Looking for where to stay in Joshua Tree National Park?
The desert of Joshua Tree is a great getaway if you’re looking a truly unforgettable outdoor experience.
Joshua Tree National Park in California is an American icon and one of the best National Parks in the US.
Deeply rooted in the pop culture, it has sparked creative genius in the form of music, art & literature.
But knowing where to stay when visiting Joshua Tree National Park is not easy. With such a variety of accommodation from camping, glamping to 5-star hotels, finding the right place to set the mood can be difficult.
This post reviews the different ways in which you can visit and stay in and around this iconic destination.
Índice / Table of Contents
- How to get around Joshua Tree National Park
- Joshua Tree Travel Tips
- When to go to Joshua Tree National Park
- Where to Stay in Joshua Tree National Park
How to get around Joshua Tree National Park
The best way to get around Joshua Tree National Park is by car.
The area is huge at 3,200 square kilometers (1,235 mi2) and can take about an hour and a half to drive from one end to the other (non-stop).
There is a free shuttle service that runs inside the park from 8AM to approx. 9PM. It starts/finishes at two different locations outside the park in the town itself (Transit Centre & Oasis Visitor Centre).
Joshua Tree Travel Tips
- If you are on a budget, taking the shuttle is a good option as it means you do not have to pay the park entrance fee (USD$15 per person).
- If you arrive by car there is a USD$30 entry fee (includes passengers in the vehicle).
- There are also the famous Joshua Trees through the Yucca Valley and around the outskirts of the Joshua Tree town (if you really don’t want to pay to go into the park).
- Don’t forget to carry a good backpack to explore the park. Check out this cool guide to buying a quality backpack.
When to go to Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree in Spring (March, April, May)
Most mild temperatures & wildflower blossoms. But also the most crowded period.
Joshua Tree in Summer (June, July August)
Gets really hot during the day (38 degrees C/ 100 degrees F) – Good time of year for clear night skies and stargazing. There are so many Instagram spots in Joshua Tree, and during Summer, the light is so beautiful!
Joshua Tree in Fall/Autumn (September, October, November)
Mild temperatures and less crowds than the spring time. The best time to enjoy some of the best hikes in Joshua tree National Park.
Joshua Tree in Winter (December, January, February)
Cold time of year. It is rare, but snow does fall within the park.
Check out my Joshua Tree in winter guide to know all the things to do in the park during winter season.
Where to Stay in Joshua Tree National Park
There is a wide range of accommodation types in and around the park to cater for all levels of price and comfort. To pick the best place to stay in Joshua Tree National Park, you must know that you can stay inside the park or near Joshua Tree.
In this guide we’ve broken down the accommodation in Joshua Tree National Park by types as each have their own pros and cons:
- Camping in Joshua Tree National Park
- Glamping in Joshua Tree
- Hotels near Joshua Tree National Park
Camping/RV inside the Joshua Tree National Park
Want to know where to stay in Joshua Tree National Park itself?
But there are 8 campgrounds in Joshua Tree with around 500 campsites, so you have plenty to choose from.
Campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park & Camping Details
The camp sites near Hidden Valley are the most popular places due to their proximity to the famous, large rock formations in the center of the park. Note that between June and August some campgrounds around closed/partly closed.
From September through till May the campgrounds in Joshua Tree are as follows:
First come first serve – Camping in Joshua Tree without reservation (closest to the Hidden Valley rock formations)
- Hidden Valley Campground – $15/night (44 sites)
- Ryan Campground – $15/night (31 sites)
- Belle Campground – $15/night (18 sites)
- White Tank Campground – $15/night (15 sites)
Need a reservation
- Jumbo Rocks Campground – $15/night (124 sites)
- Black Rock Campground – $20/night (99 sites) *has water
- Cottonwood Campground – $20/night (62 sites) *has water
- Indian Cove Campground – $20/night (101 sites)
Here are a couple of things to note if you are wanting to camp:
- Each campground has basic toilet facilities, fire pit & tables (if you are traveling to Joshua Tree with kids, check out the easiest camping meals for families).
- Only two sites have water access (the others you will need to BYO)
- You must have at least one tent to camp in most campgrounds
- RV’s are accepted at most camp sites with a maximum length of 25ft (7.6m) however there are no electrical hook-ups
- Check Joshua Tree camping maps here
Pros and cons of camping in Joshua Tree
Camping inside the park is a great way to really get the best feel for the space at all times of the day.
Here are some pros and cons:
- You get to be closest to the natural wonder of the park during the quiet times
- Feel most connected to nature and see starts in Joshua Tree (it’s really good for stargazing!)
- Camping is a great way to eco travel (have a low environmental impact)
- You need your own tent or RV
- Can be very cold at night if you don’t bring the right gear
Joshua Tree Glamping experience
Looking for a step-up in comfort from traditional camping? There are some great Joshua Tree glamping options.
Glamping is fast becoming a popular trend in the area, offering gusts a “camp-like” experience with the comforts home.
The biggest difference between camping and glamping is the permanent setup.
Glamping tents are setup for long-term use. This means that you can turn up to the site with no gear or camping experience and sleep comfortably under the stars (or under a warm blanket and heater).
Glamping options are normally quite “funky” in their style and can range from basic to super high-end luxury.
Some things that you can expect from glamping in Joshua Tree National Park include:
- Unique accommodation style
- Tent, Yurts, converted vehicles
- Power source in your accommodation (or at least on the grounds)
- Showers/bathroom facility
- Kitchen/common space
Prices of glamping in the desert Joshua Tree can vary significantly depending on the location. However, are generally much more that camping. Typical prices can be from USD$60 up to $300 per night.
Best Glamping near Joshua Tree
The Castle House
The Castle House unique venue has traditional “Yurt” style tents with double beds inside (and heaters for chilly nights).
But their biggest drawcard is the “castle” towers (which have seating areas on top).
This place can be rented out fully for venues or individually for those looking for a memorable Joshua Tree desert experience.
Hicksville Trailer Palace
This unique venue is home to a series of converted motor vehicles (into accommodations) around a swimming pool. Each vehicle has its own style. From horror film themed to tropical and shag carpet!
For a truly interesting, yet whacky desert experience, look no further than Hicksville Trailer Palace.
Pros and cons of Glamping in Joshua Tree
Depending on what you are looking for form your experience. Make luxury camping in Joshua Tree an option when researching where to stay in Joshua Tree.
Here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Unique venues
- Places are generally quite photogenic
- Comfortable amenities and sleep during your stay
- Significantly more expensive that traditional camping
- Still “camping” in a sense so it’s not quite as comfortable as a hotel/motel room (that you might get for the same price)
- Can’t often lock up your tent for safety
Hotels/Motels Near Joshua Tree
There are a lot of different options for staying near Joshua Tree on any budget. However, if you’re looking for something a little bit different here are a couple of options to consider.
Originally built 1940’s Western movie backdrop, the “town” of Pioneertown is a unique place.
The dusty main road is lined with swinging saloon doors and “wanted” posters of famous outlaws.
If you want to feel like you’ve travelled to another time in the desert Pioneertown Motel might be the place for you.
Rooms are around USD$200 per night.
Note that it does get busy on the weekends with tourists walking through the town (which is a good thirsty minute drive from the entrance to the National Park).
This funky accommodation is in the heart of Joshua Tree town and only a few minutes form the National Park entrance.
With an interesting blend of Americana western and Moroccan style, Mojave Sands is a very cool 5-bedroom hotel worth a visit.
Each room has a private patio with a fountain and the grounds have a fire place for chilly desert nights.
Other Recommended hotels near Joshua Tree National Park
Here you have other hotels in Joshua Tree so you can book the one that suits you the most to have the best time in Joshua Tree National Park:
- The Castle House Estate (check prices here).
- Joshua Tree Ranch House (check prices here).
- The Cherokee House in Joshua Tree (check prices here).
- Bungalow in the Boulders (check prices here).
- Casa De Frank (check prices here).
Pros and cons of Hotels in Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree hotels come with their own pros and cons, here are a few when staying at Joshua Tree:
- Hotel amenities (actual room, bathroom, proper bed, etc.)
- Ability to lock room and leave your belongings inside
- Some have restaurants on the grounds (there is no food options inside the park when camping)
- Joshua Tree is a unique place and deserves a unique experience. There are lots of “typical” motels nearby, but they won’t add to your experience
- Some hotels will up their prices during busy seasons
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