If you’re looking for a low-key, peaceful weekend trip to put you back in touch with nature — and back in touch with yourself — Joshua Tree is it.
For most, Joshua Tree, California is a magical desert getaway just miles away from the Coachella Valley (home of the Coachella festival), nestled between two more well-known California destinations: Los Angeles and Big Sur. But for me, Joshua Tree is home. Recently, my husband and I became two of the few year-round residents of this up-and-coming desert town — and who better to give vacation advice than a local, right?
There’s no shortage of quaint Airbnbs on acres and acres of land to hole up in for a little alone time. Fox and Feather Cabin, out in Wonder Valley, makes for the perfect writers retreat or romantic couples stay. Otherwise, camping is highly recommended — sleeping outside among the area’s rare Joshua trees simultaneously connects you to the land and feels almost spiritual. There’s nothing like it.
After a night under the stars, start your day with a morning hike in the National Park. The Skull Rock Nature Trail is one of the best, famous for the mesmerizing skull-shaped rock at its entrance. The Park trails get pretty crowded on weekends, though, so if you’d like something a little more private, head to the 49 Palms Oasis Trail. After two miles of intense hiking, the path ends at a literal oasis: a vibrant pond and 49 palm trees in the middle of the desert. It’s nothing short of breathtaking.
Take a moment for some self-reflection at the Integratron, a 38-foot tall domed structure famous for its healing energy. The space is known for its sound baths — aka, sonic healing sessions— which fill the room with booming, body- and mind-balancing frequencies. These sound baths sell out quickly, so book yours ahead of time.
To refuel after all that physical activity, stop over at the Natural Sisters Cafe, known for healthy eats like smoothies and cold-pressed juices. Get the Killer Bee — a blend of papaya nectar and bee pollen — and you won’t regret it. Just across the street is Joshua Tree Coffee Company, a local business that roasts small batch, organic coffee that can’t be beat. Don’t forget to grab a bag of their signature beans to grind at home!
End your night at Pappy & Harriets, a restaurant-slash-rock-bar in nearby Pioneertown. The food is great, but the entertainment is even better. Bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Glass Animals have been know to stop by to hit the outdoor stage.
Looking for a memento to remember Joshua Tree by? Stop by the Cactus Mart on your way out of town. You can dig your own mini cactus for just 59 cents, or take home one of the Mart’s many desert plants (including sage, aloe, and all the succulents you can possibly imagine) to keep the magical-meets-earthy energy of Joshua Tree with you, no matter where you live.
Photo Credit: @jay_rock__