Travel in Style

Joshua Tree, California

Explore to Create
Joshua-Tree

“You have to go to Joshua Tree, ” my girlfriend says, in earnest as if she believes it is the transformational place that I am seeking like Ponce de León and the fountain of youth. Personally, I do like deserts. They give off a powerful energy and typically their vast empty plains attract artists and creatives.

How to Find Where to Stay in Joshua Tree
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I decided the best place to get inspiration in Joshua Tree was to stay at a unique cabin far away from anyone else, which is basically why people come to the desert – the city dweller escapism route.

I begin searching Glamping Hub for accommodations. Glamping Hub is not an average booking website – they specialize in displaying unique global rental properties such as villas, cabins, islands, tiny houses, boats, tipis, tree houses, igloos, and more.

I booked in Joshua Desert Retreats, finding the ideal isolated yellow cabin decorated on the inside like your grandmother’s house if your grandmother is an electric type with impeccable taste and attention to detail in every room. The large stone floor in the kitchen gives this rustic cabin an elegant fancy edge and the decor insights a personal feeling of stepping into a warm friendly home. Perfectly equipped for outside living, the 5-acre property features a stunning outdoor stone fireplace and a picnic table topped with a beautiful chandelier for long cozy dinners.

Built in after dinner activities begin with horse shoes. I can not tell you the last time I played a good game of horse shoes. Living in the technology age of constant overstimulation the essence of properties like this in Joshua Tree is to bring you back to what is important – simplifying in all aspects of life including and most importantly, play. Joshua Desert Retreats might as well specialize in reconnecting you with nature as they carefully curated your day around it. In the heat of the day, you can enjoy the pool. The hot tub perfect for watching the sky rainbow itself through sunset, then you will find yourself moving to the ginormous comfy swing, perfect to watch the constellations appear at dusk. If you want to get the most out of your Joshua Tree experience, make sure you book yourself into a property that knows what you want to experience before you do.

What is Joshua Tree?
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Joshua Tree is a vast and protected National Park in Southern California, characterized by rugged rock formations and desert landscapes, dotted with cacti and the ‘Joshua Trees.’
It is called the Joshua Tree because Mormon settlers thought the twisted trees looked like the prophet Joshua holding his hands to the sky. I think it looks more like a yogi in warrior one stance.

What to Do in the Desert

I wanted my first Joshua Tree weekend experience to be a mixture of exploration, hiking, and relaxing – ending with a partial viewing of the eclipse on Monday. (Eclipse Pro Tip – welding masks work for viewing the eclipse) Randomly the Godwin Ranch had an old school welding mask as part of the front porch decor.  It was very meant to be.

Book a Sound Bath at the Integration
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The Integratron is located in Landers, California, 20 miles north of Joshua Tree National Park. Its creator, George Van Tassel (1910-1978), claimed that the structure is based on the design of Moses’ Tabernacle, the writings of Nikola Tesla and telepathic directions from extraterrestrials. This one-of-a-kind 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, all wood dome was designed to be an electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel.

This is an unforgettable sound experience for those who seek deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and introspection. All Sound Baths are 60-minute sonic healing sessions that consist of 25 minutes of crystal bowls played live and the balance of the hour to integrate the sound and relax in the sound chamber to recorded music.
Book far in advance as spaces sell out quickly.

Noah’s Outdoor Art Museum
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Born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1917, Noah Purifoy lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, where he died in 2004. His earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon, the landmark 1966 group exhibition on the Watts riots that traveled throughout the country. As a founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center, Purifoy knew the community intimately. His 66 Signs of Neon, in line with the postwar period’s fascination with the street and its objects, constituted a Duchampian approach to the fire-molded alleys of Watts. Purifoy dedicated himself to the found object, and to using art as a tool for social change.

Crochet Museum
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Shari Elf had been collecting and making crochet items since the early 90s before she decided to purchase the roadside hut that now houses her collection. After just happening on the stand, she purchased it without a real idea in mind of what she would do with it. However, once she acquired it, she moved it to its current Joshua Tree home and covered it in a layer of bright green paint. The upbeat collection celebrates the eclectic tastes of its owner as much as it does the art of crochet.  I would add this excursion to your list of things to do, as it is something you will marvel at and appreciate its existence.

RELAX!
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After seeing all sights I could muster I am excited about getting back to my cabin at the Joshua Desert Retreats, jumping in the pool while the sun starts to set. I cook dinner and set the outside table while the stars start to twinkle. The swing bed becomes the perfect haven to watch the night sky, the universe puts on quite the pageant in this part of the world.  I look through Glamping Hub for more eclectic accommodations for booking Packed Perfectly’s next travel spot, because after your first experience you get hooked easily.  It is time to read my new book, and I am off to sleep for tomorrow I will be hiking the park.

Joshua Tree National Park
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It is summer time right now, and the temperature is around 114F. I leave my pup Coco at home, he has been thankful for air conditioning. Pets are allowed in the park on leashes, but I have heard of dogs dying due to heat stroke and dehydration.

Armed with sunscreen, plenty of water, and a Janessa Leona hat I venture to the North Entrance Station and drive to the Jumbo Rocks. Take an easy hike here climbing over and around giant rock formations.

Driving a bit further through the park I come to Ryan Mountain. It is a three hour round trip hike to the summit and back. Worth it for the excellent views and the vertical climbing exercise.

More Places to See

Keys valley gives a lovely view of the Coachella Vally and San Andreas Fault. Cholla Catus Garden is an utterly unique place to go. Indian Cove is a great camp ground as is Cottonwood, Black Rock, Hidden Valley, and White Tank.

A List of Places to Eat

There aren’t many places to dine in Joshua Tree, but the quality is high.

Crossroads Cafe
Sisters Natural Cafe
Joshua Tree Saloon
La Casita Nueva
Pie for the People
La Copine
Royal Siam
Sams Indian

When to Go to Joshua Tree

In the summer months certain trails, campgrounds, and restaurants are closed off due to the heat. In winter more crowds come in.

Plan Your Trip Around

The Joshua Tree Music Festival drawing about 4,000 attendees, is a music-and-art-focused event with a homey, intimate feel. Twice a year, it’s put on by a group of committed family and friends who operate on the idea that “music is the soul of life, and that art enriches and saves lives.”

Unlike festivals with glitzy VIP tents and high-paid headliners with large entourages, there’s no separation between artist and audience here, creating a family-oriented and inclusive vibe that’s as inviting as it is down to earth. To add to the family-centric nature of the festival, kids under the age of 10 get in free, and the festival’s “Kid Zone” is geared toward families who are camping with children.

Fall Festival Oct 5-8, 2017
Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground

Spring Festival May 2018 Dates Unconfirmed
Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground

Packed Perfectly’s Take

For me, Joshua Tree encompassed the versatility I long for in a destination. Adventure through nature – the overwhelming sunrises and sunsets ending with bright starlight as far as you can see. Solid play time dancing at the iconic bar and restaurant Pappy and Harriets. Art and artistic inspiration from all the artists taking the Joshua Tree stage. And kick-back time. Allowing myself to relax and enjoy the laid back nature of the desert.

On the drive back, it’s worth stopping in Palm Springs for a night to do a recompression to society.