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Great burger, giant monsoons and a fantastic NOLA vibe. Great pitstop no matter which direction you are heading on or over Esplanade. Just be sure to roll in with some patience as there's likely going to be a wait if you want a table.
Go here, pick up a map and discover one of the most unusual additions to the Joshua Tree scene in recent years: an experimental art community operating on a desert scale, installing contemporary conceptual pieces in scattered locations throughout the Mojave. One hears "the best and worst part of High Desert Test Sites is getting lost in the desert." This is true. And maps are presented with the disclaimer that much of the available information may be slightly (if not entirely) inaccurate, the point being sadly proven by noting GPS often provides inaccurate information even just to get to their home office. Of course part of this desert experience is the act of roaming. So go exploring: take food, take water, take an adventuresome spirit. Without a doubt you'll be moved by the time spent exploring with a creative eye. A wide range of artists have contributed to the ever-changing installations you'll find here, a collection that runs the full gamut of imagination. Crochet museum? Check. A desert performance of Hello Dolly! drawing on themes of the post apocalyptic? Check. A massive crater pool oasis built of 24-foot climbing walls? You got it. For those who want a truly one-of-a-kind desert experience, this is it.
Discover one of the places that makes Joshua Tree the wonderful place that it is. This outdoor sculpture garden and museum tells the tale of a man's life, his passion, and the unique artistic inspiration that occurred when he settled here in the desert. Free and easily accessed from the road (just park across the street), you will suddenly have a whole new understanding for the vibrant community you've just entered and the fascinating people who've passed this way before. Call the foundation for an exact address, they like to keep a bit of mystery about the place. It also happens to deter potential vandals.
I love a hike that involves water, even just a tease of it. And out in the desert, that is pretty much all you'll get. Forget the classic movie "oasis" scenarios. The bejeweled Moroccan camps of camels, dates and belly dancers remain movie magic alone, and far removed from the real life versions you'll find here. Yet Joshua Tree's palm lined desert oasis hike -- and the small, yet notable water pocket you'll find at the trail's end -- is still a lovely, relaxing reprieve among the otherwise rugged, rocky, sun-drenched terrain. A great little day hike for those who want to get out into the desert on foot without extraordinary amounts of exertion.
This place is a treasure trove of fabulous! So many nooks and crannies of good stuff -- antiques, collectables, trinkets, local art, vintage gems -- you could easily kill a few hours and miss Joshua Tree all together. Don't do that! But definitely give yourself a bit of time to stop and browse. You might just walk out with a vintage tiki bar, or maybe your own mini-Ferris wheel!
In typical Joshua Tree form, this place is a hodgepodge of stuff: surprisingly good food, coffee, beer, recycled clothing, music, jewelry and other trinkets from local artisans, etc. If you slow your pace once you land in the desert (as you should), this will be a fun spot to poke your head into. Not a bad choice for breakfast either!
I was so very happy to see this spot pop up on the Yucca Valley highway. Good coffee is a necessity, esp. after a long night at Pappy and Harriet's or when facing a full day or weekend trip out on the trails and rocks of Joshua Tree. This spot fits the bill and offers up truly delicious baked goods to go along with the caffeine. Try the quiche. It's superb.
This place used to be my favorite brunch spot in town. They were my first, last, and often only stop for food on some trips. Delicious sandwiches and massive salads with a unique assortment of creative, organic and healthy ingredients made it an easy choice. But I believe there may have been a recent change in ownership as the last few times I passed through Joshua Tree the food here was subpar (even if the interior doesn't look much different). Overall, it wasn't bad. But it wasn't the same. The menu was smaller and less interesting, there was more beer on tap (ok, I do like that!) and the food served just wasn't quite as tasty. No doubt I'll go back again next time in the hope things will have returned to their former quality. But for the moment, I wouldn't say this is the best in town. Just a convenient option for the hungry passing through.
Where does one go in the desert once you hit your saturation point with the traditional beer and BBQ on which the desert cowboy lifestyle is based? Natural Sisters. Here delicious, organic, healthy options await in a variety of forms. Try a smoothie, grab a sandwich, or opt for some fresh kombucha and find yourself immediately revived and ready to tackle the trail.
This spot really captures the essence of Joshua Tree: history, beauty, creativity, a comfortable hominess and...soul. A great option if you are coming to the area for the first time or on a repeat visit. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get to commune with Gram!
Rocks, rocks, and more rocks! Oh, and those amazing cactus for which the park is named. This place is very special. Magical even. In fact, you'll find many "new agey" types out in this desert who believe just that. Me? I come for the fantastic hiking, the gorgeous rock formations, the beautiful desert scenery and the epic sunsets (or even better, sunrise...if you can muster the early morning hour), not to mention the wonderful people who congregate in the communities just outside. I find myself returning again and again, drawn by the unique combination of stunning wilderness, excellent outdoor opportunities for the active, and plenty to experience among the arts, music, and local culture, whether your running mainstream or perhaps drawn to the world's oddities (as am I!).
San Ignacio is one of my favorite areas in Belize and this caving experience tops the list. Just be sure you area careful with where/how you tread. It's an honor to walk back in time, but you want to be sure you don't cause damage or destroy history in the process. Pick your local tour guide/operator carefully. And bring some old socks along for the time you spend in the cave...
As a general rule, whenever I get wind of anything along the lines of an Old Western town, saloon, or roadside hideaway, I make a point of heading that way. I suppose that's where I assume I'll find my kind of people, or at least sign pointing me the right direction. This spot is that kind of place. Located at the intersection of the highway and the road leading into the park, it's hard to miss. Local characters and historic charm offered up with a comfortable old school western aesthetic. Fortunately. the food you'll find here also happens to be a grade above the standard small town fare. So you don't have to sacrifice comfort to enjoy the vibe. Tasty food, cold beer, and good conversation can be had, and you might just pick up a bit of inside knowledge on town or a couple of good recommendations for where to head next.
Good stuff. So good they've become a staple feature at music festivals around the country. But this is their home turf, where one can get a slice of NY style deliciousness en route to the trails of the desert or back out on the other side.
Once again, the California desert does not disappoint. This is where artists, bands, groups of hipster friends from the City and those who just love to get away from the mundane come to relax for the weekend. Secreted away just a few miles outside of Joshua Tree, this surreal vintage "trailer palace" features old Airstreams and tricked out theme trailers of various sizes (think glam beauty shop or alien themed) as well as a full-fledged rehearsal space and recording studio, a teepee with a firepit, horseshoes, saltwater pool, ping pong, and all the other amenities you might need for your good times over a weekend at desert summer camp. Go to it!
Good gawd, how much do I love the weird? Too much. And this place fits the bill perfectly. If we have learned anything from the years of debate over Area 51, it's that the desert is THE place to encounter aliens. Or to bathe them in the healing powers of sound. Yep, something like that. No doubt that's what George Van Tassel was thinking when he first conceived of this unique dome, "a high-voltage electrostatic generator that would supply a broad range of frequencies to recharge the cell structure." If you are headed into the California desert and want to experience something mighty unusual, be sure to bring a blanket or yoga mat and stop on through. Of course, also be sure you check their schedule online first, as the 60-minute public south bathes only happen sporadically (mostly on weekends in the spring and fall). Private baths are more expensive but can be scheduled with a bit more flexibility.