The Perfect Weekend in Joshua Tree

best place to watch sunset Joshua tree

When is the last time you heard silence?  That deep, grounding quiet only found out in the desert?  What about star-gazing?  Can you recall the last time you were mesmerized by the illuminated sky?

Joshua Tree is so much more than just a national park you pass on the way to Palm Springs.   This unique desert landscape is a sanctuary for those looking to press refresh on their hectic city life.  A place littered with distinctive trees, acres of cacti, and mysterious rock formations begging to be climbed.  A geography so foreign that you might just feel like you’re on Mars.

what to do in Joshua tree park for the weekend

things to do Joshua tree

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The summers will be scorching, the winters can be bone-chilling.  For your first trip to JT, shoot for spring or fall for the most enjoyable weather.

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Joshua Tree is home to a vibrant artist community, so it should come at no surprise that the majority of Airbnb rental options are distinctively bohemian.  Whether it’s a yurt without wifi, a row of upgraded trailers with a community ‘cowboy hot tub’, or a more traditional single story home with desert accents, Joshua Tree has an Airbnb rental for every type of traveler.  And, best of all, prices are considerably inexpensive. I recommend staying as close as possible to the North or West entrances, so you have no excuse not to get into the park to watch sunrise.  That is, if you’re not already tent camping right out in the park like a badass.

Joshua tree where to stay

For those who rather sleep in, staying next to the infamous Harriet & Pappy’s is an excellent alternative. The rustic Pioneer Motel will transport you back to the wild west, but with chic accents to keep you comfortable.  The Pioneer Motel is located in Pioneertown, a winding 30-minute ride to the park entrance.

pioneer hotel distance to Joshua tree

 

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You would need a lifetime to explore every inch of the park, which is, get this, larger than the entire state of Rhode Island. The entrance fee to Joshua Tree National Park (as of October 2018) is $30 per car for a 7 consecutive day pass.   Annual car pass is $55.  For your first visit, you will not need to venture much further than the few hours drive between the north and west entrances.  From this main road, you can pull off to explore the different terrains and points of interest, like Devil’s Rock or Cholla Cactus Garden.  Even from inside the car, the landscape is mesmerizing, but there are dozens of hikes of varying difficulties and distances available along the way.  In addition to hiking, the park is open for rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, photography tours, camping, and stargazing.  I know I have been raving about the sunrises, but the sunsets are also not to be missed.

goldsheep pants Joshua tree

things to do in Joshua tree park

For a hearty dinner and an ice cold beer, I couldn’t recommend Harriet and Pappys in Pioneertown more.  Legend has it, that some of the world’s most iconic singers and bands have played sets at Harriet and Pappys. This cowboy bar and restaurant has nightly live music and a roaring crowd of locals and visitors.  It also happens to be home to some of the best barbeque you can find in California.  Reservations strongly encouraged.

what to do Joshua tree nightlife

However you decide to spend your time in the desert, I encourage you to truly unplug.  The park is devoid of cell service, giving full meaning to the phrase ‘off the grid’. Use this time to disconnect from technology, and reconnect with nature. Let the stars move you, the trees speak to you, the quietness envelop you.  And come Sunday, pack up those desert vibes and bring them back to the big city with you.

which entrance in Joshua tree to stay near

 

This article was written for publication in the fall 2018 issue of QP MAGAZINE it is not to be published, quoted or paraphrased without their consent. 

 

S H O P   M Y   L O O K

Blue Yoga Pants with Santorini domes on them are from my friends @ Gold Sheep Clothing

Tequila featured is my new obsession, 123 Tequila. It’s organic and mixes incredibly well with strawberry Healthaid kombucha

Black & White Plaid Dress is from Bec & Bridge

Tan cross body bag with fringe is Elliot Lucca – I got it at Nordstrom Rack

Black bootie heels, and grey/blue headband are from amazon.  The dark blue floral pants were from a little boutique store in Uruguay, but I found these close match pair on amazon

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