7 CLOSEST Airports to Palm Springs & How To Get There [2024]

Reviewed by Elina Ansary
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TL;DR: The closest airport to Palm Springs is Palm Springs International Airport (PSP)—which saves lots of travel time compared to other airports. From PSP, you can rent a car, grab a taxi, ride share, or ask your hotel if they offer airport shuttling.

Palm Springs is a picturesque, year-round desert destination in Southern California. It’s known for its mid-century modern architecture and beautiful desert landscape. 

One of my trips to Palm Springs and the nearby Joshua Tree lasted two weeks because there was so much to see!

A young woman wearing green pants and a black tank top looking over her shoulder in a desert landscape.

If you’re getting excited as you visualize yourself sipping cocktails by the pool amidst the scenery, I don’t blame you! 

But before you take all that in, you must take care of some logistics and figure out your itinerary for Palm Springs.

Luckily, Palm Springs is between Southern California’s two major cities: Los Angeles and San Diego. Because of that, there are many direct flights and options for picking the right airport to fly into.

Making the right choice will be about weighing flight options, prices, drive time, and car rentals to maximize your sunny holiday. The biggest question will be whether you want the closest airport to Palm Springs or the cheapest airport near Palm Springs.

This comprehensive guide to the best Palm Springs airports will steer you in the right direction, whatever you choose!

Closest Airport to Palm Springs

Map of the Closest Airports to Palm Springs

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What’s the Best Airport to Fly Into When Going to Palm Springs?

What's the Best Airport to Fly Into When Going to Palm Springs?

Palm Springs International Airport (PSP)

  • Distance from Palm Springs: Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is conveniently located right in Palm Springs, about a 6-minute drive into downtown Palm Springs.
  • Why it’s worth flying into: Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is the closest airport to Palm Springs, making it the most convenient option. Other airports are at least an hour away, so flying into Palm Springs International Airport will save you considerable time.

Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) offers year-round, nonstop flights to over 30 major cities throughout North America by twelve different airlines. 

Anyone traveling from within the US or Canada can find nonstop flights to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) from many major cities. 

These airlines fly with direct service to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP):

  • Air Canada
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Allegiant
  • American
  • Avelo
  • Delta
  • Flair Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • Sun Country
  • United
  • WestJet

With convenience comes cost, however, and to fly directly to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) may cost more compared to other airports in larger cities such as Los Angeles (LAX) or San Diego (SAN). 

Because Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is the closest airport to Palm Springs, you’ll spend the least on transportation.

If your ground transportation or rental car costs would otherwise be very expensive, booking direct flights into and out of Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) might be cheaper overall.

Another thing to consider is the length of your trip. If you only have a few days in Palm Springs, you may not want to eat much of it up with driving times. 

The cost to fly into Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) may be worth it for the additional afternoon by the pool.

Still need to buy your airline tickets? We’ve tested and reviewed these popular travel deal sites so you know what to expect: Hopper, Skiplagged, Scott’s Cheap Flights (Going), SnapTravel Review, Momondo Review, and Dollar Flight Club Review.

How to Get to Palm Springs From Palm Springs International Airport

As Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is minutes from downtown Palm Springs, there are plenty of options for transportation from the airport to any destination within Palm Springs.

Several car rental services are conveniently located within the Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) terminal if you want to explore the surrounding area.

Destinations such as Joshua Tree, Indian Wells, Cathedral City, various desert hot springs, and Las Vegas are within driving distance! 

Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is also connected to public transportation with service through the Coachella Valley, Joshua Tree, Palm Desert, Yucca Valley, and 29 Palms, as well as Fullerton and Los Angeles.

Heading to Joshua Tree? Check out our full guide!

Closest Major Airports to Palm Springs

Palm trees and Joshua trees in a desert landscape with dry cliffs and a blue sky in the background.

Ontario International Airport (ONT)

  • Distance from Palm Springs: Ontario International Airport is about an hour’s drive (69 miles) from Palm Springs, making it the second closest airport to Palm Springs. 
  • Why it’s worth flying to: The benefit of Ontario International is that it’s an international airport, therefore offering another accessible option for international flights without the chaos of downtown Los Angeles and LAX. 

ONT is connected with nonstop flights to major cities all over North America. Twelve airlines fly year-round to Ontario, with international service, direct flights, and budget-friendly options to your destination.

As an alternative to Palm Springs Airport, Ontario International Airport is a good option if you rent a car. If you’re not planning to rent a car during your stay, you’re looking at a minimum of five hours by public transit.

How to Get to Palm Springs From Ontario International Airport

At 69 miles from Palm Springs, the drive from ONT to your Palm Springs destination is quite direct. 

  • From the airport, simply hop onto the I-10 E and take this for 57 miles until you see signs for CA-111 toward Palm Springs. 
  • Take exit 111 and continue for about 10 miles. 
  • This will take you right into downtown Palm Springs. 

Driving from Ontario to Palm Springs offers gorgeous year-round landscapes and mountain views as you’ll drive right along the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest and Mount San Jacinto State Park along the way. 

During the fall months, especially, the drive is scenic and enjoyable. There will be lots of options to stop and grab a bite through the cities bordering the highway as well. It’s a very pleasant, easy drive.

John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA)

Aerial view of John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA), with the ocean and beach beyond.
  • Distance to Palm Springs: John Wayne Airport (aka Santa Ana Airport) is about 97 miles and an hour and a half drive from Orange County. It’s the third closest airport to Palm Springs. 
  • Why it’s worth flying to: It’s one of the smallest airports in California, making it super navigable and quick to be on your way after your flight. 

This Orange County airport offers great proximity to the coastal cities for travelers looking to see the coast while in California. John Wayne Airport is worth flying to if you’re okay with spending the extra money to access the OC region. 

However, due to its small size, it will be a pricier option to fly into. 

Although John Wayne Airport offers some year-round nonstop flights, it’s limited to mostly domestic flights, with some international service to Canada, thanks to Air Canada and Mexico.

 Nonstop flights from most locations won’t be available, however.

These airlines fly into John Wayne airport:

  • Air Canada
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • JSX
  • Allegiant Air
  • Southwest Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Breeze Airways
  • United Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • WestJet

There are various rental car companies such as Enterprise, Hertz, Budget, Avis, and more available at John Wayne, which will be helpful for those looking to travel by car to Palm Springs. 

You can also access Palm Springs from SNA via transit if you’re willing to spend about five hours in transportation.

How To Get From John Wayne Airport to Palm Springs

If you’re driving: The driving route to the city of Palm Springs from Santa Ana is relatively direct, along three main highways. 

  • From the airport, you’ll take the CA-55 N for about 12 miles.
  • Merge onto CA-91 E and stay on here for about 30 miles.  
  • Transfer onto the 1-10E via the CA-60 E.
  • Take exit 111 for CA-111 toward Palm Springs after 18 miles. 
  • Arrive in downtown Palm Springs.

If you’re taking public transit: Find the Ground Transportation Center year-round at the airport arrival terminal. 

  • From the airport arrival terminal, take the 400 bus toward Tustin Metrolink Station and ride to Tustin Station. 
  • Transfer onto the Metrolink Orange County Line 687 toward LA Union Station, and ride to Fullerton. 
  • From Fullerton, take the SF 4968 bus toward Palm Springs Airport (Amtrak Bus Stop). 
  • Ride to Palm Springs Airport. 
  • From here, you can access Palm Springs transit, taxis, and ride apps.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

The entry sign for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), seen from the freeway, with palm trees silhouetted against a partly cloudy sky.
  • Distance to Palm Springs: At about 122 miles away in Los Angeles, LAX is roughly a 2-hour drive time to downtown Palm Springs, making it one of the farther, albeit still accessible, options for getting into the desert. It’s the closest major airport to Palm Springs.
  • Why it’s worth flying to: Los Angeles International Airport will likely be your cheapest airport near Palm Springs. 

Los Angeles International Airport is the fifth largest airport in the world, offering flights to almost all other airports year-round and connecting with most airlines to all major cities, including budget airlines such as Flair Airlines. 

LAX has the most options for nonstop flights, flight itineraries, and prices year-round, but especially if you fly in the off-season summer and fall months. 

Those months are the cheapest time to go to Palm Springs. A direct flight to LAX will be easier to plan and have lower prices, making this the best airport for many.

It also offers plentiful car rental options if that is how you plan to get from Los Angeles International Airport to Palm Springs. The car rental area is in the arrivals area, and you can access it from the ground transportation center.  

The entire greater Los Angeles area is accessible year-round from this giant airport. So if you want to explore the city before taking off to Palm Springs, LAX is a convenient, well-resourced option.

How to Get From Los Angeles International Airport to Palm Springs

If you’re driving: Driving from LAX to Palm Springs will be a really lovely, manageable 2-hour drive if you time it outside of rush hour. 

  • Leaving LAX, follow signs for I-105 E and keep on this for 17 miles. 
  • Take the I-605 N exit and follow the I-605 N for about 10 miles.
  • Take exit 19 off the I-605 N for CA-60/Pomona/Pomona FWY.
  • Follow signs for CA-60 E.
  • After 20 miles, merge onto I-10 E.
  • Follow I-10 E for about 18 miles until you see signs for exit 111 for CA-111 toward Palm Springs.
  • Follow CA-111 into downtown Palm Springs.

If you’re taking public transit: Any route from LAX to Palm Springs will take 4-5 hours. There are, however, direct shuttle from LAX to Palm Springs options available year-round for folks willing to pay extra for direct transportation.

San Diego International Airport (SAN)

  • Distance from Palm Springs: San Diego International is 137 miles from Palm Springs, making it a 2-hour and 45-minute drive. 
  • Why it’s worth flying into: The main reason to fly into San Diego International Airport would be to explore America’s Finest City and include a trip to Palm Springs during your vacation.

San Diego International Airport (SAN) offers year-round, nonstop flights to cities across North America and several international destinations through 16 different airlines. International service is available via direct flights through the majority of North American cities, as well. 

A list of which airlines fly into SAN is available here.

The drive time from San Diego to Palm Springs is long, but along the way, you’d get to see desert hot springs, Palm Desert and Indian Wells, the Coachella Valley, and many other characteristic desert cities.

How to Get From San Diego International Airport to Palm Springs

If you’re driving: There are many year-round route options from San Diego to Palm Springs by car, depending on whether you’re looking for a quicker direct route or more scenic options. Below is the more direct way via the freeways:

  • From the airport, you’ll take the I-15 N via the I-8 E. 
  • Stay on the I-15 N for 52 miles.
  • From here, take exit 58 for Temecula Pkwy and follow signs for Temecula Pkwy for 18 miles.
  • Turn left onto CA-74 E, and follow for 24 miles.
  • Turn left onto CA-111 N and follow signs for Palm Springs.
  • Follow this into downtown Palm Springs.

There are many options for car rentals year-round from San Diego International Airport (SAN) and an Amtrak train that connects San Diego to Palm Springs. Public transit from San Diego would take around eight hours.

Long Beach Airport (LGB)

Aerial view of Long Beach Airport (LGB) on a semi-clear day, with cars driving on the freeway leading to it.
  • Distance from Palm Springs: LGB is 109 miles from Palm Springs, which will be about an hour and 45 minutes drive time through LA to the desert. 
  • Why it’s worth flying into Aside from its location in the beautiful Long Beach area (and other world-famous beaches such as Newport Beach or Huntington Beach), Long Beach Airport is actually rated one of the best airports in the US. 

Long Beach Airport is a small, easy-to-navigate airport. Its limited capacity makes it less accessible from international destinations. For those coming from cities within the US, however, 

LGB does have year-round flights from major airlines such as Delta, Southwest, and Hawaiian.

Car rentals are available year-round at Long Beach Airport if you plan to travel by car to Palm Springs. 

How to Get From Long Beach Airport to Palm Springs

If you’re driving: 

  • From LGB, merge onto the I-405 S ramp.
  • After about 6 miles, take exit 21 for Garden Grove Fwy/CA-22 E.
  • Keep left for about 12 miles.
  • Take exit 17C for CA-55 N toward Anaheim.
  • After about 6 miles, merge onto CA-91 E.
  • After 30 miles, take exit 65B for CA-60 E.
  • After 18 miles, take the ramp onto I-10 E and follow this for 18 miles until you see exit 111 for CA-111 toward downtown Palm Springs.

There are a couple of year-round direct bus options to get you from the city of Long Beach to downtown Palm Springs if you can take a cab or ride-app into Long Beach to meet the transportation pick-up locations. Public transit will take you about 8 hours.

Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)

Nighttime aerial view of Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) and surrounded city lights.
  • Distance from Palm Springs: Hollywood Burbank Airport is 118 miles from Palm Springs, about 2 hours by car. 
  • Why it’s worth flying to Located near attractions such as downtown Hollywood and the Griffith Observatory, BUR Airport was voted the best airport in the US by Fodor’s Travel. 

It lives up to its reputation as stress-free, small, and convenient to visitors to the Hollywood area and downtown LA.  

If you’re flying domestically, Hollywood Burbank Airport may be attractive for its year-round nonstop flights to 17 different major cities. Again, a smaller airport means higher prices on flights and more limited transit services from Burbank out to the desert. 

BUR Airport offers nonstop flights year-round from several large American airlines and a variety of cities, including most major airlines. Flights are available year-round to Burbank from:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Avelo Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • United Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

How to Get to Palm Springs From Hollywood Burbank Airport

If you’re driving: Driving from BUR to Palm Springs will be a relatively straight shot southeast, though the timing of this drive will be crucial as you will be traveling through several cities until you get past Riverside (where Cathedral City is located), on your way out of greater LA. 

Timing your voyage with rush hour will be key to reducing drive time on this one!

  • From Hollywood Burbank Airport, follow signs to merge onto I-5 S and follow this for about 5 miles
  • Take exit 144 for CA-134 toward Glendale/Pasadena
  • After 9 miles, merge onto I-210 E 
  • After 19 miles, take exit 45 for CA-57 S toward Santa Ana
  • After 5 miles, take exit 22C for CA-71 toward Corona 
  • Take exit 12 for CA-60 E toward Riverside after 4 miles
  • Follow CA 60 E for 48 miles
  • Merge onto I-10 E, follow for 18 miles
  • Take exit 111 for CA-111 toward downtown Palm Springs

There’s also year-round transportation through buses from Hollywood and Burbank, which take roughly 4.5 hours. In terms of public transit, you’re looking at about eight hours.

Other Airports Near Palm Springs

An open road in a California desert landscape dotted with windmills, and hazy, dry hills visible in the distance.

Some other airports in neighboring cities within the Palm Springs radius include:

  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix, AZ (about 4.5 hours from Phoenix Sky to Palm Springs)
  • Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in Paradise, Nevada, Las Vegas Valley (about four hours from Palm Springs, but a very scenic desert drive) **ThisThis is the main airport for travelers to Las Vegas**
  • Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) in Tijuana, Mexico (about three hours from Palm Springs) **across an international border**
  • McClellan-Palomar Airport (CRQ) in Carlsbad, CA (about two hours from Palm Springs, exclusively offers air-taxi, charter, and private services)

Now that I’ve equipped you with all of the airport knowledge you could possibly need to plan your flights and route to Palm Springs, you can explore how to make your California desert vacation everything your dreams are made of! 

Happy planning and safe travels! 

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


1 thought on “7 CLOSEST Airports to Palm Springs & How To Get There [2024]”

  1. Desert Hot Springs is a name of a city. There are a few hot springs resorts in Coachella Valley, though.

    Also, one big advantage of Palm Springs International Airport is that it is small enough. Compared to other bigger airports, it takes much less time to transit through it.


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