LGBTQ Party in Palm Springs
David A Lee

LGBTQ Travel in the Deserts

LGBTQ Travel in the Deserts
Experience a scene that really heats up when the weather starts to cool down

Fabulous pool parties. Stylish bars and impeccably designed hotels. Pampering spas and energetic nightclubs. Lavish events. There’s no question that the Palm Springs region ranks as one of the world’s top destinations for LGBTQ travellers. Whether you’re a couple (with or without kids), or looking for a singles scene, Palm Springs and its neighbouring cities offer memorable experiences—from tranquil retreats to clothing-optional resorts.

The scene really heats up when the weather cools down in late autumn and winter—some estimates put the local LGBTQ population at over 30 per cent during this time. Though June is the traditional month to celebrate LGBTQ Pride, many Pride events take place in November here; the Greater Palm Springs Pride event kicks off the season early in the month with an eye-popping parade and street party, including games and arts-and-crafts activities for kids of all ages. Another family-friendly Pride event is the Desert Hot Springs Pride Festival in mid-November. And come March, nearby Cathedral City has its own, more adult-focused LGBTQ Days event, a free festival held over Easter weekend featuring an opening-night party, a Bed Race through the streets of the city and live musical performances.

The party-filled Dinah Shore Weekend/Palm Springs Women’s Weekend (or just 'The Dinah'), in early April, coincides with the ANA Inspiration LPGA Golf Championship, and is considered the world’s largest lesbian happening. A few weeks later, it’s the guys’ turn, and time for the dancing and pool parties of the Palm Springs White Party, the area’s biggest annual gay event.

In September, cinephiles flock to Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival, which attracts submissions and attendees from around the world. And when it comes to one particular scene, Palm Springs will not be outdone: The Palm Springs Leather Pride weekend in late October has become one of the nation’s largest events of its kind, culminating in the crowning of Mr Leather.

Insider tip: check out the Greater Palm Springs LGBTQ calendar for a complete list of events.

 

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Kodiak Greenwood

Southern California

Discover the Deserts

The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool—the desert region is a sensory feast.

Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.

Death Valley National Park holds the record for hottest temperature ever recorded (129°F/54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing springtime wildflowers. The oasis-like Palm Springs region (2 hours east of L.A. and 3 hours northeast of San Diego) has golf resorts, midcentury modern architecture, and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

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At 282 ft. below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
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Lucas Himovitz

Luxury Resorts in the Desert

Relax at spoil-yourself spas under the desert sun

Pampering just comes with the territory in the California desert. Maybe in the old days, desert visitors had to pack in supplies and sleep on the...

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Trip 3-4 days 10 stops

Route 66 - Mother Road

Legendary Highway, California Dream
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Start your trip in this idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, and feeling more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Car-free options, including a shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport (8 miles/13 km south) make...

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On your way to this park, you’ll pass through the little community of Borrego Springs. Stop in at the town’s visitor center to get driving maps to an astounding collection of enormous prehistoric animals—metal sculptures made by artist Ricardo Breceda—that dot the surrounding desert landscape....

This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.
Mary Austin
A boutique in the California Deserts region
Laura Flippen

Desert Shopping

From boutiques to bargains, vintage to boho-chic, you’ll find it here

In-the-know visitors make sure to come to the Palm Springs area with room in their suitcases. Bargain hunters make a beeline for the town of...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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Kodiak Greenwood

Golf & tennis

Swing clubs and racquets where the pros do in the Coachella Valley

With world-class golf courses set against dramatic desert landscapes and top-quality tennis courts beneath towering palms, two sports get classy...

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Courtesy of Elvis Presley Estate

Mid-Century Modern Design

Swing into Sinatra cool in Palm Springs

Filled with distinctive post-World War II buildings designed by leading architects of the time, Palm Springs is America’s Mid-century Modern mecca...

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The lowest golf course in the world is Furnace Creek in Death Valley, at 214 feet below sea level.
SPECIAL FEATURE
From edgy rock n’ roll to haute couture fashion, there’s a festival for you in the desert

For all of the desert’s natural splendour and outdoor destinations, creativity comes with the territory, too. Throughout the year, the region finds ways to celebrate art, design, music, and film...

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Lucas Himovitz
SPECIAL FEATURE
Vast landscapes, spectacular desert vistas

Both vast and intimate, the California desert is a region that ranges from arid, barren expanses to oasis-like canyons with hidden waterfalls. Towering sand dunes rise above the desert floor,...

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Alex Farnum
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Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

Amboy Crater

Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and located just off historic Route 66, Amboy Crater is an example of geology creating geometry—it’...

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Greater Southwestern Exploration Company/Flickr

Fossil Falls

Rushing river, sculpted black lava

The truth is that the name Fossil Falls is a bit of a misnomer. After all, there are neither fossils nor a waterfall here. But a walk through...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Find beauty, wildlife, and solitude in three of America’s newest national preserves

You could call it a monumental achievement: In February 2016, three new national monuments were created, protecting a combined total of 1.8 million acres of California desert. The names of the...

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Ann Marie Brown