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Travel Guide: Joshua Tree National Park

Updated: Apr 27

Joshua Tree National Park is a popular destination in Southern California its located at the intersection where the Mojave and the Colorado desert come together. It's popular for its desert terrain, Joshua trees, camping, and stargazing. I’ve been to this park twice, and I enjoyed my visit each time.



Tips:

  • There is an entrance fee but sometimes the fee booth may be closed. The fee is around $30. If you visit National Parks often, I recommend purchasing the America The Beautiful annual pass. The pass is $80 but gets you access to National Parks and other federal sites throughout the U.S.

  • Within the park, there are no gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, or hotels.

  • Bring food and water.

  • Cell Phone reception is spotty and I recommend downloading an offline map of the area.

  • For additional information visit the National Park Service Website.

  • A permit is required for backpacking.

When to Visit:

  • The Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

  • Temperatures are the best during the fall and spring months. Summer can be hot and temps can reach up to 100°F on average.

  • The park’s busy season is from mid-February to April and October- May.

How to get There:

  • The best way to get to the park is by driving.

  • Distance from Los Angeles: 2 hr 20 min

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hr 20 min

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 3 hr 40 min

Where to Stay:

  • There are no accommodations within the park so many visitors stay in hotels or an Airbnb about 20 min outside of the park in the Yuca Valley. I stayed in this cozy Airbnb called the Veneer Retreat for two nights, and it was so relaxing. The decor was beautiful and the space made you feel like you could disconnect from the world. You can find the rental here or on Airbnb.






Where to Eat:

  • If you have read a lot of my blog posts then you may have figured out that I am a huge foodie, and for many of my trips food is a big part of the planning process. Well, I've been to Joshua Tree twice and both times I have only eaten at one restaurant. The restaurant is called Natural Sisters Cafe. It’s a vegetarian restaurant that also has bakery items and smoothies. I’m not a vegetarian but I enjoy eating there, especially after a hike. If you are not interested in trying this restaurant, there are plenty of other available options.

Things to Do:

  • Hiking:

    • Joshua Tree is a destination for people who enjoy the outdoors and enjoy hiking. There are several trails that I recommend:

      • Skull Rock- Easy, 1.7 miles - a popular trail that takes you to a rock formation shaped like a skull. Directly across the street from this trail are a few flat trails to walk around and explore.

      • Inspiration Peak Trail- Moderate, 1.8 miles- a popular trail with beautiful views at the top.

      • Panorama Loop -Moderate, 6.3 miles- nice trail through the desert oasis



  • Stargazing:

    • If you live in a big city like I do, chances are you don’t get to see the stars or the Milky Way that often. During your visit, spend some time just gazing up at the midnight sky. You might even see a shooting star! We did!

  • Disconnect:

    • This town is very quiet, so if you are looking for a way to disconnect, recharge, and enjoy a wellness trip, then this is a great place. Enjoy your day hiking, read a book, and turn off your phone.

Safety:

  • Overall Joshua Tree and the surrounding area is a very safe city and has a very low crime rate. We have always felt very safe during our visits. As with any city, it is always best practice to use wisdom when traveling and be aware of your surroundings.

Budget:

  • A weekend trip to Joshua Tree is fairly inexpensive. That being said, visiting during peak tourist season can quickly change this budget-friendly trip to an expensive trip. If you have an Airbnb, I recommend cooking most of your meals. This will help to keep costs low. Also visiting during the low season. During September, airbnbs tend to be half the cost that they are during peak season.

Wrap up:

  • I hope this Joshua Tree guide is a helpful resource and inspires you to visit Joshua Tree! If you want assistance planning your trip or have questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post!


Bonus Activity:

  • Depending on how long your trip is, take a day to explore Palm Springs is located about 1 hour from Joshua Tree. Palm Springs is a popular resort city and many people move from Los Angeles to retire in Palm Springs. It is also a popular place to live and visit for many celebrities.

    • I recommend visiting the Farmers Market that is held every Saturday. It’s a great way to support local businesses and taste food from local vendors.

    • Explore downtown Palm Springs. This area has a lot of restaurants and shops to explore. This area is definitely where a lot of the tourists hang out.

    • Palm Springs is also known for their mid-century modern homes and the city even has one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern homes in the world. You can view many of these beautiful homes as you drive around the city.







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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I’ve always wanted to go to this park as well as Palm Springs! I’d love to see all the mid century homes. I really enjoyed reading this post!

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Stephanie
Stephanie
Sep 28, 2023
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It's a nice escape :) . The mid century homes are really cool to see! I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)

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