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Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

New York City, New...
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Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

We will be in SD in late March with two kids, ages 7 and 6. We're staying at the Hotel Del for four nights and then were supposed to head up to LA for a couple of nights. We just found out we don't have to be in LA until a day later than we thought so are considering driving to Joshua Tree/Palm Springs for that extra night. We're fine with the 2.5 hour drive from SD to PS (it would be a weekday, if that matters) and then another 2.5 hours from PS to LA if there are things to do/see in Palm Springs/Joshua Tree that would be fun/entertaining for the kids. None of us has ever been and we thought it might be nice to add some desert time into the trip. Any advice? Is it worth it for 24 hours or should we find something else to do?

San Diego
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1. Re: Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

Palm Springs is closer than Joshua Tree.

You could stay in Palm Springs and take the aerial tram that goes from the desert floor up to the pine woods on the mountain top.

IF you don't want to do that you can walk in the Indian Canyons.

You can also take a desert jeep tour.

Going to Joshua Tree would make the trip longer and for a first visit and "taste" of the desert I'd just stay in Palm Springs and experience that.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

I agree with going to Palm Springs.

…uptake.com/california/…44159973.html

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3. Re: Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

My friend lives just north of San Diego and we've done Palm Springs a few times and Joshua Tree National Park. Her boys are now fully grown but we took them up the aerial tram in Palm Springs when they were small and they loved it.

Joshua Tree National Park is beautiful but unless your kids really like hiking then there probably isn't much else for them there.

Encinitas...
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4. Re: Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

Joshua Tree is a daytrip by itself, and is about an hour past Palm Springs.

With the time you have the tram/ indian canyons would be a good combination.

In the morning hike up Murray Canyon thru the streams and palm groves to the waterfalls.

Then head over to the tram and go up the mountain.

www.pstramway.com

www.indian-canyons.com

As an alternate the Living Desert is great for kids. Try to get in on the giraffe feedings in the morning if you go.

www.livingdesert.org

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

Thanks to everyone for your advice. It was very helpful.

La Jolla, California
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6. Re: Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

<<Joshua Tree National Park is beautiful but unless your kids really like hiking then there probably isn't much else for them there.>>

I respectfully disagree. From personal experience, I know that children ages 7 and 6 would absolutely love the rock scrambling that is abundant there. Yes, there are great hiking trails, but many people go to JTree for the rock climbing and the rock scrambling. Their hiking is incidental as they are getting to their specific climbing destinations. It is a world renowned climbing area, and you will find many climbers from Australia, Japan, Germany, Argentina, and other countries there.

But you don't even have to hike to be able to do some scrambing. Drive through the park and find one of the camping areas that has tons of beginner rock scrambling opportunities.

Oceanside...
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7. Re: Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

If you want to get a feel for the desert, another possibility is to check out Borrego Springs (about 2 hours east of SD - maybe make it a day trip from SD). In my opinion, there's more actual desert to enjoy and hasn't been completely overtaken with Indian casino's or hundreds of country clubs which to me is what the Palm Springs area has become. The Anza-Borrego State Park is next to Borrego Springs and has a Visitor center to check out.

8. Re: Side trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree -- worthwhile?

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