Although our time in Joshua Tree was brief this time around, we really feel like we were able to get a taste of the area and of life in the desert. Whether you have 24 hours in Joshua Tree or four days, I’ve rounded up a list of things to do, see and the best places to eat and drink while you’re there.
What to Do & See:
World Famous Crochet Museum – Located right in the town of Joshua Tree, the World Famous Crochet Museum has become quite a staple in the area. Filled to the brim with unique crochet animals and figures, even if you’re not willing to pay the $10 to go in, it’s definitely worth stopping by to see. P.S. you can gain access to the museum through the front gate by the salon.
Rent a Cute Airbnb – Joshua Tree, and the desert in general, has no shortage of trendy Aribnbs at affordable prices. Find one located close to town with a backyard for star gazing and big windows with beautiful views of the desert and you’ll be set.
Pioneer Town – Before heading to Pappy & Harriet’s for lunch (more on this below), take a walk through Pioneer Town, which is conveniently located just behind the restaurant. An old Wild West set built in 1946, it’s now a functional quaint little shopping village for tourists. It’s a real flash back in time that is really worth seeing.
Joshua Tree National Park – You can’t go to Joshua Tree and not see the national park. Though I’m sure you can walk in, I highly recommend having a car to make your way through the vast scenery. There are so many places along the way to pull over and have lunch, set out on a hike or just snap some photos, and altogether only takes about an hour to drive through (if you’re not stopping much). The only way that I can describe the park is magical; the rolling hills contrasted with the large boulders and scraggly Joshua Trees create a picture that you really only ever see in photos, unless you find yourself lucky enough to be here in person.
A few spots that I recommend checking out in the park:
- Cholla Cactus Garden
- Hidden Valley
- Skull Rock
Star Gazing – Although I didn’t get this on camera, the star views in the desert are unlike any other. Though it was cloudy when we went to bed, I was lucky enough to wake up in the middle of the night and catch a glimpse of the sky speckled with the brightest balls of light that I’ve ever seen. So the next time you find yourself in the desert, don’t forget to look up.
Take a Road Trip – Everywhere we went in the desert was picturesque, so what better way to take in the area than by road tripping around? We road tripped from Las Vegas to Joshua Tree & back (see my post on that here), but you don’t have to be as aggressive as us. Take a trip to the Mojave Desert or Roy’s Motel; there are endless options and endless things to see in the desert.
Where to Eat & Drink:
Joshua Tree Coffee Company – Located right in the center of Joshua Tree, this fresh, organic and locally roasted spot is a great way to start the morning.
Joshua Tree Saloon – A relaxed desert dive bar and restaurant bursting with character, this was the perfect spot to kick off our time in the desert. Despite the fact that we were exhausted from traveling, we ordered two beers, the Famous Fish Tacos and the Patty Melt and settled in to take in the Friday night karaoke. To this day, Zach cannot stop raving about the Patty Melt so be sure to order it on your visit!
Pappy & Harriet’s – A true honky-tonk barbecue restaurant and music venue not far from Joshua Tree, Pappy & Harriet’s has practically become a historical landmark. While I recommend just about everything on the menu, we really enjoyed the Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of Mac & Cheese and the Rack of Ribs with a side of Fries. Featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, this old-school, no frills spot has really made a name for itself.3