From Sinatra and Elvis to today's Hollywood A-listers, show biz folk have long favored sunny Palm Springs, California, as a desert escape from the glare of megawatt superstardom. Just a few hours' drive east of LAX, or a flight into Palm Springs International Airport, you'll arrive in a resort town where, contrary to popular belief, you won't need a movie star's bankroll to have a blast.
Sure spa treatments and golf greens fees can run north of $150, yet a mere $20 grants you access to one of the state's most beguiling desert playgrounds: nearby Joshua Tree National Park, located a short one-hour car ride away from Palm Springs.
You'll have a ton of family vacation fun in sunny Palm Springs. From kid-friendly activities to art gallery hopping, it's all here under the Coachella Valley sun.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Ride the world's largest rotating aerial tramway, whisking you from the desert floor to near the top of piney San Jacinto Peak in 10 minutes. Walk the web of mountain hiking trails (in winter you can rent snowshoes and cross-country skis), snap selfies at the scenic overlooks, then grab a bite at the Mountain Station building, which houses a restaurant, cafe and a lounge that boast sweeping views of the starkly beautiful valley. Money saving tip: After 4 p.m., the Ride 'n' Dine package gets you a tram ticket and dinner at the cafeteria-style Pines Cafe for $36 for those ages 13 and up and $23.50 for children ages 3 to 12.