Joshua Tree National Park, So Cal’s Desert Wonderland!

I’m almost ashamed to admit that it took me 33 years of living in Southern California to finally get myself to Joshua Tree National Park. On the other hand, it made my recent excursion over there a delightful, fresh experience for this So Cal native who has “done it all” (although apparently not, hahaha).

Anyway, it’s extremely popular among some of my coworkers for camping and hiking weekends, so I hear a lot about it on a regular basis. I thought it was about time to get to the park already!

I originally thought about spending the night near the park since it’s a bit of a long drive from San Diego, but in the end I ultimately decided to just do a day trip with my husband. Why not?

The drive takes about 2.5 hours from San Diego (and also about 2.5 hours from Los Angeles, actually) so although it’s a lot of driving, it’s definitely doable in a day trip if you happen to be in either of the cities and want to check out the park for just a day.

It was Springtime, so we arrived on a relatively crowded day. They warned us we might have issues finding parking at some of the popular spots around the park and I was worried at first, but I shouldn’t have been…even a “crowded” day still left plenty of space, and we always found parking where we wanted to stop. I imagine right now in Summer would be less crowded, but also really, really hot seeing as though it’s the desert and all.

If you’re into rock climbing, you should definitely check this park out because it’s really, really popular with rock climbers, but it’s also a great place to explore and hike around if you’re just into getting out into nature.

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Skull rock

A post shared by Heather Hopkins 🎨✈️🍕🌮 (@arttraveleatrepeat) on

Some of the campsites looked really nice and I look forward to coming back sometime and camping there. I’ve heard the stars at night are really incredible from Joshua Tree from friends who have camped there.

The landscape consists of a lot of interesting rock formations and some really strange alien looking trees that only grow in this region of the world. The combination of the two makes it feel somewhat like you’ve left planet Earth and have landed on some alien planet, which I find awesome.

Anyway, I just wanted to write up a little post on Joshua Tree and encourage people to check it out as a part of their So Cal adventures!

Have you been to Joshua Tree National Park? Any more tips for visitors?


4 replies »

    • It’s so true, there’s so much to do! I keep reminding myself people come HERE on vacation, so I should enjoy it! I’ve been to Death Valley but it’s been a looooooong time. Might be due for another trip! (maybe after summer is over)


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