Joshua Tree Glamping Guide: Your Luxury Escape Awaits!
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to experience life in the desert for a few days, immersed fully in nature’s arms, unplugged from the problems of the world? Perhaps you’re a seasoned camper on a mission to explore the desert, simply looking to swap traditional camping for something more luxurious while still feeling like you are in the thick of things. Or, you despise the thought of pitching a tent and cooking on a portable propane stove, dreading eating lukewarm macaroni with plastic utensils as you get eaten by bugs. It’s time to consider desert glamping, which has quickly become a tremendously popular way to explore National Parks and natural landscapes in style and comfort.
Trip planning and traveling can already be stressful–why make it more demanding by having to set up and break down your sleeping arrangements, too? If you want a more efficient, safe, and elevated way to appreciate nature up close and personal–without the fuss and hassle of setting up and breaking down a campsite or worrying about all the extra gadgets needed to be packed to keep phones charged and food cooked–trying out glamping for your next trip is a no-brainer. Now the question becomes, where do we glamp?
One desert oasis you’ll want to add to your bucket list, where many people flock to from all over the world, is Joshua Tree National Park, located in the High Desert of Southern California. Joshua Tree is a funky little town seemingly in the middle of nowhere, chock-full of diverse flora, fauna, and jaw-dropping rock formations, and of course, the world-famous Joshua Tree. Though small and quiet, the town of Joshua tree is sprinkled with character, with saloon style shops and a small selection of eateries, a place to listen to live music at Harriet and Pappy’s, a delightful place to sip coffee at Joshua Tree Coffee Company, and tons of crystal shops for all your chakra charging needs. Joshua Tree National Park has a great appeal for outdoor enthusiasts, healers, and spiritually woke folks due to its unparalleled setting and features.
Joshua Tree glamping? Now that’s a next level experience.
Table of Contents
- Best Time for Joshua Tree Glamping
- Can You Pitch a Tent Anywhere in Joshua Tree?
- Can I Sleep in My Car at Joshua Tree?
- Can You Stay the Night at Joshua Tree?
- Is There Glamping in Joshua Tree?
- Best Spots for Glamping in Joshua Tree National Park
- Other Unique Glamping Experiences
- Tips for Booking a Glamping Trip to Joshua Tree
Best Time for Joshua Tree Glamping
If you’re looking for a comfortable way to engulf yourself in the wilderness in a more lavish way than conventional camping, glamping is your best bet. Being that the desert is full of extremes–extreme heat, cold, dryness, and wind–glamping in Joshua Tree–with heating and cooling systems–sounds like a major step up from having to try to relax and sleep in-below freezing temperatures or scorching hot temperatures hotter than your own body temp. Whether you are glamping or not, it’s vital to plan your glamping trip accordingly and be prepared for different types of weather, as they can directly impact how much you can do and experience while there.
In the summertime, it’s possible to experience a heat wave and get caught in 114 degree weather, which is almost unbearable to tolerate without proper cooling devices and enough hydration. Hiking in 114 degree weather doesn’t sound all that great, does it? In the late Fall and through winter, the daytime is typically boasting with sunshine, permitting you to sport shorts and a tank top. In the evening, however, temperatures could drop over 50 degrees, leaving you feeling numb and freezing, especially if you are unprepared for drastic temperature changes. You’ll want to bring a scarf, gloves, warm hat, warm socks, and at least 2 layers of jackets–perhaps a sweatshirt and snow jacket–in order to withstand the cold temperatures.
The park is open year round, but in the spring between March and May as well as autumn between October to November are the ideal months to visit for the most optimal weather conditions. Just bear in mind that visitor traffic varies, so the peak of Fall might be slightly more crowded. In fact, more than double the amount of people that visit in the Summer visit in the Fall due to the prime weather conditions during this time. If you’re looking for fewer crowds for a more peaceful vacation, you should plan to visit towards the end of Summer early fall, or end of Winter early spring, as crowds are less chaotic and the weather is agreeable.
Can You Pitch a Tent Anywhere in Joshua Tree?
Due to the fact that National Park rules and regulations vary, it is important to note that there are restrictions when camping within Joshua Tree National Park. For instance, you can’t just plop a tent anywhere and call it home for the night. Camping is only allowed in designated areas, and to be able to stay at any of these said areas, you’ll need to acquire permits.
Thankfully, you can book permits up to 6 months in advance. It is recommended to book permits early on as campgrounds do fill up in high seasons. Camping permit prices range from $6-50/night for a group of size 1 to large parties. There are 15 different zones you can choose from, and you can stay 3 consecutive nights in an individual zone, or 14 nights total across all 15 zones. There are also a few campgrounds outside of Joshua Tree where you can camp for free, and two private campgrounds that offer RV hookups.
Can I Sleep in My Car at Joshua Tree?
Much like with tents, vehicles are not allowed overnight at trailheads, along roadsides, or in day-use areas. Sleeping in your vehicle inside of Joshua Tree National Park is prohibited, and overnight stays in your car will result in a citation if caught. That said, Joshua Tree is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can hop in and out of the park as you please and save sleeping for later.
Of course, the advantage of sleeping in your car means you don’t have to set up and break down a campsite, or pay for nearby accommodations, saving you money and time, but the downside of sleeping in your car is the risk of getting charged a penalty, likely paying more than you would for the cost of permits or glamping. If you’re willing to roll the dice, sleep in your car. But if you want to avoid paying a fine, look for a designated campground or opt for alternatives like glamping.
Can You Stay the Night at Joshua Tree?
There are tons of rental properties, trailers, and glamp sites throughout the area that give you front row access to all that Joshua Tree has to offer. If you’re into the great outdoors and looking to get the full wilderness experience without having to pitch a tent and get your hands dirty, Joshua Tree glamping is the move. Of course, you can opt for traditional tent camping, or elevate your camping experience with dome glamping, but the real bread and butter is airstream and trailer camping, especially if you’d like a place to clean off, cook, stay warm in the cooler months, and stay cool in the heat of the summer.
Is There Glamping in Joshua Tree?
Glamping in Joshua Tree National Park is a breathtaking way to admire the desert’s natural wonders and terrestrial flora and rock formations. What better way to soak up all that this desolate environment has to offer than by putting yourself in the heart of the natural landscapes–the howl of the wind and the rustle of tumbleweed serving as your lullaby?
The difference between traditional camping in Joshua Tree and a more extravagant glamping experience is, for one, level of comfort. Even laid back glamping options generally come equipped with space heaters for overnight stays, to help keep you and your living space warm and cozy. Tents don’t offer that same insulation and warmth. Same goes for cooling systems, in certain glamping spots you’ll likely be provided with at least a fan if not an AC unit or more robust cooling system, whereas a tent baking in the hot desert sun can feel like a sauna.
Other factors include electricity–unless you’re a veteran of camping and already own portable light sources and portable chargers for your phone and other larger electronics, worrying about power supply can be a pain on a camping trip, especially if you plan to be away for a few days. Typically, glamping experiences offer power outlets for you to plug your phone and charge up your electronics on, as well as superior lighting and running water. Some forms of glamping, such as yurts type, might only offer rechargeable solar lights or battery operated lights, so always check before you book a glamping experience to be sure of what amenities you are getting and what is important to you to have available during your glamping experience.
Best Spots for Glamping in Joshua Tree National Park
Even though Joshua Tree feels vast and spread out, there are tons of places to stay scattered on the outskirts of the park that all offer unique features. Let’s scope some of the options, shall we?
Airstream and Trailer Glamping
One of our favorite experiences for glamping in Joshua Tree is at Autocamp, nestled on the fringes of Joshua Tree National Park. Autocamp offers airstream and trailer glamping, which is the cream of the crop when it comes to upscale glamping.
Onsite, you’ll find yourself situated within earth’s natural landscapes, in a beautiful desert oasis with high-end hospitality. We’re talking electricity, a sink with running water, a mini fridge or cooler to store food, and a bathroom and shower. Autocamp’s spacious air streams offer tons of natural light, a comfy nook for reading and relaxing, a snug bed and mattress, storage space for your groceries, flat screen tv, heating and air conditioning, and a Bluetooth audio system so you can dance your soul out in the desert and awaken the fire within. How cool is it to extract the annoyances from regular camping and preserve the fun parts?
One awesome thing about this airstream experience is the dining–if you aren’t feeling up to cooking, you can opt for one of their food packages–the Joshua Tree breakfast on the go packages for morning or their fireside dinner package for evening. This gives you the chance to indulge and unwind while someone takes on the responsibility of preparing and cooking your meal. Other possibilities for experiences include full moon hikes under the light of the moon, meditation workshops and sound baths, cacao ceremonies, adventure hikes, stargazing, yoga, rock climbing, live music, herbal medicine making, and desert tea exploration–the possibilities are endless! Oh, and you can also host large gatherings, reunions, and celebrations at this awesome location.
Joshua tree glamping can also look like glamping tents, which typically accommodate a bed to sleep in as well as some mediocre furniture–such as a side table and chairs. Some trends may offer windows or the ability to zip up and open a screen to get fresh air and see the sky. Who doesn’t enjoy being enveloped by the stars and laying underneath the night sky? Don’t expect much in terms of power sources or ample lighting. It’s also best to bring your own ice and cooler and portable grill or burner as well as light sources, extra blankets, and bug spray.
Yurt glamping is the cool younger sister of tent glamping. With circular variations of tents that typically have clear plastic windows throughout for additional lighting. Think of a circular frame with a teepee ceiling that caves in toward the center. Some yurts offer electricity and real beds, and occasionally a sink. Others might offer battery operated lights, an outhouse, and an air mattress with fitted sheets and blankets. This is the mid tier level of luxury glamping–you’re still roughing it in some regards but it’s definitely a step up from a regular tent. Yurts almost feel nostalgic, as if you are sleeping in a fort.
Dome glamping is a unique experience that may offer 360 views of the surrounding environment, or no view at all depending on the materials of the dome. They are typically made of high quality fabrics and a sealable entrance, making it the perfect weatherproof shelter to sleep in. Glamping domes are geodesic and can enable heating and cooling to occur naturally. Not only is it more energy-efficient when compared with other glamping options, but it also feels out of this world once inside. Dome glamping generally offers all the same amenities as yurt glamping.
Other Unique Glamping Experiences
Joshua Tree is known for its eccentric and bizarre properties, such as the Futuristic Spaceship Glamping–a UFO looking fortress fully surrounded Joshua Tree’s, dirt, and tumbleweeds, making it the perfect place to rent out to create music, write a book, share intimacy with a partner, or go on a wild trip. Its unique design, like many other glamping rentals in Joshua Tree, help inspire individuals to tap into an alternate reality in order to pull things out of them that will ultimately help them produce eccentric art. It may not have in house toilets or a place to wash your hands, but it is a superb way to experience Joshua tree. Other notable glamping experiences in Joshua Tree include the Yurts at the Castle House Estate, and the Art of the Desert glamping experience that offers a cowboy pool, hot tub, fire pit, and outstanding views on 2.5 acres of private land.
Whether you’re venturing out to Joshua Tree because you dig rocks, humbling places, stargazing, or are setting out on a spiritual journey, we can guarantee that experiencing such a unique setting like Joshua Tree is only amplified by glamping. Being able to come back to the comfort of a warm, safe, and cozy air stream equipped with all the supplies and resources you need to have a jolly good time sounds spectacular, doesn’t it?
Tips for Booking a Glamping Trip to Joshua Tree
Before thinking about winging it on your trip to Joshua Tree, we suggest you conduct some research, book far ahead of time, and look up packing essentials for a glamping trip to ensure your vacation goes smoothly. If you plan to go on multiple adventures to National Parks this year, consider buying a National Park Pass, which pays off to save money and avoid having to carry cash or money on hand when entering the park. Always pack plenty of water and snacks, as well as batteries and a light source like a headlamp, regardless of where you plan to stay. Remember to also pack clothes for cold and warm weather, and a portable speaker if you’re looking to jam out under the stars. You can also never go wrong with packing a deck of cards, board games, and some snacks for your desert getaway. Better to be prepared than to be stuck up a creek without a paddle!
Making an adventure out to the desert can be the perfect way to step out of the chaotic city and into a space where things slow down. The silence, isolation, dismal nature of the land, iconic sunsets, and crystal clear views of the night are what make this place truly unparalleled. Next time you want to go on a hike, explore geological wonders, cook by the campfire and soak up the California sun–with little shade, may we add–consider ditching traditional camping for a more well-rounded and pleasant adventure. If you’re looking for an experience that offers maximized comfort, little maintenance, and minimal labor on your end, then a Joshua Tree glamping trip at Autocamp is in order.
We hope you have the best time venturing through Joshua Tree and relishing all that the mesmerizing park has to offer!
Oh, and if you’re not into glamor camping, why not try a luxurious hotel stay in San Diego? Check out great deals on SD glam-hotels here
About the author: Courtney Pester is a San Diego based San Francisco bred millennial with a passion for design and self-expression. She prides herself in her charcuterie board making skills and never passes up an opportunity to go on a camping adventure. When she’s not pumping out articles, you can catch her performing as a singer and DJ at one of San Diego’s venues and nightclubs, playing tennis, or brunching.
Media credits: Unless otherwise noted, the images of Joshua Tree-themed glamping are copyright of LaJolla.com