Chris and I explored the only beach city in LA and Orange County we haven’t visited on Saturday. We drove to Seal Beach late in the afternoon. We parked away from the “main drag” to and walked to Main street where we checked out the shops (mostly surf shops and boutiques) and eateries. After checking out a few restaurants where we found long waits, likely due to Valentine’s Day, we ended up at El Burrito Jr on Ocean. It is right across from the ocean, inexpensive and quick. It is a Seal Beach classic and we were very happy with our tacos, enchiladas and burrito. We would most definitely eat here again.
After dinner we walked out on the pier. The pier is basically just a pier. There are no shops or restaurants, but no lack of beautiful views.
I had not been to Palm Desert. Palm Springs, yes, but not Palm Desert. We spent about two hours roaming up and down the fancy shop lined street, El Paseo. More interesting than the shops are the desert landscaping and art.
Chris and I had a quick, good trip to Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Desert this weekend. We left home Saturday about 7am, stopped for coffee in La Habra (Starbucks – $6) and then for breakfast in Moreno Valley (Panera – $10).
We arrived at the Joshua Tree Visitors Center about 9am. We paid the park entrance fee and obtained maps and hiking advice (29 Palms – $15). We then hiked the 3-mile 29 Palms Oasis trail. We liked! It was tougher than it sounds with 300’ up and 300’ down to bring us to the oasis. A small pond and lots of palm trees. It was a very pretty and surprising to find in this otherwise very dry, barren desert. It is an out and back and turned out to be more of a work out than I expected.
We ate our picnic lunch at Big Rocks and Chris took a very short nap while I took photos. We drove to the north exit and left the park about 2:30pm.
It is about a 45 minute drive to Palm Desert where we checked into our hotel, Homewood Suites ($149). We found it to be as we expected – nice, quiet, roomy. Just fine! We dropped our bags off and headed to “downtown” Palm Desert. We walked up and down El Paseo and window shopped the fancy shops and then returned to our hotel for cleanup before going to Kaiser Grille for a good, good dinner. Chris had prime rib and I had pizza ($80). We were thankful we had made a reservation, as it was packed. We ended the night with a walk around downtown Palm Springs and a stop for ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s ($6).
Sunday morning we ate the complimentary breakfast at our hotel and were checked out by 7:30am. We then hiked the Bump and Grind Trail. Chris liked it more than I did. It’s a 4-mile out and back with 1000’ elevation gain. I found it to be too hot and crowded and lacking in much beauty.
After the hike we stopped for coffee in Palm Springs at Koffi ( $6). We then headed for home by way of the Palms to Pines Scenic Drive which took us from Palm Desert to Banning. It is a pretty, winding 67 miles drive.
We would have stopped and explored more but we did not have a Wilderness Pass. Once in Banning, we were hungry (!). We were unsuccessful in finding a unique lunch stop and ended up at IHOP. It was actually a good choice ($20). We arrived home about 2pm and had time to get a few chores done, pick up a few things at the market and watch a few episodes of “True Detective”.