The New Desert Getaway: Joshua Tree

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Sunrise in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

Sure, there’s great hiking in Joshua Tree and those famous Dr. Seuss-like trees, but L.A. creatives are also turning this dusty town into a serious art and music Mecca.

Why Joshua Tree?

It makes sense—artists and musicians often need to escape the city to draw inspiration and recharge, but who knew the newest artsy enclave would be Joshua Tree, California? Transplants say its proximity to Los Angeles makes it a great escape, plus the wide-open Mojave Desert is a beautiful blank canvas. It’s good news for visitors, who can reap the benefits in the form of eclectic accommodations, great music, and improved dining.

Getting There

Joshua Tree is on Highway 62, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Diego.

The acoustically perfect Integratron dome offers 60-minute sound baths meant to relax and rejuvenate, and special stargazing events (2477 Belfield Boulevard,


Chic hideaway Mojave Sands is an artsy high desert oasis. Owner and designer Blake Simpson renovated much of the 1950s-era motel himself. The result: A five-room inn that melds new and vintage and is in perfect harmony with the landscape (each room boasts a private patio and quirky touches like vintage typewriters). Simpson is adding two new rooms (both in 1950s-era trailers) and a communal kitchen for guests. A pool, restaurant, and more rooms are also in the works. (62121 29 Palms Highway, If you’d rather sleep under the stars, Indian Cove Campground ( isn’t far off the 62, but still feels secluded thanks to campsites nestled amongst the rocks. There’s also easy access to some of the best top-rope climbing in California—Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School offers courses for all skill levels. (


The desert dining scene is still evolving, but several spots in town offer good homey fare. Crossroads Café (61715 29 Palms Highway, serves hearty Mexican-style breakfasts and burgers. Eclectic Ricochet Gourmet (61705 29 Palms Highway, is the place to go for organic coffee, gluten-free pastries, and gourmet to-go items like Humboldt Fog cheese.

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