Where to Stay near Joshua Tree: A Complete Guide

The landscape of accommodations in (and around) Joshua Tree is a bit complicated. The area is relatively remote, but there are actually a lot of places to stay – so much so that it’s not easy picking the best one! 

I’ve spent my fair share of time visiting Joshua Tree, so I know the good and the bad of staying in different areas. I’m here to break down the various regions around the park and provide recommendations for hotels, vacation rentals, camping spots, and more.

In this guide, we’ll go through five great places to stay in the communities bordering the park, plus the camping options inside the park (which is the only way to stay within the park boundaries in Joshua Tree).

For each place, I’ll give you the pros and cons of staying there, and a few cool places to stay that caught my eye.

If you’re ready to figure out how to decide where to stay near Joshua Tree National Park, keep reading!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel and vacation rental links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would absolutely never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.

A Quick Joshua Tree Geography Overview

Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California, in the Mojave Desert. It’s about two and a half hours east of Los Angeles, and about 3 hours northeast of San Diego

While there’s plenty to see throughout the park, the top hikes and points of interest that can’t be missed are located in the northern section of the park. This is the area that most Joshua Tree visitors explore. 

It can at times feel quite remote, but the park is actually near a fair amount of small towns with good lodging options – most of which are located north and northwest of the park. This includes Twentynine Palms, the town of Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley. 

The south side of the park is a completely different story. There’s virtually nowhere to stay in the area until you hit Indio on the southwestern side, which is about a half hour away from the southern entrance.

While this may not seem so far, once you’re in the park, you’d need to drive another 45 minutes to get to the top hikes and sights in the northern section of the park. 

With all of this in mind, the best places to stay near Joshua Tree are in the towns north/northwest of the park.

You’ll want to stay as close as possible to the West Entrance Station (near the town of Joshua Tree) or the North Entrance Station (near Twentynine Palms), which are both only a short drive from the must-see areas of the park. 

Alternatively, you can camp within the park – we’ll dive into campgrounds below. Keep in mind that camping is your only option if you’re interested in actually staying in the park. You won’t find any hotels or vacation rentals within the park’s boundaries.

Where to Stay Near Joshua Tree National Park

When it comes to where to stay at Joshua Tree National Park, you essentially have two options: camp inside the park – camping is your only option if you want to stay inside the park’s boundaries – or stay at either a hotel or a vacation rental outside of the park.

Below, I’ll cover some of the best accommodations in the towns outside of the park. We’ll also talk about a few pros and cons of staying in each town. At the very end of this guide, I’ve included everything you need to know about camping inside the park. 

The Town of Joshua Tree: The Best Overall Place to Stay

If you’re trying to figure out where to stay near Joshua Tree National Park, the small town of Joshua Tree is one of your best options, primarily because it’s super close to the park. 

The area outside of the charming main strip (both north and south of Twentynine Palms Highway) is mostly residential. This is where you’ll find vacation rentals and hotels. 

However, it is worth noting that the Joshua Tree Visitor Center is in the town of Joshua Tree, where you can find maps and information on current conditions. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Joshua Tree

When it comes to staying in Joshua Tree, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. 

Pros of Staying in the Town of Joshua Tree: 

  • Great location. The biggest pro is that it’s very conveniently located. Joshua Tree is just a 10-minute drive north of the West Entrance Station, and it will ultimately only take you about 25 minutes to get from your accommodation to the main sights in the park (assuming there’s not a huge line at the entrance). 

  • Good selection of bars and restaurants. Joshua Tree has some of the best (and most festive) eateries and bars in the area, so it’s convenient for grabbing something to eat before or after exploring the park. There are also eclectic shops and galleries worth checking out if you have some extra time.

Cons of Staying in the Town of Joshua Tree: 

  • It’s popular and in-demand. The only real downside is that it is one of the more popular spots to stay, due to its proximity. This means prices can be a bit higher compared to other areas, although you can definitely find reasonable options. Accommodations in Joshua Tree will likely be the first to book up, especially in the busy seasons. 

The Best Places to Stay in Joshua Tree

Here are some of my top recommendations for accommodations in Joshua Tree.

You’ll find vacation home rentals, as well as modern airstream accommodations.

There aren’t a whole lot of hotels in Joshua Tree (the specific town itself) – if you want a more traditional hotel experience, look at nearby Twentynine Palms (spoiler: it’s the next area on this list). 

AutoCamp Joshua Tree

There are plenty of cool places to stay in Joshua Tree, but AutoCamp Joshua Tree – which is located less than a mile outside of the center of town – is definitely one of the best.

This property offers mid-century modern-style classic and premium airstream suites, which each have kitchenettes and private patios. 

Alternatively, there are the more spacious Vista X suites, which offer panoramic views of the desert. These suites offer full kitchens, and private outdoor fire pits and dining areas. There are also accessible suites available with kitchenettes. All of the accommodations at AutoCamp are able to sleep up to three adults. 

Beyond the airstreams and suites, there’s plenty to do on the 25-acre property. At the Clubhouse, you can grab something to eat and enjoy the large community fire pit and the plunge pool. There are also regular activities, including live music, s’mores bars, wine tastings, and yoga classes, as well as a general store on-site 

The Bungalow in Downtown Joshua Tree (for 1-2 Travelers)
Image courtesy of VRBO

The Bungalow is the perfect vacation rental for one to two travelers looking for their own private space for their getaway to Joshua Tree. The house is within walking distance of the downtown area, located just a bit south of Twentynine Palms Highway. 

The Bungalow has one bedroom (with a queen bed), one bath, and a full kitchen. However, the highlight of the property is the spacious outdoor space, which includes a fire pit and plenty of desert plants. 

Joshua Tree Desert Escape (for Groups of 4)
Image courtesy of VRBO

This stylish vacation rental is one of the best options if you’re looking for some amazing outdoor amenities. Joshua Tree Desert Escape (which is about a 10-minute drive northwest of town) offers a cowboy soaking tub with both hot and cool water, a hot tub, an outdoor shower, a fire pit, a BBQ, and a vast outdoor space with beautiful desert views. 

Inside, this professionally managed rental has two bedrooms (both with queen beds) and one full bathroom. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen that opens up to a spacious living room.

Luna Vista (for Groups of 4-6)
Image courtesy of VRBO

Luna Vista is situated in one of the most desirable locations for Joshua Tree visitors. It’s only about three miles from the West Entrance Station, and three and a half miles south of the center of town (both drives are less than 10 minutes). 

The property itself is very picturesque. The vintage Mexican-inspired home has three bedrooms and two baths, as well as a third “bathroom” with an outdoor shower and tub. There’s a fully equipped kitchen, as well as a living room with a fireplace.

Image courtesy of VRBO

The beautifully landscaped outdoor space has a covered patio with plenty of seating. Since the house is located on a hill, you get incredible views of the mountains and desert landscape. 

Twentynine Palms: The Most Affordable Place to Stay Near the Park

Another popular place to stay is Twentynine Palms, which is located north of the park, five miles from the North Entrance Station. While it may not be the most exciting town, its closeness to the park makes it a great option for travelers. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Twentynine Palms

Just like the town of Joshua Tree, the pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to staying in Twentynine Palms.

Pros of Staying in Twentynine Palms: 

  • Great location. Twentynine Palms is about a 10-minute drive to the North Entrance Station, and then just another 10 to 15 minutes to the most popular sights. 

  • Excellent hotel selection. The town has a better selection of hotels compared to Joshua Tree. If you’re looking for a simple, budget-friendly hotel, Twentynine Palms may be your best bet. That’s not to say the town doesn’t have vacation home rentals and other unique accommodations – you’ll find a few recommended below!

Cons of Staying in Twentynine Palms: 

  • It’s not a super exciting town. Twentynine Palms is pretty sleepy. Most of the restaurants in and around the main strip are chains, and there’s not really much to see. That said, it’s still a great option if your main priority is being close to the park. 

The Best Places to Stay in Twentynine Palms

If you decide to stay in Twentynine Palms, these are my top recommendations for hotels and vacation rentals in town. 

​​Fairfield Inn and Suites

This affordable hotel is located less than three miles east of the main strip in town, and just north of Twentynine Palms Highway. Fairfield offers studio suites, with either one king or two queen beds. Each suite has a separate seating space with an extra sofa sleeper, as well as a mini refrigerator and microwave. 

On the property, there’s a fitness center and business center, as well as an outdoor pool. There is also a complimentary breakfast buffet. 

The Holiday Inn Express Twentynine Palms

The Holiday Inn Express in Twentynine Palms is slightly closer to the park and the main strip in town compared to Fairfield Inn. There are rooms with a king or two queen beds available, as well as suites with king beds. Every room has a mini refrigerator and microwave. 

On-site, there is an outdoor pool, fitness center, and business center. The hotel also has complimentary continental breakfast. 

28 Palms Ranch (for Groups of 2-4)

If you’re looking for a more unique place to stay, try 28 Palms Ranch.

The location is a bit more remote (it’s in the outskirts of town, and about a 20-minute drive to the North Entrance of the park), but the more secluded experience is worth it. 

28 Palms offers glamping in handcrafted, beautifully decorated Mongolian yurts. There are a total of five yurts available to rent on the property, each of which has an opening at the peak that’s perfect for stargazing. Outside of each yurt, there is a private outdoor space with a shower, barbecue, firepit, and picnic table. 

While a yurt can sleep up to four people (each has a queen bed and one queen-size futon bed), adults may find it’s best suited for just two people. Since it’s remote, service is very spotty, so be prepared for an unplugged experience!

Pavo Rèal Retreat (for Groups of 4-6)
Image courtesy of VRBO

This peaceful, bohemian-style vacation rental – which is set amidst a cactus garden – is the perfect spot for a desert getaway. It’s just about two miles northwest of town, and under seven miles from the park entrance. 

This house has two bathrooms and two bedrooms. One bedroom has a king bed, while the other has a queen. There is also a fully equipped kitchen, as well as a laundry room. 

Image courtesy of VRBO

Outside, there’s a pool, hot tub, fire pit, two double hammocks, a grill, and a covered patio with misters. There’s also a table on the outdoor patio, and plenty of places to relax and soak up the sun. 

Yucca Valley: A Good Balance of Location and Budget

Yucca Valley is located on the opposite side of the town of Joshua Tree, and is about 12 miles northwest of the West Entrance Station. It’s a bit more developed than Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms, but is still a sleepy town. That said, there are plenty of great places to stay in the area.  

Pros and Cons of Staying in Yucca Valley

Yucca Valley has very similar pros and cons to Twentynine Palms. 

Pros of Staying in Yucca Valley: 

  • Good location. While it’s a bit further from the park entrance (it’s about a 20-minute drive), it’s still close to the park, which is the biggest draw of staying in Yucca Valley.

  • Great variety of accommodations. There are some great budget-friendly hotels in the area, as well as some really nice vacation rentals.

Cons of Staying in Yucca Valley: 

  • The town itself isn’t much of a destination. Similarly to Twentynine Palms, Yucca Valley isn’t the most exciting place to explore. There are quite a few shopping centers with a mix of chain restaurants and local eateries. These shopping centers are mostly surrounded by residential areas.  

The Best Places to Stay in Yucca Valley

Let’s cover some of the best places to stay in the area. Here are some great hotels and vacation rentals worth considering for your stay. 

Best Western Joshua Tree Hotel & Suites

This is the perfect hotel if you’re looking for an affordable, simple but comfortable spot near the park. This Best Western is located in the middle of Yucca Valley, about a 20-minute drive from the park entrance. 

This pet-friendly hotel has rooms and suites available, including rooms with kitchenettes. There is an outdoor pool and hot tub, fitness center, and laundromat on-site. The hotel also offers a complimentary continental breakfast.  

Super 8 Yucca Valley

The Super 8 in Yucca Valley is the most budget-friendly option on the entire list. It’s conveniently located within walking distance of a few restaurants, and is less than 20 minutes from the park entrance. 

Super 8 Yucca Valley offers a variety of different rooms and suites with king and queen beds, each of which come with a mini fridge and microwave. There’s an outdoor pool on-site, and the hotel also offers a free light breakfast. 

Hi-Desert Escape (for 1-2 Travelers)

If you’re looking for a thoughtfully designed and decorated space, you’ll want to stay in this bright and airy guesthouse, which is owned by an award-winning interior designer. 

The bright, light-filled home is located in a quiet residential neighborhood that’s about two miles south of Twentynine Palms Highway. 

This space has a spacious bedroom with a king bed, as well as one bathroom. There’s a living room and well-equipped kitchenette, as well as an extra full fridge. The large landscaped backyard has amazing desert and mountain views, and features a BBQ, fire pit, dining space, and additional outdoor furniture. 

The BlueMoon House (for Groups of 4-6) 

The BlueMoon House is perfectly set up for groups looking for a fun and relaxing space to come home to after exploring the park. It’s located towards the western side of Yucca Valley, so it’s just about a 15-minute drive from the park. 

This house has three bedrooms (all of which have queen beds) and one and a half bathrooms. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen, as well as a comfy living and dining area. 

Outside, there’s an extra dining area and additional seating, as well as two cowboy tubs, hammocks, a fire pit, and a grill. The house also provides plenty of entertainment amenities, including corn hole, a bocce ball set, board games, a telescope, and a record player and vinyls.  

Desert Hot Springs: A Cool Enclave (But Further Away)

Drive about 20 miles southwest of Yucca Valley, and you’ll hit Desert Hot Springs, which is aptly named after the many naturally-occurring hot springs in the area.

Known as California’s Spa City, this is a great place for travelers looking for a super relaxing place to come home to after exploring Joshua Tree – although it is fairly far from the park. 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Desert Hot Springs

Desert Hot Springs is quite different from the other options on the list, and comes with its own unique pros and cons. 

Pros of Staying in Desert Hot Springs: 

  • Amazing accommodations. Of course, the major benefit of staying in the area is the hot springs, and the many spas and wellness-centered resorts and hotels that take advantage of the mineral-rich water. If spending some time soaking in mineral water after a long day of hiking sounds appealing to you, this might be your spot!

  • Close to Palm Springs. Desert Hot Springs is only a short drive from Palm Springs (which we’ll talk more about below). If you’re planning a longer stay, this is a great home base if you’re wanting to explore both the park and Palm Springs. 

Cons of Staying in Desert Hot Springs: 

  • Far from the park. The big con, of course, is the distance. Desert Hot Springs is about 33 miles from the West Entrance Station, which translates to about a 45-minute drive. If you’re planning on doing more than just a day trip to Joshua Tree, this might be too much driving. 

Places to Stay in Desert Hot Springs

If you’re ready to relax, here are some of the spa-centered accommodations worth checking out in Desert Hot Springs. 

Desert Hot Springs Inn

The Desert Hot Springs Inn offers the relaxing experience of Desert Hot Springs at an affordable price. The pet-friendly boutique hotel has just six rooms/suites. Standard rooms have a queen bed and patio doors that open up to the pool and courtyard.

The suites also have a queen bed, as well as a kitchenette with a full fridge, microwave, and dining area. For larger parties, there is also a double suite with two connecting bedrooms and a kitchenette. The final option is the king suite, which has a full kitchen. 

Of course, there is a pool and hot tub on-site where you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the mineral water. The hotel offers spa treatments, which are provided in the privacy of your room. There’s also complimentary breakfast and coffee provided, and a dog park on the property. 

The Good House

The Good House is an upscale boutique hotel with seven rooms tucked away in the lush, beautifully landscaped property.

The pet-friendly hotel has both rooms and suites available, including suites with attached private outdoor terraces. Most of the spaces have a kitchenette, and all have mini fridges and toasters. 

There are two geothermally heated mineral pools on the property, which are open 24/7 for guests. There’s also a wide selection of spa services, including massages and facials. If you want to eat and drink on-site, there’s a small brunch and lunch menu, as well as a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. 

The O Spa and Resort

This upscale adults-only resort is a vibrantly decorated spa and resort with numerous rooms and suites available, each of which is uniquely styled. Some of these spaces also have kitchenettes. If you’re looking for a bit more space, you can also choose one of the larger multi-bedroom apartment-style suites. 

There are multiple natural mineral water-filled pools, as well as a large jacuzzi, a cowboy tub, and a Turkish shower. There’s a spa on-site offering many different massage services. The O also has a garden and terrace with a BBQ, as well as a community lounge with a full kitchen. 

Palm Springs: The Closest Major City to the Park

Palm Springs is another place to stay if you’re looking to have an experience beyond just exploring Joshua Tree National Park.

As far as proximity to the park, it’s the least convenient option on the list. That said, it’s a full-fledged destination that’s worthy of exploring for a couple days (or more!). 

Pros and Cons of Staying in Palm Springs

Palm Springs has a ton to offer, but there is one pretty big con to consider. 

Pros of Staying in Palm Springs: 

  • Exciting area. There’s plenty to do in Palm Springs, as there are great restaurants, nightlife, hiking, and more (check out this Palm Springs weekend itinerary for a better glimpse at what you can do in the area). 

  • Great hotel options. This vibrant desert city has plenty of really great hotels, with options for all budgets. 

Cons of Staying in Palm Springs: 

  • Far from the park. Palm Springs is approximately 50 minutes from the entrance to Joshua Tree. Just like with Desert Hot Springs, I wouldn’t recommend staying in Palm Springs if you’re planning on doing more than a day trip to Joshua Tree. 

Places to Stay in Palm Springs

Here are two hotels I recommend checking out in Palm Springs.

Korakia Pensione

This upscale Mediterranean / Moroccan-inspired hotel is located in the downtown area, just steps away from some of the best restaurants and bars in the area. There are a variety of different rooms and suites, with each space having its own unique design and amenities. 

Many of the rooms and suites have kitchenettes and private outdoor areas. There are also two larger houses on-site if you’re looking for more space. 

At Korakia Pensione, there are two salt water pools, as well as an on-site spa. The hotel also offers breakfast and lunch, as well as afternoon tea. 

Ace Hotel and Swim Club

A couple miles south of Downtown Palm Springs is the Ace Hotel and Swim Club. This stylish, mid-century modern-designed hotel offers rooms and suites, many of which feature a patio, fireplace, and record player.  

The property features two pools, as well as a fitness center and spa. There is also a cozy diner serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a bar.

Camping Inside the Park

If you’re trying to figure out where to stay in Joshua Tree National Park, camping is your best (and only!) option. There are around 500 campsites in the park spread out over eight campgrounds

Five of these campgrounds require reservations, while the remaining three are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Each campground has its own pros and cons, as well as different resources and facilities available. Below, we’ll talk about all of the campgrounds, and the features you’ll find at each spot. 

Jumbo Rocks Campground (Reservations Required)

Jumbo Rocks is one of the absolute best places to stay at Joshua Tree National Park. At this super popular, centrally located campground, you’ll get to camp amidst massive boulders and amazing desert scenery. Since it is so popular, you’ll want to snag a reservation as soon as possible. 

There are 124 campsites available. The space has tables and fire grates, as well as pit toilets. It’s important to note that there is no water source at Jumbo Rocks. 

More information on Jumbo Rocks Campground here

Ryan Campground (Reservations Required)

Another campground set amidst amazing rock formations and a cool desert landscape is Ryan Campground. It’s also centrally located, making it an ideal place to camp in the park.

This small campground has just 31 sites. There are tables and fire grates, as well as pit toilets. There isn’t a water source at Ryan. 

More information, including reservations, can be found here

Hidden Valley Campground (First-Come, First-Serve)

Another very popular and central spot that allows you to camp amongst the rocks is Hidden Valley. During the busy season, you’ll have the best luck snagging a spot here earlier in the week, rather than on the weekend. 

There are 44 campsites available, and the area has tables, fire grates, and pit toilets. Hidden Valley doesn’t have a water source. 

White Tank Campground (First-Come, First-Serve)

White Tank Campground is situated in a really great spot right by Arch Rock, which is a fun place to explore and clamber over rocks. It’s a super small campground, so getting a spot can be tricky during the busy season.

This campground has 15 sites. There are pit toilets, tables, and fire grates, and there is no water source. Note that White Tank closes in the summer.

Belle Campground (First-Come, First-Serve)

Another small but very cool campground is Belle. This campground – which, like many others, has sites tucked up against massive boulders – is just about a mile north of Arch Rock. 

Belle has 18 sites. There are tables, fire grates, and pit toilets, and there is not a water source. It closes during the summer. 

Black Rock Campground (Reservation Required)

This Joshua tree-dense campground is very scenic, but it’s far from many of the main sights of the park. Once you leave the campground, you’ll need to drive through West Entrance Station (which is about 20 minutes away) to get to the main section of the park.

I’d only recommend reserving a spot at Black Rock if the more centrally-located campgrounds are full. 

There are 99 campsites available, but note that some sites do close in the summer. There are tables, fire grates, a water source, and a dump station, as well as flush toilets.

Indian Cove Campground (Reservation Required)

Like Black Rock, if you stay at Indian Cove, you’ll still need to go through the park entrance to explore the park, so it’s not the most convenient campground. 

It’s about a 20-minute drive from the North Entrance Station. However, I will say that the area is very cool – many of the sites are set against massive rock formations. 

Indian Cove has 101 sites, and features pit toilets, tables, and fire grates. There isn’t a water source at this campground. 

Cottonwood Campground (Reservation Required)

Cottonwood Campground is even more remote than Black Rock and Indian Cove, and it’s not the most exciting location. It’s located in the southern section of the park (about a 40 to 50-minute drive from the main sights), so I’d prioritize trying for other campgrounds before booking here. 

There are 62 sites, some of which close during the summer. There is water available, as well as tables, fire grates, a dump station, and flush toilets. 


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