Joshua Tree National Park, CA …
Joshua Tree National Park (In this Blog)
Palm Springs (READ ABOUT IT HERE!)
Visiting Joshua Tree National Park has been on my bucket list for a very long time. When R & I went on our wedding/honeymoon trip a few years back we went to another of my bucket list sites—Yosemite National Park—but we couldn’t quite fit Joshua Tree National Park in. Later, I learned when R was young, she had a very catastrophic trip to Joshua Tree on a school trip. I’ll just say that it involved a lot of wind, a giant food tent blown miles from the campground, too many long hikes for a non-sporty 12-year-old, a cactus through a foot, a helicopter to the ER, a big rocky wall she was forced to “climb,” and a climbing harness that hoisted her up the wall and back down as she cried. My lovely wife is not very out-doorsy in the best of times and was left traumatized by Joshua Tree. I suspect that’s the REAL reason why we didn’t go there on our wedding trip. However, she overcame her anxiety & angst, and scheduled Joshua Tree National Park so the teen and I could experience it. Now that’s true love.
Joshua Tree National Park
We wanted to stay in Joshua Tree, but we waited too long to make a reservation. We ended up staying about an hour away at the Salton Sea Recreation Area. (Read about that destination HERE!) Note: The campgrounds at Joshua Tree fill up around Spring break, so make your reservation early.
When we arrived in Joshua Tree (the city), we stopped in at the California Visitor Center, which we highly recommend. The ladies were very friendly and helpful, providing a ton of information and tips about the park, the best drives, busy hours & spots, and a recommendation for a delicious local Mexican food place. They have a great gift shop that is much larger than that at the park visitor center. I got a shot glass for my collection and we picked up a cool piece of alien art by a local artist, Julianne Bruley. We stopped at the restaurant they recommended—a little restaurant called La Palmas—that had tasty California-Mexican food.
We headed to the far entrance to the park, by 29 Palms, which is not as busy as the other entrances—an excellent tip from the visitor center—and got right in. (Side note: We have the Annual National Park pass. If you are planning on going to more than one national park in a year, it is a fantastic deal. We have been to 10 for $80!!!) We took the scenic drive through the park. The trees are beautiful and amazing. R and the teen don’t like to hike much and I didn’t hike this time because it was soooo cold and windy. (I think it might always be windy there.) We walked the short scenic trails and the views were amazing and worth freezing!