Joshua Tree is having a moment. Even if you’ve never visited, you’ve seen it featured in fashion spreads, music videos, and car commercials. Word on the street is that a new season of Twin Peaks is currently being filmed here. There’s a good reason for all the hype, as this convergence of the Mojave and Colorado deserts is both the closest national park to Los Angeles and San Diego, and has a storied history of attracting dreamers, artists, musicians and explorers who have shaped the little town into a destination unlike any other.
One of the most common questions I get asked is for recommendations for visiting the area. So without further ado, here is my guide to making the most out of your desert adventure:
Where to Stay
If you want the true Joshua Tree experience, I highly recommend staying at one of the many artful, charming Airbnbs in the area. (Note that the area commonly referred to as Joshua Tree includes the neighboring towns of Yucca Valley & 29 Palms.)
Here are some of the places I have stayed at or visited and can personally recommend:
The Joshua Tree House & Casita by The Joshua Tree House: Maybe I am biased because I work here, but the JT Houses are my favorite. Both properties are charming (1940s and 50s) homes that have been completely renovated & redone by dream team Sara& Rich Combs who design with both max vibes and comfort in mind, and always strive to use artisan and vintage furnishings to add to the luxe rustic aesthetic. I love both properties so much, but the Casita is my very favorite, due to it’s location nestled in a cactus garden overlooking the open desert.
Too Pool for School: This place is just screams FUN- from the quirky decor designed by dream team x8 Property and Design, to the perfectly landscaped pool. It is also one of the larger rentals on my list- it can sleep up to 12 guests.
Coyote House: located in Yucca Valley. This stylish little bungalow located at the “crossroads of Pioneertown and Joshua Tree” is owned by my super cool photographer pals Tim & Merrill, and they’ve decorated it perfectly in their signature funky vintage style.
Casa Joshua Tree: This little house is located right in downtown Joshua Tree, and it is designed to the max with all the minimal (but full off plants), millennial pink and white charm that your instagram feed needs! Also has a lovely back porch for max chilling.
Joshua Tree Acres: A “reimagined artist retreat village with vintage renovated airstreams & unusual dwellings” -need I say more?!?!?!?!!?
Rock Reach House: (located in Yucca Valley.) This place is a modern steel house perched amongst the desert boulders. It’s breathtaking & it has a hottub under the stars.
Shelter Joshua Tree: This is actually a group of 3 separate 2 bedroom, modern homes. We rented all 3 for a multi-family vacation and it was perfect: super great location very close to the JT park entrance, but also feels nestled in the boulders.
Rockbound Oasis– This house located in my personal favorite area of Joshua Tree, near the park but not right in town. It has the most gorgeous tub & pool & hot and is very family friendly.
And here are some places I’ve yet to visit but are on my wishlist:
Cactus Mountain & The Geodome: These two properties are owned and designed by two of my closest local friends Tien & Nikko, but somehow I have yet to visit either. Luckily, some of my insta followers have stayed and can vouch that these spots are just as cool as they look!
Caravan Ranch: A labor of love by a local family, this desert spirited homey spot is located right in downtown Joshua Tree.
We Are in Our Element Rentals: Dome in the Desert, Cabin Cabin Cabin, & Shack Attack: Dome in the Desert was one of the first of the hip JT airbnbs and it has been featured everywhere, like in the Jungalow book for instance. The owners have since acquired two other properties and they all look like slices of bohemian paradise.
Harriet House: This Pioneertown house is the historic home of Harriet (of Pappy & Harriets fame)! The new owner has done a beautiful job renovating it- it’s another I am dying to see in person!
~ If you want to camp and can’t get a spot in the national park, or want a place with more amenities check out Sky Camp Joshua Tree – which has 4 separate campsites with views, plus several thoughtful shared community spaces
~ There are also several fun hotel options here that are worth mentioning. My family’s favorite spot is one of the little adobes at Twentynine Palms Inn, a historic inn at a natural oasis that has a pool and features a farm to table restaurant. Another popular local hotel is The Joshua Tree Inn (where the legendary Gram Parsons died). And in Yucca Valley, check out Pioneertown Motel which is located next door to everyone’s favorite local bar/venue/ laid back eatery Pappy and Harriets in an Old Western Town.
This is a hard list to curate, simply because there are SO MANY amazing rental homes available in Joshua Tree- I can’t keep track of them all! I’ve only mentioned the ones I have been lucky enough to visit, or that are owned by friends 🙂 Browse around and you are sure to find a spot that fits your needs for your own unique escape and adventure!
Thanks for following along! Did I miss any thing? Got questions? Lemme know below, or shoot me an email!