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Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Michigan
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Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

We will be visiting our son in the Temecula area (probably in October or November 2013) and would like to visit Joshua tree for one or two nights. From my reading it seems like many people like to stay in Palm Springs. However, we would really like to be a bit closer to the National Park. What areas do you recommend I pursue? Ideally I would like to be about 20 minutes or less from the main area of the park, but if that is not recommended, how far away do we have to be?

Also if another time of the year is better for a visit, we are free to adjust our time in CA. Is there a time of the year that is more favorable than Oct./Nov.? Thanks

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Los Angeles...
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11. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree has both low desert (near Palm Springs) and high desert (29 Palms). The differences are very interesting. They have a little booklet for sale in the visitor's center that I highly recommend - it tells you what to look for in the high desert areas and, as you drive through the transition zone, and on to the low desert. Differences in vegetation, etc. I personally prefer the high desert as I find it more aesthetically pleasing - plus it's a bit cooler at the higher altitudes.

Uden, The...
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12. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

29Palms has another attraction:

http://www.oasisofmurals.com/

We got a brochure at the north entrance visitor center for Joshua Tree NP. Very nice folks there and already a small mural and garden.

Manhattan Beach...
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13. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Happy,

If you stay at the Chase Hotel in Palm Springs (or one nearby) it's just a ten minute drive down Palm Canyon to the gates of the Indian Canyons.

http://indian-canyons.com/

Map:

http://mapq.st/149h5LF

The Living Desert:

http://www.livingdesert.org/

PS Tram:

http://www.pstramway.com/

If you are in town on a Thursday night, PS Villagefest takes place on Palm Canyon Dr, walking distance around the corner. You can buy local food, have a date shake, check out the crafts, listen to the musical entertainment. Also on Thursday they have free admission to the Art Museum.

http://villagefest.org/

From November to May is the Famous PS Follies, also around the corner. Celebrating many years, the dancers are 54 to 83 years old.

http://www.psfollies.com/

Cleveland
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14. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Long Valley immediately around Mountain Station of the PS Tramway looks like a scene someone would imagine from an old western, especially if the pines and boulders are dusted by some snow in November. If you are a hiker, check out going up to the peak of Mount San Jacinto. John Muir once said: "The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth." Muir was a great PR man, thank goodness, but there usually was some basis to his exultations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Jacinto_Peak

If you're just going to Long Valley, best light is in the afternoon.

Edited: 22 March 2013, 03:46
Michigan
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15. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Thank you all so much!!! You have given me so many great ideas for things to do and lodgings. I appreciate it so much. We are really looking forward to visiting this area of California. Problem is it looks like we will need more time than we have planned. Originally we thought about doing JTNP as a day trip, then decided we should perhaps spend the night. With all your wonderful ideas, looks like we have to add more time. Thanks again. Once I start putting together the itinerary, I am sure I will have more questions. I have already begun studying the park brochure that was recommended. It has been a great read so far.

One question I do have is several of the roads seem to be dirt. It seems like rental cars often have restrictions on rental vehicles going on dirt/sand roads. Is anyone familiar with car rental policies for the roads in JTNP?

Encinitas...
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16. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Like any rental car policy, if you drive on dirt roads and something happens, you are responsible for damage. The dirt road I mentioned to the Desert Queen mine is so easy, that you should not have any issues. Same with the very short road to Lost Horse. The other dirt road called Geology Tour is best if you have some clearance past the part where its one way. Maybe stay away from that. Another two out off Pinto Basin you should not be in a rental car anyway. Some European tourists died out there a year or two ago, when they got their car stuck in a sand wash where they had no business being anyway.

Uden, The...
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17. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Yes, always carry water and in case of a breakdown stay with your car. Those Europeans Dez mentioned starting walking and didnot survive. They also had a lack of water with them.

Los Angeles, CA
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18. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

If you can't camp in the park, you can stay at one of the motels in Joshua Tree (it's like a town, but it is in fact not a town, it is an unicorporated place). No chain places (hooray!). The Joshua Tree Inn is "historic" and handy (also older and somewhat decrepit). For close to the Park and great value, you can try the Safari Inn. Don't expect any kind of luxury. In neighboring 29 Palms (there is also an entrance to the National Park in 29) you will find newer, bigger, chain-type motels, if that's what you want. Overall, the nicest place in proximity to the Park is the 29 Palms Inn, also very historic and full of local color but FAR from a luxury spot. It does have a restaurant, bar, and a pool, a combo rare in the area.

Also fun are local B&Bs. Look into Spin and Margie's Desert Hideaway. Again, local color galore, but don't expect the Ritz, this is Joshua Tree!

Enjoy the Park and don't miss the Wonderland of Rocks or Keys' View!

Michigan
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19. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Pottree: Thanks for all the suggestions for lodgings. I will check them all out. We are campers, but for this trip we are flying out and will rent a car. We do not need luxury. What we do need is clean and safe. We love B&Bs as well as non-chain lodgings. However, we stay in those too. In just depends where we are and what we can find in the area. I definitely will be checking out the places you mentioned. This trip is months away, but with everyone enlightening me, I wish it were next week. Sounds like a place we will really enjoy. Our daughter got engaged at Joshua Tree NP last year and she just loved it. We just want to experience the place that holds a special place in her heart.

I want to say that the people who frequent this forum are so friendly and helpful without being rude and insulting. I am to the point where I think long and hard before starting my own thread, for fear I will get answers telling me to google or to look somewhere else. And they don't say it in a helpful way, but in a way that makes the poster feel their question isn't worthy of their time. Thanks to all of you for being what forums are supposed to be: a helpful place for finding out information without insulting people who dared to ask a question. You made me feel most welcome on this thread and I truly appreciate it.

Minnesota
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20. Re: Looking for a base to stay while visiting Joshua Tree

Can a rental car be driven on Painted Canyon Rd?

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