Last-Minute Road Trip Idea: Dada Palm Springs

So maybe you didn’t make any plans this weekend and you’re looking for a last-minute trip, or maybe you just want to plan your next vacation now to keep your mind off the fact that summer’s ending. Either way, Dada Palm Springs is your ticket.

The drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, California is paved with quirky nuggets of wonder-things that could be defined as dada, or avant-garde. . .unusual. From desert dinosaurs to an immortal statue of Sonny Bono, this getaway has got it all.

This could be you.

Anyone that’s seen Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure knows the scene with the giant dinosaurs. What everyone doesn’t know, is that those dinosaurs weren’t movie props or miniatures made to look big by means of Hollywood magic. Those dinosaurs are a real thing that you can go visit, like now if you happen to be in Southern California. They also have a name—The Cabazon Dinosaurs—and they are something that you must see in person at least once in your life. Head east on the 10 freeway out of Los Angeles and you’ll run right into these prehistoric relics. Actually, they’re only 50 years old, so not quite prehistoric. . .

Wave goodbye to your dino homies, and as you continue your drive and get ready to put on Enya‘s Orinoco Flow as you gaze upon rolling hills of wind turbines—just make sure that you don’t get too hypnotized by their beauty or the wind will take you Orinoco Flow-ing right off the road.

Once you pass the wind turbines, you’re pretty much a straight shot to Palm Springs where even more quirkiness awaits you. If you’re staying the night (which you probably should because there’s so much to see) head on over to the all new Hard Rock Hotel. Anyone that likes music is going to like this place. When you hear Hard Rock, you usually think of party, party, party. There is that element, but there’s also a really chill vibe that goes on at this hotel during the week. You can grab a glass of wine at the lobby bar and sit down with a book about John Lennon and his years in New York without incident or thumb through the lobby’s collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia for as long as you’d like. And the pool! Never forget the pool.

If you’re looking for an even more low-key stay, check out the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. It’s got hipster stamped all over it, but in a good, non-pretentious way. Read a little Kerouac in the afternoon sunlight and let Bon Iver lull you to sleep poolside.

When you’ve gotten enough sun for the day and you want to be somewhere air-conditioned, stop by the Palm Springs Art Museum. They’ve got some amazing pieces, even a few pieces from the Dada movement (see what I did there?)

If you’re looking for something unique to Palm Springs to do, you’re sure to find it at Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway where a Priscilla Presley impersonator will give you a grand tour of this slice of history. You can also try cuddling up with the ever-friendly Sonny Bono statue in the center of town.

And food! Never forget food! Cheeky’s has got the most amazing breakfast in town. They’ve also got some killer ice coffee that will keep you Palm Spring-ing all day into the night. Birba’s got the best pizza around and cocktails that will make you wish it was 5 o’clock all the o’clocks of the day!

If the fabulosity of Palm Springs isn’t enough for you, you’re just a short drive away from one of my most magical places in the entire country–Salvation Mountain! Built by folk artist, Leonard Knight, this hand-built mountain sits in the middle of the desert in Niland, California (an hour and a half drive from Palm Springs, but totally worth it).

Sadly, Leonard Knight passed away in early 2014, leaving the future of Salvation Mountain unknown. I highly recommend making the extra trek to see this amazing piece of art while you still can.

A trip to Palm Springs is sure to leave you with three things—a tan (or sunburn in my case), some great stories, and photos that will make you and your friends think that maybe there is a place on Earth where summer really does last forever.

-Retro postcard via, all other photos by Nicole Daddona

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