Thursday, October 6, 2011

Los Angeles - Joshua Tree Roadtrip

If you live in, or are visiting, Los Angeles and have had your fill of “the entertainment capital of the world”, you might like to hit the road and head for somewhere completely different.

Just three hours away (in a straight line) is Joshua Tree National Park, a desert paradise, alive with unique flora and fauna, brimming with surreal landscapes and perfect for outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, rock climbing and four-wheel driving.

Not so fast, though. There are many interesting places to visit along the way, so why not slow down and spend a few days getting there.

Day 1

Before you completely detox from the city, head southeast, on Santa Ana Freeway, to Anaheim and spend the day at Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm. Stay the night at one of the many on-site hotels, or the nearby Anaheim Resort RV Park.

Photo by jrayfarm1980, Flickr

Day 2

Head north on Orange Freeway to Diamond Bar. Depending on the time of year, enjoy the Winter Snow Fest, Candy Cane Craft Fair, Concerts in the Park, Movies Under the Stars or one of their other special events.

Get back on Pomona Freeway and head east.
For aviation buffs, stop at Chino and check out Planes of Fame and Yanks Air Museum.

Planes of Fame
Photo by sandy.redding, Flickr

Next, travel on to Fairmount Park in Riverside, where you can have a picnic, play a game of tennis, rent a pedal boat or do some fishing.
Then, head back west along Mission Boulevard, and catch a movie at Rubidoux Drive-In Theatre!

Riverside has plenty of accommodation options, so you can stay the night there.

Day 3

Get back on the Pomona Freeway, which becomes Moreno Valley Freeway, and head southeast.

Stop at Moreno Valley for a game of golf (there are three courses to choose from), a horse ride or to let the kids spend some energy at one of the many playgrounds. And if you’ve brought your dog along for the trip, make sure you visit Hound Town!

Keep driving along Moreno Valley Freeway until you reach the interchange at Beaumont. Take the exit that leads onto Interstate 10. Keep going till you reach Cabazon, where you’ll find Cabazon Dinosaurs. Be prepared to be overshadowed!

Cabazon Dinosaurs
Photo by amanderbear, Flickr

Get back on the Interstate and, just past White Water, take exit 117 to merge round onto Twentynine Palms Highway (remember the Robert Plant song?).

Drive up a way, turn right into Pierson Boulevard and stop at Desert Hot Springs. Relax and enjoy a hot mineral-water spa at one of the many resorts. Stay for the night.

Day 4

We’ve left the best till last.

Head down Palm Drive and get back onto Interstate 10 (heading southeast). Take exit 168, and turn left onto Cottonwood Spring Road, which becomes El Dorado Mine Road/Pinto Basin Road. (It will take about an hour-and-a-half to get from Desert Hot Springs to here.)

Head on up into Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree
Photo by henrikj, Flickr

(Look anything like the cover of a certain U2 album?)

Spend the day being blown away by the landscape, the wildlife and the many outdoor activities available.

Make sure you zip round to the city — don’t worry; this is not LA—at some stage, too. There you’ll find great food, beautiful gift shops, art galleries and a National Park Visitors Centre.

Then drive back up to the park to do some stargazing at night. Stay in the camping ground, while you’re at it.

And when you’ve had your fill of desert life, head on back to LA to discover some new things there!

Los Angeles Theatre
Photo by darylfurr, Flickr

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