Glamping– you’ve heard of it, right? It’s like camping, only with more boujie accommodations- like a sleek airstream outfitted in boho decor or a heated yurt filled with plush sleeping arrangements. It’s the fun of camping, but with a more luxurious experience.
I went glamping this past weekend in Joshua Tree, CA and it was the perfect escape from the crowded, busy LA lifestyle- and only two hours away from my apartment! Think: more stars than you’ve seen in months, a kind of quiet tranquility that you haven’t dreamt of since that one night there wasn’t a helicopter circling over your neighborhood, and as much open space as you can have while still being connected to civilization.
Before I dive in, I want to preface this post with a warning and a request to be respectful to those who actually live in Joshua Tree and the area surrounding it. Travelers from big place like Los Angeles can create a bad name for an entire city when a native person only encounters those who are extremely disrespectful to their town and land. There was actually just a law that went info effect in December of 2019 which require landlords to obtain a permit to continue operating their short-term rental homes, because short term visitor rentals have increased so much in the wake of rental sites like Airbnb. Let’s not destroy this magical place and keep it the bohemian paradise it is, today.
Anyway, as long as you’re courteous to the land and its native residents, it’s a gorgeous weekend escape. Our Airbnb was tiny- probably the size of my dorm room in college- but it had everything we needed to have a great time. There was even an expansive back patio with a tiny outdoor brick pizza oven, hot tub (!), fire pit for roasting marshmallows, and a hammock to lean back and look at the zillions of stars.
The first day we were in the area, we headed into Pioneertown to get a taste of the Wild West, where more than 50 films and television shows were filmed in the 1940s and ‘50s.
Pioneertown isn’t actually an old western town- it was founded by a group of Hollywood investors and is in reality, a set of frontier stables, saloons, and jails with souvenir shops which the Hollywood industry used for filing. Nowadays, it is a tourist destination with souvenir shops and a history museum.
After checking out Pioneertown and grabbing a bite to eat at iconic restaurant/music venue Pappy + Harriet’s, we headed into Joshua Tree National Park to watch the sunset. Joshua trees feel almost spiritual to me, and it’s not just because I’m such an enormous fan of U2 and their music makes me feel transcendent. The Joshua Tree was rumored to have gotten its name for spiritual reasons.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can go rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park. It’s one of the best places to go rock climbing in the US and one of the best places to learn how to rock climb in the world, with over 8,000 climbing routes and 2,000 boulder problems. I went rock climbing in Joshua Tree back on a weekend trip in college and I can strongly recommend as a destination for getting the best arm workout of your life, as long as you’re climbing with people who are prepared and experienced in the craft so that they can teach you how to do it safely.
After the sun set over this mars-like landscape and filled the sky with colors you can only see in a desert sunset, we headed back to the Airbnb to cozy up for the evening. It was extremely windy at night and the temperatures dropped down into the 30’s, so be warned if you’re planning on “camping” without the “glamp” attached to the beginning of the word anytime between the months of roughly November through March- and be prepared to pack enough clothing to stay warm.
The next morning we went to Joshua Tree Coffee Company for a morning brew. The shop roasts its coffee onsite using a machine called The Loring Smart Roaster to create a more authentically roasted flavor. Each batch of beans is roasted and packed with a meticulous amount of care.
All in all, Joshua Tree was a perfect relaxing weekend escape. Be equipped for the weather if you’re planning to camp outdoors during the winter or summer months when temperatures are the most extreme and remember to be respectful of the residents who have made this oasis their permanent home.
Lastly, there’s a certain spiritual element radiating from the Earth in Joshua Tree which gives you a sense of peace and fills you with inspiration at the endless possibilities there are to be creative, since it’s such a barren, open landscape.
And if you’re as big of a fan as me of U2, you can really sense why the band chose to name an entire album after this plant– and declare the desert land of the American Southwest to be “God’s Country.”
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