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Old 6 Apr 21, 06:51 PM  
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nickyjw
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Where to stay on route to San Diego... Palm Springs or Joshua Tree?

We decided our holiday to Japan this August wouldn’t be what we wanted it to be even if things open up in time, so we sadly cancelled and have booked a trip to California over New Year in hope that this might actually happen, we’ve booked flights with BA so can alter if we need to.
Anyway, I’m just looking for advice on the best place to stay for the night on our way to San Diego. We have 2 nights in LA, then 4 in Anaheim for Disneyland and then we want to visit the Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs / Tramway before finishing our holiday in SanDiego. Would we be better leaving Anaheim and driving straight to Palm Springs in the morning and then going to Joshua Tree in the afternoon and staying there for the night... or the other way round, Joshua tree and then Palm Springs for one night?
Am I right in thinking we will have to double back on ourselves either way to head to San Diego?
We are happy to just spend a few hours at Joshua Tree, we don’t want to go hiking or anything.
Appreciate any advice anyone can offer... we did a big month long West Coast trip in 2018 but didn’t see San Diego, Palm Springs or Joshua Tree so this is a bonus break if we get to go!
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Old 6 Apr 21, 07:02 PM  
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megaflyer
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Where will you stay in Joshua Tree ? The park is stunning but the towns near it are nothing great (run down touristy) I would drive from LA area to Palm Springs (can take 2 hours can take 5 hours or more - depending on day of the week and traffic) and make that you base to visit Joshua Tree (whole day needed here even if just to drive it and stop off for photos etc. Its huge ) , living desert, wonderful art galleries, areal tram way *another near full day needed really or a late afternoon/evening visit. Then drive form PS to Sand Diego (doable in 2 hrs and traffic usually light)
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Edited at 07:04 PM.
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Old 6 Apr 21, 07:11 PM  
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Olympiad
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Hi - personally I'd head to Joshua Tree first and then overnight in Palm Springs especially if you're not planning on hiking/leaving the car unattended. You could drive all the way through the national park and then return to Palm Springs or just drive partway and head back. Plenty of places to pull over and have a little wander.

In terms of the Joshua Tree town (or others close by) I seem to recall there is very little there and wouldn't have been tempted to stay over.

You don't need to double back to get to San Diego, you can take the route through the San Jacinto mountains from Palm Desert and then drop down into San Diego. We did this when heading to San Clemente and it's a really interesting and scenic drive. Might be worth a double check on road conditions in winter (we did it in Summer so the problem was wild fires!), but I don't think that area suffers from much snowfall (sure someone will know for sure).
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Old 6 Apr 21, 07:15 PM  
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Olympiad
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Just to add - the route through the mountains isn't the fastest, but still easily done in approx 3 hours.
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Old 6 Apr 21, 07:48 PM  
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megaflyer
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Originally Posted by Olympiad View Post
Just to add - the route through the mountains isn't the fastest, but still easily done in approx 3 hours.
The mountains route is certainly the one I use as its stunning but yes it often gets closed due to snow in the winter and fires in the summer (well bot often but worth checking on the day)

PS The iconic Joshua Tree only grows in the Mojave Desert and then only at a certain hights so is real natural spectacle of the area
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Old 6 Apr 21, 08:06 PM  
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Mrs Red C
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We stayed (2018) in Palm Desert at Courtyard by Marriott, which is at the bottom end of Joshua Tree NP. Loved this hotel and readily placed for everything. We'd stayed Yuuka Valley the night before, travelled through the Park N to S after paying $25 to drive through.
Also near 2 In n Out Burger restaurants, yum!
There's our Trip Report, (26 May)by Red Cullen if you'd like to have a read.
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Old 6 Apr 21, 08:15 PM  
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megaflyer
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Originally Posted by Mrs Red C View Post
We stayed (2018) in Palm Desert at Courtyard by Marriott, which is at the bottom end of Joshua Tree NP. Loved this hotel and readily placed for everything. We'd stayed Yuuka Valley the night before, travelled through the Park N to S after paying $25 to drive through.
Also near 2 In n Out Burger restaurants, yum!
There's our Trip Report, (26 May)by Red Cullen if you'd like to have a read.
Tylers Burgers in Palm Springs are truly the best around Palm Desert area . I am not a burger person (maybe one a year ? And hen never ever a McD etc) but I do enjoy a Tylers
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Old 6 Apr 21, 08:21 PM  
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AUgust is really the month to avoid - apart form the extreme heat you will feel (especially in the high desert ) - its heat nothing like you will find in FLorida. Its dry so you end up drinking gallons and gallons of water (Joshua tree would be unbearable) and dangerous)) some places in Palm Springs will be closed - Tram slowed PCR annual maintenance in August and many restaurants, bars and other social things close until Labour weekend in September - its a cheap time to go for sure but as as one off visit I would avoid high summer (High Desert/Palm Springs not LA and beach area )
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Old 6 Apr 21, 08:54 PM  
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I agree with the advice to drive to Joshua Tree first and drive through the park, then stay overnight in Palm Springs. You could then do the Palm Springs aerial tram in the morning (highly recommended) and then go onto San Diego that afternoon.
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Old 6 Apr 21, 09:02 PM  
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Olympiad
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Originally Posted by megaflyer View Post
AUgust is really the month to avoid - apart form the extreme heat you will feel (especially in the high desert ) - its heat nothing like you will find in FLorida. Its dry so you end up drinking gallons and gallons of water (Joshua tree would be unbearable) and dangerous)) some places in Palm Springs will be closed - Tram slowed PCR annual maintenance in August and many restaurants, bars and other social things close until Labour weekend in September - its a cheap time to go for sure but as as one off visit I would avoid high summer (High Desert/Palm Springs not LA and beach area )
Yep we only spent a couple of nights there and it was in August but really wanted to see the Joshua Tree NP. Wouldn't have fancied much hiking but it was fine to hop out of the car for 10 mins to get photos etc.

I'd forgotten but a lot of places were shut up for the summer in Palm Springs. We stayed in Rancho Mirage and the hotels were dirt cheap.

Two things that I still remember about the heat. One is the car temperature showing 98 (F) at 11pm when we came out of a restaurant, and the second is the hotel pool being so hot you could only stay in for a few minutes.
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