Airlines that service the Palm Springs International Airport, 3400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way (tel. 800/433-7300 or 760/318-3800), include Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/426-0333; www.alaskaair.com), Allegiant Air (tel. 702/505-8888; www.allegiantair.com), American (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com), Delta and Delta Connection (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com), Horizon Air (tel. 800/547-9308; www.horizonair.com), Sun Country Airlines (tel. 800/359-6786; seasonal), United Airlines (tel. 800/241-6522; www.united.com), US Airways (tel. 800/428-4322; www.usairways.com), and WestJet (tel. 800/538-5696; www.westjet.com). Flights from Los Angeles take about 40 minutes.
If you're driving from Los Angeles, take I-10 east to the Hwy. 111 turnoff to Palm Springs. You'll breeze into town on North Palm Canyon Drive, the main thoroughfare. The trip from downtown L.A. takes 2 hours if traffic is light. If you're driving from San Diego, take I-15 north to I-215 and pick up I-10 east; it takes a bit more than 2 hours.
Be sure to pick up Palm Springs Life magazine's free monthly, Desert Guide. It contains copious visitor information, including a comprehensive calendar of events. Copies are distributed in hotels and newsstands and by the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention & Visitors Authority, 70-100 Hwy. 111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 (tel. 800/967-3767 or 760/770-9000). The bureau's office staff can help with maps, brochures, and advice Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm. They also operate a website (www.palmspringsusa.com).
The Palm Springs Visitors Information Center, 777 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262 (tel. 800/34-SPRINGS [347-7746] or 760/778-8418; www.palm-springs.org), offers maps, brochures, advice, souvenirs, and a free hotel reservation service. The office is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and Sunday from 8am to 4pm.
An offshoot of the local newspaper the Desert Sun, www.thedesertsun.com, has information for locals and visitors.
The commercial downtown area of Palm Springs stretches about half a mile along North Palm Canyon Drive between Alejo and Ramon streets. The street is one-way southbound through the heart of town, but its northbound counterpart is Indian Canyon Drive, 1 block east. The mountains lie west and south, while the rest of Palm Springs is laid out in a grid to the southeast. Palm Canyon forks into South Palm Canyon (leading to the Indian Canyons) and East Palm Canyon (the continuation of Hwy. 111), traversing the towns of Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and La Quinta before looping up to rejoin I-10 at Indio. Desert Hot Springs is north of Palm Springs, straight up Gene Autry Trail. Tahquitz Canyon Way creates North Palm Canyon's primary intersection, tracking a straight line between the airport and the heart of town.
Gay & Lesbian Life in Palm Springs
The Palm Springs area is among America's top destinations for gay and lesbian travelers. Real estate agents cater to gay shoppers for vacation properties, and year-round condo communities are also marketed toward gay residents. Advertisements for these and scores of other gay-owned businesses can be found in the Bottom Line, 312 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (tel. 760/323-0552; www.psbottomline.com), the desert's free biweekly magazine of articles, events, and community guides for the gay reader, which is available at hotels, at newsstands, and from select merchants. The Palm Springs Visitor and Hotel Information Center publishes an Official Gay & Lesbian Visitors Guide. Obtain it and additional information at their office at 2901 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (tel. 800/347-7746 or 760/778-8418; www.palm-springs.org).
In March, the Desert AIDS Walk benefits the Desert AIDS Project, while one of the world's largest organized gathering of lesbians -- the Dinah Shore Weekend (tel. 888/92DINAH [923-4624]; www.clubskirts.com) -- coincides with the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship (www.kncgolf.com) in March. Greater Palm Springs Pride occurs the first weekend in November, with a parade and 2-day cultural fair (tel. 760/416-8711; www.pspride.org).
Palm Springs has more than two dozen gay hotels, many concentrated on Warm Sands Drive south of Ramon. Known simply as "Warm Sands," this area is home to many of the private resorts -- mostly discreet, gated inns, many of them clothing optional. Try the East Canyon Hotel & Spa, 288 E. Camino Monte Vista, a 15-unit luxurious hotel with a pool and an in-house spa that caters to the male guest. Clothing is not optional. Rates are $139 to $359, including breakfast buffet (tel. 877/324-6835 or 760/320-1928; www.eastcanyonps.com). Casitas Laquita, 450 E. Palm Canyon Dr. (tel. 877/203-3410 or 760/416-9999; www.casitaslaquita.com), is one of two all-women resorts in town. Rates are $155 to $250.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.