Palm Springs spring break became popular with young people—especially college students—after the 1963 film Palm Springs Weekend, starring Troy Donohue and Connie Stevens. For more than twenty years after the film’s release, this golf and retirement mecca for the rich and famous was taken over for the Easter weekend the way Fort Lauderdale became the spring break capital of the Southeast after the release of the 1960 film Where The Boys Are.
By 1986, things had gotten out of control. Spring break hotels in Palm Springs were reliably trashed once a year and the streets were literally taken over by out of control revelers. Local police coined the slogan: “come on vacation, leave on probation.” The 1986 weekend saw a genuine riot that made national headlines. Sonny Bono (city mayor from 1988 to 1992) was instrumental in passing a series of regulations called “Bono’s NoNo’s,” banning string bikinis and cruising through the downtown area. Palm Springs spring break deals were no longer promoted to young people. More sedate and sophisticated events like the now prestigious Palm Springs Film Festival were instituted, and young people flocked to Mexico (especially Cancun) for the rite-of-passage weekend.
The recession that began in the United States in 2008 and widely reported violence south of the border changed all that, and Palm Springs spring break came back with gusto beginning in 2009. Aspects of this weekend have been alive and well for some years, including the annual White Party that has been one of the hot gay travel events since about 1990. White Parties (where required dress is all or mostly white) are particularly popular with gay men and are held in places as diverse as New York City, Miami, and Pattaya in Thailand. The Palm Springs spring break White Party draws more than 20,000 gay men. In addition to the big eponymous event, most of the nightlife spots offer themed events throughout the weekend; guest performers include stars like Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, and internationally known disc jockeys spin the records at nightclubs.
Palm Springs spring break deals are available directly from many of the area hotels as well as from operators who promote many different destinations on college campuses. Good Palm Springs spring break deals are not necessarily only the cheap hotels in the Coachella Valley. Some spring break hotels in Palm Springs are definitely more upscale. The Renaissance (formerly the Wyndham) is located next to the Convention Center and is extremely popular. However, it is the cheap spring break hotels in Palm Springs that most young partiers seek, and there are several excellent ones. The Zoso Hotel is one of the area’s luxury hotels, and offers excellent deals during spring break and other events. Perhaps the most popular for young people is the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, with very affordable rooms and a huge poolside party area called The Commune.
Other great Palm Springs spring break deals can be had from the Agua Caliente Casino and the Spa Resort Casino. Both are located close to all the action and attractions, have large casinos and spas, and offer vacation packages for all big weekends. For something a little more offbeat, you can try the Shiloh Inn suites, which boasts of four-star accommodations and two-star prices, and the 1950s retro Movie Colony Hotel, which two-story townhouses with private pool access and second floor terraces.