Twentynine Palms is the oasis that draws you out of the city and into the Mojave Desert, but swimming in the dark nights of stars is what will keep you there. Living in the city, it's easy to forget the night sky dances, full of lights and wonder. At Twentynine Palms, you'll breathe easy and remember.
When the sun rises again, Joshua Tree National Park calls, with its phenomenal rock formations, endless desert views and iconic Joshua Trees. The Oasis of Mara, founded by the Serrano people in what is now Twentynine Palms, is at the heart of the Joshua Tree National Park history. Start there to catch the rhythm of a getaway to the Palms.
Load up the playlist, get to I-5 and point south from San Francisco. The run to the Mojave is a full-on roadtrip, but one you'll knock out in a day and have plenty of time for play along the way. Eight hours from the Bay to the Palms.
Take I-5 south until the signs call out Bakersfield. Turn east on 7th Standard Road. From Bakersfield, turn south on Highway 99, but before you get through town you'll make a left turn (that's east) on Highway 58. That's your ticket until Barstow. South on Highway 247 will carry you through ranch land and, if you're ready for a break, to the Slash X Cafe, a place where off-roaders love to pitstop for an Old West vibe with their burgers and brews.
Highway 247 runs almost all the way to Twentynine Palms. Make a turn east on Highway 62 (a.k.a. Twentynine Palms Highway) in Yucca Valley and you're in the home stretch.
Want to skip all that stereo-blaring, cafe burger-munching fun? Flights zip direct from SFO to PSP (Palm Springs). You'll have an hour drive north and east from the airport in the Springs, bending around Joshua Tree National Park.
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Twentynine Palms is less than 10 minutes' drive from Joshua Tree National Park, and it offers a full slate of amenities. Relax in the spa, enjoy the heated pool, or fire up the on-site grill for your own recipes. Each room has a refrigerators and microwave, in case you get carried away. Breakfast is included.
If you're flying into Palm Springs and want to stay in a central location to Twentynine Palms, the Springs and the surrounding opportunities, or if you just want a more inclusive resort package for your getaway, the Miracle Springs Resort & Spa is the spot.
Located in nearby Desert Hot Springs, Miracle Springs offers a spa and wellness center, a 24-hour year-round outdoor pool and hot tub, and an on-site restaurant.
The Fairfield Inn & Suites Twentynine Palms is rated among the best in the area for its friendly staff, comfortable spaces and list of conveniences: 24-hour market, laundry and dry cleaning facilities, gym, whirlpool, and spacious suites with seating areas and desks (not that you want to spend your time working). It also is only five minutes' drive from Roadrunner Dunes Golf Course.
The Crossroads Cafe gets high marks and has been called "Eclectic, kinda like hippie meets cowboy." The menu highlights creative classics and a variety of vegan options. Plates are loaded and the service is friendly. Fill up with breakfast before tackling the wild of Joshua Tree or settle down for dinner (every day but Sunday) after a day of fun.
The restaurant at the 29 Palms Inn is a favorite. Steak, cake, cocktails and smiles. It's all there. The service is friendly and the Inn is considered by many to be the best in town. Live music welcomes you inside, or enjoy dinner under the stars. Call ahead for a reservation.
Classic donuts favored by locals and visitors alike, the Jelly Donut us a must stop if you like "damn fine fat pills," as one reviewer put it. The Jelly Donut is open 5:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. daily. But if you want to grab some early and hold them for dinner, who are we to judge? Get them near the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.
It's probably obvious by now that Joshua Tree National Park is the #1 attraction is in the area. Rightly so. Its rock formations are outstanding, and the Joshua Trees are iconic for more reasons than gracing the famed album of even more famed rock band U2. Take a driving tour through the park or hike it on your own two feet. Rock climbing, slacklining, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping ... the list of awesome goes on. It's an outdoor paradise.
The Sky's the Limit Observatory is the best place to dip into the night sky, with the expert knowledge of the staff on hand. Enjoy one of the observatory's night time stargazing opportunities. It will give you a new perspective of the night, and of your oasis getaway.
The Oasis Visitor Center is in the Oasis of Mara, where the heartbeat of history drums. It's central to the existence of Joshua Tree National Park. It ties the Serrano people who founded it to cowboys, miners, World War I veterans, and much more. Get some knowledge and directions, fill your water bottles and enter Joshua Tree with some trivia answers in your pocket.
The old days aren't gone yet. If you knew drive-in movie screens when you were a kid, this is a blast from the past. If you have only known them from watching movies set in days gone by, this is your chance. Smith's Ranch Drive-In is a legit outdoor movie experience you will not soon forget. Tickets are $5 (cash only). It's must-see.
Here is where you go for the ringing of games and luck of change. Drop some coins in the slots or toss chips on the table. The Tortoise Rock Casino is quaint and everything you expect: food, drinks and chances to hit it big (or just try a buck in the slot machine while you take in the environment).