The beautiful Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, California, is a magical place, famous for attracting spirited travelers and creatives for decades. Spread across 800,000 acres, the park regularly attracts hikers looking to explore the park’s desert wilderness. From a motel celebrating the spirit of the Wild West, to a secluded oasis that lets you sleep under the stars, this is Culture Trip’s pick of the best motels near Joshua Tree National Park.
Celebrate the spirit of the American West at Pioneertown Motel, a characterful motel found in the Morongo Basin in the High Desert of California. The motel was originally built in 1946 as a waypost for the movie stars of old westerns, and today attracts visitors from around the world who want to immerse themselves in the wild wonder of the desert. The rooms are in keeping with this spirit, with giant cacti, handcrafted furniture and local art. Get to know the other guests over a game of cards and a Canyon Coffee in The Canteen.
This architectural gem is a desert oasis, just 1mi (1.6km) from the West Entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. The hotel’s boho chic rooms boast a record player, river rock shower floors, expansive views over the Mojave Desert landscape and a unique outdoor living space, with a bath and second bed. Catch the beauty of a desert sunset from the meditation deck on the private terrace. Then, when night falls, catch a glimpse of shooting stars from the soaking tub and drift off to views of the Milky Way in the luxurious outdoor bed.
Follow in the footsteps of U2 and book a room at the Harmony Hotel. The rock band stayed here while working on their Joshua Tree album, and the motel’s sign is even featured in one of the album photographs. The roadside motel in Twentynine Palms was founded in 1952 and features quaint rooms and cabins that evoke the romance of the road in bygone eras. If you’re traveling with family or looking for a more private getaway, book into the Jack Kerouac Cabin, which has a fully equipped kitchenette.
If you’re after homely comfort in the desert, book a room at the Fireside Inn. This historic inn has been around since the early 1950s and is nestled into the heart of Idyllwild. The central location means it’s easy to walk almost anywhere in town – but you won’t be lacking in peace and quiet. The inn is set on 1.5 acres (0.61ha), with a landscaped garden for relaxing under the stars or enjoying a barbecue. Appropriately, each wood-paneled room features a fireplace, and almost all rooms have a kitchen.
Built in the 1950s and inspired by Morrocan architecture, Mojave Sands Motel is a luxury boutique motel that channels the magic of the surrounding desert. The lush courtyard – which features a reflecting koi pond – is hidden away behind a 6ft (1.8m) privacy fence that allows you to completely disconnect from the outside world. There are just five rooms, each with their own private patio and an in-room record player with a curated assortment of vinyl to get you in the mood for desert downtime.
These recommendations were updated on February 10, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.