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Two Days in Joshua Tree: A Perfect Itinerary

Nestled in Southern California's high desert, Joshua Tree National Park offers a mesmerizing landscape of twisted Joshua Trees, rugged rock formations, and expansive desert vistas. Whether you’re an avid hiker, rock climber, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat into nature, Joshua Tree has something for everyone.


I planned a romantic getaway for my boyfriend and I over Memorial Day Weekend. We had one night in Palm Springs and then we drove about 40 minutes to Joshua Tree to spend the other night there. It was our first time in Joshua Tree and we already can't wait to take another trip.


Here's what my boyfriend and I did in exactly 24 hours in Joshua Tree.





WHERE WE STAYED


We checked into our Airbnb at 3 pm and immediately saw wildlife as soon as we got out of a car after parking on the driveway. Three jackrabbits ran by and then we saw a quail leading her 10 babies around in the yard. I came across several fantastic Airbnb’s when I was researching, and it was so hard to choose. They are all so unique with a lot to offer. We decided on this one and were extremely happy with out choice. It has the most gorgeous backyard, where we spent most of our time. The backyard had a two-person hot tub, a fire pit, several lounge chairs, a grill, a horseshoe game and the most beautiful plants. The house was very peaceful and secluded, which was one of our favorite parts about it.




 

WHAT WE DID

Go Shopping on Highway 62

 

Twentynine Palms Highway, also known as Highway 62, is a bustling thoroughfare in Joshua Tree, offering a variety of unique shopping experiences. Stop here on your way into town.


Here are some notable shops and destinations along this highway:

 

  • Joshua Tree Coffee Company - this local coffee roaster is a must-visit for coffee enthusiasts.

  • Ricochet Vintage Wears - a vintage clothing store offering a carefully curated selection of retro apparel.

  • Hoof & The Horn - a boutique featuring a curated selection of clothing, accessories, and home goods.

  • Mojave Flea Trading Post - a collective marketplace featuring goods from local artisans and makers.

  • Art Queen - an art complex featuring galleries, shops, and the World Famous Crochet Museum.

  • The World Famous Crochet Museum - a unique and quirky roadside attraction that celebrates the art of crochet in an unforgettable way. Located in a repurposed 1970s-era photo processing booth, this small museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in offbeat art and handmade crafts.

  • Joshua Tree Saloon - a well-known restaurant and bar located in the heart of Joshua Tree, California. It's a favorite among both locals and visitors for its welcoming atmosphere, live entertainment, and hearty American cuisine.




Explore Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park offers a wide range of activities, catering to various interests such as hiking, rock climbing, photography, wildlife watching, and stargazing. There is a $30 entrance fee that is valid for 7 days. You will get a map when you enter that you will need to use, as we did not have service throughout most of the park. You will not have any phone service, so be prepared to follow the map.


Pro-tip: Get there before 10 am on weekends / holidays if you want to avoid long wait time to get in. Also, it will be less hot at this time. We went for a few hours starting at 8 am.


Here are the best easy / cool hikes to do in Joshua Tree National Park. We didn't get through all of these, but will on our next trip.

 


  • Cholla Cactus Garden: a dense concentration of the unique and photogenic Cholla Cacti.



  • Skull Rock, Heart Rock and Arch Rock.



  • Keys View:. The overlook provides panoramic views of the Coachella Valley and is a great spot to watch the sunset.


  • Barker Dam Trail: easy 1-mile loop leading through the park’s beautiful boulder formations and large Joshua Trees.

 

 


Visit Pioneertown

Drive to Pioneertown for lunch, dinner and/or drinks. This old movie set turned real town is known for its lively entertainment scene. It was originally founded in the 1940s as a Western movie set to create an authentic Old West town for filming Western movies and television shows.


We grabbed a drink and enjoyed live music at The Red Dog Saloon while waiting for our table to be ready at Pappy & Harriet’s.


Pappy & Harriet's is a legendary roadhouse-style restaurant and music venue, built in the 1940’s. Today, it continues to draw in crowds with its rustic charm, delicious barbecue, and live music performances ranging from rock to country to indie. The venue has hosted numerous renowned artists and bands over the years, making it a must-visit destination for both music lovers and those seeking an authentic desert experience.

 

The Red Dog Saloon is a historic Western-style saloon from the 1940’s.  It now serves as a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to enjoy live music, drinks, and a taste of the Old West. With its rustic charm and lively atmosphere, it's a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the area.

 

Joshua Tree National Park offers a diverse array of activities and sights that cater to all kinds of adventurers. Whether you’re hiking through otherworldly landscapes, climbing sheer rock faces, or simply soaking in the starlit skies, Joshua Tree promises an unforgettable experience. Happy exploring!






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