Where the experts holiday: Mary Jo Ginther of Palm Springs

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Palm Beach tourism director - Mry Jo Ginther

Mary Jo Ginther

Mary Jo Ginther spent over twenty years working for the international hotel group –  Hyatt Corporation – before rubbing a country club. For the last eight years she has been Director of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism.

What do you like to do on holiday?

I enjoy traveling with my family and exploring outdoors. Going to the beach, hiking or dining outdoors is always a favorite. One my favourites was going on a cruise to Turkey and Greece…would love to do another one soon.

Where did you last travel?
I went to the East Coast to visit family, we were in Rhode Island, the smallest state in the U.S., its adorable. We also took the ferry to go to the beach in Martha’s Vineyard – it was sublime.

Do you know where you’re going next?

Up to Eugene, Oregon to take my daughter to college. I’ve heard great things about southern Oregon, lots of hiking and waterfalls around Klamath Falls, Crater Lake, the towns of Bend, Medford and Ashland – and of course, Portland.

Of all the places you’ve been to, what was your favorite and why?

I spent six months in Italy many years back, and Rome was my backyard for much of that. I had saved up money, all I had to do was explore and photograph. I remember that as one of the most creative and carefree times of my life, overlaid with this incredible Roman history. It was pretty amazing for a Hoosier (that’s a person from Indiana – me).


Spectacular views of Barcelona

Which destination do you wish to travel to but haven’t been there yet?
Barcelona and the Balearic Islands, Italian Lakes, find my grandparent’s hometowns (they were born in what was then Czechoslovakia and Hungary). We did that in Ireland to find my other grandparent’s hometowns and we had a blast – found their houses!

What would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides but which you’ve seen?
Here in Southern California – I love Anza Borrego in the early spring – you have to catch the wildflowers in bloom, and the contrast of the flowers to the desert color is awesome.

The beaches of southern Lake Michigan are pure white sand – it is an adorable cottage community only an hour outside of Chicago. Gorgeous summer days and nights, small communities, walk to the beach every day, barbecues at night.

Indian Wells Lake

Indian Wells Lake in Palm Springs

How do you plan a vacation?
Usually it starts with a group of friends or family wanting or needing to go to an area, then my plans get built around that. After that, its 90% online, and the other part is asking for ideas and recommendations from people that have been there. Of course, I always check the destination website!

What new tourism product in Palm Springs has most excited you recently and why?
New, adorable alfresco restaurants have opened to compliment the already wonderful ones. I love small, outdoor, restaurants to enjoy the weather – growing up in the Chicago area, I still appreciate it and it still makes me feel like I’m on vacation.

What would you recommend people do while in Palm Springs?

jeep and flowers in Palm springs

the Palm Springs surrounding area

Relax and lounge by our amazing pools, hike our Indian Canyons or take ride on the world’s largest rotating tramcars.  Palm Springs is located in Southern California and less than two hours from LA. Our location allows visitors to take day trips including nearby Joshua Tree National Park. I always recommend going to the destination’s visitor website for itinerary ideas, maps and of course, travel deals.

For more information about Palm Springs, click here.



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