6 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Joshua Tree

A short Joshua Tree vacation leaves many travelers feeling as if they are running out of time to experience all that is here.  Hence why some seek help with planning the perfect trip to Joshua Tree before they hit the road to the desert.  Though a small town, the gems and unique activities are spread far and wide, hidden in the vast spread of the desert. In just a quick drive down the highway in town, and you are sure to miss them!  For that reason, we are going to walk you through 6 cool and unusual experiences you can find here in these high desert towns.

1.  Get in touch with your spiritual side.

The desert has always been a place that many people have flocked to so they can recharge. Famously, Jim Morrision , from The Doors, found inspiration for his lyrics right here in the Mojave. Right here in town, many businesses have dedicated themselves to facilitating a safe space for those who are seeking a mental or spiritual healing.

This is a privately owned structure that was specifically designed to use sound to rebuild the mind and body. They have a rich history that draws a large interest from tourists and visitors. Originally, this structure was built to communicate with Aliens so the architecture alone makes it worth a visit. Unfortunately, this is not an activity you can book last minute. Thankfully, if you are planning ahead of time for an upcoming visit you can register to join a public sound bath. You can also rent a private session which can be great for work trips or large parties.

Yoga

Yoga seems like it’s more of a physical activity, but it can bring relaxation and clarity in many ways. Joshua Tree is a beautiful backdrop for yoga sessions for those looking to experience the National Park in a new light. Surprisingly, Joshua Tree is a mecca for yogis everywhere.The Shakti Fest, a 5 day music and yoga retreat is held at the Institute of Mentalphysics.

In Joshua Tree town, Sacred Spiral Adventures hosts a number of yoga classes in the park.  Join in to experience the magic the park can have over you and your body. Staying in Palm Springs during your Joshua Tree trip? Check out Yoga Central! They hold yoga workshops and hikes within the surrounding desert vistas.

Retreats & Wellness

A popular retreat in the park is the Desert Reset. It is a growing Joshua Tree Retreat that is the only hypnotherapy- based experience in the world. In their own words, this retreat is a “Mind spa” you can't miss out on.

Near the main park entrance there are several boutiques and shops. One of them is Grateful Desert. This is an apothecary and aromatherapy bar that is a great source for natural body care. Undoubtedly, It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs from Joshua Tree that will help maintain your newly recharged spirituality at home.

2. Art, art and more Art.

Joshua Tree is a quirky, eclectic place where many creative souls live. Among the many shops in town, there are art galleries scattered around. On the busier weeks and peak season, many street artists can be seen around creating and selling pieces they’ve been working on. You could spend an entire day immersing yourself in the art scene located right here in the desert

Every Saturday, vendors from all around the high desert set up a Farmers market right here in the center of town. Art can come in many forms and many will sell their artistic creations here. From dream catchers, to vintage clothing to photography, there is something for everyone. It is always a busy event and many of the local shops will open their doors with special deals because of all the extra foot traffic. It is worthwhile to stop by and pick a unique souvenir to your travel collection that you won’t find anywhere else. Bring back part of the desert for your loved ones.

Museums & Galleries

One of the more popular art galleries to visit is Joshua Tree Art Gallery. Here you can find many exhibits from different artists. Similarly, the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum is a great way to leisurely enjoy art in the desert. It is an unusual structural tour of famous artist Noah Purifoy’s sculptures.

 Only have a few minutes to explore the art scene in Joshua Tree? Stop by the World-Famous Crochet Museum. It’s a unique tiny museum that is a fun way to spend a few minutes before you enter the park.

3. Dive into the local music scene.

Joshua Tree has inspired many famous musicians to create songs we know and love. From U2’s Joshua tree album, John Lennon’s Joshua Tree tapes, and the frequent nights Jim Morrison spent in the desert, it is clear that the desert has had a unique effect over these musical geniuses. The Joshua Tree Inn has a unique history with music. Music buffs from all around should consider booking a room at the iconic hotel where Gram Parsons spent his last hours. The Joshua Tree music festival is an annual event people don’t want to miss out on.  The music scene is still very much alive and a must do for your next trip.

Joshua Tree Saloon
Make sure the Saloon is on your to do list!

This is arguably the most unique place to hang out on your Joshua Tree vacation. This music venue is located in Pioneer town. Interestingly, Pioneertown was originally made as a “living movie set” for westerns in 1946. The buildings surrounding the area have a western movie atmosphere that is charming and whimsical. Pappy & Harriets have a lively music scene where you can enjoy dinner or a drink after a long day of adventure.

This cozy saloon is open and running daily in the heart of Joshua Tree town. Its rustic setting is perfect for lunch, dinner or a fun evening of cocktails. They have a string of regular musicians as well as a weekly open mic night and karaoke. Not only is the saloon an epicenter for Joshua Tree night life but it holds a lot of history. Most people find themselves here every evening of their Joshua Tree vacation.

All vegans and vegetarians gather round! This is the perfect place for you to get great vegan cuisine and live music. Frontier is a cute, relaxed cafe in Yucca Valley that’s worth a visit. They feature many local artisans and fulfill every hipsters desert dream.

4. Plan a unique day trip

If you find yourself in Joshua Tree during peak season, it can get a bit crowded. The tourist attractions in the park will be overloaded and parking can get tricky. There are plenty of trails and scrambles that get you a bit farther out of the crowded areas. However, there are a lot of desert wonders in the Mojave that aren’t inside the park. We urge you to spend as much time as possible in this gorgeous National Park but if you are finding yourself in need of more adventure, check out these places.

things to do in Joshua Tree
Take a snowboard, skateboard deck, or sled!

These sands dunes quickly turn your vacation into an otherworldly adventure. Although it's an hour and a half drive,  Kelso has a landscape experience that is worth the drive. The dunes are massive and as you hike along you feel as if you’ve really separated from society. Be prepared and dress properly for a hike that is all sand and no trail. If you happen to have a snowboard, skateboard, or sled around, this is a fantastic place to go sand boarding.

Palm Springs

If you are not already staying in Palm Springs there are great areas to explore for the day. One of our favorite places is the Moorten Botanical Garden. This is a self described “cactorium” that is perfect for those vacation instagram photos. The botanical garden is filled with rare plants and the walk thru can make you forget that it’s in the middle of a busy city.

things to do in Joshua Tree
Some of the plants will be taller than you!
Experience the Zoo a whole new way.

If you are traveling with kids it can be hard to keep them entertained. One of the best places to keep those little ones amused is a zoo. This wildlife preserve is packed filled with fun for kids and parents combined. Want to feed a giraffe? Ever thought about grooming camels? The Living Desert will get you up close to the animals. The entrance even gives you access to amazing nature trails and hikes. It would be hard to only have a day here

5. ROCK CLIMBING WITH US

Rock climbing has a long history with some of the Stone Masters and other professional climbers in Joshua Tree National Park. Despite this, a lot of people don’t realize how accessible it is to everyone of all ages and ambitions! Stone Adventures specializes in customizing the perfect rock climbing trip for you. Without a doubt, this is one of the best ways to learn and explore Joshua Tree National Park and all its most unique features. People travel from around the world to specifically climb on these unique Joshua Tree rock formations.  Experience the best of Joshua Tree with professionally certified rock climbing guides and wilderness first responders. Check out our other blogs to see how to plan a climbing trip and get a beginners guide to the world of rock climbing!

6. Learn!

Traveling to new places is all about learning new things. Joshua Tree has plenty of interesting flora and flauna, perfect places for observing the intricacies of the night sky, and the park is home to many interesting species. Pick up a field guide at the nearest visitor center and explore all the cool things in Joshua Tree. If you want some guidance to the information the desert holds, check out these spots.

This institute is perfect for adults who want to learn more about the environmental and cultural history of the area. These courses are taught by experts in their fields who will give you an inside look to the desert! Check out the Spring catalog to see what is available during your Joshua Tree trip.

There is plenty to learn when it comes to JT ecosystems.
There is plenty to learn when it comes to JT ecosystems.
joshua tree wildlife
Yucca Shigedera

Anyone who has visited Joshua Tree knows that the night sky is incredible. Learn everything you want to know about this dark sky oasis. If it’s not a full moon, then you can find yourself at a public star party on Saturdays.

Joshua Tree has options for whatever kind of traveler you are. Build your perfect desert experience and get out in the park today! Need to find a place to stay? Take a look at our camping blog so you can get started on planning the best Joshua Tree trip you can!

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