Palm Springs: I Love You

The idea of roasting in 95-degree California sand without an ocean in sight may not sound like the ideal vacation to your average ‘mo, but there’s a mysterious force lurking in the deep, dry and sculpted desert that just keeps pulliin’ ‘em in. The strange desert force is none other than Palm Springs—equal parts Jetsonian desert town, Babylonian mountain Mecca, and Cali mod pod.

Located equal distances from San Diego, L.A. and Joshua Tree National Park, über-gay Palm Springs has become the outpost of urban and celebrity chic, smack dab in the middle of nowhere. For gays it has a broad appeal that is hard to beat: world class resorts, unique mid-century architecture and more male-only clothing-optional resorts than you can shake a dowsing rod at. (And a few women-only ones too.) Here, you’re just as likely to sip cocktails with gay porn stars Jacuzzi-side as you are to share valet service with Hollywood’s beau monde.

In fact it’s pretty hard to not enjoy yourself in Palm Springs. Arrive by plane, and the breezy outdoor airport loggias immediately relax you. Arrive by car via the Coachella Valley Roads and the windmills put you in a trance. And when the desert heat gets to be too much—which it inevitably will—take the Palm Springs Aerial Tram up 8,500 feet to the cooler snow-covered alpine heights for a day hike or an alpine picnic. Palm Springs’ versatility is pretty astounding, which explains why even the locals remain in awe of this truly fabulous Shangri-La.