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The 3 Hottest Family Resorts in Palm Springs

See why Palm Springs is one of the hottest family vacation spots in the country
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No longer just a playground for Hollywood elite, Palm Springs CA is a desert oasis that is quickly becoming one of the most popular family vacation spots in the US.

Why, you ask?

First, Palm Springs has this quirky, fun, vibrant and laid-back culture that you really can’t find anywhere else. Families also really love that there are tons of unique places to eat, shop, play, and explore.

It also doesn’t hurt that Palm Springs has sunny weather pretty much all year-round!

Graph of annual Palm Springs weather

Another main draw for families with kids is that there are so many family-friendly resorts in the Palm Springs area with accommodations and amenities tailored for children including kids clubs, water parks, and special activities such as learning to swim like a real mermaid – full-sized tail and all! (Keep reading to find out which resort has a “Mermaid University”).

But there is also plenty for adults to do as well. There are dozens of hotel spas and it would literally take you 4 months to play a round of golf at every course in Palm Springs.

However with so many hotels to choose from, the most difficult part about vacationing here may be choosing which family hotel in Palm Springs would be the best fit for your family.

And that is why we wrote this article.

This guide will help you book the perfect hotel by narrowing the field to the 3 best kid-friendly resorts near Palm Springs.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. FIND OUT MORE IN MY DISCLAIMER

Vintage Palm Springs photos and post cards
Click here to read a blurb about Palm Springs history

First, a little bit of history. For history lovers like me…

Palm Springs is located about a hundred miles east of Los Angeles and 125 miles north of San Diego, making it a historically popular vacation destination for families all across Southern California and beyond.

Palm Springs is well known for its iconic architectural style described as mid-century (1950s/60s era) “desert” modern. In fact, some have argued that Palm Springs was the original inspiration for the suburban style of housing we see today strewn across Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Think open floor plans, air conditioning, backyard pools and tall windows inviting sunshine into the home. We have the original canvass of Palm Springs to thank for this quintessentially laid-back SoCal style.

Luckily, Palm Springs has stayed pretty true to its roots over the years, and visitors can still experience a modern version of this vintage style. The area around downtown Palm Springs has many original buildings and hotels that date back almost a hundred years, for example Viceroy Palm Springs (est. 1930’s, now called Avalon Hotel Palm Springs), and Colonial House (est. 1936, now called Colony Palms Hotel), among many others including La Quinta Hotel (est. 1927, now called La Quinta Resort and Club) in nearby city of La Quinta.

Desert Air Hotel in Rancho Mirage circa 1950s
Desert Air Hotel circa 1950s

Also nearby in Rancho Mirage (12 miles south of downtown), there are several larger resorts that cater specifically to families on vacation with popular  golf courses, huge pools and water parks, kid-friendly activities and basically everything you need all in one place.

Though not as old as some places in downtown Palm Springs, many of these resorts have their own interesting history that reaches back to the 1950s. For example, Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa (Spoiler alert: our pick for the top family hotel in Palm Springs) is on the site of the former Hollywood celebrity-laden Desert Air Hotel (above), which allowed visitors to fly their own planes onto its landing strip and park right next to the hotel while advertising activities in 1952 such as swimming, tennis, horse riding, polo, dancing, golfing, chuckwagon breakfasts, and a vibrant bar and cocktail scene.

Wow, count us in!

1. Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa

41000 Bob Hope Drive | Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 | 760.568.2727

EDITOR’S CHOICE: Top Family Resort in Palm Springs

Bottom Line

Located in the heart of Rancho Mirage, Omni Rancho Las Palmas is a beautiful 240-acre paradise for families looking for an exquisite vacation experience in Palm Springs, CA. It has plenty to do for adults including a 27-hole golf course, tennis courts, fitness center, spa and boutique, but also has crafts, special activities, and a playful pool area for the kids. There are 444 well-appointed guest rooms including several suites for larger families, as well as 5 on-site restaurants.

See lots more pictures of the property HERE

Why your kids will LOVE it:

Kids will fall in love with the Splashtopia water park that includes a 450-foot lazy river, 2-acre water playground, Cliffside jacuzzi, and two speedy 100 ft waterslides. If that doesn’t keep them busy, Omni Rancho Las Palmas also has plenty of specialized events and activities for kids such as arts and crafts sessions, interactive games by the pool, life-sized games like Connect Four and Jenga, and Mermaid University where children can take classes with instructor named Mermaid Mera to learn and practice swimming with a full-size mermaid tail (which can be purchased at the Las Palmas Boutique).

See list of quick facts

Location

  • Neighborhood-Rancho Mirage
  • Close to area attractions– Yes
  • Close to airport- 10 miles away
  • Shuttle service available- No
  • Close to public transportation- No. Use Yellow Cab of the Desert or Uber.
  • Free parking- No, there is a $10 per night overnight parking fee included in resort fee.  Complimentary Valet is provided.

Accommodations

  • Family suites- Do have larger suites, not family specific
  • Adjoining rooms- Yes
  • Rollaways available- Yes
  • Cribs and/or pack and plays available- Yes, complimentary cribs.
  • Fridge in room- Yes

Amenities

  • Onsite restaurants and bars- Yes several
  • Pools- Yes there are 3 pools
  • Kids’ Club- Yes
  • Kids’ activities- Yes

Restaurants

On-site restaurants:

  • Blue Ember features a beautiful dining room and patio complete with a fire-pit. Pop in for breakfast, lunch and dinner to dine on an innovative menu of California New American cuisine while taking the breathing views of the surrounding mountains and fairways. Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail, cigar or small bite in the lounge during happy hour from 4:00-6:00pm. There is also live entertainment Wednesday through Saturday.
  • Palms Café is casual quick-service place to grab a coffee and a snack in the morning or between activities. They also offer fresh sandwiches and salads, and frozen treats for the kids.
  • Splash Grill is a poolside restaurant to enjoy lunch outdoors, serving salads, wraps, burgers, kids’ meals and other items from the grill. You can grab a beer or a tropical cocktail while the kids take a break from the pool.

On-site bars:

  • R Bar is a great place to relax and watch sports or mingle with craft cocktails, craft beers, and wine to meet your hearts delight. It has a chic sports bar vibe to it and it even has happy hour from 4:00-6:00pm. Count us in!

Nearby restaurants:

There are lots of family favorites nearby at the River Mall within just 5-10 minutes walking distance including:

  • Cheesecake Factory
  • Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse
  • Yard House
  • PF Changs
  • Wally Desert Turtle steakhouse

Activities

Pool:

There are 3 different pool areas on-site including:

  • Splashtopia, the family-friendly water park and play zone that has various fun water features/sprinklers, sandy beach, lazy river and water slides.
  • The Azure pool is adults only and is a more elegant and peaceful pool for parents or couples wanting to just escape the noise and relax.
  • The Spa pool is exclusive for spa guests which has nice mountain views and tranquil underwater music in a romantic and serene setting.

Kid’s activities:

  • Funtopia provides daytime family entertainment in Splashtopia with life-size Jenga, Checkers and Connect Four games.
  • Kidtopia is a nighttime kids-only camp experience from 6-10pm where supervised campers interact, make crafts, play games and make friends, which also includes a camp dinner experience.
  • Poolside games occur during the afternoon in Splashtopia including balloon toss, races and fun competitions.
  • Various arts and crafts opportunities with kid-oriented resort staff.
  • Mermaid University allows children to wear a mermaid tail and learn how to swim with it from an engaging teacher that also plays fun games.

Adult activities:

  • Golf on three distinct 9-hole courses designed by Ted Robinson with lakes, challenging bunkers and (of course!) palm trees lining the pristine fairways.
  • Shopping in Las Palmas Boutique off the lobby for unique gift items, swimwear and jewelry, or at Spa Boutique for designer beauty products. There are also swim, golf and tennis shops for sport specific gear if you need it.
  • The Spa offers a large variety of over 50 treatments such as massages, body wraps, or pedi/manicures including healing experiences from aromas, essential oils, native plants and extracts.
  • The Tennis facility is regarded as one of the best in the USA and has 24 courts including 8 courts that are lit to allow night time play.

See more photos and information HERE

Location

Neighborhood overview:

The Rancho Mirage area is a ritzy, upscale enclave between Palm Desert to the south and Palm Springs/Cathedral City to the north. It is best known for its superlative golf courses and tennis courts as well as a number of fine dining establishments and luxury resorts. With the recent addition of a 1,000 seat outdoor amphitheater to the remodeled community park, there are a host of events occurring throughout the year to add excitement to any travelers itinerary.

Transportation:

Omni does not have a shuttle service, but they do work with Yellow Cab of the Desert and Cardiff Limousine for your transportation needs. Honestly though, I suggest just using Uber for getting around the area. If you are driving your own, then getting around Palm Desert is a breeze.

Nearby family attractions:

  • The McCallum Theater is a performing arts center 2 miles away from the resort. The venue consistently ranks in the top 10 worldwide, acquiring praise from both performers and visitors alike, making it a great choice to catch a show while in town.
  • Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is located just a little over 3 miles from Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. As if the kids don’t have enough to do at the resort already, the Children’s Discovery Museum makes for a fun and educational outing with over 50 interactive exhibits to explore.
  • The Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Gardens is a great opportunity to learn about the Sonoran Desert life. Only 4 miles from the Omni, the Living Desert Zoo is aimed at desert conservation by preserving a portion the Colorado Desert in its natural state while helping populations of endangered desert plants and animals flourish.
  • Agua Caliente Casino is great for a little mommy daddy fun just 5 miles away. Now, if you didn’t bring a mommy helper with you on the trip, no worries. Agua Caliente is also a resort and means there are things to do besides gamble, making it suitable for families. It is great place to grab a meal or some live entertainment.
  • Big League Dreams Sports Park is perfect for the sports fan in your life. Located just over 6 miles in nearby Cathedral City, is a chance to feel what is like to be in big leagues. You can pop over to catch a little league game, take an awesome photo shoot with the kids, or dine at the Stadium Club restaurant.
  • There are frequent annual festivals in the area such as Coachella, Stagecoach Palm Desert Food &Wine and the BNP Paribas Open.

Check rates and availability HERE

2. JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa

74855 Country Club Dr | Palm Desert, CA 92260 | 760.341.2211

Bottom Line

Located in Rancho Mirage, JW Marriott Desert Springs is a luxury resort with 2 championship golf courses and tons of amenities that families will love. The grounds are impeccably managed, there are beautiful waterways with gondolas, lovely golf course views around every corner, and interestingly, there is a signature island with vibrant pink flamingos. The rooms here will also blow you away, with marble bathrooms, plush silky bedding, and balconies that give you breathtaking views of Palm Desert.

See lots more pictures of the property HERE

Why your kids will LOVE it:

The kids will enjoy swimming in any of the 5 pools, playing miniature golf, taking a boat ride around the resort, or engaging in daily activities on the East Front Lawn like water balloon toss, bounce house, lawn games, or arts & crafts. The whole family will appreciate the variety of on-site restaurants and lounges, outdoor fire pits, and upscale ambiance of this beautiful resort.

See list of quick facts

Location

  • Neighborhood-Palm Desert
  • Close to area attractions–  Yes
  • Close to airport- 12 miles away
  • Shuttle service available- No
  • Close to public transportation- No
  • Free parking- No, $25 daily fee is included in resort fee. Valet is $34 daily.

Accommodations

  • Family suites- No. 2 Queens available.
  • Adjoining rooms- Yes
  • Rollaways available- Yes for $25 daily
  • Cribs and/or pack and plays available- Yes
  • Fridge in room- Yes

Amenities

  • Onsite restaurants and bars- Yes several
  • Pools- Yes
  • Kids’ Club- No
  • Kids’ activities- Yes
  • Babysitting services- Yes

Activities

Pool:

The Springs Outdoor Pool is the resort’s huge family pool nestled among the lake and golf course.

Spa outdoor salt-water pool is located at the spa and included in your spa treatment price.

Kid’s activities:

  • On-site indoor/outdoor boat cruises is a great family activity as the glide on the water taking in the lush views of the property and surrounding desert.
  • Miniature golf
  • Flamingo Island is a little spot of the property pretty pink flamingos call home and kids will have seeing them

Adult activities:

  • Golf is a must when staying at the JW. On the property there are two championship golf courses designed by Ted Robinson.
  • The Spa is enormous and world-class with 48 treatment rooms, salon, yoga studio, and much more!
  • The Tennis facility is also world-class and includes courts in all three surfaces: hard, grass, and clay.
  • Shopping at various on-site boutique shops including a floral shop, men’s Tommy Bahama inspired shop, lobby shop, golf shop, tennis shop, and spa shop.

See more photos and information HERE

Restaurants

On-site restaurants:

  • Rockwood Grill – upscale classic American-style food
  • Fisherman’s Landing – award-winning fresh seafood with a patio that has a view of the golf course and nearby mountains.
  • Mikado – Japanese-style steak house with hibachi grills and knife spinning chefs.
  • Oasis – Casual poolside bar and grill

On-site bars:

  • Blue Star Lounge – This gorgeous lounge is a nice place to grab a cold beer, wine or cocktail in the high-roofed atrium or outdoors at the fire pits on the terrace.

Nearby restaurants:

There are lots of family favorites nearby at the River Mall, which is just 4 miles away and a 5-10 minute drive:

  • Cheesecake Factory
  • Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse
  • Yard House
  • PF Changs
  • Wally Desert Turtle steakhouse

Location

Neighborhood overview:

The Palm Desert area is surrounded by Golf courses and ritzy resorts. JW Marriott is just 4 miles from Rancho Mirage and 15 miles (about 30 mins) from downtown Palm Springs with it’s unique shops, restaurants, galleries, and night life.

Transportation:

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa does not have a shuttle service, but you should have no problem hailing a taxi cab or Uber ride from the resort to the many local attractions.

Nearby family attractions:

  • McCallum Theater
  • Children’s Discovery Museum
  • Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Gardens
  • Agua Caliente Casino
  • Big League Dreams Sports Park

See more photos and information HERE

3. Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa

71333 Dinah Shore Drive | Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 | 760.328.5955

Bottom Line

This Mediterranean-style resort in Rancho Mirage makes for a great weekend escape for the whole family and is definitely one of the top kid-friendly resorts near Palm Springs. The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa is set on 360 acres with two championship Troon golf courses, three pools, a spa and fitness studio, several onsite dining options, family programs and kid activities. Plus, you can even bring your fur babies along for the trip as the resort is pet-friendly too! With 512 spacious guest rooms and suites, families will have no problem settling in and getting comfortable.

See lots more pictures of the property HERE

Why your kids will LOVE it:

Your kids will love all the activities and wildlife that are offered at the Westin Mission Hills. All throughout the property kids can visit the various creatures that live on the property and even take photos or catch a live feeding. There is a special kids club offering tons of activities and crafts for the kids as well as an arcade room. The best part is the Las Brisas pool with its 75-foot waterslide!

See list of quick facts

Location

  • Neighborhood-Rancho Mirage
  • Close to area attractions– Yes
  • Close to airport- 6 miles away
  • Shuttle service available- No
  • Close to public transportation- No. Use Yellow Cab of the Desert or Uber.
  • Free parking-  Yes. Valet fee is $4 hourly.

Accommodations

  • Family suites- No
  • Adjoining rooms- Yes
  • Rollaways available- No
  • Cribs and/or pack and plays available- Yes
  • Fridge in room- Yes

Amenities

  • Onsite restaurants and bars- Yes several
  • Pools- Yes there are 3 pools
  • Kids’ Club- Yes
  • Kids’ activities- Yes

Activities

Pool:

  • Las Brisas Pool is the largest pool on the property and great for families. Kids will love the 75-foot waterslide and the many poolside activities while parents can enjoy Cabana rentals, two spas and pool attendants.
  • Las Hadas Pool is the adult only pool featuring a spa and bar.
  • La Paloma Pool is the smaller and more peaceful pool, great for just taking a soak. Cabanas rentals and bar are available.

Kid’s activities:

  • Westin Habitats & Resort Animals are located throughout the resort with signs providing additional information about each animal. The resort encourage photo ops which makes for some fun exploring for the little ones. Starting at the lobby you will find the Westin Terrarium which is home to a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Then take a second to take a closer look at the ponds around the resort house colorful koi, Red-Eared Slider turtles, and huge catfish. Kids will enjoy catching feeding times daily at 11:00 am. Then head over to Scooter’s Den is where you can meet the resort’s two African Spurred Tortoises, Scooter and Shelley with daily feeding at 10:30 am. Next door to Scooter’s Den, meet Billy and Bella Flemish Giant Rabbits. The Westin even has a Bee Apiary with tours offered October through April. Keep your eye peeled, because all around the resort is a variety of Resident Birds such as Mallard ducks, Canadian geese, Hummingbirds, swans named Dolly and Bert and the Night Heron named George.
  • The Oasis Den & Hideaway is a fun lounge area filled with arcade games and more. This is definitely a place the whole family will love.  
  • Twilight Golf is an experience for the whole family. After 3:00 pm, kids play golf with complimentary Callaway club rental with a paying adult.
  • Family Movie Night is held in the Oasis Den on Friday & Saturday nights. You find featured movies on events calendar.
  • Westin Family: Kids Club Discovery Room & Kids’ Night Out is a space dedicated to the kids. Join the Director of Fun daily to play and learn with a variety of activities, movies, music, computers, crafts and more. The Discovery room is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm with extended evening hours on the weekends. Sessions cost $15 per hour or $125 for a full day including breakfast and lunch.
  • The Fun Zone is where kids can have fun making arts and crafts like pottery painting, sand art, balloon animals and more.
  • Bicycle Rentals are offered on the property for an hourly rate. Families can enjoy riding the Nirve Beach Cruisers around the resort or around Rancho Mirage.

Adult activities:

  • The Spa at Westin Mission Hills is where adults can renew and relax while the kids are having fun in the Discovery room. Treats available at the spa include, but are not limited to body wraps, facials manicures and pedicures, massages, therapy baths, yoga and men’s services. Everything you need to feel refreshed.
  • Westin WORKOUT is a fully equipped gym facility, open every day all day. There is no fitness classes offered, but you will find cardio equipment as well as strength training machines and free weights. You must be 16 years or older to enter. If you like to get outside, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings are organized group runs.
  • Golf is huge in Palm Springs, so it no surprise that golf would be a major activity at the Westin. In fact, the Westin is home to two championship golf courses, the Gary Player Signature Course and the Pete Dye Resort Course. GOLF Magazine even named the Gary Player the best golf course in Palm Springs!
  • Tennis at the Westin is kind of a big deal with their courts being named one of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts in the World by Tennis Resorts Online. There is even a full-service Tennis Pro Shop with everything you need to get in the game.

See more photos and information HERE

Restaurants

On-site restaurants:

  • Pinzimini is the Westin’s signature Italian restaurant.  Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this Tuscan-inspired restaurant features an open kitchen to great an exciting atmosphere along with delicious Italian favorites like pasta, pizza and Panini. Pinzimini also has a bar offering great drinks and appetizers.
  • Seasons Grill serves fresh and seasonal California cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This bright and casual dining option is overlooks the Paradise Pool and features a full bar and great wine list!
  • Chefs Secret Window is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. It is a little spot to grab healthy bowls or entrees on the go. You can take your food with you or sit down to enjoy it by the Chef’s Garden.
  • Las Brisas Snack Shop is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Located poolside, this café and bar features casual fare, like fresh salads, sandwiche, burgers, hotdogs and more as well as refreshing cocktails and smoothies.
  • Mission Hills Market Café is great if you just want something light and on the go. Here you will find Starbucks coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches. There even daily chef specialties.

On-site bars:

  • Fireside Lounge is located on the 18th hole of the Pete Dye Golf Course. Open for dinner only, this casual space is great for taking in the desert views while enjoying traditional American favorites, tapas and cocktails. There is even a Patio Pooch Menu for those relaxing with their four legged friends.
  • Las Hadas Pool Bar is located at the adult-only pool. This bar includes full bar-service, light fare and live entertainment on the weekends.

Nearby restaurants:

If you want to venture outside the resort, there are many options for great eats. Burgers & Beer is located right by the resort and is very highly rated. They are known for their ice-cold beer, high-quality food and fun atmosphere. If you are in the mood for Mexican cuisine Maracas Mexican Cantina & Grill is a great option. Locals love it, there is patio seating, and there is a bar with all-day happy hour. What could be happier!?

Location

Neighborhood overview:

The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa is located in Rancho Mirage, only about 9 miles from all the activities in downtown Palm Springs. The resort is surrounded by golf courses, and is right around the corner from the Children’s Discovery Museum.

Transportation:

Westin Mission Hills does not have a shuttle service, but you should have no problem hailing a taxi cab or Uber ride from the resort to the many local attractions.

Nearby family attractions:

  • McCallum Theater
  • Children’s Discovery Museum
  • Living Desert Zoo & Botanical Gardens
  • Agua Caliente Casino
  • Big League Dreams Sports Park

Check rates and availability HERE

That’s a Wrap!

As SoCal natives, we absolutely love visiting the Palm Springs area. There is a good reason why so many families from around the world visit Palm Springs every year, and it isn’t just for the golf courses! Here we highlighted what we believe are the 3 best kid-friendly resorts near Palm Springs, and you really can’t go wrong choosing any of these three family resorts in Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. Also, before you plan your next visit, be sure to check out our ultimate guide for things to do in Palm Springs with kids.

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The 3 Hottest family resorts near Palm Springs that are beyond kid-friendly

Author

I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

4 Comments

  1. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve been to Palm Springs and I can’t wait to return with the kids. Pinning this for future reference!

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