Summer Holidays : USA 2008 - Joshua Tree National Park

So…the wife (Seventy-Five) and I are off for 3 weeks to Mexico and the USA. We’ll be in The States from July 4th 'til July 19th, landing in Dallas, then heading on to the Grand Canyon, Vegas and California.

On our way from Vegas to LA I was thinking of spending the night by Joshua Tree National Park. We can’t spend the night there as it’s a 2-night minimum stay so I thought that maybe we could stop at Palm Springs.

We’d be getting there at 4pam and leaving the next morning. Does anything tjhink it’s worth it heading here with such short time to stay?.

Would Desert Hot Springs be ‘better’? We’ll just be 2 travelers, a little tired from the Canyon and Vegas, so we’re not looking for a huge spa-type holiday but a night relaxing before we head on to LA and San Fran.

I love Joshua Tree, but I’m not sure I’d recommend adding it to your trip.

First, by July it will be HOT. Like over 100 deg. (F) hot. Arriving around 4pm would put you at about the hottest it would be that day. (Of course, coming from Las Vegas you might already be acclimated to this heat ;-). There is some shade from the rocks, but for the most part the park is pretty exposed.

Second, the camping is somewhat primitive. Most of the campgrounds in the park don’t have water (so you need to bring your own). The camping spots are just your basic picnic table, fire pit, and area to set up your tent.

Lastly, from Vegas to JT is a bit out of the way. There’s the one highway from Victorville down to Yucca Valley. But it’s kind of slow as I recall.

I don’t think much of LA, but if that’s where you’re headed, you might just head directly there from Las Vegas. Unfortunately I can’t really think of any place interesting between Las Vegas and LA that I’d recommend as an alternative.

Skip it. You’ve seen the Grand Canyon. Head straight to LA from Vegas. Joshua Tree is very primitive and really, unless you are totally into staring at desolation for days on end, there really isn’t anything there. Plus, as mentioned, it’s really quite a ways off your path.

Hmmmm, I guess the thing is that we’ll be with people in Vegas and are driving to Seal Beach to stay with family before we head to San Francisco to again stay with family. We need a somewhere we can stop between LV and VA where we can have time for ourselves and I thought it may be far enough from LA to still be ‘nice’ (I worked in LA County for 6 months so I kinda know what it’s like) :slight_smile:

Thanks for the replies!

Hmmmm…that’s why I love JTNP. Different strokes, eh?

It will be hot, no doubt. If it’s just Joshua Trees you’re interested in, take a side trip off of I-15 through the Eastern Mojave Scenic Region. Take the Cima Road exit and drive through a magnificent Joshua Tree Forest. Hang a right at Cima and it’s not far to the Visitor Center at Kelso Depot. From there you can head back to Baker or go south to hit I-40.

If you want time to yourselves, head south from Vegas on Highway 95. Take that south to Highway 62, then turn west. From there you can either head across the north edge of Joshua Tree to 29 Palms and down to Palm Springs, or you can take the 177 south to the 10, and into Palm Springs from the east. Plenty of places for some “alone time” in Palm Springs, Palm Desert and the general area.

Since it is kind of on the way (you’ll be coming south on I-15 on your way from Las Vegas to LA), how about Big Bear ? It should be nice up in the mountains (maybe a little warm).
There are a ton of hotels/motels/B&Bs for all the ski crowd. So (excepting the 4th of July weekend itself) you should be able to find a place.