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Driving to Palm Springs from LAX

Buffalo, New York
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Driving to Palm Springs from LAX

I am hoping some California folks can help me. We are travelling to Palm Springs/PGA West in September for a 4 day golf tournament my husband is playing in. We are flying from NY to LAX in on a Fri night, arriving at 9:50 PST. We were thinking of staying at LAX and driving to Palm Springs/La Quinta on Sat am, since we have such a late arrival. Then coming back, we leave on a Thurs at 6:30 am, so were thinking we would drive back from LaQuinta on Wed evening and stay near LAX then. Does this make sense, or would there be a better way? Any traffic or travel tips? We have never traveled to California, and I have heard/seen horror stories about the LA traffic. Any advice would be appreciated.

Los Angeles
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1. Re: Driving to Palm Springs from LAX

Basically, LA rush hours are more or less 7-9AM and 4-7PM on weekdays. Traffic can be bad at any time on any route (especially if traffic accidents, etc.) but those are the times most likely to be bad and thus best to avoid. In your case, it shouldn't be too bad driving from the LAX area to PS early in the AM on Saturday - I'd try to leave by 8 or 9AM if possible, traffic tends to pick up later in the day on Saturday. To return to LAX the night before, I'd suggest leaving Palm Springs after 7PM or so.

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2. Re: Driving to Palm Springs from LAX

Unless you anticipate being tired from your flight, I'd probably drive out when you arrive, especially if there is golf on Saturday. It's nicer to be able to have a relaxed morning on the day you play.

Yes, I'd come back Wednesday, but do it at night (say leave at around 6- 7 pm) to avoid traffic.

Manhattan Beach...
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for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
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3. Re: Driving to Palm Springs from LAX

Normally, I'd say to drive out at night on a Friday, so that you would be in the desert when you wake up. However, since you arrive close to 10 PM, still have to shuttle from the airport to get a car rental, this will take more time to get started on the two hour + drive to La Quinta. With the price of their rooms and arrival well after midnight, I'd just get an LAX hotel and drive out in the morning, and enjoy the drive during the daylight.


I like to suggest the Hilton Garden Inn in El Segundo, about a mile south of the airport. Their shuttle will pick you up, and then the next morning, likely drive you over to the car rental, rather than take you back to LAX to get the ride over. Have breakfast out on their patio around the pool before you start your day.


You could also stay here on your return to LAX. For dinner you could drive the several miles south to Manhattan Beach, and choose from 30 restaurants down by the pier or go through some shops. We often check out by noon and are back home in a little over two hours from LQ Resort. You will be driving between the commuter traffic.


Buffalo, New York
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4. Re: Driving to Palm Springs from LAX

Thank you everyone for the great advice. Thinking our best bet is definitely to stay near airport on Friday night, since we get in so late and upon arrival it will feel like around 1 am NY time. Really appreciate all the information!

Palm Springs...
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5. Re: Driving to Palm Springs from LAX

Yes, because you'll be on ET it will feel much later but driving or not depends on how much of a night owl you are. We frequently arrive LAX around 10 or 11 pm and we're on Chicago time so it feels a couple of hours later. But after sitting on a plane for all those hours I need to get out and move around for a bit before going to bed. For me (and this might not apply to you) I would want to get the rental car and head east to at least get out of the LA area so that my drive the next morning will be easier and shorter. There are many Motel 6s along I-10 from Pomona to San Bernardino. When I've had enough driving I stop.

As for your return, yes stay at LAX the night before. I ALWAYS use Priceline for a hotel at LAX. (Recommended by TA posters years ago and very wise advice.) I have always found a 4 star room for about $70+tax (and by ditching the rental car you won't have to pay for parking). They all have shuttles to get you to the airport the next morning.

6. Re: Driving to Palm Springs from LAX

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