I was looking for a quick escape and landed on the magical desert landscape of Joshua Tree, California. During this overnight stay, I witnessed super bloom in the Cali desert, slept in an RV via Airbnb, enjoyed the best open mic night of my life so far in dusty Pioneertown and hiked all over Joshua Tree National Park with jackrabbits bouncing all about.
Read on (3 MINUTES) to learn more about the region’s activities for dining, hiking & soaking up local culture.
I flew into Palm Springs International Airport and then rode scooters about this resort town before having lunch at Haus of Poke and then hit the road for a 40-minute drive to Pioneertown.
Pioneer is a historical-looking town designed as an 1880’s western town for film executives to stay during shoots in the Yucca Valley. Today, this dusty unincorporated town has less than 500 residents but a very well photographed post office and the hottest nightlife on Mondays.
This town is best enjoyed during the day for photos followed by dinner and, if visiting on a Monday, a kick-ass open mic night at the honky-tonk Pappy & Harriet’s which serves up a great spread focused on open flame bbq. Arrive early to get a table near the stage when the singers begin at 7 or have a bite outside and enjoy the show in standing room area.
As for accommodations, the best options are at nearby ranches or finding a funky airstream or RV to crash in on the cold desert nights.
After a cool night in the RV, I woke-up to watch the sunrise warm the desert soil; then I made my way to Joshua Tree – the town – for a yummy breakfast and juice at Cali Greens Cafe, bought a few hiking provisions at Joshua Tree Health Foods then entered into Joshua Tree National Park. This near 800,000-acre park is where two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, come together. It is here that a fascinating variety of plants and animals call home amongst the wind and torrential rains sculpted boulders and valleys. Throughout the park we viewed jackrabbits racing about, saw countless Joshua Trees (for which the park is named) and massive piles of boulders.
Cynthia is a recovering Travel Director turned TV host, creator of Her Drive Podcast, and lover of all things adventure, unicorns, van life, and wellness-focused. She can be found dining wherever octopus is on the menu.