Watch CBS News

Travel To California's Joshua Tree National Park

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Joshua Tree National Park is home to nearly 800,000 acres that is filled with diverse landscape and unique features found in no other national park in the country. Strong winds, extreme climate changes and sudden torrents of rain were the forces behind the creation of this unique park. Because of extreme climate changes, what you see and experience in the summer will be completely different in the winter. This just makes it possible to visit this national park over and over again without experiencing the same vacation twice.

California's Joshua Tree National Park has two deserts and two large ecosystems which are determined by the elevation. No matter how much these areas of the park contrast with each other, they all come together creating a beautifully landscaped park that is fun to explore.

Top Attractions

During your visit to the Joshua Tree National Park you will see a variety of landforms, plants and two ecologically distinct deserts. The Oasis Visitor's Center, located at the entrance of the park, is where you will find a bookstore, exhibits and a trained ranger to help answer any and all of your questions.

Top attractions in the area include:

Related: 5 Must-See National Parks In The U.S.

Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images
Things To Do

There are so many different outdoor, recreational activities you can enjoy during your visit to the Joshua Tree National Park. During your visit you will have access to backcountry roads, hiking paths and the Park Rangers. Activities available at this park include backpacking, birding, the Geology Motor Tour, hiking, horseback riding, the Keys Ranch Tour, mountain biking, nature walks, Ranger Programs, rock climbing, stargazing and wildflower viewing.

What To Eat

As with just about every other national park across the country, the Joshua Tree National Park offers a variety of places to enjoy a picnic, or if you are up for it, a place to cook up some barbecue. You will definitely enjoy lying out on a blanket, taking in the scenery and enjoying a picnic lunch. Picnic areas located within Joshua National Park include Cottonwood, Indian Cove, Live Oak, Split Rock, Cap Rock, Hidden Valley, Quail Springs and Black Rock.

If dining in the great outdoors is not something that excites you, there are different restaurants in the areas surrounding the park. Here are some of the top restaurants in the area:

Photo Credit: Thinkstock
Where To Stay

You will find nine different campgrounds within the Joshua Tree National Park. Many of these campsites are available on a first come, first served basis, so it is suggested you get there early, or visit during non-peak season. Peak season at this national park is usually between the months of October through May. Reservations can be made for the individual and family sites at Black Rock and Indian Cove Campgrounds, but make them early because these spaces fill up fast in the fall and on weekends.

Unfortunately, there are no lodging options available other than camping within the Joshua Tree National Park. If you would prefer accommodations that are not in the great outdoors, there are a few different hotels, bed and breakfasts and motels in the area.

Hotels in the area include:

Related: Best Camping Sites Near San Francisco

You will quickly discover why so many people who love spending time in the great outdoors enjoy visiting the Joshua Tree National Park. There are so many things to see and do while at the park, and plenty of locations to grab a bite to eat or spend the night so you can go back and explore the park some more the following day.
Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions - writing and travel - to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.