Road Trip from Palm Springs to Las Vegas

This summer we have had many European visitors who have stayed with us as part of their travel circuit through California – with a side step to Las Vegas.   Palm Springs is a popular destination – typically in between San Diego and Las Vegas.  Many of our guests have asked for recommendations of things to see before they get to their next big stop, so this write up will feature the drive from Palm Springs to Las Vegas and interesting stops along the way.  Our family recently took this road trip, so here are the highlights that we enjoyed to make this a fun (4 hour trip) from the Sonoran Desert to the Mohave Desert.

A store called “The End” in Yucca Valley (just one hour from The Monkey Tree Hotel) is one of my favorite stops…  If you are looking for unique treasures – crystal necklaces, vintage caftans of every color and pattern, embroidered pillows, and unique/quirky finds in general – then this is the place.  If you are looking for a super cute crewel embroidered owl, sorry…he’s mine now!  My family (all male except for me) is not really into shopping, so it was a quick stop for me while they stayed in the car with the AC running.  Not to worry, I am a fast shopper with eagle eyes for weird things (hence, the impulse purchase of the crewel owl).  Frontier Cafe is just across the street for those who would like to have a drink instead of shop…and this buys you more time.

cactus in a terra cotta pot and a painting that says "the end" alongside another book and painting

Treasures at The End in Yucca Valley

colorful clothing and a shelf with green and blue pots

Caftans and much more at The End. Photo Courtesy of The End

From here, the next stop was some lunch.  You can’t be too picky on the desert highway. Restaurants are few and far between. Fortunately “Cafe 247” (cleverly named as it is on Route 247) was like an oasis for us.  Their sign stating “we deep fry everything” was heaven to us.  Loved seeing the clouds too…something we don’t often see in Palm Springs (where it is sunny 360 days of the year).

a white building in a parking lots with lots of rocks.

Cafe 247 – A welcome sight!

2 signs on a dirt road. the red sign says soft serve ice cream, the green sign says cafe 247

Deep Fried EVERYTHING! Say no more!

Next stop was Las Vegas.  Gary and I were married in Las Vegas 20 years ago and we make it a habit to go back there every five years to celebrate our anniversary. We are always amazed at how dramatically the city has grown and changed when we see it in these five year increments.  We have our favorite restaurants and shows and are creatures of habit, so dinners at Bouchon (The Venetian) and Raos (Ceasar’s Palace) are a must.

a bowl of black mussel shells and a large silver cup filled with french fries

Mussel at Bouchon…plus Gary’s bourbon, cufflinks and bowtie.

a photo of a woman in a white dress and sunglasses and a man in a black suite and glasses. in front of them is a table filled with photos

Past owners of Rao’s. LOVE their style!

We took a quick detour to the canals of Venice – just kidding – this is a mall in The Venetian (note the Mexican restaurant in the background).  Gotta love Vegas where you can see St. Mark’s Square, The Empire State Building, The Eiffel Tower, The Eye of London, and even a pyramid all on the same street!

two teenage boys and a woman in between them. behind them are buildings

The (fake) canals of Venice with the boys.

And it wouldn’t be complete without catching the Penn & Teller Show at Rios…great for kids and adults. These guys have been together for 40 years and are amazing!!  If you have to pick one show to see…see this one.  You will NOT be disappointed.

On the way back from Las Vegas, we wanted to take a less traveled route and check out some of the old Route 66 and the Mohave Desert.  By luck we stumbled upon Roy’s Cafe. The hotel is completely run down and is not open for hotel business, but it’s a good place to stop and check out the architecture from the past.  The reception area is open, but is a ghost town.  You can walk in and check it out, but it feels a bit haunted.

white building with sloped roof on the left and a big blue sign with a red triangle that says "roys"on the right

Roy’s sign, reception building and abondoned bungalows in Amboy, CA

The Old Roy’s sign made me miss our Monkey Tree Hotel sign…wish we still had that…maybe someday we can replicate it!

two tall road signs. one says "monkey tree hotel" and one says "roys vacancy motel cafe"

Old School Road Signs – circa 1960’s

And then it was back through the Mohave Desert to the Sonoran Desert.  No flooding was seen anywhere.  One thing that surprised me…we saw many Joshua Trees along this route. I mistakenly thought that these trees were only in the Joshua Tree National Park…apparently not.

Enjoy your trip through the desert. If you have taken this trip and have other good stops along the way to recommend, please comment and share!