Travel to Joshua Tree, California
Carleigh Elise recently visited the beautiful and inspiring, Joshua Tree in California. With her favourite Beach People products in tow. Carleigh takes us around her favourite places in this must see desert destination, from where to stay to where to eat. Read her Travel Guide below.
Similarly to a beach, the desert offers plenty of sunshine and sand. Living in California, there is no question that you should take an escape to the Joshua Tree Desert. It is no secret that the desert has become the LA escape and is slowly changing to a hipster oasis. It has an allure and a refreshing sensibility about it that I’ve only found in a few places.
Exploring Joshua Tree National Park has always been on my bucket list, and well, to be honest my fascination with the dreamy desert sparked as soon as I saw the adventure thrilling photos on my Instagram feed. I knew I wanted to experience the desert myself because the only warm sand I could relate to is the sand on a Florida beach not in a desolate area filled with cacti.
After my weekend spent in the desert, Joshua Tree became one of my favorite getaway destinations. Here is the ultimate guide on where to stay, what to eat, what you need to bring, and where to go!
Where To Stay
If you are looking for an escape with seclusion and a home-away-from-home feel, I would definitely recommend this place. You definitely feel like you are in your own world because of its isolated location accompanied with a 15 minute drive down a dirt path to reach the home. The home had everything that you would aspire a cozy trendy ranch to have, from its quirky design details, open air concept, and above ground pool combined with a heated jacuzzi. The backyard is the ultimate outdoor chill zone featuring a grill, pool, lounge chairs, a large daybed, and the sounds of silence other than the little wind chime.
I definitely recommend packing lots of water and food before to enjoy the grill and save time. The Whisper Rock Ranch is the ideal romantic getaway because of its privacy and 360 degree view of the property. The home features a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living area, and an outdoor wooden deck that wraps around space. Each room has an eclectic design from fun wallpaper to unique little Joshua Tree treasures scattered throughout the home. The furniture and decor offer midcentury modern, Native American, and Bohemian elements. We really enjoyed the open space floorpan.
From every room of the house we were able to relax to the warm cotton candy sunset with sounds of Bon Iver playing off the ranch record player. At night, we unwinded to a glass of wine while watching an old movie off the projector screen. During nightfall, it becomes all the more magical as the pool lights up from the moon and bright stars. We unfortunately did not take advantage of the telescope but if we did, I know the majority of our night would’ve been spent stargazing.
Just a couple minutes from the town, we had the perfect mixture of seclusion and convenience. I really loved how this home also had an open air concept as well. I opened up all of the doors and windows and set up music on the surround sound SONOS system so we could jam by the pool or in the kitchen.
What’s truly most unique about the property is its location. It’s only a few minutes from downtown Joshua Tree – yet it has a feeling of exclusivity and privacy unmatched anywhere in the area. Plus, it borders an area of the park known as desert conservation area, or section 6, and allows you to walk directly in Flowerland – accessing miles of unspoiled trails. Each of the three bedrooms has a name: Sunset, Sunrise and Twilight. The house is perfectly situated on the cardinal directions of a compass.
As night falls, we get the light show! With the help of a fireplace, changing pool lights, and unique walkway lights that simulate a lantern, the SkyHouse is as beautiful at night as it is during the day. We were lucky enough to have two nights at the property to really soak in all it has to offer. A lot of time was spent by the pool sipping on lime rum spritzers or swinging in the plush white swing chair by our bedroom.
Where to eat
If you are looking for something light and refreshing to beat the desert heat, I would definitely recommend a bowl at Juice Up. My Berry Blast bowl was the perfect thirst quencher after our hot day spent exploring Pioneertown.
Joshua Tree Saloon
If you are looking for a place to have a nice dinner with a little entertainment I suggest the Joshua Tree Saloon. This place has amazing burgers, great beer selection, and a stage to watch live performances. Definitely try to head here a little earlier than 7 PM to make sure you have a table (gets busy)! Also at 7PM on Friday they have Karaoke!
The best place for breakfast! Their pancakes are to die for and I heard through the grapevine that their banana bread is mouthwatering. Anytime we asked someone in Joshua Tree to eat, this place was always number one on their list!
29 Palms Inn
Want a little date night in the desert? I would probably check out 29 Palms Inn. You can relax by the pool and enjoy fine dining with an awesome wine selection. I definitely recommend making a reservation asap because this place gets packed.
La Casita Nueva
I have always heard that Californians know how to do tacos and spicy margaritas…and let me tell you, Joshua Tree knows a thing or to too. They make an awesome margarita called the Cadillac. Check this spot if you’re in the mood for something spicy.
What to bring
It is a no brainer that you will get a decent amount of sun while you are staying in Joshua Tree. I would stock up on as much sunscreen, moisturiser, and hats to keep your skin happy and healthy.
Whether you are relaxing after a long hike or trying to catch some rays, I find that having a great towel is a necessity. I had so many questions where my towel was from because of its unique shape and beige dreamy design. The Mirage Towel, designed by The Beach People, is perfect for those that love to document their time on Instagram or want to brighten up your day.
Although Joshua Tree is a town that inhibits a lot of stores and restaurants, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to having a lot of water. One thing about Joshua Tree is the amount of distance it takes to travel from place to place and the dry weather can make you more dehydrated than normal. I would suggest stocking up on as much water as you can to ensure for a hydrated happy visit.
What to do
Feel like a real western cowgirl/boy by saddling up on a horse. This was something I did not have the chance to do but would have loved. If you stay at the Joshua Tree Skyhouse there is actually a horse ranch right next door. Some other great horse ranches to check out include Knob Hill Ranch, Crazy Horse Ranch, and Smoke Tree Stables.
Almost anywhere you go you feel like you are sightseeing. Even driving towards Joshua Tree the journey is incredible. However, there are a few spots to hike and highly recommend by the locals. For example the Arch Rock is a 0.5-mile nature trail with lots of large rock formations to climb on and a natural arch. Or visit the Skull Rock that is visible off the main road or walk the 1.5 mile trail loop. A favourite by many is the Keys View. It is a high elevation lookout point on the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains that you drive up to. You can see Palm Springs and Coachella from here.
People come from all over just to rock climb in Joshua Tree. Climbing at Hidden Valley is the mecca for rock climbing lovers. I would definitely recommend getting there as early as possible because of the popularity.
If you are a photographer or simply appreciate a star-filled sky, Joshua Tree is definitely the spot to be. In the national park, it is known that you can see the Milky Way and meteors pass by. During my first night at Whisper Rock Ranch, the night sky was bright with stars, planets, and passing meteors.
Pioneertown is a unique spot in Joshua Tree that I think everyone should check out. It is a good 20 minutes from the city and looks just like a set from Westworld. Funny thing, the reason it looks just like a western movie set is because it used to be one back in the 50’s. It has been changed into a place for some good BBQ, live music, entertainment, and the best western Instagram photos.