The Coachella Valley - which spans several cities, including Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Indio - has become a mainstay for past presidents.
They soon drove off when they discovered Obama would reach Palm Springs by motorcade hours later.
The Obamas were expected to arrive in Palm Springs about 3:30 p.m., but didn't land until about 6 p.m.
Barrack Obama donned his civies and hit the links Saturday as he began his desert vacation and his first full day out of office.
The White House confirmed on Tuesday that the Obamas would visit Pal m Springs right after leaving office.
The heavy rain kept most Obama fans in their cars, and as the delay dragged on, they sometimes rolled down windows to holler, "What's going on?" to passersby. On many of those trips, he has stayed in Thunderbird Heights, often visiting former U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costos and interior designer Michael Smith. The house is inside the Thunderbird Heights gated community. "And they're looking forward to traveling there on Friday".
Barack Obama's got nothing but time these days - but he probably didn't plan to spend it in a holding pattern. "We hope he makes this a regular visit in his post-presidency".
President Obama was instead flown elsewhere - a destination understood to be March Air Force base in Riverside, some 44 miles away.