What's fun to do in Joshua Tree?
December 30, 2013 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Based on the hive mind's advice, I'm off to Joshua Tree for a few days to get out of the city and see some stars. What's fun up there? Deets inside.

I'm taking the lady friend and we'll be staying at Kate's Lazy Desert, so we got that covered. But neither of us has been up that way- Whats worth seeing? Whats the best hike? This is kind of a mini-vaycay, so if there's a two-day, twenty nine mile hike, that's a no-go.

I think we're happy to just look at the stars and relax, but if there's a must-see or some piece of weird America sitting out there, that'd be great.
posted by GilloD to Travel & Transportation around Joshua Tree, CA (18 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Well, you could go on a Gram Parsons pilgrimage or see where U2 took the iconic photograph.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:21 PM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Joshua Tree is a good place to go for weird America! Here are some links to art you can easily reach without 4wd. I visited for a week this spring and enjoyed a yoga class every morning--the teachers were very inviting and the other attendees were charming colorful locals. In the park itself, some interesting locations are marked by geocaches (example).
posted by esoterrica at 3:34 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you get the urge, down the hill in the low desert is Desert Hot Springs, aka "Desperate Hot Springs" or "Deserted Hot Springs." There are a bunch of day spas there -- very 50s, not stylish at all, just a bunch of pools heated by natural mineral springs. When I was a kid, we used to stay here from time to time.

It's a weird little town but it has its high points.
posted by janey47 at 3:47 PM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love the RAVEN BOOKSTORE on 29 Palms Hwy, but there's a caveat: it's under new ownership and I haven't been out there since the "you can pay me in cash, or make a check out to cash, please" guy sold out earlier this year. Hopefully the new owners have hung onto the eccentricity.
posted by OolooKitty at 3:47 PM on December 30, 2013

The Integratron is a kooky, amusing place if you and your friend can approach woo like "sound baths" with curiosity and don't mind the entrance fee.
posted by tinymegalo at 3:58 PM on December 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Get breakfast or lunch at Crossroads Cafe on 29 Palms Highway!
posted by aviatrix at 4:00 PM on December 30, 2013

Crossroads Cafe makes great food- seconding that suggestion.

If you enjoy live music, Pappy and Harriet's is a good place for a concert and a beer. They regularly get great acts from LA, and are in a fun and very "desert" location out in Pioneertown, just a bit outside of Yucca Valley.

The spas down in Desert Hot Springs are also a great idea and I'll second that one too!
posted by Old Man McKay at 4:13 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might enjoy tootling around nearby Wonder Valley in your car, taking in the creepy-cool abandoned "jackrabbit" homesteads while listening to this downloadable audio tour.
posted by nacho fries at 4:17 PM on December 30, 2013

I'm a little sorry I didn't go to the Integratron, but I figured it would make my husband queasy. Next time.

If you're coming from the West, Yucca Valley has the last full-size grocery store, I think it's a Vons, and there's a Sonic a couple miles further toward JT on 29 Palms Hwy. If you don't normally have a Sonic in your orbit, at least stop and get a drink if not a #1 and tots.

I believe the U2 photo was actually taken in Death Valley, which is not nearby.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:19 PM on December 30, 2013

entropicamericana: "...or see where U2 took the iconic photograph."

Do note that the U2 location is near Death Valley National Park, some 260 miles away. (it's a beautiful drive, but if you're looking for JT stuff only, it's a bit out of the way.)

I would recommend going to the Cholla Cactus Garden at night.
posted by notsnot at 5:52 PM on December 30, 2013

I believe a date milkshake is pretty much de rigueur in that area.

If you have a chance to go on a guided nature walk, do it by all means. We had one at TwentyNine Palms Inn last year and it was a really pleasant time, and educational to boot.

Oh, and most importantly, the restaurant at the TwentyNine Palms is amazing. Its open to the public. An unexpected treat. Truly a lovely evening.

OMG, I just googled Kate's Lazy Desert. *jaw drops*
I think they've got my inn beat for quirkiness. You guys are going to have a ball!
posted by SLC Mom at 6:13 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you feel like a drive and a bit of (freezing) mountain air, the teeny touristy town of Idyllwild is nearby; very scenic, possibly snowy right now.
posted by The otter lady at 6:19 PM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I came to suggest the dinosaurs, which you might know from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, which is outside Twentynine Palms. Apparently it's now a creationist museum!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:44 PM on December 30, 2013

It's an hour+ drive from Joshua Tree, but the Salton Sea is definitely Weird America. Particularly the old dying towns on the east side. You can head down to Slab City and meet some groovy weirdos living in an RV squat too. All kind of fun if you need something to do for half a day.
posted by Nelson at 2:02 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Joshua Tree is a SoCal Mecca for rock-climbing, so you might have fun climbing. The rock is very solid with tons of hand- and footholds. My friends and I used to camp at Indian Cove at least once a year to go on climbs. We never used equipment, just free-climbed while out on hikes. It was my favorite place to go car-camping.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 10:30 AM on December 31, 2013

My boyfriend and I will probably be headed to the Joshua Tree Saloon around 10:30 tonight for New Year's, if you want to say hello!
posted by Space Kitty at 12:09 PM on December 31, 2013

All I have to say is watch out for that Teddy Bear Cholla. Joshua Tree is beautiful, but the one time I went there I ended up spending a good half an hour ripping spines out of my shin with a pair of pliers. You won't even realize that you brushed against it, and then somehow you'll discover a dozen or so spikes buried half an inch into your flesh. And they're barbed.
posted by Scientist at 6:16 PM on December 31, 2013

"Best hike?". We liked the hike to 49 palms oasis.
posted by notned at 6:47 PM on January 14, 2014

« Older Will the Prius C "fit" my needs?   |   Which PMI-related courses should I take to obtain... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.