Palm Springs with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

Palm Springs with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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Trying to plan perfect family vacations in Palm Springs, Calif. can be a bit intimidating. Fear not, as this oasis in the desert has plenty of adventures and activities from which to choose. Follow the suggested family vacation ideas below for a perfect day in Palm Springs with tweens and fill your scrapbook with memories that will last a lifetime.


A burger for breakfast? Your tweens will be thrilled at the thought of biting into a juicy beef patty topped with cheese, Canadian bacon, and a fried egg all sandwiched between a toasty bun. If, however, your kids are into more traditional breakfast fare they will have plenty to choose from at Ruby's Diner. This kid-friendly, 50s-style diner offers an extensive breakfast menu with items including omelets, eggs with ham, bacon or scrambled with corned beef hash (a favorite of ours), pancakes, waffles, eggs Benedict, or the cinnamon roll French toast (a kid's favorite). For those watching their weight or who want to eat healthier, they have several items on their "lighter" menu.

The atmosphere is really fun and the servers are very friendly. Ruby's is located right downtown, so grab a seat outside on the patio and do some people-watching.

Ruby's Diner, 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760.406.7829. The diner opens at 7AM daily.

One of the best things to do in Palm Springs with tweens is a tour of the desert on a horse. Visit Smoke Tree Stables and sign up for a one- or two-hour guided trail ride. Let one of their knowledgeable guides take you and your family on a journey through the Indian canyons. Along the way, learn some history of the local area, see an abundance of wildlife, ride past streams and palm trees and enjoy the tranquil, beautiful surroundings the desert has to offer.

The staff here is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about horses, and will teach you and your kids all you need to know to enjoy a safe and fun ride. They do a great job fitting your abilities to the perfect horse. A horse-riding tour may turn your trip to Palm Springs into your best family vacation ever.

Smoke Tree Stables, 2500 Toledo Avenue, Palm Springs, 760.327.1372. Trail rides are for ages 7 and above. No reservations required. One hour rides leave every hour starting at 8AM and cost $50 p/p, and two hour rides leave every few hours starting at 8AM and are $90 p/p. Call the stables beforehand to check ride times since they may not take horses out in extreme heat.


After an adventurous morning, it's time for some lunch. Try the California Pizza Kitchen, located in downtown Palm Springs. This is the place to go for unusual yet tasty pizza flavors. Try the pesto chicken, tostada and our favorite - Thai chicken. Don't worry - they serve standard flavors as well, like the meat cravers or pepperoni.

If you are not in the mood for pizza, you will find an abundance of other fare like salads, pastas, soup and sandwiches. CPK also offers a great kids menu for ages 10 and under. Let your tweens choose from items including chicken, salads, pasta and of course, pizza (let them try the honey chicken)!

California Pizza Kitchen, 123 N. Palm Canyon Drive, #117, Palm Springs, 760.322.6075. CPK opens at 11AM daily.

No family vacation in Palm Springs with tweens would be complete without a visit to the famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, one of the largest rotating tramways in the world. Your tweens' eyes will be fixed on the large windows as the cars whisk them up the sheer face of the San Jacinto Mountains to an elevation of 2,643 feet.

While at the top, you can take a mountain hike or play in the snow. The temperature at the top of the mountain is considerably cooler than that of the desert, so make sure you bring a jacket. If it's cold, get your kids some hot chocolate from the Pine's Cafe located atop the mountain and take in the mountain views and the views of the desert valley below.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, One Tram Way, Palm Springs, 760.325.1449. Ticket prices are $23.25 for adults, $16.25 for ages 3-12 and $21.25 for seniors. Tickets may be purchased online. The tram opens at 10AM Monday-Friday and 8AM Saturday, Sunday and holidays.

Time to take a break from the outdoor adventure (and the heat) and take in an air- conditioned movie. Let your kids pick the flick from one of several theaters located within Palm Springs and the surrounding communities. Check out the Desert IMAX theatre in Cathedral City (68510 East Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City, 760.324.7333), with a large screen and stadium seating. They also play shorter family films as well as blockbuster new releases.

Also try the Cinemark Century 12 Theaters at the River Mall in Rancho Mirage (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, 760.862.9997). This theater is modern and clean with friendly staff and a beautiful park-like location at the River Mall. Take time out after the movie and stroll through the mall. It's not one of the most original family vacation ideas, but it's usually very popular with tweens!


If your kids happen to be messy eaters, they will feel right at home chowing down on some barbecue at the stylish, Babe's Bar-B-Que Grill, located at the River Mall in Rancho Mirage. Order up some delicious barbecue off of their extensive menu, including tri-tip, pork chops, baby back ribs (yummy!) or chicken. They offer three different flavors of sauce, so make sure you try them all. You can also order salads, burgers, steaks and even pizza. For exceptional sides, try the sweet potato fries and iron skillet cornbread.

Babe's Bar-B-Que Grill, 71800 Historic Hwy 111, Rancho Mirage, 760.346.8738.

To top off your perfect vacation day in Palm Springs with tweens, have some fun at Boomers Family Fun Center. Go wild as you challenge your kids to a go kart race, play some miniature golf, get a little wet on the bumper boats or watch your kids climb the rock wall. There is also a state-of-art arcade for hours of game play.

67-700 E. Palm Canyon Drive, 760.770.7522. Boomers is open Mon-Thu noon-9PM, Fri noon-10PM, Sat 10AM-10PM, Sun 10AM-9PM. Check their website for prices and discounts. Kids under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
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