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  • Writer's pictureTara

Desert Vibes in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree has blown up in the past 5 years with the rise of Instagram and IG "models" flocking to the desert for the ideal desert vibes shot. In speaking with locals they informed me that in 2016 - 500,000 visitors traveled to J-Tree. Fast forward to 2018 - they are looking at 3 million tourists in the tiny town filled with quirky cacti and boho vibes.

If you love camping, nature, bouldering, cool rocks or just the desert sun - Joshua Tree is an awesome location for a weekend get-a-way. It's a 2.5 hour drive from LA - you could even make it a day-trip; though I suggest sleeping under the desert sky for at least one night.

Below is my list of recommendations to make an ultimate weekend in J-tree.

Where to stay:

  • I suggest researching on #airbnb for a place to stay. Or if you're really adventurous - camp in the park.

  • We stayed at a western-inspired rental home called Star Ranch - highly recommend it! Great location, hot tub, pickle ball court, spacious and comfortable.

  • The only other hotel that I've stayed while visiting Joshua Tree was The Best Western. There aren't that many options, but you won't be the hotel.

  • Next time I'll be staying at Joshua Tree Acres

Where to eat:

Joshua Tree's restaurant scene is basically 2 blocks - most places don't take reservations and expect to wait a really long time.

  1. Country Kitchen - awesome spot for breakfast before heading into the park. But you can also get lunch & dinner there too. It's in heart of downtown. It's super small so expect a long wait. It was even featured on one of Anthony Bourdain’s shows.

  2. Pappy & Harriets - You haven't been to Joshua Tree unless you step into this honky tony, dusty bar/restaurant in Pioneer Town. It's a hot spot for locals and tourists. Great bands, bbq food and awesome western decor.

  3. Joshua Tree Saloon - this dusty dive bar is a great spot for dinner after hiking in the desert. Great spot for live music and people watching the cast of characters that walk into the bar.

  4. Natural Sister's Cafe - healthy vegan food & smoothies.

  5. Pie for the People - NY Pizza joint - perfect for pick up or delivery.

  6. Joshua Tree Health Foods is like a mini Whole Foods - perfect for last minute grocery needs.

  7. Stater Bros outside of Joshua Tree can be your one stop shop for groceries.

  8. If you drive a few minutes out of Joshua Tree - you'll find your basic fast food joints.

What to do:

  1. Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum

  2. Pioneertown - visit if you like to play cowboys & Indians in this Western themed honky tonk town.

  3. The Integratron - a geodesic dome sound bath in the middle of the Mojave desert.

  4. Yoga

  5. Shop at the Coyote Corner Store for all your J-tree souvenirs - a place that offers showers if you are camping too.

  6. Ricochet Vintage Wears

  7. Jen's Pirate Booty

Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park:

  • There are so many trails in Joshua Tree. Entry fee is $25 & they will give you a map of the park for you to figure out what works best for your fitness level.

  • 16 incredible hiking trails

Length: 0.5 miles Difficulty: Easy

This is a short trail that leads to a spectacular natural rock arch. If you’re fit and agile, it’s a relatively easy climb to the top of the arch, from which you’ll be treated to some incredible desert views. Best to go during sunrise or sunset, but expect crowds.

Distance: 7.4 miles Difficulty: Moderate, but definitely difficult in the blazing sun

Hike through rocky terrain with some amazing canyon views to the lost oasis, where you scramble down into a shady canyon with palm trees, wildlife, and water (if it has been raining). It took us nearly 3 hours.

Distance: 1 mile Difficulty: Easy

It's a short, flat, one-mile loop that’s perfect for families with kids or those looking for something a little more relaxed.

Have fun desert bunnies! Hope this was helpful.

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