November 10 2010 by Julie Drossos
The temperature is dropping and it's the perfect time to getaway to warmer climates. While I personally love places like Mexico and Hawaii for the ocean and beaches and lively atmosphere, more elderly travelers may be more inclined to visit somewhere easier to get to and with more senior-friendly activities. Whether you are older yourself or you are planning a trip for your parents or grandparents, a no-brainer vacation getaway is sunny Palm Springs, California.
The Easy Winter Getaway
Palm Springs is pretty much a guaranteed easy trip. You don't need a lot of time to plan your trip there and you won't find it hard to get there. If you live in Southern California, enjoy a short road trip - Palm Springs is within 2 hours from most major cities in Southern California. If you are further away and will be flying, you'll readily find great deals. Often you can find seat sale fares and major airlines have a large number of direct flights from most cities to this desert paradise throughout the winter months. I've found fares as low as $69 each way. The other nice thing is that while you're escaping to a sunny and warm vacation spot, you are still 1) in the United States and close to reliable medical attention if needed (nothing is worse than needing to go to a hospital in certain parts of Mexico); and 2) it is very close to major cities such as Los Angeles and Anaheim should you need to get more serious medical attention. Speaking of Anaheim, a good friend of mine just killed two birds with one stone on her annual family winter getaway. On one trip she took care of the little ones and the older ones - by doing a family road trip to both Disneyland and Palm Springs in one go. The drive between Disneyland and Palm Springs will take you an easy 2 hours! Read on for a few of my recommendations for Palm Springs. Note that these activities can be enjoyed by any traveler of any age, including senior citizens.
The Fabulous Palm Spring Follies
This entertaining show features energetic seniors in a music, dance and comedy show. The cast is amazing, yes they are older than your average show performer, but the energy of this spectacle will blow you away. The age range of the performers if 50 to 86, and most of them have had careers on Broadway or on national television prior to their stint with Palm Spring Follies. The dance numbers they entertain with will put your own energy and abilities to shame. Lively songs from eras predominantly spanning the 40's to the 60's and glitzy showgirl style costumes will keep you entertained through the entire 3 hour performance. The show will cost you between $50 - $92 per person and both matinee and evening performances are available, click here for the schedule; and here's a short clip that will get you in the mood.
Moorten Botanical Garden
The Moorten Botanical Garden offers views of more than 3,000 varieties of desert cacti, and the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens offer plants and animals. The Moorten family has been running their botanical garden for over 70 years. Many of you are probably thinking - how many botanical gardens can you really enjoy until it gets old? Well I assure you, these gardens are amazing! It's an expansive outdoor desertland with beautiful walking paths with breathtaking cacti, plants, trees and specimens from around the world.
The gardens are open six days a week from 10am to 4pm (closed Wednesdays) and the cost of admission is a steal at only $4 for adults and seniors. The first ever "Cactarium" in the world is located at Moorten. If you are not traveling out of the country and are a plant lover yourself, you can even buy plans from them right onsite.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Be transported on panoramic rotating cable cars on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, dropping you atop San Jacinto Peak. The ten minute ride is scenic and romantic. It takes you from the Valley Station all the way up to the Mountain Station which is at an elevation of over 8,500 ft. As you travel up, the tram car will rotate you around a complete 360 degrees two times, you will be speechless from the panoramic view.
The price of this experience is $23.25 for adults and $21.25 for seniors. Once up top you can enjoy dining over spectacular views at their Peaks Restaurant, Pines Café or their Lookout Lounge. You can also partake in free guided nature hikes, picnicking, views through their telescopes and shopping.
Remember to bring a warm jacket or coat as you're up top a mountain after all! The tram departs at least every half hour starting at 8am on weekends and 10am on weekdays. The last tram up the mountain is at 8pm and the last tram down departs at 9:45pm.
While Palm Springs has many chic high-end boutiques with gorgeous items - such as El Paseo in Palm Desert - the best part of shopping in Palm Springs are the amazing deals! The best two in my opinion (and trust me, I have done some damage there) are the Premium Outlets and the Cabazon Outlets.