Destination Scouting: Palm Springs

sunnylands palm springs
The Annenberg home – Photo courtesy of Sunnylands

To keep the guests entertained before the ceremony: The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands
Palm Springs might not seem like an obvious place for presidential history, but Sunnylands, dubbed “A West Coast Camp David,” has a surprising amount of just that. The Annenberg family hosted all sorts of world leaders in their home while they lived there and summits are still held there today. Even if you’re not invited to weigh in on world peace you can take a guided tour and walk the grounds.

palm springs tourist attractions
Living room filled with family photos – Photo courtesy of Sunnylands

Highlight: Seeing Christmas cards from Queen Elizabeth II that Walter Annenberg received and framed.

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The only way to capture the inside – Photo by Sarah Carrillo Riswick

Lowlight: The tour guides don’t allow you to take pictures inside the house, only outside, so forget any notions of snapping a photo of yourself next to the couch presidents Obama or Reagan sat on.

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The main room at the Annenberg house – Photo courtesy of Sunnylands

Your dad will love: Palm Springs Air Museum
I might have enjoyed this more than most women, thanks to my aviation-obsessed father who took me to countless airshows as a kid. But even if you’re not an airplane or World War II buff, there are plenty of interesting exhibits to see. I especially liked all the different uniforms from WWII and newspaper clippings from around the world. The museum also does private events – they’ll move planes out of the way for parties or even weddings. It would definitely have an industrial vibe (it is an airplane hangar after all) but I could see some people liking the unique location.

palm springs air museum
The Palm Springs Air Museum – Photo by Sarah Carrillo Riswick

And for your mom/grandma: The Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway Tour
Elvis lived in this house for about a year in the mid-’60s and it’s where he honeymooned with Priscilla after their Las Vegas wedding. While I wouldn’t consider myself an Elvis aficionado by any means, after taking this tour I was inspired to learn more about the King. The enthusiasm of our guide, Darlene Perez (decked out in a Priscilla-circa-1967 costume) certainly helped. If you are a fan of the King, you’ll love the chance to sit on his couch, lay on his bed, dip a toe in his pool, smell his cologne and pee in his bathroom (no joke, I did it all). If you’re not big on Elvis but you are an architecture buff, it’s also worth a tour. Tune out during the music history and tune back in for facts about the home and famous architect/owner Robert Alexander. He was responsible for many iconic homes in Palm Springs and lived in this particular one until his death in 1965. Oh yeah, they also host events here if you’re interested in a kitschy wedding. Elvis and Priscilla costumes not included.

evlis honeymoon home palm springs
Exterior of Elvis’ house – Photo courtesy of Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway
elvis palm springs tour
Elvis’ living room – Photo by Sarah Carrillo Riswick
elvis tour palm springs
Just relaxin’ on Elvis’ couch, playing his (replica) guitar – Photo by Elizabeth Borsting

Destination42 attended a press event to facilitate this report. All opinions, however, are the author’s and the content was not subject to approval by tourism boards or any of the discussed businesses.

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