Over Spring Break we decided to take advantage of our 3 days off to pack up the car with our newly acquired camping gear and head out to the desert for our first ever camping experience together. Only 3 short hours away by car, Joshua Tree is known for it’s namesake, the Joshua Trees, and it’s beautiful camping trails and rock climbing opportunities in the harsh desert environment. With many different areas set aside for campers, Joshua Tree National Park is perfect for an outdoor getaway.
Growing up in the midwest of the USA, I spent many summers camping out in the thick pine forests of Michigan and its surrounding states with my family and close friends. I enjoyed that time to reconnect with nature and live simply while exploring somewhere completely new to me that was basically in my own backyard. Having not gone camping in years, we decided that it was time Luiz experienced camping for the first time ever.
When choosing somewhere to go we wanted a park that had established and well maintained areas for campers that was within a 4 hour drive from San Diego. Looking at some of the different options in the area, we finally settled on Joshua Tree National Park located just outside of Palm Springs and Indio, California.
To get in to Joshua Tree National Park you will have to purchase either a daily pass or an annual pass for every vehicle. The daily pass is $15 and the annual pass is $30 and allows for two signatures (aka sharing). ***If you are planning on staying more than 2 days you’re better off just buying the annual pass. For those of you planning on going around to different national parks in the area, it might make sense to even upgrade to the $80 annual NPS pass which helps you to gain access to all national parks (forests, etc.) across the United States.***
There are 9 different camp sites in Joshua Tree National Park with each one offering something special. We stayed in the Cottonwood Campground near Cottonwood Springs with the hopes that it would live up to its reputation of being the best campground for views of the stars and the milky way. Unfortunately, it ended up being quite cloudy at night so we only were able to see patches of the starry night sky.
If you can’t stay over night there are still plenty of things to do! From beautiful walking trails to climbing and regional tours, you could easily spend a day inside the park before heading to one of the nearby cities for the nights.
If you haven’t already, click here to check out a short video from our trip!
All photos are ours, taken with iPhone 6.