California’s low desert, primarily Palm Springs; has been a bustling hotspot and popular destination to visit amongst tourists for decades. However, things are changing and its neighbor to the north, Joshua Tree — is starting to come into its own.
The small town of Joshua Tree, California, has been seeing a surge in popularity amongst artists escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, hipsters looking to capture “Instagram-worthy” photos, and outdoor enthusiast eager to experience Joshua Tree National Park. Whatever category you fall in, we think that the world would be a better place if everyone had the chance to experience the magic of this place.
In an effort to help you get the most out of your visit to this desert oasis, we’ve put together a guide in Partnership with Uber. It includes some of the best places to stay, eat and see while visiting Joshua Tree.
If you’re staying in nearby Palm Springs and planning a day trip, or staying in Joshua Tree for a few days; an easy way to get around is in an uberX. It’s extremely practical and convenient. Maximize your visit using Uber’s in-app feature “saved places.” It’s ideal for saving must-see places (like the ones listed in our guide) ahead of time.
Hotel chains are sparse in Joshua Tree, which only adds to the small town charm.
However, there are a few places to stay that are packed with character — like the newly renovated Pioneertown Motel in nearby Pioneertown. They offer a few rooms with a variety of cowboy-centric themes and tons of rustic comfort.
Airbnb is our favorite option when visiting Joshua Tree. During the 1930’s, the government rolled out programs to help fuel the sale of excess federal land at astronomically low prices. Many people flocked to the high desert and began building small cabins on these newly formed plots.
Decades later, many of the cabins have been abandoned; however, more and more are getting revamped and being given new life.
This property is just a short drive from town, providing just the right amount of secludedness to those who visit. It’s 1,400 sq. feet of modern decor, open spaces, high ceilings, and a chefs dream kitchen. Not to mention, it has a jacuzzi and fire-pit — which is perfect for taking in the views.
Though the usual restaurant chains can be found in nearby Yucca Valley. Joshua Tree remains populated mainly by small mom-and-pop restaurants.
PIE FOR THE PEOPLE
A pizzeria serving authentic and delicious New York style pizza in the middle of the desert. They combine the finest New York traditions with fresh and natural ingredients. The only hard part is deciding what type of pizza to choose from.
This is one of the more famous dining choices in Joshua tree. They serve incredible dishes in a laid-back and casual environment. They are best-known for their breakfast options that are served daily until 2 p.m.
KASA CARNICERIA Y TAQUERIA
Although this place is not exactly in Joshua Tree, it’s just a short drive away in neighboring Yucca Valley. Here you’ll find a taco stand tucked away in the back room of a grocery store. These tacos easily rival those of L.A.’s food-truck scene.
What draws so many to this desert escape, is in fact just that — an escape. From a massive national park, to quirky art installations, it’s the type of serenity that only the desert can offer.
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK
This is the most obvious attraction and for good reason. Its seen record attendance in the last two years from those hoping to rock-climb its world-famous boulders, night owls looking to stargaze in one of the darkest regions in southern California, or just nature enthusiast looking for an escape. Whatever it is you seek, this massive park has it all.
NOAH PURIFY OUTDOOR ART MUSEUM
Celebrated sculptor Noah Purifoy spent the last 15 years of his life living in the Joshua Tree desert, constructing a ten-acre outdoor museum entirely made out of junked materials. This otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders.
Pioneertown is a small remote community originally founded in 1946 by a group of Hollywood investors. They sought to create a replica of an old 19th-century western set that would eventually materialize into a town worth visiting. Much of the town still remains; including its false-front facades resembling frontier stables, saloons, and jails; which now house a few shops.
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About The Author
In 2015, Founder of TMDE Paul Martinez left a career in sales for a life of exploring. In just a matter of months he had visited over 10 countries, 30 cities, 10 states, countless national parks, taken thousands of photographs, and did a ton of soul-searching. His search uncovered a deep passion for exploration; which he now believes to be the essence of the human spirit, and led to the birth of The Modern Day Explorer. You can follow him on his personal journey by visiting his Instagram, and hopefully continue to support TMDE by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.