Palm Springs + the California Desert

Looking to escape the Michigan snow, I traveled to Palm Springs, CA with one of my close friends. We spent the first few days at a rental house and then the last couple of days at the Ace Hotel, relaxing by the pool.

California Desert Cactus
Ace Hotel Palm Springs
Palm Springs Ace Hotel

We rented a car and spent our first day in Huntington Beach, walking on the boardwalk, and enjoying the ocean, and then later that evening driving south to San Diego.

Surfers in Huntington Beach
California Coast

The next day we road tripped through the desert and visited Salvation Mountain, the Salton Sea, and Joshua Tree National Park. We relaxed that night in a natural hot spring under the stars! I wish we could have spent more time at Joshua Tree, because it was the most amazing place, and so huge! We only explored a tiny section of the park before the sun started going down. It’s now a life goal to go back there and camp/explore the rest of the park.

Salvation Mountain
Salvation Mountain Sign
California Salvation Mountain
Salton Sea
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Sunset at Joshua Tree

The next few days were spent eating good food, shopping, and walking through the town of Palm Springs. Some of our favorite restaurants were Thai Smile and The Sandwich Spot. In between eating, drinking, and laying by the pool, we also managed to ride 8500 feet up a mountain on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Palm Springs Aerial Tram

We also spent some time laying by the pool with drinks, relaxing!

Pool at Ace Hotel
Ace Hotel in Palm Springs
Ace Hotel Room Number
Palm Springs

Overall, it was my favorite vacation I’ve ever taken. Maybe it’s because the desert is my favorite or the architecture in Palm Springs, or the fact that there were dogs everywhere. I’m already plotting when I can go back again!


Ace Hotel
701 E. Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA

The Details

Salvation Mountain
Just east of the Salton Sea and about a hour and a half from Palm Springs

Joshua Tree National Park
45 minutes from Palm Springs

Month Traveled
Vacation Type
Traveler Type


  1. jenn stark Avatar

    ahhhhh i love these from amanda! i’m dreaming of going now. i especially love the one with the waves and the two kids, serious beauty. x

  2. […] Road tripping through the California desert. […]

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