Every once in awhile you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, and a quick getaway is the ultimate cure.
Twice this year I chose Joshua Tree as my getaway. The first time was back in February and the second trip was just two weeks ago. I do recommend a visit when it’s not June, unless you enjoy 110 degree weather in the middle of the desert or just go outside at night.
What the heck is in the desert? I asked myself that same question, but I was initially inspired to visit from all the cool pics I saw on Instagram from a few people I follow. Joshua Tree looked so magical, especially at night. It is nature, so what’s not to like? Besides, it's only a 2 1/2 hour drive from San Diego, which makes it a nice, quick getaway.
A few years ago San Diego Magazine dubbed Joshua Tree as “The New Desert Getaway”, and now you can count me in on the bandwagon.
On both visits we only stayed one night, but I think two nights would have been better to fully take in all the sights and recharge. It costs $20 to enter this national park, but the pass is good for one week. You’ll also receive a map that shows you the different hiking trails, campsites, and points of interest.
Why You’ll Love Joshua Tree
Surprisingly, this desert full of Joshua trees offered a sense of peace and a plethora of inspiration. At every turn was a breathtaking landscape of huge rocks and cacti. I never gave the desert much thought, but I now have a newfound appreciation for it.
Joshua tree forests tell a story of survival, resilience, and beauty borne through perseverance. They are the silhouette that reminds those of us who live here that we are home. Like the Lorax we speak for the trees, but often the trees speak to us. (From the National Park Service website)
View of Coachella Valley from Keys View
Where to Stay
Joshua Tree is home to many campgrounds, but the one that caught my attention was the biggest one called Jumbo Rocks campground. We didn’t stay there, but I liked the idea of being around other campers, so that’s where I plan to stay during the next visit. James Kaiser offers a nice guide to all the different campgrounds.
There are no hotels inside the park, but there are many hotels and inns in surrounding small towns. I’m typically a no-frills traveler, so I tend to stay in smaller inns and motels. Just give me a place to sleep for 7-8 hours and I’m good to go. Our first visit we stayed at America’s Best Travel Inn, which was decent and about a 20 minute drive from the north entrance to the park. We also stayed at a Motel 6 during our recent visit, but our young neighbors were pretty loud and the room smelled like smoke, so I don’t recommend it. TripAdvisor has a list of the most popular hotels in Joshua Tree including reviews.
Where To Eat
Outside the park there are many places to eat - mostly national chain restaurants and fast-food joints. However, a craving for barbecue led us to a local family-owned restaurant called The Rib Co. where good ole beef ribs and macaroni and cheese awaited my hungry stomach. I also like John’s Place in 29 Palms for breakfast.
If you are inside the park for most of the day, I do recommend packing sandwiches, snacks, and plenty of water because you definitely will not be close to any convenience stores.
What's your favorite place to go for a quick getaway?