Palm Springs Stories and Tips

Driving from San Diego to Palm Springs

Palm Springs Photo, Palm Springs, California

A word to the wise: Palm Springs is not as remote as you might think it is. My newly wedded husband and I flew from our wedding in Vegas to San Diego thinking that it would make our trip to Palm Springs more easily drivable. I learned later that our assumption was wrong. Not only is the drive from Vegas to Palm Spring a mere three hours, but the drive from San Diego to Palm Springs is only an hour less but a lot more difficult to navigate.

For some reason when we were arranging our honeymoon, California looked much bigger than it actually is and we thought the only way to get places was to fly. I forgot that Vegas is a weekend trip away from most of southern California. Oops; chalk my poor route-planning up to a west-coast rookie mistake.

Mistakes aside, the drive from San Diego to Palm Springs was quite adventurous. It started out calm enough; long stretches of road in the "high desert" terrain of southern California. Interesting rock formations, some scattered ranches, not much plant-life, and various signs confirming town populations below 500 people, all characterized the first hour of our route.

Many stretches on our route were marked with "rock slide" warnings and instructions to drive with your headlights on at all times. The road was a bit narrow and had several sharp turns, but for the most part felt easily passable during the daylight hours until we reached the final leg.

The last twenty miles before Palm Springs were the most interesting. The rocky desert terrain gave way to rocky mountain formations. Before long we were descending the peaks on a windy road with very little in the way of guard rails. Believe me, this was not an experience for those scared of heights (or their husband’s driving). By the time we got down the mountain I felt physically sick from the dizzy heights and car’s jerky movements.

There are a couple nice vista points along the route that are worth stopping at for pictures. My husband hates stopping the car, but the vista points also were good at breaking up our trip and relieving my motion-sickness. A couple of nice shots for the scrapbook and we were on our way again.

Once in the valley, the desert seemed to bloom all at once and give way to the well-manicured oasis that is Palm Springs. The gorgeous flowers and inviting palm trees were welcome sights at the end of our mostly barren road trip. Rich fuchsia and bright green are the dominant colors in Palm Springs landscaping designs and are just beautiful against the backdrop of bright blue sky. I knew we had arrived at our lovely honeymoon destination from the instant we crossed the city-limits.

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