Nestled in the heart of California’s desert, Joshua Tree is a mesmerizing confluence of two distinct desert ecosystems: the Mojave and the Colorado. Its otherworldly landscapes, punctuated by the iconic, twisted Joshua Trees and vast, starlit skies, have beckoned travelers for years. But what many don’t realize is that the wonders of this desert region extend well beyond the boundaries of the national park itself.

But Joshua Tree isn’t just about the untamed wilderness. From historical sites that echo tales of the Old West to serene spots perfect for family picnics, the areas near Joshua Tree are a haven for people looking to blend adventure with convenience.

Imagine parking amidst the backdrop of the giant boulders and stark landscapes, or setting up camp just in time to catch the golden hour. In the surroundings of Joshua Tree, there’s a trove of RV-friendly attractions that are just waiting to be explored. So, as you get ready for your next adventure, let Joshua Tree and its neighboring wonders guide the way. Dive deep into a journey that promises not just sights, but experiences; not just stops, but stories. Welcome to your RV adventure guide for Joshua Tree and its enchanting surroundings.

Unmissable Spots Near Joshua Tree

The beauty of Joshua Tree National Park is undeniable, with its iconic trees and mesmerizing landscapes.
However, the surrounding area also boasts a treasure trove of unique attractions that beckon the curious traveler. From diving into history to seeking out the enigmatic, the spots near Joshua Tree are as diverse as they are captivating.


Once the backdrop for numerous Old West films of the 1940s and 1950s, Pioneertown now stands as a living testament to the wild west era. Strolling down Mane Street, you’ll be transported back in time, passing original set buildings that now house lively bars, quirky boutiques, and artisanal shops.

Don’t miss the famous Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, where live music sets the tone for an unforgettable desert evening. With its authentic wooden facades and dusty roads, Pioneertown offers a slice of cinematic history wrapped in real-world charm.

Salton Sea:

A vast expanse of shimmering blue amidst the desert, the Salton Sea is California’s largest lake, and its story is as intriguing as its views. Originally formed by an engineering mishap in the early 20th century, the lake’s shores are dotted with relics of once-thriving resort towns.

Venture further and you’ll encounter Salvation Mountain, a vibrant art installation preaching love and peace, and Slab City, often termed as the “last free place in America.” The Salton Sea region is a tapestry of natural beauty, history, and eccentricity.


Nestled in the desert near Joshua Tree, the Integratron is a structure like no other. Built on the premise of rejuvenation, time travel, and extraterrestrial guidance, this wooden dome is renowned for its perfect acoustics. Visitors flock here for the famous “sound baths,” where resonating quartz bowls create a sonic experience believed to relax and heal.

Whether you’re seeking a spiritual awakening or simply curious about its architecture and history, the Integratron promises a uniquely harmonious desert experience.

Coachella Valley:

Not just the namesake of the famed music festival, Coachella Valley is a haven for those who thrive in the outdoors.

Golf enthusiasts will find themselves spoilt for choice with the valley’s world-class courses set against striking mountain backdrops.

If golf isn’t your swing, the numerous hiking trails, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging treks, offer a chance to explore the region’s diverse ecosystems.

The Coachella Valley Preserve, with its palm oases and serene ponds, is a must-visit, providing a refreshing contrast to the surrounding desert.

Each of these spots, in its unique way, amplifies the magic of the Joshua Tree region. Beyond the iconic national park, lies a world brimming with stories, adventures, and experiences waiting to be discovered.

Getting To Joshua Tree

Stepping into a road trip dream with scenic routes that give way to expansive desert vistas and starry night skies, the journey is every bit as enchanting as the destination. Whether you’re a seasoned RV traveler or embarking on your first, here’s everything you need to know about hitting the road to this desert jewel.

By Road:

Navigating the vast Californian roads to reach Joshua Tree is a straightforward affair, especially if you’re accustomed to the state’s freeway system.

Interstate 10 (I-10):

This major interstate runs east-west and is the most commonly used route to get to Joshua Tree from both the Los Angeles area and from Arizona. To reach the park, exit at CA-62 (Twentynine Palms Highway) which leads directly to the town of Joshua Tree and the park’s main entrance.

CA-247 (Old Woman Springs Road):

For those coming from the northern areas like Victorville, CA-247 provides a scenic route that intersects with CA-62, leading you straight into Joshua Tree.

RV Parks and Campgrounds:

When it comes to laying your RV to rest for the night, there are plenty of convenient and picturesque options near Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground:

Located just a short drive from the national park, this campground offers full RV hook-ups and a serene lake setting.

Twentynine Palms RV Resort:

This is a great spot for families, with a pool, spa, and close proximity to the Joshua Tree National Park entrance.

Hidden Valley Campground:

Nestled within Joshua Tree National Park itself, this is a more rustic option, perfect for those looking to be at the heart of nature. Note that there are no RV hook-ups here, but the views are unparalleled.

Tips for RV Drivers:

Road Conditions:

Most major roads leading to Joshua Tree are well-maintained. However, always check for any ongoing roadworks or closures before you head out.

Potential Hazards:

The desert can be unforgiving. Always ensure your RV is stocked with water, especially during the hotter months. Be mindful of wildlife crossings, particularly at dawn and dusk.

Parking Spaces:

While Joshua Tree National Park is a major attraction, parking spaces, especially for larger RVs, can be limited during peak times. Consider visiting popular spots early in the morning or later in the afternoon to secure a spot. Always adhere to designated parking areas to protect the fragile desert ecosystem.

Best Times to Visit Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree and its surrounding areas showcase different experiences throughout the year. To make the most of your RV adventure with the family, it’s important to plan your visit during a time that matches your preferences.

Spring (March to May):

As the chill of winter fades, spring brings the desert to life with colorful wildflowers. The weather is mild and comfortable, making it a great time for families to explore the park, go on scenic drives, hike the trails, or simply enjoy the vibrant beauty of the desert.

Fall (October to November):

Fall offers a pleasant break from the summer heat. The cool breezes gently sway the Joshua trees, and the desert displays a rich blend of colors. With fewer visitors around, you can have a more relaxed experience and take your time exploring the sights.

Winter and Summer:

Winter can be quite cool, with occasional snow covering the higher elevations, adding a unique touch to the desert scenery. On the other hand, summer brings hot days but rewards you with clear starry nights. Both seasons provide a different look and feel to the desert, offering experiences that are worth the visit.

Special Events:

Add a touch of local flavor to your trip by attending special events. The Joshua Tree Music Festival gives you a chance to groove to music in the heart of the desert, creating unforgettable moments. Local farmers’ markets are also a fun stop for families, where you can sample local produce, crafts, and experience the community’s welcoming vibe.

Timing your visit well ensures that you get to see the desert in its full glory and enjoy a memorable RV journey filled with wonder and excitement.

Know Before You Go

The areas surrounding Joshua Tree offer a harmonious blend of the rugged beauty of nature, a rich tapestry of history, and a plethora of activities tailored for families. It’s not just about the iconic trees or the sprawling deserts, but the stories these places tell, the adventures waiting around every corner, and the shared memories families can make.

Every twist and turn in the region offers something new to discover. From historic sites like Pioneertown to the marvels of the Milky Way viewed from your RV, this is a place where every moment can become a cherished memory. We urge families to make the most of their RV journey, to explore with an open heart, and to embrace the surprises that the Joshua Tree region generously offers.

Additional Resources

Links to RV Rentals:

For those considering an RV trip but haven’t yet taken the leap, NW Adventure Rentals offers a wide variety of RV rentals to fit your family’s needs.

Local Guides and Tours:

If you’re looking to delve deeper into the region, guided experiences can offer unique insights. Companies like Joshua Tree Adventures provide specialized tours to further enhance your journey.

Safety Tips:

Exploring the desert comes with its own set of challenges. Always ensure you carry sufficient water, especially for little ones. Familiarize yourself with the local flora and fauna to avoid unwanted encounters. Lastly, always let someone know your plans before heading out on a remote trail.

RV-Friendly Family Activities

It’s not just about the destination, but also about the countless family memories you’ll make along the way. Here are some RV-friendly activities that are perfect for families of all shapes and sizes:


The sparse light pollution in the Joshua Tree area offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the celestial wonders of our universe. Some recommended spots to park your RV and lay under the stars include Cottonwood Campground and Jumbo Rocks Campground. Here, the Milky Way stretches across the night sky, captivating both kids and adults alike.

Desert Hiking:

There’s no better way to immerse in the desert’s beauty than hiking its trails. For families, the Hidden Valley Nature Trail or the Barker Dam Nature Trail are ideal. They’re relatively short, offer iconic views of Joshua Trees and rocky formations, and often have interpretive signs to educate the younger adventurers about the area’s ecology and history.

Rock Climbing for Beginners:

With its rugged granite monoliths and outcroppings, Joshua Tree is a climber’s paradise. If your family is new to rock climbing, places like Joshua Tree Climbing School offer beginner lessons. They ensure safety while letting kids and parents experience the thrill of conquering desert boulders.

Picnic Spots:

Sometimes, the simplest joys are found in parking the RV, setting up a picnic blanket, and dining amidst nature. Key’s View provides a panoramic vista of the Coachella Valley and is an excellent spot for a family meal outdoors. Or try the shaded picnic areas at Hidden Valley, where you’re nestled amongst the rocks.

Local Workshops:

For families looking to tap into their creative side, the Joshua Tree area has numerous workshops. Places like the Joshua Tree Art Gallery host hands-on activities ranging from pottery sessions to local art classes. It’s a chance for the whole family to learn, create, and bring home a tangible memory of their desert adventure.

Traveling in an RV around Joshua Tree provides a unique blend of natural wonder and family bonding, ensuring an unforgettable journey packed with discovery and delight.