California – Palm Springs and Joshua Tree

Palm Springs Wind Turbines

Palm Springs and Joshua Tree are only about two and a half hours away from Los Angeles. It’s no wonder that Hollywood stars have been escaping to the desert oasis for decades. It is so nice to escape the chaos and madness of metro Los Angeles to the quiet desert for a quick trip. Driving along the highway, you pass so many wind turbines; it is really a crazy sight. It is also crazy to be in the desert but to see snow high up in the mountains.

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Joshua Tree National Park

My first trip to Joshua Tree was in 2017, which was the first time it rained in 6 years. Mike had been multiple times before, and he said this time looked way more green than any of his prior visits. I am happy that I got to experience this magical place when the Joshua Trees were happy and green.

Joshua Tree National Park is known for its thousands of Joshua Trees that cover over 1,000 square miles of the park, and includes two deserts: Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert. The entrance fee for Joshua Tree National Park is $25, which I was slightly surprised about, but it was worth paying. With all the rain we have received this year, the park was so beautiful and green. This was my first time visiting, but my fiance has been many times during the drought, and he said it looked extremely different; it was a whole new experience for him. We hiked the Hidden Valley Nature Trail, which is a quick one mile loop with beautiful rock formations and plant life throughout. We saw many people rock climbing and bouldering. Many people camp in the park, and the park is known for its stargazing. I would like to definitely come back sometime.

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Palm Springs

Parker Palm Springs 

Walking into the Parker Palm Springs, you feel like you just stepped into the 1970’s; the decor is very art deco. The grounds of the hotel are absolutely beautiful to walk through. The hotel sits on 13 acres, with two pools, a spa, multiple restaurants, a fire pit, a croquet course, and many other amenities. The pools were beautiful, and there was a restaurant called Lemonade Stand, where you could order food and drinks by the pool.

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Norma’s – We ate breakfast at Norma’s every morning, and the food was SO delicious! My favorite thing we ordered was the Norma‘s Doughnuts with Lemon Custard and Blueberry Jam. You could dip the sugary doughnuts in the custard and jam, and it was amazing. We also ordered an amazing ham and cheese omelette, as well as Irresistible Banana-Macadamia Nut Flap Jacks With Whipped Banana Brown Sugar Butter.

Downtown Palm Springs

Shops and Art Galleries

Downtown Palm Springs is full of places to shop and art galleries. It seems to always be poppin’ off with people walking around, even in the desert heat. If you like art or shopping, you have to stop by downtown and walk around.

Birba

Birba is an all outdoor restaurant downtown Palm Springs, and I am so happy we decided to eat there. We got there while the sun was going behind the mountains, and they have misters throughout the restaurant so that you do not get too hot. The atmosphere was very chill. We ordered a delicious pizza with butternut squash, asparagus, and prosciutto. It was delicious! We also ordered a side of Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes; it was the perfect little meal.

Starbucks

I only am adding this because there is a beautiful Starbucks right downtown, and it was packed during the day and the night. It was very modern, and they definitely made it a “chill” place to hang out.

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Desert X

Desert X is an art project that was in place during Coachella for two weekends, and then for Stage Coach. Luckily, we visited the weekend of Stage Coach, so we were able to experience the project. I wish that they would leave the project up at all times for people to visit; it was very fun and unique to see.

  • Doug Aitken is an artist with that created a mirage house in the middle of the desert located at 33°50’59.6″N 116°33’57.5″W. It was so beautiful how you could see the mountains in the distance up close and far away. Unfortunately, we did not get to go inside because the line was so long and we had a dinner reservation, but I am happy that we got to see the house.

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  • Phillip K Smith‘s display was located at 33°46’33.3″N 116°22’07.3″W and was called The Circle of Land and Sky. The display consisted of a mirrored mirage in a large circle where depending on the angle that you look at the mirrors, you could see the land or the sky. We visited just before sunset, and it was really a beautiful experience.

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Coachella

Coachella Music and Arts festival has been bringing music lovers to Indio, CA since 1999, including many celebrity sightings since it is located so close to Los Angeles. Mike and I visited on the 20th anniversary in April 2019. The festival has so many different types of music, which all have sets for about an hour, and many art installations throughout the venue. Mike and I decided to car camp and sleep inside our car since that was by far the cheapest option at $120 total for the weekend for the parking pass when a hotel would be at least $600 per night. We had a good time, but overall, it was SO hot and dusty since it is in the middle of the desert. I think we are slightly too old to do it, or if we were to ever do it again, I think we would splurge and get a hotel so we could have AC and a clean bed/shower.

Mike’s 30th Birthday

We also visited Palm Springs for my husband’s 30th birthday with our best friends from Los Angeles in September 2019. We moved up to Silicon Valley, but our friends from Los Angles all drove over to celebrate his birthday with us. We rented an Airbnb with 5 beds and a pool, and we hung out at the house and played games all day and night. It was so much fun. Palm Springs is the perfect place for a birthday or bachelor/bachelorette party.

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