Relax by a lagoon, or on the porch of your adobe cottage. Take a short walk to an art gallery, history museum, brand new casino or National Park Nature Center. Venture into scenic Joshua Tree to enjoy the Spring wildflowers. Dine poolside to live music. Now the shocker: all this only 1.5 hours away in Twentynine Palms!
Where to stay?
THE 29 PALMS INN
On 70 acres of lush land, this Inn is located at the Oasis of Mara, a life-giving source of water first settled by the Chemehuevis. It continues to sustain wildlife and migratory birds. Enjoying the Oasis we spotted an American Bittern, Kingfisher, several turtles, and a half dozen Western Tanagers. There is even a rentable houseboat on the pond.
The rooms feature adobe bungalows and wood framed cabins. Nothing here is cookie cutter. The restaurant is excellent and features inside or poolside dining, live music and from experience I can say a great ribeye.
When we arrived there was a two-man play in progress on the lawn – it was Lee Stetson as John Muir, in a conversation with Teddy Roosevelt re-creating what the conversation may have been when they camped together and discussed how to best preserve Yosemite.
Nearby is a bed and breakfast of equal but very different charm. Constructed of native stone and with Maplewood flooring throughout, this 1928 mansion is delightfully furnished and surrounded by grounds teeming with wildlife. Enjoy the pool or sit on the tree-shaded patios to take in the desert air. At night the sky is diamond studded. The owners are charming and serve a delightful breakfast that is as much art as nourishment. There are rooms, all with private baths, in the manor, and cottages on the grounds.
THE PLACES BELOW ARE WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF THE 29 PALMS INN:
Schoolhouse Museum: Twentynine Palms Historical Society owns and operates the Old Schoolhouse Museum. Housed in the oldest public building in the area, it provides visitors a chance to experience a 1920s-era schoolroom, view artifacts and exhibits pertaining to the history of Twentynine Palms and surrounding desert.
29 Palms Creative Center and Art Gallery: Here is a wonderful nest egg of local talents all in one happy place for you to feast your eyes on & take away to your journeys end. Also a nice gift shop with creative jewelery and other handicrafts.
Tortoise Rock Casino: This new casino and entertainment center is affiliated with the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella. Make your donation to the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians.
Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center: Enjoy a nature hike around the grounds. You are sure to see a phainopepla! A ranger is on hand to answer questions. Peruse the museum. The gift shop features guides to trails, animals and flowers within the park.
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK
The park entrance is only a few miles from the Inn and the Manor. Within this spectacular park there are myriad choices: Whether you visit for a day, a few hours or a week, you will not see all of the wonders of this park. You can drive through the park and head home, or spend the day and return to 29 Palms for the night.
HEADING HOME ON HWY 62
If you opt to drive home on Highway 62, be sure to drive through 29 Palms to see all the beautiful historic murals which grace many of the buildings. They are like a picture book of local history. 29 Palms is now known as the mural capital of California!
On Highway 62 you will travel through Yucca Valley where antique stores are the best! (If you dare hop off the main road for 4 miles you can visit Pioneer Town!).
After Yucca Valley you will come to Morongo Valley. Here is Willie Boys Saloon & Dance Hall which offers genuine smoked barbeque in a beautiful authentic wild west saloon atmosphere. Stop there at night for a wild time, or for lunch where you can enjoy great barbeque.
Hanging out at Willie Boys
Soon after Willie Boys you will see Covington Park and Nature Center. Here there is a nice boardwalk through the Oasis. Be on the lookout for you may see a most beautiful bird called the Vermillion Flycatcher: