Here is your perfect 48-hour itinerary for the ideal weekend in Joshua Tree, California. From hiking to dancing, we’ve packed it all in.
There are nearly endless reasons why AuctoCamp Joshua Tree is the perfect weekend escape from L.A. The drive is only a little over two hours away, the scenery and wilderness are otherworldly, there’s a thriving local art and music scene, L.A. transplants and locals alike have opened destination-worthy restaurants (you get the idea). Here’s a sample itinerary of how to spend your quick weekend trip to Joshua Tree—likely the first of many, since people tend to get hooked on this place.
Make the drive in the afternoon, and if you have extra time, detour to Landers and see one of the area’s most eccentric landmarks, the Integratron. The wooden dome was built in the fifties by George Van Tassel, who hoped to use it for time travel—it’s now home to indoor and outdoor sound baths and concerts.
Check into your AutoCamp Airstream or Classic Cabin and rest a bit before exploring the grounds. Head to the Quonset Club House (keep an eye out for installations by local artists along the way!), and grab a cocktail at our open-air bar. Work up an appetite with a dip in our pool (which converts into a warmed hot tub in the cooler months) before stopping by the General Store to pick up any provisions you need—we’ve got everything from wine to DIY bbq kits.
Cook dinner over the campfire using your site’s grilling setup, and linger under the stars for an extra drink, stories and songs by the campfire, and the nostalgic taste of s’mores before heading inside for a deeply restful sleep in one of our extra-soft beds.
Get an early start and make pour-over coffee in your suite or tent, and enjoy your first cup surrounded by the beauty of the desert while you plan your day. You can cook breakfast at your suite, or if you’re not in the mood to cook, head into town and grab a table at the Frontier Cafe, where you’ll find fresh twists on classic breakfast food like hearty egg sandwiches, avocado tartines, and bagels with lox—all great fuel for a day spend exploring the park.
Head back to AutoCamp and pack a bag with plenty of water and snacks for a day in Joshua Tree National Park. Just a ten-minute drive to the park, you’ll have the rest of the day to hike, explore wildflowers, see the famous Joshua Trees, discover kinds of cacti you’ve never seen before, and more. There’s plenty of resources available to help you decide where to go within the park—but no matter where you go, it’s a magical place to explore.
Dust yourself off and take a breather back at AutoCamp. Make new friends during another dip in the pool, stretch it out in a yoga class, or read a book in one of the hammocks scattered throughout the property.
Change for dinner and check out Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneer Town Palace, a local institution that’s located in a former frontier movie set, which was designed to work as a fully functioning town. An ode to Americana, the bar and restaurant’s menu includes classics like burgers, fries, salads, and steaks, along with an interesting selection of wine and beer. Stick around for the live music and dancing scene that happens outside and lasts late into the night.
Take a shower in one of our spa-inspired bathrooms and make breakfast while soaking up the serenity and endless horizons of the desert before packing up and checking out.
Swing through town and explore Joshua Tree’s independent shops, like Hoof and the Horn for a selection of wild vintage clothing and new pieces, Moon Wind Trading Co. for home decor and beauty products, and BKB Ceramics, which makes their beautifully textured pieces right on-site.
Make a final stop in Flamingo Heights on your way home for lunch at La Copine, a must-try locally sourced restaurant located in a former roadside diner. Focused on hyper-fresh, seasonal ingredients, and run by a crew of mostly women, it’s one of the buzziest restaurants in the neighborhood, and a perfect finale to a dreamy Joshua Tree weekend.