The weather is sunny and warm during the day, and crisp and clear in the evenings—you may even need a light jacket at night. The snowbirds are out in force, happy to be away from their wintry homes, and everyone is enjoying the good life. You will find the waits longer at popular attractions, and you’ll need to call ahead for restaurant reservations. This is the season with the most special events and the fewest deals on hotels.
So what if the thermometer hits 114—the pools are cool and the air conditioning is ON. This is the best time for bargain rates, even at the most luxe resorts. Explore the inside attractions like museums and galleries, go to the movies, go shopping (most all the shops are open year-round now) and especially ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of Mount San Jacinto, where it’s always 30 degrees cooler. Take sunrise hikes, early Jeep and Hummer tours, schedule your golf game to be over by 11AM, and always, always, always take water everywhere you go.
There’s some confusion among the locals about just when, and if, there is a “shoulder season.” The consensus is it begins in June, although if summer heat kicks in, the town goes straight into off-season through Memorial Day. September - December used to be another shoulder season, sparking lower rates. But the popularity of the desert and cooler temps in the 80s and maybe 90s seem to be shaving this to September-October. In late-October, the snowbirds start returning. Then the holidays arrive and things are booming.