If you follow me on Instagram (which you should be doing) you might have noticed that last week my feed was overflowing with amazing vacation photos. My husband and I got away for spring break on our first vacation without kids in seven (yep, 7) years. It was amazing! I’m not going to write you an epic novel here, but I wanted to hit the highlights in one spot.
If you have never been to Palm Springs, CA you aren’t alone. Before last week I’d never been there either. To be honest I wasn’t even really sure where it was at in California. So before we get any further let me show you a map. Palm Springs is about 2 hours east of LA, 4 hours southwest of Las Vegas and 3 hours north of Mexico. It’s located in the Coachella Valley right smack in the middle of the desert.
So, now you know more than I did before I boarded a plane and headed south! I did a little research before we left, you know things to do, places to see and of course foods to eat! However, there is no better way to learn about a place than asking the people who actually live there. So as soon as we checked in to our hotel we asked the front desk staff where they eat and what they think are the can’t miss spots. We headed up to our room with a list of restaurants to try and sights to see. Before I get any further I have to tell you about the place we stayed because it was absolutely perfect! Now I’ll tell you that I don’t thrive on room service and swanky hotels, in fact my must have list is pretty short. I need a clean room, a cool pool (or two) and easy access to all the things. The Aqua Soleil Hotel had all of those things and then some.
First off the grounds are amazing. They are impeccably maintained, feature a wide variety of palms, shrubs and desert flowers and are host to not one, not two, but THREE pools! The pools are all filled with natural mineral water from, you know, below the earth, and are kept three different temperatures. The large pool is a refreshing 88*, the outdoor hot tub is a cozy 102* and the hot tub inside the cabana, 104*. Seriously, something for everyone! They also have an on site Kafe which features cold drinks on the weekdays and a full menu on the weekends.
We were also lucky enough to be provided with an amazing Mazda3 for our trip. That bad boy was better than perfect! It was super sporty, with cold A/C, amazing gas milage, easy to use navigation and XM radio! I think that the car might have been one of my husbands favorite parts about our vacation. He keeps trying to convince me that we need another car at home! I definitely recommend getting a car while you are here in Palm Springs, because it’s really hot (did I mention it’s in the desert) and even though we were close to a lot of things, we definitely needed it to get to some of the sights we wanted to see.
Speaking of sights. One of the things I wanted to do while we were here was take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up into the the San Jacinto Mountains. The tram car features an amazing rotating floor so there really is no bad view! We rode up the 8500 feet to the top of the mountain in less than 15 minutes.
We knew there were a lot of trails to hike, however we didn’t really think the whole thing through and we were both in flip flops. Oops! It’s okay we still managed to hike the 1.5 mile scenic Desert View Trail no problem. The trail has five different notches (viewpoints) and they each had a different breathtaking view. Everything from the Coachella Valley to the Mountains there was literally not a bad view anywhere!
After all that hiking we were both hungry and thirsty (p.s. don’t forget a water bottle like we did) so we grabbed a drink while we waited for the next tram down and plotted our lunch stop. While we were driving up the mountain to the tramway station I had spotted a small little sign on the side of the road that said Browns BBQ & Soul Food. Needless to say I was intrigued. So I
insisted suggested that we stop by there for lunch. The restaurant itself is pretty easy to miss, but I promise you’ll regret it if you don’t stop. The menu is simple, but everything on it is made with love and done to perfection. I know this because we got pretty much everything there was to offer. I had the catfish, my husband ordered the oxtail and between us we got one of all the sides! Baked beans, collard greens, mac & cheese, and corn bread. I was really sad he was out of the yams, but he made up for it with his banana pudding. Mmmmm…just thinking about it makes me want to go back!
By the time we were done eating, and I had rolled to my car the temperature had arrived at and then headed over 100 degrees. So we grabbed drinks at the local casino, because they had some sweet air conditioning, then came back to the hotel and took an evening dip in the pools. Later, much, much later, I had my first Del Taco experience with Carne Asada fries. Nothing to call home about, but delicious all the same. Okay folks, I promised you I wouldn’t write a novel, but I’ve pretty much done just that and I’ve only covered one day of our trip!! Come back tomorrow to find out what we did on our second day…teaser…Village Fest!