Review: Thousand Trails Palm Springs RV Resort in Palm Desert, CA

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We’ve actually spent a total of 12 weeks at the Thousand Trails Palm Springs RV Resort and Campground since our first visit in December 2014. We recently left on May 1, 2017 after a 4 week stay. It remains one of our favorites in the Thousand Trails camping network system to date, having stayed on 4 separate occasions since 2014. Despite the name, this campground is actually situated in Palm Desert, about 20-25 minutes east of Palm Springs.

Overview of Palm Springs RV Resort

This is a medium-large campground with nearly 450 sites on 25 acres. Sites are fairly close together, but it’s never felt too cramped for us and our 36′ MH. We mostly stay in peak season (Dec-Feb) but just spent the month of April and it was noticeably quieter. Palm Springs RV Resort closes for the season on May 15 and reopens in October as the summers are simply too hot. The RV park is filled with palm trees planted in a fairly orderly way which makes it attractive, especially at sunset. All sites are full hook up and they have tent camping sites and little cabins as well. But we have never used or even seen inside one of the cabins. From the outside they look cute.

There are about 150 sites with 30 amp and the remaining 300 or so are 50 amp. Many of the 50 amp sites are annual sites, especially around the perimeter. All of the 30 amp sites are pull-through and all of the 50 amp are back in. This RV campground is definitely big rig friendly. In fact, probably 80% of the rigs we see there would be considered big rigs by most.

Roads are paved, but most of the sites are sandy (a few have some gravel) and the area is known for the occasional dust storms that can blow through the park. So don’t leave your windows open or your awnings out when leaving your coach unattended.

Amenities at Palm Springs RV Resort

This RV park near Palm Springs has a lovely pool area with hot tub, pool chairs and a few shaded cabanas and a poolside BBQ. Also a great billiards room with 3 tables and several pickleball courts – which is very popular here. While we don’t play (mostly working!) we actually love the sound of pickleball games as it is a happy sound with mostly laughs and good sportsmanship.

Speaking of noise, the campground is situated right off a major highway (I-10) which causes some road noise. There is an elevated rail line on the other side of the highway which you can sometimes hear – and even actually feel the vibration – of trains while in your RV. We didn’t find the noise too disruptive, but have almost always been parked toward the rear of the campground and not the front. We feel it’s important to mention as this isn’t a tranquil, quiet or secluded reserve and so don’t arrive expecting that.

There are a few laundry rooms located around the campground with plenty of washers and dryers. An adult lodge, recreation center and family lodge by the pool area are also available. All facilities are in good condition.

Palm Springs RV Resort is in Palm Desert, but is a short drive from Palm Springs with great amenities and also to Joshua Tree National Park. We have always found TT Palm Springs RV Resort to be a very friendly, social and active park and it’s always our busiest campground socially, which is fun.

Pros

  • Proximity to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree NP, Coachella & Stagecoach Music Festivals
  • Great weather and location
  • Convenient to supermarkets (Stater Bros just a few mins away), shopping, restaurants, markets, Costco, Whole Foods etc
  • Big rig friendly
  • Great facilities
  • Can use swimming pool in winter, nice hot tub too
  • Staff accommodating and friendly
  • Beautiful sunsets

Cons

  • Ground can be a bit sandy/dusty
  • Road noise and train noise (not bad, but noticeable – worse at the front)
  • We have heard some bikes have been stolen in the past, so be sure to lock them up
  • A bit more crowed than some might like, though it’s never been an issue for us
  • The handful of storage sites along the left side are no longer available (we stored out coach here in 2014 for 10 days)

Tips for staying at Palm Springs RV Resort

  • Be careful when parking your rig because. Some of those palm trees lean more than you might think and could damage your coach. Look UP as well as the sides when parking to avoid leaning palm trees. Be especially careful if arriving after dark so you can see the trees and obstacles.
  • Pull in your awning and close windows when your RV is unattended. Strong winds can kick up quite a dust storm. The awning repair guy does good business at this campground for above stated reasons.
  • When arriving via Varner Road heading east to west, be careful not to pass the driveway entrance on your right. The main Thousand Trails sign is located AFTER the entrance. This can be confusing if it’s your first visit.
  • While the ranger station sells dates from the date palms in the park, the ones we bought on our first visit (2015) were not good (very dry). Buy your juicy, delicious dates from the local markets instead (COD, Villagefest). That’s one of the things Palm Springs is known for.

WIFI

We had very good cell coverage with consistent 3 bars LTE with Verizon and T-Mobile.

Mail & Packages

We have received a number of packages at this campground. FedEx and UPS trucks will deliver direct to your site as long as you include your site number on the shipping address.

We have also received our mail forwarding from Escapees (mail service) here in a 2 day priority envelope. Thousand Trails Palm Springs RV Resort seems OK with those (packages – not envelopes – via mail). The USPS Delivery person puts in a big mailbox at the front and the TT PS staff will put a note with your name on the board near the ranger station. Check the board to see if a package is waiting for you so you can collect from the Recreation Office.

They do NOT accept regular 1st class mail (envelopes) so they must be addressed to General Delivery, Thousand Palms CA 92276. This Thousand Palms Post Office on Ramon Road is where they will hold for you for 2 weeks, I believe.

Area Highlights

  • Check out the Villagefest on Thursday nights in downtown Palm Springs (Palm Canyon Drive) and College of the Desert (COD) markets on Saturday/Sunday mornings in Palm Desert. Buy your fresh dates there and be sure to stop and taste the delicious jerky samples at Palm Springs Jerky (say hi to Stan and Lynn from us! Lovely people). Also Brandini Toffee samples at the Villagefest mmmm
  • The Aerial Tram in Palm Springs is worth a trip to the top to see Mt San Jacinto State Park. Note, this gains huge altitude and is a completely different climate at the top. We were swimming in the pool at the campground in 80 degree temps. Then rode the tram up for a hike and it snowed on us. Fun! Take a jacket and sensible, closed shoes for walking and warmth.
  • Being a wealthy area (vacation enclave for the rich, famous and Hollywood types) the thrift stores / recycle / consignment stores are awesome in this area. Plenty of well dressed wealthy types like to donate/sell their clothes for new fashion updates! Great stuff, designer gear cheap!
  • We share fave restaurant reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor etc so check those out too

Summary

We really like Thousand Trails Palm Springs RV Resort and look forward to returning next winter. It’s a popular snowbird destination and for good reason. The weather is great and consistent, elevation is so low that it is quite warm in the winter. Many area RV Parks close for the summer. But can’t imagine why anybody would want to try to stay in their RV in this area in the summer anyway.

We know of a few others who don’t particularly like this RV park. Their reasons tend to be related to the wind/dust storms and the fine silicon particles that make their way inside their RV, creating a fine film of dust over everything. We had to wipe our picnic table and BBQ down several times during our stay. But we are willing to put up with that minor inconvenience to stay at a campground that we enjoy and in an area that has so much to offer.

Notes

We are TT ‘Elite’ members so aside from buying the membership initially and paying annual dues, the rest of our stays are “free”. Although we did pay $29 on this occasion to exercise our option to extend by an extra (4th) week, which our particular membership allows us to do twice a year.

We are paying members of the Thousand Trails camping network. First hitting the road with a Zone Pass (not knowing there were any other options available). But in September, 2015 we upgraded to a resale “Elite” membership.We bought the membership at a heavily discounted rate through a broker that we recommend. So we typically don’t pay anything for our stays at TT parks as it’s included in our annual dues. There are occasional exceptions where we may choose to pay a few dollars a night for a specific site or section.

More on our experiences at Palm Springs RV Resort

As full-time RVers, we are fans of Thousand Trails as it makes our camping much more affordable. As a result, it is important to be aware that our experiences and reviews of Thousand Trails parks tend to be shared with the consideration of what we pay to stay. That is, we are generally more accepting of the TT campground standards which we would describe as average or ‘rustic’ across the board. Though they do vary, we have a good sense of what to expect, compared with other campgrounds where we may pay substantially more (eg. $40 – $100 a night). With Thousand Trails, our expectations are managed. We know what we are getting for our money and are fine with that. It saves us so much and helps subsidize our campground expenses throughout the year.

We have written a lot about Thousand Trails. Why we bought the membership, how much it saves us, and how to get the best deals. Read about zone pass and our subsequent membership upgrade here. We often share photos of our campground stays and campsites on our social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc). If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

24 thoughts on “Review: Thousand Trails Palm Springs RV Resort in Palm Desert, CA”

  1. I have stayed there as a guest. Is it a member only campground? And do they only take Class A RV’s?

    Thanks for the info,

    Connie

    Reply
    • HI Connie, Yes Thousand Trails is a member only campground. All kinds of RVs are allowed. There is a $150 special price on the TT Zone Camping Pass via Jim and Brandy until Monday night July 13…. if you are thinking about getting a membership, this is the best price you will be able to find. All the best!

      Reply
  2. Hello,

    We are considering purchasing a TT membership, especially as they advised us of “doing away ” with the 30 days stay rule. At what point is it too late to book a site for peak months like Dec, Jan and Feb?

    Thank you so much for your time.

    Reply
    • Hi Sharri, You didn’t specify which kind of membership you are looking at but we almost always make our reservations for peak months as soon as our reservation window opens up for the most popular locations eg. Florida, Palm Springs etc… when we do that we don’t have any probs, so the sooner the better. There is no set date and it all depends on the campground, but the more organized people who book well in advance should be fine. We had no issues making reservations 60 days ahead when we had a Zone Pass, now we have an Elite membership, our res window is 120 days (90 for some parks) and we’ve always been fine – I just make a note in my calendar when the dates are due to open up for the parks we want. Hope that helps!

      Reply
    • Glad to read this info. We just became Platinum Plus members after reading your blog and all your great TT info. Bought through the broker you recommended and are now just waiting for our number so we can start making plans. ?
      Is it hard to get reservations there?
      I’m going to check your blog again for any TT tips.

      Reply
      • That’s Great Ellen! So glad Kim (and the blog info) was helpful! We don’t usually have a problem getting reservations but we always book the popular campgrounds (especially during peak times) well in advance to avoid disappointment. If you use your advance reservation window that should be fine, but for example Florida gets very tricky in the winter as it’s so popular. But if you book 90-120 days in advance for the places you want – especially during peak times – you should be ok. If you have trouble getting the res you want online, call them. I often get reservations easier that way. We have some more TT articles and tips coming up, keep en eye out!

        Reply
  3. We are on the planning stages of full time RVing.Just signed up with you and what a wealth of info!!Have only read a few of your “shares” but plan on reading and following it all.Im sure we’ll have lots of questions. TU in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi Sharon and Mike, congrats on your decision to go full-time! Yes you will find loads of useful info on the site and YouTube…hope you enjoy them. It’s a great place to get started.. If you are ‘serious’ about putting your plan into action, we recommend you check out our new RV Success School and courses which we launched last month. We designed these in a structured learning environment, as self-paced, guided courses to help others learn what they need to know (including what they don’t even know they don’t know!) – a combo of videos and written lectures. If you think the website is helpful, the School and courses will be a game changer. We’re very excited to be able to deliver that as well now… we can guarantee you they will save you a LOT of headaches time and money and help you avoid potentially costly mistakes. All the best to you!

      Reply
  4. We stayed in March and also used one of our extensions. Good description of the park and the area. We love it.

    Reply
    • We were comp’ed a 1 year zone pass when we purchased our RV last year and have really liked TT parks (for the most part). We have stayed at the Palm Springs resort and really liked it. Crowded but friendly and fun area. Based on your great article on TT parks and membership options, we purchased a limited edition platinum membership through campground membership outlet in March. We are Preparing to sell our house this summer and go full timing by the fall. Love the life!

      Reply
  5. We are also TT members. We have stayed at the Palm Springs park, which is nice park. Sites are a bit close for our liking. Lots to do in the area. Our favorite TT so far are Lake of The Springs, Snowflower, and Sunriver.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing! We haven’t been to those 3 parks yet but will be heading to Sunriver in August – heard great things about it and look forward to checking out the other 2 as well. Safe travels!

      Reply
  6. What a wonderful way to express your experience with us. I am truly grateful. My husband and I will be purchasing a mobile/RV (still undecided) by next year. We are very excited and nervous at the same time making this what seems to be a fantastic journey. Educating myself with the vast information you two are working hard to provide. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Hi Carmen, oh you are so welcome, glad you find it helpful. In addition to the information on our RVLove website, you will find the guided courses in our new RV Success School a huge help in your learning experience, as we guide you through the entire process with videos and written lectures and share a TON of resources to help you save time and money too. Enjoy the adventure of learning, we are glad to be able to provide valuable content to support you on your journey!

      Reply
  7. I took the Zone pass membership as it’s my first year and Thousand Trails and I wasn’t sure how I would like it. So far I’ve gone to two Parks one in the hills of Santa Barbara, Rancho Oso Resort. They had two areas one was weather really nice coaches were on gravel the other on dirt and not so level. Many of the RV’s Were of the older variety. I have a 98 Class A so I fit in. LOL. I thought it was very nice especially for the price. The second Resort I stayed in was the Russian River Campground just outside Cloverdale not too far from Clearlake California. I like the campground the staff was nice the campground had a lot of trees just off the Russian River. It wasn’t quite as far to town so I like the campground and the location. I would go back to either one. I’m heading north up the 101 through Oregon and Washington. I’ll know about those resorts in a month or two.

    Reply
    • We really like those two TT campgrounds to Bill, just wish Rancho Oso had better cell coverage so we could work properly! The OR and WA ones are nice too – all depends on what you like – it’s funny how polarized people’s opinions of the TT parks can be – but we just pick and choose the ones we like and are always grateful for how much they save us. Enjoy your trip up the coast!

      Reply

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