Remember when summer meant no school, pool parties, days at the beach, and hanging out with friends? Well it’s time to reclaim your summer break! Grab a few gal pals — or a whole group of friends — and head to Palm Springs this summer.
A playground for Hollywood’s elite as far back as the 1940’s, this retro city has become a party hub and weekend destination for all of SoCal… and it’s not just all about Coachella!
These are Palm Springs must-dos to let loose and reclaim the fun summers of your childhood — pool floats included.
Sure, back in middle school we were sipping on milkshakes instead of mojitos, but that doesn’t make it any less fun, right? Restaurant Week is the perfect time to sample new flavors, taste exciting dishes, and try that food-trend you keep seeing on Insta. (Cheese tea, anyone?) Book a few lunches and a dinner or two and prepare to try something totally unexpected.
Sure, most pool parties are in the day under the sun with throngs of people and thumping music, but sometimes you want something a little new, different, and decidedly more chill. Head to Ace Hotel & Swim Club for their Full Moon Party. Held once a month on the night of the full moon — June 17, July 16, and August 15, respectively — these parties include drum circles, dancers, and card readers on the poolside patio. Here, it’s all about being a free spirit, whether you’re grabbing a drink and taking a dip, or dancing to the beat of your own drum (circle).
With 41 pools, La Quinta Resort and Club defines summer in Palm Springs. Book a room for the weekend and let yourself melt into relaxation. There are lap pools, family pools, kid pools, hidden pools, private pools, and adult-only pools with full bars — basically, it’s a grown up version of a waterpark… with a lot less screaming.
Good music? Check! Pool parties? Check! All the sun you and your buds can possibly handle? Double check! Splash House is kind of like a mini version of Coachella, in water. Grab tickets for August 9th-11th before they sell out, and book a room at one of the pool party hotels so you can literally go from pool to bed in just a few steps.
Want to feel like you’re literally a world away from everyone and everything? Book a weekend at Villa Royale. This small boutique hotel feels like a private retreat complete with heated pool, hidden gardens, and multiple nooks and crannies perfect for lounging away the afternoon with friends. Surrounded by lion statues and idyllic palm trees, the pool looks like something out of a 50’s postcard, and their poolside bar serves up some of the desert’s most colorful summer drinks. Try the house favorite: the Permanent Friends cocktail.
It’s just not summer without a pool party, and Arrive Palm Springs has them all! Resident DJs play every Saturday and Sunday from 11-4pm with (much mellower) sunset acoustic sessions happening at the pool Friday evenings. If parties aren’t your thing, grab some friends and try poolside New Moon Yoga every morning, watch a movie while floating in the warm pool during their Friday night “Dive-In” movies series (happening all year long), or indulge in a scoop of something sweet at the hotel’s in-house ice cream shop! No matter what, you’re winning.
Tap into some serious vacay vibes at Korakia Pensione, a tiny boutique hotel that feels like you’ve flown halfway across the world. You won’t find pool parties or a semi-famous DJ spinning here, but you will find hidden gardens, Moroccan fountains, and antique doors that feel like they’re centuries old. Dine beneath the olive trees and swim in the Mediterranean-style pools and you’ll be reminded what summer is really all about.
Marissa Stempien is a freelance editor and writer who spent childhood summers by the pool or at the beach and still prefers milkshakes to mojitos. With a degree in English Literature and a minor in Asian Studies, she has written on travel, fashion, beauty, technology, culture, and food, and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. Find her on social media at @paperandlights.