When winter comes around once again, some travelers are inevitably drawn to the ski slopes of places where snowfall is abundant and you can count on temperatures to plummet. Others crave year-round sunshine and access to summer fun opportunities, even in December. If you find that you’re the type of adventurer who falls into the latter category, there’s no better place to find yourself this winter than scenic Palm Desert, California! Year-round, Palm Desert offers up an oasis of adventure for those who find their vacation mind most easily when there’s plenty of sun, sand, and surf involved. During the wintertime, there’s something exceptionally appealing about a place that’s warm, welcoming, and brimming over with sunny views to enjoy. Located in the heart of the greater Palm Springs region, Palm Desert has transitioned seamlessly over time from a sandy cove at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains into a mecca of entertainment, recreation, and upscale shopping too. For those who love to get out and explore the great outdoors, Palm Desert in the winter offers up plenty of space, nature trails, blooming flowers, and mountains to enjoy. For visitors who are excited to shop and dine their way through a stay, Palm Desert provides a luxurious and savory side that’s hard to resist! There’s truly something for everyone who heads this way and when a winter trip is calling your name, consider this your ultimate winter holiday vacation guide to a Palm Desert stay you won’t soon forget.
What You Can Expect Weather-Wise During Your Stay
Feel free to leave that winter park far behind when you’re packing your bags and getting ready to make it a winter journey to Palm Desert, California. Here, the cooler season is considered the timeframe between November 20 and February 27. During this time, the average daily high lingers somewhere around an inviting 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Even in the middle of December, daily highs reach nearly 70 degrees and the lowest it gets in the evening hours is around 50 degrees. This makes for an extremely comfortable experience whether you’re focused on daytime fun, nighttime adventures, or a little bit of both. Yes, you might want to pack some layers for the evening hours or time out on the trails in the early morning—but overall, you’ll find Palm Desert offers up near-perfect winter-weather conditions to enjoy.
Family-Friendly Activities to Add to Your Winter Itinerary
A holiday away to Palm Desert in the wintertime is a treat for travelers from near and far. A fantastic addition to any itinerary this time of year is a holiday performance or two and the good news is, you’ll have plenty of performance venue options within reach when you make travel plans for a Palm Desert stay. Begin your search for great seasonal performances at the local McCallum Theatre. This state-of-the-art performance venue is proud to welcome world-class entertainers year-round including Broadway acts that are sure to inspire! The Acrisure Arena is another great option when you’re excited to expand your itinerary with top performances this winter. This destination is known for hosting amazing music festivals year-round and just opened to the public in December of 2022. This means prime access to world-class amenities and plenty of space to enjoy a show no matter when you book tickets. In total, the venue can host upward of 11,000 guests at a time and alternates between concerts, conventions and sporting events depending on the season.
While you won’t find snow and ice in Palm Desert during a winter holiday away, that doesn’t mean you have to leave winter activities off the list entirely if you’re craving some more traditional seasonal fun. Just make your way to the Berger Foundation Iceplex and enjoy some time open ice skating with family and friends during their public skate sessions. This 250-seat NHL ice rink is a fantastic place to hit the ice in style. It’s open from 6:00 am until 11:30 pm most days of the week and sprawls across an impressive 36,000 square feet of space.
If you’re traveling to Palm Desert this winter with little ones in tow and you’re looking for an unforgettable holiday adventure, be sure to spend some time together at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens. Located at 47900 Portola Avenue, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a fan-favorite stop for locals and visitors alike with good reason. Ranked one of the top zoos in the country, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is open daily from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm and is home to an incredible array of animals from across the country and globe! Here, you can explore areas like the African Savanna to the Wild Americas and get up close to the amazing creatures that call those regions home. From giraffes and jaguars to the Mexican wolf and more, the encounters you’re sure to experience are truly inspiring. The newest addition to the zoo is the Australian Adventures section where you’ll see everything from tawny-frog mouths to singing kookaburras and wallabies. Beyond the incredible creatures, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens hosts 50 immersive gardens for guests to explore that represent the terrain of North America and Mexico alike. There are nature trails that run through the gardens and an interactive Discovery Center you won’t want to miss out on as well.
Explore the Great Outdoors in Winter Style
For the winter holiday adventurers with their sights on Palm Desert, there’s no shortage of options for outdoor fun and exploration! If you’re the type of traveler who simply can’t wait to lace up their boots and hit the trails, winter in Palm Desert does not disappoint. Make sure to start things off on the beloved Bump and Grind Trail. This route offers up a 1,000-foot elevation gain that comes with the reward of breathtaking panoramic terrain views at the top. The access point for this trail is conveniently located in-town by Target making for easy parking options as well. Another great local route to consider adding to your winter itinerary is the Randall Henderson Trail up the hill on Highway 74 off El Paseo. It’s just four miles from town and provides stunning views as well as a vantage point over the iconic Palm Desert sign! Vista Point is yet another alternative which is perfect for a sunrise hike. Heading to Palm Desert in the wintertime also puts you within easy reach of trails that run throughout the Greater Palm Springs area. In fact, there are over 100 hiking trails to choose from when you expand your horizons in this direction. Thanks to the fact that Palm Desert enjoys more than 300 days of sun on average annually, you won’t typically have to worry about rain infringing on your winter hiking plans. A few of the top hiking destinations to check out when you’re willing to go beyond Palm Desert parameters including the Indian Canyons trails where you can find waterfalls, amazing sunset overlooks, and incredible wildlife as well.
When you’d prefer to ride your way to outdoor and backroad fun during your winter away in Palm Desert, be sure to team up with the team at Desert Adventures to book a one-of-a-kind Red Jeep Tour. Headquartered at 74794 Lennon Place Suite B, Desert Adventures is always happy to help guests book an exciting journey through the desert on roads less traveled in the wintertime. These tours take you on a fascinating tour through stunning desert ecosystems as well as nearby Joshua Tree National Park. Friendly and knowledgeable guides will provide in-depth overviews of the area’s history, terrain, wildlife, and more. You’ll learn about local plants, animals, cultures, and seasonal species that make a journey this way so inspiring!
Seasonal Events to Enjoy
While a winter journey to Palm Desert is a chance to make the most of summer-style fun, that doesn’t mean that holiday experiences are left off the to-do list. In fact, Palm Desert is known for its many holiday festivities and events that are sure to have you embracing the best of the holiday spirit in no time at all. For example, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is proud to host an annual Wild Lights event which has been thrilling visitors and locals alike for over three decades. This holiday event sees the gardens and zoo turned into a wonderland of lights complete with luminescent animals, plants, and beyond. There are chats with animal keepers, special holiday guests, and nightly entertainment to look forward to with the purchase of a Wild Lights ticket. It’s also a great place to get a photo that could just be your best Christmas card yet!
Beyond the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, there are more holiday light-focused fun events for visitors to experience this time of year. The Magic of Lights event provides a dazzling drive-through holiday light experience for guests where you can view illuminated holiday scenes and characters right from the comfort of your vehicle. In nearby Indian Wells, Winterfest is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy seasonal activities with the entire family from December 1 through January 4. Indio hosts the International Tamale Festival this time of year which puts a savory twist on your Palm Desert winter getaway while the Palm Springs International Film Festival comes to town in January and brings celebrities, filmmakers, and movie enthusiasts along with it!
Great Eateries to Savor After Shopping in Style
For many travelers heading to Palm Desert for winter holiday fun, nothing sounds more enjoyable than time spent savoring the moment and shopping until their heart’s content. Palm Desert has you covered on this front at every turn! You won’t have to look any further than time enjoyed in the El Paseo Shopping District to satisfy your craving for some well-deserved retail therapy during your winter stay. This beautiful and inviting tree-lined boulevard is a great place to explore upscale stores and boutiques that are surrounded by inspiring public art pieces too. In total, the El Paseo Shopping District boasts upward of 250 stops to check out where you can find everything from home goods and jewelry to apparel and more. The district also houses spas and sensational on-site dining options ranging from local cuisine to fare inspired by far-flung destinations alike. Additionally, there are destinations here where you can sign up for cooking demonstrations or classes when you’re looking to incorporate a new skillset into your winter stay.
Nearby Destinations to Explore This Winter
Palm Desert is a destination packed with amazing opportunities for enhancing your winter fun when you journey this way over the holidays. That said, a visit here is also a chance to explore even more as Palm Desert is seamlessly integrated into a region made up of nine local towns. When you’re excited to go beyond the local parameters, you’ll be within easy reach of Palm Springs where you can make the most of stunning Coachella Valley views, a vibrant downtown scene, upscale eateries, and incredibly inspiring architecture with celebrity history interwoven too! Cathedral City is another great stop to check out while you’re in town that’s situated between Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. Cathedral City is home to the Big League Dreams Sports Park as well as an impressive IMAX theatre when you’re looking to elevate your entertainment experience during a winter stay. Indio is yet another must-visit destination near Palm Desert. If you’re feeling lucky, head this way to spend some quality time at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
Book Your Palm Desert Journey through TRAVLR Today
Enjoying a getaway to scenic Palm Desert is always the right choice and no matter when you arrive, the team at TRAVLR is here to make sure you have luxurious accommodations in place to top off your getaway in style. We hope you enjoyed reading our palm desert winter holiday vacation guide. Reach out today to learn more about our incredible vacation rental options available including our winter and holiday rentals that are sure to elevate your journey to the next level of excellence with ease. We’re happy to handle the details while you focus on the fun ahead and can’t wait to see you in Palm Desert soon! Contact us today!