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Joshua Tree National Park

(4.3/5 based on 2,000+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: nature, parks, trails
Joshua Tree National Park takes its name from the Joshua tree, a twisted, spiky tree with bayonet-shaped leaves at the top that's one of the few plant species hardy enough to thrive in the extreme climate of the Mojave Desert. You'll find other plants such as cacti and creosote bushes in the park, and desert wildflowers bloom after sudden rainstorms. Lizards and birds are the most common daytime animals, while bighorn sheep, kangaroo rats, coyotes, and black-tailed jackrabbits become active at night. While the wildlife is interesting, it's the park's strange and varied landscape that awes visitors. Sand dunes, dry lake beds, rugged mountains, flat valleys, granite monoliths, and oases draw the eye's interest and set the stage for outstanding hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. The park also sits within a three-hour drive of 18 million people, making it easily accessible for a quick holiday. Our United States vacation route planner allows you to plan your trip to Joshua Tree National Park and a wealth of other destinations big and small.
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Where to stay

If you want to spend the night in Joshua Tree National Park, grab a tent and head for one of the numerous campgrounds scattered throughout the park. Some campgrounds feature a reservation system while others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. A couple also provide potable water, but most do not. To sleep on a mattress and pillow with a roof over your head, stay in one of the towns surrounding the park. The towns of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms offer a number of inns and motels in a tranquil desert setting. West of the park, the options expand into the resort area of Palm Springs. Here you'll find everything from high-end spas and resorts to chain hotels, small inns, and bed and breakfasts. The park is situated about two hours from Los Angeles (if there's no traffic), making a day trip from the city another possibility.
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