After sharing our amazing California road trip we frequently get asked for recommendations about where to stay in Joshua Tree. One of the great things about Joshua Tree is the huge variety of accommodation options close to the park. From quirky and unique to luxury, there are lots incredible places to stay within easy reach of Joshua Tree National Park.
We’ve put together a guide on where to stay in Joshua Tree, including hotels, rentals and unique places to stay that will make your time in Joshua Tree truly unforgettable.
Where To Stay in Joshua Tree
Covering a huge 800,000 acres Joshua Tree National Park is the meeting point of the Mojave and Colorado desert. The park has 3 entrances named by their locations: North, West and South. Camping is the only accommodation option within Joshua Tree National Park and so many visitors stay in the towns surrounding the entrances to the park.
The western part of the park, home to the iconic Joshua Tree, lies in the higher elevation Mojave Desert while the south and east of the park are located in the hotter and drier Colorado Desert. Most of the park’s attractions are located in the north of the park and are most easily reached via the north and west entrances.
Where to stay in Joshua Tree tip: when we visit Joshua Tree we typically choose where to stay based on our route to and from Joshua Tree and what we want to see and do in the park and surrounding towns. We tend to stick to the accommodation close to the West and North entrances when we’re exploring Joshua Tree for a few nights as many of the park’s sights and trails are most easily accessible from these entrances.
Our top 3 recommendations for where to stay in Joshua Tree
We’ve included detailed info on each entrance and the best places to stay below. If you want to skip the detail and get right to our favorites, these are our top 3 places to stay in Joshua Tree and are perfect for couples, small groups and families:
- M&L Desert Cottage: this beautiful 2 bedroom cottage is just 6 minutes drive from the north entrance to Joshua Tree. The cottage has been completely remodeled and is the definition of desert chic. The interior is gorgeous and there is a fire pit, BBQ and hammocks on the patio for stargazing and al fresco dining. – check prices now!
Location: North Entrance/Twentynine Palms. We love this entrance as it’s both close to many highlights of Joshua Tree National Park and is also a much quieter gate to enter the park by. M&L Desert Cottage is a 20 minute drive from Joshua Tree Town.
- Castle House Estate: with the accommodation options including guard towers, yurt tents, a tiny container house (the perfect chance to experience tiny home living!) and a vintage RV, Castle House Estate perfectly encompasses the unique Joshua Tree vibe. It’s the perfect mix of indoor and outdoor living and the accommodation is beautifully presented and incredibly unique. The hardest part is choosing which accommodation to reserve – check prices now!
Location: West Entrance/Joshua Tree. Castle House Estate is a 10 minute drive from Joshua Tree Town and is 20 minutes north of the park entrance.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Twentynine Palms – clean and well equipped, the Fairfield Inn is one of our go to hotels when we’re exploring the park and want somewhere clean and quiet to rest up. The hotel has a small pool out back, free breakfast, laundry facilities and there’s a grocery store just across the road for supplies – check prices now!
Location: North Entrance/Twentynine Palms. We opt for the convenience of the Fairfield Inn when we have early starts and late evenings in the park.
Where to stay in Joshua Tree by Entrance
We’ve visited Joshua Tree National Park numerous times on our California travels and have stayed in some great properties close to the entrances to the park. We’ve split our recommendations by area/entrance to help narrow down the options.
Which is the best entrance to Joshua Tree?
We often get asked which is the best entrance to Joshua Tree: for us, it’s a toss up between the North and West entrances.
North vs West Joshua Tree National Park Entrance
- Most of the Joshua Tree hikes and attractions are within easy reach of the entrances to the north of the park so the North and West entrances are the most popular. Skull Rock, Arch Rock, Barker Dam, Keys View, Ryan Mountain and Lost Horse Mine are all in the northern park of the park.
- You’ll need to drive to and through the park so Joshua Tree requires plenty of driving regardless of whether you stay at the North or West entrance.
- The North entrance (Twentynine Palms) is convenient for those arriving from Los Angeles, San Diego and Palm Springs while the West Entrance (Joshua Tree Town) works well for Las Vegas arrivals – however, it’s only a 20 minute drive between Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree town so it’s not really a big factor.
- The North Entrance is typically the quieter of the two northern entrances and tends to escape the longer queues that can build at the West/Joshua Tree entrance.
- The West Entrance has the bonus of being close to the fun and quirky Joshua Tree Town.
The South Entrance is the quietest entrance and, although home to Cottonwood Springs, 30 foot towering palm trees and the wildflowers when in bloom, it is quite a drive from the majority of the park’s highlights. The closest accommodation is in Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, both of which are great for day trips to the park and it is convenient for visitors arriving from Phoenix and New Mexico.
We haven’t used the South Entrance as a base for our Joshua Tree visits as we tend to spend the majority of our time at the north of the park. However Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs are perfect if you want to make a day trip to Joshua Tree or if you want to spend a day at end side of the park.
Joshua Tree Town and Yucca Valley (West Entrance)
The most popular place to stay is the area between the West Entrance and the quaint and quirky town of Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree town itself is a wonderful place to visit and is home to the fabulous Crochet Museum, the old-style western Joshua Tree Saloon and a hair salon museum!
Yucca Valley, a busier town a little further west of Joshua Tree, is another option and chances are you’ll stop here for supplies. Pioneer Crossing Antiques is a must visit and the Walmart Supercenter is an obvious choice for stocking up on necessities. The nearby wild west style Pioneertown is great for both a visit or as a base for Joshua Tree.
Most visitors stay in one of the many vacation rentals although there are a couple of motels in Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley if you prefer.
Convenient for: Los Angeles, San Diego and Palm Springs
- Castle House Estate: one of our Joshua Tree favorites, the Castle House Estate perfectly embodies the unique Joshua Tree vibe. The accommodation options include guard towers, yurt tents, a tiny container house and a vintage RV. The hardest part is picking which to reserve! – check prices here!
- The Cherokee House in Joshua Tree: beautiful 3-bedroom, 3 bathroom open plan house a couple of minutes from the west entrance. It’s equipped with a telescope for stargazing and a fire pit for evening s’mores – check prices now!
Perfect for: groups and families
- Bungalow in the Boulders: a Joshua Tree desert escape, Bungalow in the Boulders is a rustic bungalow located a couple of minutes from the west entrance of the park. There are retro neon signs, vintage cars, a rustic playground and a glass bottle house making it your very own open air museum – check prices now!
- @ Marbella Lane Joshua Tree Modern Stargazing Bubble-tent & House: for a unique Joshua Tree experience Marbella Lane offers the chance to stay in a bubble tent with direct views of the incredible Joshua Tree sky from the beds – check prices now!
- Pioneertown Motel: Located next to Pioneertown, once a 1940s wild west Hollywood film set, Pioneertown Motel is a great option within a 30 minute drive of the west entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. The motel itself is wonderful and its neighbor, Pappy & Harriet’s, is a super popular bar, food and music venue and a Joshua Tree favorite – check prices now!
Twentynine Palms (North Entrance)
With the benefits of more modern lodgings and easy access to the relatively quiet Joshua Tree National Park North entrance, Twentynine Palms is a great base for Joshua Tree visitors and has plenty of motels and rentals.
Where to stay in Joshua Tree tip: although Joshua Tree town is our favorite spot to hang out, we love staying in Twentypalms for its easy access to some of Joshua Tree’s best sights. We love to hit up the park early, take a break from the afternoon sun and return later for sunset and stargazing (Joshua Tree National Park is open 24/7) and staying in Twentynine Palms makes this possible without too much driving.
Convenient for: Las Vegas, multiple park visits
- M&L Desert Cottage: this beautiful 2 bedroom cottage is just 6 minutes drive from the north entrance to Joshua Tree. The cottage has been completely remodeled and is the definition of desert chic. The interior is gorgeous and there is a fire pit, BBQ and hammocks on the patio for stargazing and al fresco dining – check prices now!
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Twentynine Palms – clean and well equipped, the Fairfield Inn is one of our go to hotels when we’re exploring the park. The hotel has a small pool out back, free breakfast, laundry facilities and there’s a grocery store just across the road for supplies – check prices now!
Perfect for: couples, families, groups
- Flying Point Homestead: 3 unique properties, two houses and a trailer, sit on this this 5 acre site close to the north entrance of the park – check prices now!
Perfect for: couples, families, groups
- The Wheelhouse: this luxury desert retreat is a stunning space which can sleep up to 6/7. Amenities include a large pool and outdoor spa, al fresco dining and mountain and desert views – check prices now!
Perfect for: luxury retreat, small groups
Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs (West/South Entrance)
A glamorous escape from the Joshua Tree trails, many Joshua Tree visitors stay in the nearby Palm Springs. It is less than an hour drive to both the popular West Entrance and the quiet South Entrance of the park where Cottonwood Spring is the main attraction.
With its natural hot springs, Desert Hot Springs is a fantastic for a relaxing spa retreat and is a 40 minute drive from the West Entrance.
Where to stay in Joshua Tree tip: If you want to spend one day in the north of the park and one day in the south then both Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs are a great options midway. Palm Springs is also an awesome day trip from Joshua Tree if you choose to stay closer to the park.
Convenient for: Phoenix, New Mexico
- Hotel Skylark: a Palm Springs gem, Hotel Skylark has 24 bedrooms and takes a modern twist on 1950’s California. The outdoor pool is set against the scenic backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains – check prices now!
- Good House Desert Hot Springs: an awesome spot to experience natural hot springs, this boutique hotel has 7 unique bedrooms and a therapeutic mineral water pool – check prices now!
- Hotel California: a Palm Springs favorite, Hotel California is a relaxing boutique hotel with excellent service, a hot tub and a heated pool – check prices now!
Camping In Joshua Tree National Park
There are around 500 camping spots within Joshua Tree National Park and most of these need to be reserved when spots are released 6 months in advance for stays from September to May.
- First come, first served camping: The three smaller campsites (Belle, Hidden Valley and White Tank) cost $15 per night and, with spots allocated first come first served, it can be difficult to get a spot.
- Advance reservation camping: The advance reservation campgrounds (Blackrock, Cotton Wood, Indian Grove, Jumbo Rocks and Ryan) cost $20 to $25 a night.
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