Joshua Tree is a desert oasis that is known for its rustic vibe and feel-good energy. From vintage shopping to the legendary national park, Joshua Tree is a unique destination that is particularly loved by the adventurous traveler. Best of all, it is less than three hours away from most major SoCal cities, making it the ideal place for a quick weekend getaway. That being said, we’ve put together the ultimate itinerary for an adventurous 24 hours in Joshua Tree!
While there are plenty of local Airbnbs and rentals to choose from, The Drive In is a spacious, stylish and luxe option located in the heart of the high desert. This stunning rental can sleep up to eight guests across two bedrooms in the main house and another bedroom in the neighboring casita. The modern decor and neutral color palette is complemented by the surrounding desert landscape, and there is even an indoor soaking tub with unbeatable views. When it comes to entertainment, guests can enjoy everything from the Polaroid photo booth to the mini driving range. The outdoor tub allows you to soak under the stars, and the hammocks make for the ultimate sunset viewing spot. Guests can even take full advantage of the outdoor kitchen and enjoy meals outside either on the swinging bar stools or around the cozy fire pit.
After dropping off your bags, head into town for bites and booze at Pappy and Harriet’s. This historic hot spot has been around since 1982, and it’s the ultimate place for burgers, beers and live music. Since this is one of–if not the most popular restaurant in Joshua Tree–Pappy and Harriet’s is a great place to soak up the local scene. If you’re super hungry, be sure to order the signature chili nachos as an appetizer.
There is no better way to start a morning in the desert than with a latte from Joshua Tree Coffee Company. This adorable shop is located off of Twentynine Palms Hwy right in the heart of town. From cappuccinos to cold brew, all of the coffee is made with organic, premium beans that are roasted in small batches. Be sure to snag a pink pouch of coffee beans to go to take a piece of Joshua Tree home with you.
No trip to the desert is complete without visiting the massive and stunning Joshua Tree National Park. The entrance fee is $30 per vehicle and remains valid for seven days, allowing you to come and go at your leisure. Arch Rock Nature Trail is a popular hike that allows you to get in touch with nature and see some of the very best of this desert oasis. It is only a little over a mile long, and it is a pretty easy hike for all ages. To find this trail, travel on Pinto Basin Rd for a half a mile northwest of White Tank Campground or 2.2 miles south of Park Blvd. Once you reach the Twin Tanks Day Use Area on the road’s west side, start your hike south from the Twin Tanks.
Soar to new heights in a hot-air balloon, and if you’re up for it, JUMP! Joshua Tree Balloon Co. offers scenic hot-air balloon rides as well as experienced skydiver balloon jumps. Take in views of stunning Joshua Tree and the high desert’s terrain of volcanic rock from 4,500 feet above. And be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife, including golden eagles, jackrabbits and coyotes! To skydive, a USPA membership and B-License is required. For more info, click here!
Ready to hit the town? Roaming Travelers is an adorable boutique that sells everything from globally inspired apparel and jewelry to local art. Everything at this rustic Joshua Tree shop has a desert-bohemian flair, and it’s clear that Joshua Tree’s unique landscape and vibe is a huge source of inspiration. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your wardrobe or buy a gift for someone back home, this local boutique is a must-visit for travelers seeking a curated shopping spree.
After getting your shop on, head to the World Famous Crochet Museum for a quirky and unique experience. This “museum” operates out of a small green structure in downtown Joshua Tree and is filled with a variety of crocheted animals and objects. Though it is small, this tiny museum is beyond whimsical and nostalgic, making it a perfectly lighthearted activity for the afternoon. This is also the perfect place to snap some cool Instagram pics!
Kitchen in the Desert is located in neighboring Twentynine Palms, and it’s the perfect spot for a picturesque evening of dinner and drinks. After snagging a spot by the fire pit on the patio, enjoy sipping on a zesty mezcal paloma as the sun goes down and the desert sky turns pink. When it comes to food, start off with the beet salad followed by some crispy coconut shrimp. The crispy onion Smashburger and the chimichurri steak are also solid choices at this Caribbean- and New American-inspired restaurant.
Joshua Tree Saloon is the ideal place to get a taste of the Old West before settling in for the night. This transportive bar and restaurant has been slinging drinks since 1984, and in addition to having live music on Fridays and Saturdays, Tuesday is also open-mic night. There is a huge variety of beers on tap as well as tasty cocktails like the Downhome Dixie, which is crafted with moonshine.
Stargazing on the Outdoor Deck
From shooting stars to clear views of the Milky Way, Joshua Tree is the ultimate place for stargazing. Thankfully, the home you’ve rented has a spacious deck where you can post up comfortably for a magical evening. Sit back in one of the comfy round chairs or grab some blankets and lay down flat on a yoga mat for premium viewing. You can even end your evening with a nighttime dip in the outdoor hot tub.
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Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.