A Visit to Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Growing up, I had the opportunity to visit several of our national parks. My parents were great about showing us several areas of the United States. Vacations usually involved a road trip that allowed us to see so much of our country. Looking back on those adventures, I am thankful for those getaways.

As a parent, I find myself wanting to expose our kids to the incredible national parks as well as the beauty of the United States. There really is so much you can see by hopping in the car and setting off towards a destination. Whether near or far, every trip is worth it.

Joshua Tree National Park has been on my list of places to visit for awhile. The park seems to have gained a lot of popularity over the years and the chatter about the park, quickly moved this national park to the top of parks to visit. Fortunately, Joshua Tree National Park isn’t too far away so when the opportunity to visit came about, we went for it.

A Day in the Park

There is a lot that you can see in just one day in the park. You can do a little research prior to your visit, or you can be spontaneous like us and stop in at the visitor’s center and get recommendations from a ranger.

We entered the park from the south entrance, which is just off of I-10 and then followed the road to the Cottonwood Visitor’s Center. Our only plan upon arriving to the park was to see the Joshua Trees. We chatted with ranger’s at the Cottonwood Visitor’s Center to determine our best route. They were extremely helpful and provided information to help us make the most of our time in the park. The rangers did give us multiple routes to take, but since we knew we were headed home after our visit, we entered and exited the park on the same route.

Our goal was to drive to at least White Tanks, since that is where the Joshua Trees can be seen. Once we began our drive into the park, we ended up exploring more than we had anticipated.

Joshua Tree captures the true beauty of the desert and it enticed us to discover more.

We stopped often to read the signposts and take in the views. Our favorite stops were the Cholla Gardens, rock formations and of course the Joshua Trees.

It’s quite interesting as you drive through the park, how the plant life changes along the way. The Mojave Desert is stunning and has a large array of plants that are sure to catch your attention.

Besides the plants, are the mountain ranges, basins and rock formations. It is a spectacular site to see. Along our adventure the animal life that we saw included a rabbit, birds, and rattlesnakes (on the side of the road).

Cholla Gardens, Joshua Tree National Park

Cholla Gardens, Joshua Tree National Park

A Few Tips

  • Bring plenty of water.

  • If kids are with you, have them participate in the Junior Ranger Program and they can earn a badge by completing age appropriate activities.

  • Be aware of your surroundings as you venture about taking photos. There are a lot of desert creatures that blend in easily with the surroundings.

  • You do not need a 4-wheel drive to get around the park. Keep in mind campsites are off of a dirt road.

  • Campsites often fill up quickly between the months of February and May.. Click here to see what each campsite has to offer. Rates range from $15-$20 per night.

  • Plan a visit when plants are in bloom.

Our day trip was quick, but we look forward to making another visit in the future. Hopefully we can camp at the park and stargaze. I just want to visit when the snakes aren’t out. Ha ha! But really, if Joshua Tree National Park isn’t already on your list of places to visit, you need to add it. My best piece of advice for you is to make time for adventures!

Have you visited Joshua Tree National Park?