13 Best Things to do near Joshua Tree
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From the quirky and kitsch Joshua Tree Town to the glamour of Palm Springs and the wild west vibes of Pioneertown, there are so many fun things to do near Joshua Tree National Park. We loved exploring the nearby sculpture parks, vintage shops and retro eateries and catching a movie under the stars.
For those of you planning a trip to Joshua Tree, we wanted to share our favorite things to do in Joshua Tree Town and the surrounding area. We hope you have as much fun exploring as we did!
13 Best Things to do near Joshua Tree
After exploring the quirky rock formations and stunning trails in Joshua Tree National Park make sure to allow some time in the towns surrounding the park. Joshua Tree Town, Twentynine Palms, Pioneertown and Palm Springs all have unique and fun things to do in the Joshua Tree area. From a sound bath to a drive through movie theater and a desert art museum, these are our 13 best things to do near Joshua Tree.
Things to do near Joshua Tree tip: if you are planning a visit to the park check out our 20 best things to do in Joshua Tree National Park. If you love capturing photos, check out our best Instagram spots in Joshua Tree.
Where to Stay in Joshua Tree
There are a vast number of options for places to stay in Joshua Tree, ranging from basic hotels to luxurious Airbnb’s. SO choosing where to stay can be difficult. We highly recommend staying in the area known as TwentyNine Palms. It is right beside the quieter North entrance to Joshua Tree National Park and a shorter drive to most of the main sights in the park when compared to the West Entrance.
Joshua Tree National Park tip: If you’re planning to spend a few days exploring the park it’s worth staying as close to the park entrance as possible. This allows you to visit multiple times a day and to relax in your hotel during the hottest part of the day.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Twentynine Palms – We chose to stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites and it was a perfect option a comfortable stay and for exploring the park. The hotel also has a small pool out back and theres a handy grocery store just across the road for supplies – check prices now!
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Twentynine Palms – The Holiday Inn Express is just down the road closer to the Joshua Tree Park entrance and another great option as a base for exploring the park – check prices now!
1 | World Famous Crochet Museum
Housed in a neon green photo booth, the self-titled World Famous Crochet Museum is as adorable on the inside as it is on the outside!
The tiny booth is full to the brim of cute and colorful crochet works. Crocheted superheroes sit alongside unicorns, bears and teapots in the museum’s extensive collection.
The World Famous Crochet Museum is part of Art Queen, a quirky art complex where recycled art is the overriding theme. There are some really cool installations and art pieces for sale dotted around the Crochet Museum.
2 | Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum
Bicycles, tires, retro computers, beer kegs and toilets are among the recycled items used in the art installations at the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum. The museum showcases works by Noah S Purifoy, a visual arts and sculptor, who lived in the Joshua Tree area. Located on a dirt track in the middle of Joshua Tree desert, the open air museum is a mix of quirky, creative and clever and many of the pieces convey compelling messages.
3 | Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum
Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum is an awesome hair salon come museum. The hair wash stations and styling chairs are surrounded by an amazing collection of vintage beauty tools, colorful wigs and old school drying machines.
4 | Pioneertown
A walk along the Pioneertown main street feels like a scene from a wild west action movie! Once a 1940s wild west Hollywood film set, Pioneer Town is now filled with independent stores.
Make sure to stop by Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace next door.
5 | Joshua Tree Saloon
Joshua Tree Town’s old western style watering hole is one of the busiest stops in town. With its dark and rustic interior, the decor is great as are its food offering. After a long day in the park there is nothing better than a ice cold beer in the Joshua Tree Salon!
6 | Smith’s Ranch Drive In
If you’ve always dreamed of watching a movie under the stars then make sure to stop by Smith’s Ranch Drive in Theater during your time in Joshua tree.
Open Thursday to Sunday, it costs $5 per person to watch the two movies on show that week. Just drive in, park up and tune in your radio to the Smiths Ranch audio channel!
7 | Explore the Park
Allow plenty of time to explore the park itself. With its unique rock formations and distinctive Joshua Trees set against a barren desert landscape, Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most magical and enchanting places on the planet. From checking out the quirky rock formations to admiring the panoramic vistas at Keys View to exploring abandoned mines and ranches in the wilderness and stargazing in the crystal clear night skies, there is an amazing variety of things to do in Joshua Tree National Park.
For our full guide on Joshua Tree National Park check out our 20 best things to do in Joshua Tree.
8 | Desert Christ Park
Perched on a hillside in the Yucca Valley, the 40 stone white sculptures of the Desert Christ Park are a remarkable sight. The statutes depict the life of Christ and the park is a tranquil and serene spot.
9 |Antique and Vintage Shopping
Joshua Tree has an amazing selection of antique and vintage shops. Our favorites included:
- Pioneer Crossing Antiques: quirky homewares and vintage jewelery
- The End: designer resale boutique
- Ricochet Vintage Wears: cowboy boots and vintage clothing and accessories
10 | The Station
At first glance it appears to be a gas station but the Station is actually a Joshua Tree souvenir store. Its offerings include custom souvenirs, potted cactus and great coffee. Outside, a giant desert cowboy towers over the station forecourt making it impossible not to stop for a closer look!
11 | Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66! OK, the town of Amboy is 45 minutes from Joshua Tree but given how much I’ve always wanted to drive on Route 66 it had to make the list!
12 | Crossroads Cafe
This all day diner is a Joshua Tree institution and a must stop for breakfast or lunch while in Joshua Tree Town.
13 | The Integration
The Integration is a unique white dome structure 20 miles North of Joshua Tree National Park. The Integration offers signature quartz signature Sound Baths in a 60 minute sonic healing session.
The Integration is an incredibly unique experience in the middle of the desert and the Sound Bath was one of our Joshua Tree highlights.
14 | Palm Springs
Many Joshua Tree visitors stay in the nearby Palm Springs. If, like us, you stay near Joshua Tree itself, then Palm Springs makes for a great day trip and a glamorous escape from the trails of Joshua Tree National Park!
Our Palm Spring favorites include:
- Ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
- Visit the Art Museum
- Pose by the colorful doors in the Indian Canyons Neighborhood
- Check out the San Gorgonio Pass wind farms.
15 | Desert X (February to April)
Desert X is an incredible contemporary art exhibition held in the Coachella Valley. Art works are installed across the Greater Palm Springs Area during the free public art festival. The installations are thought provoking and visually stunning and it is a must visit if you are close to Palm Springs when Desert X opens.
Things to do near Joshua Tree tip: the Coachella Valley is also home to the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
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