20 degrees cooler Palm Springs, so it’s almost always a cool getaway on hot summer days.
Chillax at the Camelot
Head downtown and duck into the a/c at an old-school movie house and catch a film or a world-class film festival. Part of the Palm Springs Cultural Center, Camelot Theatres is a classic 3-screen movie house specializing in first-run art, foreign, and independent films. In June the Camelot hosts the annual Palm Springs International ShortFest, a qualifying event for the Academy Awards with in-person screenings and filmmaker forums June 21-27. Even if you miss ShortFest, the Camelot is always a great escape on a scorching afternoon.
Make a Splash at a Pool Party
Splash House is Palm Spring’s biggest summer pool party, attracting the Coachella crowd to multiple resorts over three different weekends in June and August. Big name DJs spin pulsing house and disco from poolside stages noon until sundown, and the raucous dance party continues into the evening on the tarmac of the Palm Springs Air Museum. Pool passes and After Hours passes are available at https://splashhouse.com/. June 11-12, August 13-14, August 20-21, 2022.
If you’re lucky enough to be in town over the July 4th weekend, the hottest spot in town to cool off is at Western Xposure’s Dadfest. This free-flowing event for daddies, bears, and the men that admire them features non-stop pool parties, BBQs, and great music all holiday weekend long at the CCBC Resort. Day and Weekend passes are available at the door or online. July 1-4, 2022.
Of course you can always create your own private pool party at Desanso. We won’t tell!