Retiring Abroad: Retiring to Palm Springs

Milestone Wealth Management Ltd. - Mar 22, 2022

When Canadians are dreaming about retiring abroad, either permanently or just during the winter months, one very popular location to consider is the Palm Springs area of California. Located approximately 200 kilometers east of Los Angeles and just over 200 kilometers northeast of San Diego, the Palm Springs area actually includes several cities stretching throughout the Coachella Valley, from Desert Hot Springs in the north to cities like Indio and La Quinta in the south.

The population of Palm Springs itself is only approximately 45,000, however the entire greater Palm Springs area is estimated to be home to roughly 370,000 people, with Indio being the largest community with an estimated population of 89,000.

As a popular destination, this area isn’t the cheapest place to retire. Home values vary greatly throughout the area; thus, it is strongly recommended to spend some time in different cities and neighbourhoods before buying a home. The median detached home value was $637,765 in January 2022 (up over 32% within the past year), however other communities can be less expensive, such as Indio at $472,585, or more expensive, such as La Quinta at $684,660, according to

The Palm Springs International Airport is located right in the city of Palm Springs, which is closer to the north end of the valley. If one lives in the south, for example Indio, it can be approximately a half hour drive from the airport. WestJet offers direct flights from Calgary and Vancouver, while Air Canada offers direct flights from Vancouver and Toronto.

The climate is a major incentive for retirees. Being a desert, the weather is hot with little precipitation, which can seem perfect for a good portion of the year. However, it does get extremely hot in the summer months, leading many people to go elsewhere to avoid the almost intolerable desert heat.

There are plenty of recreational activities for retirees. For golf enthusiasts, Palm Springs boasts nine courses. Another 91 golf courses exist within 20 miles of Palm Springs, including 37 public, four municipal and 49 private courses. Hiking and biking are also very popular pastimes. Just east of the Coachella Valley is the Joshua Tree National Park featuring hiking, biking, photography, birding, horseback riding, camping and more.

If one is willing to take a drive, Los Angeles is roughly a two-to-three-hour drive to the west, where attractions include Disneyland, Hollywood, Universal Studios, a cruise port, professional sporting events (including hockey of course) and so much more. San Diego is a similar driving time to the southwest which is home to Sea World, the Hotel del Coronado and perhaps even a day trip into Tijuana. And, of course, Las Vegas is roughly a four-hour drive to the northeast.

Palm Springs is a very popular choice for full time retirees and snowbirds alike. The weather is beautiful, the activities are plentiful, and the airlines make it very accessible for Canadians. Palm Springs is definitely worth including on your retiring abroad short list.