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A Great Weekend Getaway

Looking for a short vacation that’s fun for the kids? I found a place that’s just far enough away from home to count as a vacation, and very kid-friendly.

The Rancho Las Palmas resort in Palm Springs has a mini-waterpark at the hotel. They have a lazy river, two 100-foot long slides, a little beach area and a main pool, and there are plenty of lifeguards. The adults think the golf course is for them, but kids know that the ponds are home to frogs, tadpoles and ducks.

Rancho Las Palmas Lazy River

Rancho Las Palmas Lazy River

The water park area is open 10-6 every day, with slightly longer hours on holiday weekends. The pool is open until 10 pm, and on some weekend nights they pull a screen out to show a kids movie poolside. They serve food and drink at the pool. The food is really good, and although it’s a little pricey it’s worth it for a vacation luxury.

The gift shop by the pool sells all kinds of pool and water toys, and they can be used at the resort. I saw kids with squirt guns, float toys and more. Of course it’s less expensive if you buy them at Target before you go.

If you arrive before check in time, they’ll give you wristbands so you can use the pool and waterpark before checkin. If you have more than four in your family, you know that hotels usually don’t allow more than four in a regular size hotel room, but I had no trouble getting five wristbands.

We got a room facing the golf course for $150 a night during labor day weekend. Rooms facing the pool area were more expensive. There is an additional $25 per day resort fee.

Palm Springs is only about a 1 ½ hour drive from Orange County. Having your car means that you can bring your own food or stop at the grocery store if you like, so you don’t have to eat three meals a day at restaurants. There are many reasonably priced restaurants nearby, including IHOP and Hometown Buffet. And for you Starbucks addicts, there is a Starbucks in the hotel.

If you want to venture out of the hotel, there are a few other kid-friendly things to do in Palm Springs. The Aerial Tramway takes you from the desert floor to the mountain in about 10 minutes. The ride itself is beautiful and fun. When you get to the top you can go hiking, or just visit the giftshop and restaurant. In the winter, they rent snowshoes and cross-country ski equipment.

The Palm Springs Air Museum has a wonderful display of historic aircraft. Many of the docents are retired military or family of military. They give tours of a couple of the larger craft.

If you’re trying to sneak in a few days of family fun, I highly recommend a short trip to Palm Springs. It’s something the kids will remember!