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San Diego / Palm Springs Trip Report

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Rhode Island
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San Diego / Palm Springs Trip Report

Hello All,

This is my first trip report so please be kind. Everyone on this board has always been friendly and helpful and if my report would be useful to someone else then I am glad to contribute.

We have recently returned from a trip to San Diego and Palm Springs the second week of February. We have been to San Diego before but wanted to try to ensure ourselves of a little extra sunshine and a new destination so added in Palm Springs as well.

Flew Southwest from Providence to San Diego without any issue. Arrived in San Diego to Sunshine and 80 +/- degrees. Starting off with exactly what we were looking for to get away from New England in February.

Checked into the Hilton San Diego Resort. I was a little nervous about this as this hotel has many mixed reviews on TripAdvisor but I was using Hilton points so I figured for the price (free) it couldn’t be too bad. We were not in the tower and the room did have a bit of a musty smell but I think it is the curtains because once we opened them and opened the slider door it was fine. It was a bit out of the way and not much other than the walk/bike path in the area that would be walking distance. Probably would not stay there again but we just preferred the LaJolla area and have stayed at the Sea Lodge in the past but unfortunately they were hosting the Davis Cup and were sold out. We did eat several meals at the resort and the service and food were very good.

Our activities for the next two days while in San Diego were Zoo, USS Midway Museum, Embarcadero and Seaport area and La Jolla cove to see the seals. Wanted to go to Point Loma and try to see some whales but never had the time.

On the third day we drove from San Diego to Palm Springs. I was looking to take the scenic route and we drove through Anza Borrego State Park.

Checked into the Pepper Tree Inn in Palm Springs based on good reviews on Trip Advisor. They did not steer me wrong. This was a great little hotel – we had a pool view room with a Jacuzzi tub and a patio. We did not use the patio as it backed up against a main road and was quite noisy. But the pool area was great with a heated saltwater pool and an outside whirlpool. They also had continental breakfast every morning that you could eat either in your room or out in the patio/pool areas.

Since Palm Springs was new to us we squeezed in quite a few activities. First, we did the Aerial Tram which takes you up the mountains into the San Jacinto State Park. Lovely viewpoints at the top and a nature trail that is an easy mile or so loop trail. There are longer trails also but it was very windy that day and quite chilly up in the mountains.

The next day we went to Joshua Tree National Park. I loved it – many photo opportunities and landscapes that we do not see on the east coast. We walked a couple of the trails and really enjoyed the one to Barker Dam which takes you to a little pond area. Although there were others in the park we did feel like we had a lot of the areas to ourselves which I really enjoyed.

On our last day before driving back to San Diego, we went to Tahquitz Canyon and the other Indian Canyons. At Tahquitz we hiked the trail up to the waterfall which was beautiful. We also visited the other Canyons and did some of the short trails at those as well. (Hoping to walk off some of the food that we have eaten over the course of our vacation.)

Speaking of food – we had two excellent meals at Kaiser properties. The first was the Kaiser Grille and the second was their more casual place for BBQ – Crazy Bones. At the Kaiser Grille I had a seafood risotto that was to die for and I could not finish it. Can’t remember what the DH had – a steak I believe but it was wonderful. So for the next night we tried Crazy Bones and had some good BBQ food as well.

Another meal that stands out in my mind was the lunch that we ordered at the Top of the Tram. It was awful – we could not eat it and ended up just eating some cookies and having a late lunch at the Hyatt restaurant (I cannot remember the name but it is outside on Palm Canyon) and we had some good salads.

The other that was recommended by one of the guys at Pepper Tree was Lotsa Mozza – it is a little Italian place that we ate lunch at on our first day after checking in. I had a meatball sandwich and the meatballs are made there and were delicious.

Back to San Diego for the last night before our flight home. We stayed at the Bay Club Marina. It was OK but our room looked out the front right into the car park and the front doors which created quite a bit of noise. I probably would have asked to switch rooms but it was only for one night. The room was a bit tired but clean and, other than the noise, good for our last night. We did eat in their dining room for dinner and had an excellent meal there with a great view out into the marina.

We had a great time and as always vacations just pass too quickly which leaves me looking forward and ready to plan our next vacation but haven’t decided where/when to go just yet.

Thanks again for everyone’s help and I hope this is useful for someone else planning to go to either San Diego or Palm Springs.

winston salem, nc
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1. Re: San Diego / Palm Springs Trip Report

Thanks for your post. I am going to Palm Springs for the first time later in March. I plan to also do the aerial tram and indian canyons, so glad to hear you enjoyed them.

Is the park at the top of the tram a good place for a picnic?

Rhode Island
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2. Re: San Diego / Palm Springs Trip Report


Yes I would say the park is a great place for a picnic. The day we went actually had very high winds but the nature walk takes you down to a very scenic valley below. There are also longer hikes as well but we just did the shorter loop trail. I don't recall picnic benches or anything but I'm sure you could find a great spot.

As far as picnics go - we did bring sandwiches with us to Joshua Tree as there aren't any concessions within the park so if you need food, water, drinks or anything you need to bring it with you.

If you have any other questions that I might be able to help with please post. I got a lot of great info on this board and others that helped make my trip successful.

Enjoy your trip!