Joshua Tree, California is a great desert destination for all kinds of travelers – whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, outdoor adventure, or want to browse the arts and antiques.
You can find both upscale and budget-friendly accommodation, hiking trails, sound baths, live music, art installations, gorgeous sunsets, and tons of thrift shops.
Below I’m sharing everything you need to know before your trip to Joshua Tree, California – Including the best time to visit, where to stay, what to eat, things to do, and how to get there.
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Here is my complete travel guide for your next visit to Joshua Tree, California:
- Best Time to Visit Joshua Tree
- Getting to Joshua Tree, California
- Where to Stay in Joshua Tree
- Things To Do in Joshua Tree, California
- Where to Eat in Joshua Tree
Best Time to Visit Joshua Tree
The weather in Joshua Tree can vary drastically throughout the year (and even throughout the day), going over 100°F / 38°C in the summer months and dropping down to 60°F / 15°C during the winter. Expect the temperature to drop about 30° at nighttime year-round.
The temperatures are the most comfortable during the Spring and Fall. Spring is Joshua Tree’s peak season, so expect the park to be busier during the months of November to May.
Getting to Joshua Tree, California
Getting out to the desert in Joshua Tree is very easy regardless of where you’re coming from. If you opt to take a car there, it’s only about a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles, a 3-hour drive from Las Vegas, and a 4-hour drive from Phoenix.
If you’re flying into Southern California, the nearest airport is located in Palm Springs, which is about a 40-minute drive to Joshua Tree.
Where to Stay in Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree has a wide range of accommodation options and some of the most unique AirBnbs I’ve ever stayed in. There’s something available here to fit every traveler’s tastes and budget.
Camping & Glamping in Joshua Tree
The desert is the perfect place for camping under the stars! Joshua Tree National Park has a variety of campgrounds (totaling over 500 campsites) located throughout the park and provides some of the best stargazing I’ve ever seen.
If you opt to camp in the park you will just need to reserve your spot at one of the campgrounds. Reservations can be made on the same day of your visit, and certain campgrounds are first-come-first-serve, but depending on when you’re visiting the campgrounds can fill up fast.
You can find more information on booking campground reservations on the National Parks Service’s official website here.
If “roughing it” isn’t exactly your thing, then there’s always glamping.
Glamping at Joshua Tree HAVN AirBnb
In addition to camping in the park, the Joshua Tree desert has tons of glamping options and other campground rentals located outside of the park. My solo road trip through the Southwest USA last year first sparked my love for glamping, and during my most recent trip to Joshua Tree I opted to rent this beautiful airstream campsite I found on Airbnb. This one even had a full patio setup with a swinging bed, campfire, and cowboy tub.
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Joshua Tree Desert AirBnbs & Vacation Homes
There’s definitely no shortage of beautiful vacation rentals and AirBnbs in Joshua Tree, California. And there are so many different and unique properties to choose from.
The Citadel AirBnb
One of the more luxury places I’ve stayed at during my last trip to Joshua Tree was this gorgeous castle house pictured above. Located about 20 minutes away from the park, this 5-bedroom property sits up on a hill with a view, has a separate casita, and features a hot tub, cowboy tub, an upstairs deck, hammocks, and several fire pits.
White Cactus House AirBnb
This was the AirBnb I stayed at during my very first trip to Joshua Tree in 2019. It’s located right near the Western entrance to the national park, and features beautiful decor and a spacious backyard with hammocks and a cowboy tub.
Things To Do in Joshua Tree, California
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is the main attraction out in California’s high desert. Within the park there’s tons of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure lovers – namely camping, rock climbing, and hiking. The park is also a great place for photography lovers, and if you’re camping and stargazing it’s a great place for astrophotography!
Be sure to check out some of these popular attractions in the park:
- Cholla Cactus Gardens
- Arch Rock
- Skull Rock
- Heart Rock
- Keys View
- 49 Palms
The best time to visit Joshua Tree National Park is during the Spring months when the temperatures are the most comfortable. But note that this is also the park’s peak season.
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Antique & Thrift Shopping
Off the main road in Joshua Tree there’s a ton of antique shops to browse through. You can find some fun hidden gems in these stores – everything from clothing and jewelry to furniture. A lot of items come in from estate sales, so you just never know what you’re going to find.
Another fun shopping stop is the Art Queen – check out her World Famous Crochet Museum while you’re in the area.
Pioneertown, California is a small town located about 10 miles outside of Joshua Tree that was actually built to be a “living movie set”. It was founded by a group of Hollywood investors in 1946, and is still used today as a fully functioning production set. Pioneertown features small local businesses that line the downtown area’s Mane Street, and it’s open to the public year-round. You can learn more about this unique place and find filming and permit information on their website here.
Try a Sound Bath at The Integration
Located only 30 minutes away from Joshua Tree National Park, the Integration is a wooden dome structure that was originally built to be “an electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel.” It’s creator, George Van Tassel, claimed to have received the design instructions for the dome from extraterrestrial life.
These days, the dome is maintained by 3 sisters and is used for its acoustic properties for hosting sound baths, aimed to provide healing for its listeners. You can learn more about this unique structure and book your sound bath reservation here.
Where to Eat in Joshua Tree
Natural Sisters Cafe
Natural Sisters Cafe is a good spot for breakfast and lunch – They serve coffee, juices, smoothies, sandwiches and salads, and have vegan and vegetarian options available.
Crossroads Cafe & Tavern
Crossroads Cafe & Tavern is a great place to stop for lunch and dinner. They have a variety of vegan and vegetarian options available here as well.
Joshua Tree Saloon
Joshua Tree Saloon is a popular stop located right near the Western entrance to the national park. It’s a fun place to grab lunch and a beer and snap a few Instagram photos.
Joshua Tree Coffee Company
Joshua Tree Coffee Company is hands down the best coffee in Joshua Tree! The local shop can be found right near the Western entrance to the park, and they also have their organic coffee available for purchase online as well.
Pie for the People
Pie for the People is the place to go if you’re looking for pizza. The vegan pizza here is always my go-to if I’m in the area.
Pappy & Harriet’s
Located in Pioneertown, Pappy & Harriet’s is a popular bar and BBQ spot that is also a venue for live concerts! You may even be surprised to hear some of the big names that have performed here, including Paul McCartney, Lorde, and Lizzo.
You can find out more about their upcoming events on their website here.
Joshua Tree really has something to offer everyone and I’ve always had the best time during my getaway visits here. Have you ever been to California’s high desert? Share your experiences with me in the comments below!
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