Family Fun at Rancho Las Palmas!

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This past year was a crazy busy one for our family, so we thought it would be fun to do a special little getaway with our oldest daughter after school was out in June.   Since we wanted to just go for 2 nights, we wanted a destination that met the following parameters: 1. short drive from OC 2. family friendly & kid friendly 3. SUN for swimming  & pool time. My husband did some research and came up with Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage. He sent me the link, and after one click on Splashtopia, their two acre water feature pool {a.k.a. KID HEAVEN} I said PERFECT, let’s book it!!   So, here is our review of Rancho Las Palmas and our amazing experience having fun in the desert sun!

If you are looking for a fun family friendly vacation close to Orange County, this resort is a perfect choice!  It was a very easy drive from OC, took a little over an hour and a half.  We went Monday – Wednesday and left at 10am and hit no traffic.  From the moment we checked in we just felt comfortable there. The resort was upscale, yet casual at the same time.  I loved that there were so many kids running around everywhere because we fit right in!

The LOVELY Rooms!

All the rooms at Rancho Las Palmas are villa-style, meaning after check-in, you can drive your car and park right outside your room.  I love this because one of the benefits of going on a vacation where you can drive means you can bring your own cooler with snacks, drinks, etc.  Great when traveling with kids.  And, it was super convenient to have our car smack outside our room.

For families, there are two great room options: poolside and lakeview We actually stayed in both for one night so I can talk about the benefits of both!


The poolside rooms {obviously!} surround the pool and Splashtopia and are super convenient to all the action!  Our first night we stayed in a poolside room in building 12, bottom floor.  I think all the buildings are two stories. We liked the bottom floor room because we could sit on the patio and our daughter could explore a little and we were still able to keep an eye on her.

Here is a glimpse of our room…it was very comfortable & quaint…and bed was super comfy.

Outside our room there was a sidewalk and then the pool beyond.  Here is the outside….

And all the rooms had a lovely patio with a wicker table and set of two chairs…

On our way into town we grabbed lunch at the Pavilions and got some yummy sandwiches.   The first thing we did when we got there was enjoy lunch on our patio.  But that lasted all of about 5 minutes when Emma saw the excitement in store for her at the pool outside her room!


After exploring the property during the first day, we fell in love with a set of rooms with a view of the lake and golf course, so the next day I asked the front desk if they happened to have one open and they were nice enough to move us.  Juan at the front desk was so super accommodating. They even walked the new keys out to us at the pool when the room was ready.  I love customer service that says “we care.”  Sounds corny, but it’s true!

So the second night we were in building 8, first floor, which was still close to the pool and had an absolutely beautiful view. Click here for a great map to see the buildings and the property layout.

My husband and I are “patio sitters” on vacation.  We LOVE sitting outside, having some drinks, reading and enjoying the view.   Since my daughter went to bed sort of early after swimming for the entire day, it was nice because we were able to put her to sleep and then stay up later on the patio and enjoy the warm night just the two of us.

<— our idea of HEAVEN!

Here was the view from our room… AMAZING!  We loved it…

And another view from the other angle…

After dinner each night when the sun had set, kids came out to the golf course, many of which ran around on the grassy hills that backed up to the golf course.  So carefree.

And, there is just something special about a desert night.

That warm breeze just infuses RELAXATION.


The first night after a fun-filled day at the pool (visit me later this week for the full recap of Splashtopia!) we decided to stay “on campus” and have a bite at the restaurant bluEmber.  The resort is SO kid friendly they even include  a free kid’s buffet with the purchase of an adult meal.  We loved this.

And, we happened to luck out and arrive between 5 – 7pm, and you know what that means, HAPPY HOUR!   They had super drink deals and a bunch of items on the menu were half off.  It was fun to be able to grab a casual bite outside amongst other families.

The restaurant is gorgeous. They had a  beautiful outdoor patio with different sitting areas, fire pits and comfy chairs.

Perfect place to enjoy an evening drink at dusk.

The second night we ventured out and walked across the street (SO convenient) to The River, which was a shopping center with lots of shops and restaurants.  I loved that this was so close.  We ate at this gorgeous restaurant on the water called Pieros Acqua Pazza and I had the most unbelievable lobster and shrimp salad. Yum!

Each morning, we walked over and got Starbucks coffee and a breakfast burrito at the Palm’s Cafe and ate breakfast overlooking the tranquility pool.  My daughter got a donut both days as a special treat.  It was hard to explain to her when we got home why she couldn’t have a donut for breakfast EVERY day!


Every day at Rancho Las Palmas they have fun activities for kids.   From Kid’s Sports Night to Dive-in Movies to Disco Dance Parties and special activities and crafts, there were special things planned for each day of the week.  We were given a calendar at check-in with a whole list of times and options of things to do.

They also have a Kidtopia kid’s camp for kids 4 – 12, where you can send your kids to enjoy activities for an extra fee and you and your hubby can enjoy some hours just LOUNGING by yourself at the pool.   Sounds blissful.


It looks like right now Rancho Las Palmas is running some super special deals for summer,<– click that link to check them out! Rates in July and August are really reasonable, and they have some great package deals.   I even saw Rancho Las Palmas gift cards at the Costco in Fountain Valley recently that were $75 but valued at $100, so this would be a great value too.

To be continued…

As I am typing this I am realizing there is just too much to share about our stay so I am going to break it into two posts. The kids’ pool and Splashtopia warrant their own!    Please check back later this week with  pictures and the recap of Splashtopia!  In the meantime, I will leave you with this parting image of Rancho Las Palmas.  It was so lovely.  We will definitely be back next year!

{Disclosure:  Our room charge was comped for our two night stay.}


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  1. 1
    Eve says:

    Wow the photos are beautiful! What kind of camera do you use?

    • 2
      Jen says:

      Thanks Eve! I have the Nikon D40. Love it!

  2. 3
    Jane says:

    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blog posts about things to do in Rancho Las Palmas to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you 🙂

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