A Vacation From Our Vacation: A Palm Desert Re-Cap

It’s no secret that we live our everyday lives in sunny San Diego, a vacation destination by all accounts. But, no matter where you call home, a change of scenery once in a while from where you work and do laundry is a must. Even when we were stationed at Pearl Harbor, we island-hopped to Kauai for a weekend for the same reason. Because even though we have beautiful beaches at our doorstep, we still have a schedule to keep and a house to clean. A couple of days away from that is rejuvenating. Everyone knows that. Oh, and I’m talking about a kid-free getaway. Because taking kids with us would make this a family trip, not a vacation. A small, but important, clarification.

Clint and I initially talked about visiting Texas for a few days, specifically to Waco to say hello to Chip and Jo-Jo and sample the cupcakes at the Silos. We’ve all seen our friends on social media posting pictures in front of Magnolia, right? But, flights and a rental car plus a hotel seemed excessive, so we chose an alternative destination much closer to home: Palm Desert.


Folks stationed at Camp Pendleton and the greater San Diego area, did you know a desert oasis lies in such close proximity to us? Maybe best known in recent years for Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Festival, I would avoid this area in April unless you want to join the throngs of concert-goers.

There is one main drag that runs from Palm Springs to Indio, about a 30-minute drive in total. Along the way, and every few blocks, you’ll notice signs that welcome you to Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and La Quinta. You really can’t go wrong in choosing a hotel or resort in any of these towns. There are choices for every price range. And, in case you forgot sunscreen or running shoes, Target and a Westfield shopping mall are in the area.

The summer months can bring average temperature in the 100’s, but with air conditioning and a hotel pool, you may not mind the scorching heat and could actually score a screaming deal (or so I’ve heard). Fall, winter and spring are almost guaranteed to provide you with temps in the 70-90’s with little to no rain. It’s the perfect climate for spending the day on the golf course, of which there are many.

Happy Hour at The Fix on El Paseo

If shopping and lunch are on your itinerary, you’ll want to head straight to El Paseo, in the heart of Palm Desert, where you could easily spend several hours strolling through shops. You could venture into The Fix during “attitude adjustment hours” or stick with the well-known chain, California Pizza Kitchen, for my favorite, Thai chicken pizza.

For the adventurous or those who simply want to “earn their beer,” numerous hikes can be found in the greater Palm Springs area. A popular and local favorite is the Palm Desert Cross hike, a 3-mile roundtrip trek.

If that sounds altogether too ambitious, I’m with you.

During our 2-day getaway, we lazed by the hotel pool, ordering tropical drinks and debating whether to get dressed up and go out for dinner or check out the on-site restaurant.

Big decisions, I’m telling you.

On a recommendation from a friend, we stayed at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa. And midweek in October? We had the place to ourselves. I’m guessing it was before the holiday crowds arrive and after the summer rush. The resort offered three on-site dining options: a pizza place, sushi bar/cocktail lounge and a modern American restaurant serving steak and seafood. Included in our stay was complimentary bicycle usage for exploring the town and golf bag storage, and we didn’t take advantage of either.

And if you do decide to bring the kiddos, don’t miss The Living Desert, which is essentially a zoo, but offers camel rides and the opportunity to feed a giraffe. Guaranteed Instagram-worthy moments.

We returned from our getaway in time to pick the kids up from school and jump right in to afterschool activities. With a little planning and childcare coordination, you can hop on over the mountains and experience life in the desert. The change of scenery from San Diego will serve you well and, like me, you might realize that booking a flight is unnecessary when all you want is to “get away from it all” for a few days.

As always, check with ITT or Latitudes on base to inquire about travel deals before you book a trip. You can be sure that wasn’t our last jaunt to the desert!

Maybe next time we’ll break out the golf bag or hiking shoes.


The Lava Flow will have to be pried from my hands first.


1 Comment

  1. Kiesha black on November 6, 2018 at 5:54 am

    Really enjoyed this! These areas seem like hidden gems, I am ready to pack and up and go for a visit.