There’s just one. Palm Springs International Airport
(PSP). It’s small, easy to navigate and user-friendly, with 16 gates, served by 10 airlines that connect to hundreds of cities worldwide; and non-stop service from 10 major U.S. and Canadian hubs. You’ll find four food outlets, four shops (including an official PGA Tour shop), and even a nine-hole golf course, for that one last round. Locals sometimes fly out of Ontario or LAX, Los Angeles International Airport
. Ontario International Airport
(ONT) is an hour away by car and a bit longer by shared-ride van. LAX is at the least two hours by car, and other transit options are limited. Not a good idea, unless you’re visiting L.A. first.
Many of Palm Springs’ hotels have complimentary shuttles that run to and from the airport.
This is Southern California, so come on—driving is the way of life. If you’re already visiting Southern California, rent a car or convince local friends to drive you. From greater L.A., it’s a straight shot east on Interstate 10, a/k/a the San Bernardino Freeway. You’ll be there in two hours. From San Diego, it’s a bit more complicated, but also two hours. Take the 805 Freeway north to the 15 Freeway north; then bear right onto the 215 Freeway north to the 60 Freeway east, which becomes Interstate 10 east. You’ll be in Palm Springs before you know it!
Long-distance bus line Greyhound
serves Palm Springs, but few visitors travel this way—even though Connie Stevens rode the bus from L.A. to Palm Springs in the 1963 hit movie “Palm Springs Weekend.” The Greyhound depot is in Downtown Palm Springs, within walking distance of several hotels.
Again, cars rule in SoCal. But Palm Springs has options. The Sun Bus
is a clean, efficient public system that’s tailored for tourists as well as locals. It circles around Downtown and Uptown Palm Springs, and runs the length of the Coachella Valley along Highway 111 through: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and farther into the desert. It’s great if you’re going a few blocks in Palm Springs. But for longer jaunts, say to Indian Wells or La Quinta, not so much. The routing is good for sightseeing to these cities—bus stops are near some of the places you’d want to visit, like Palm Desert’s El Paseo or Shields Date Gardens in Indio. But, by car, you can be in Palm Desert in 15 minutes from Palm Springs. By bus, it may take an hour to Palm Desert, and longer to Indio. The fare averages $1 between destinations. So weigh your options.
It’s the California way. So, go all out. Rent a convertible—preferably red—for a sunny, top-down Palm Springs vacation. You’ll find the major car rental companies at the airport. The driving is easy, for the most part. Just about everything is off Palm Canyon Drive, and to get to the other cities, Palm Canyon Drive conveniently turns into Highway 111, which runs straight to all except Desert Hot Springs—it’s across the I-10, just a straight shot down Palm Drive.
Palm Springs has a good supply of taxi companies. Fares average $2.80 per mile; so from the airport into downtown runs about $12. If you’re late-nighting it out in Rancho Mirage, at say the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, the fare back to The Parker resort in South Palm Springs will be around $27 to $30.