Last week, I decided to take a mini-vacation to Palm Springs. I’ve visited Palm Springs before—but never during the spring or summer heat. And hot, it was. With daytime temperatures upwards of 109 degrees Fahrenheit, I was sweating like a priest in a playground.

Interestingly, the high temperatures bring in a different crowd. Instead of attracting the usual crowd from San Diego and Los Angeles, many of the tourists were from Eastern Europe. For the international visitors, discounted hotel rooms and hot weather are a huge draw—and much of Europe closes down later in the summer. It’s why the Palm Springs locals affectionately refer to the summer months as “Foreskin Season.”
This trip, I stayed at INNdulge—a clothing-optional resort for gay men. Though there is no shortage of clothing-optional or gay hotels in Palm Springs, INNdulge is different. The owners of INNdulge, Sandy and Jon, go out of their way to build a real sense of community. Each evening, for example, the owners hold a social hour to let the guests mix and mingle. It’s a great way to connect with other visitors and to make new friends.

Having said all of that, here are my best tips for visiting Palm Springs—and staying cool—during the summer months:

1. Bring a car. If you don’t drive to Palm Springs, be sure to pick up a rental car at the airport. While walking is fine during the cooler winter months, the summer heat is oppressive—and dangerous. Get a car and take advantage of the air conditioning.

2. Prioritize the pool. Needless to say, the pool is more important than the room. Stay at a hotel or resort with an amazing pool. With temperatures as high as 120 degrees, you’ll want to spend much of your downtime in the water.

3. Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Every half hour, a cable car departs for a mountain peak 6,000 feet above Palm Springs. The views are stunning—and, it’s usually 30 degrees cooler at the top. It’s generally 70 – 90 degrees at the summit—thereby providing some much-needed natural A/C.

4. Shop at the Thursday street fair. Each Thursday—and after the hot sun goes down—the city comes alive for a weekly street fair. Packed with local arts and crafts, food and jewelry, it’s a great way to spend the cooler evening hours.

5. Drink lots and lots of water. Because it’s so hot and dry, sweat tends to evaporate very quickly—and you might not realize how dehydrated you really are. Make sure you drink plenty of water—and take extra bottle with you while you venture out (especially during the day).

Moreover, if you are planning a summertime trip to Palm Springs, make sure you ask about any special deals or offers. Because it can be a slower season, most of the hotels and resorts offer deep discounts and special incentives to travels. If the heat does not deter you, Palm Springs can make for a great summer vacation. You’ll certainly leave with a tan—and, perhaps, a good foreskin story or two.

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