Camping in Joshua Tree National Park is an incredible experience! Scoring one of the best camping spots in Joshua Tree unlocks countless opportunities for adventure, including miles of desert hiking and world-class rock climbing routes. In this post, we share the best camping spots to get up close with these striking yucca plants and the stunning place they call home.Since camping means different things to different people, we’ll cover a range of options, including the best places to tent camp, top RV parks nearby , and a few elevated options for those who prefer more comfort.
Options for Staying Near Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree is a very popular park, hosting over 3 million visitors in 2021. With a robust lodging industry in and around the park, visitors can choose to stay in campsites, RV parks, desert yurts, and home rentals through sites like Airbnb.
Best Campsites in Joshua Tree
For those who like to be immersed in nature, camping in Joshua Tree is a perfect choice. Here are the essential details on the options available in and around the park.
Established Campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park
Some of the best places to camp in Joshua Tree are within the park boundaries. The National Park Service (NPS) operates five official campgrounds that can be reserved ahead of time. These include Black Rock, Cottonwood, Indian Cove, Jumbo Rocks, and Ryan Campgrounds. Only Black Rock and Ryan have water available, so plan to bring your own if you choose one of the other three sites. They’re also the only two that offer RV sites. All of these campgrounds are pretty basic, providing a place to pitch a tent or park an RV, a table, and a fire pit. Prices range from $20-25 per night. Campsite reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance or as close as the same day on recreation.gov.
The NPS also operates three first-come, first-served campgrounds within the park; White Tank, Belle, and Hidden Valley. Only Hidden Valley has a water source and RV spots. White Tank and Belle Campgrounds are dry camping-only sites. All three are $15 per night and can’t be reserved in advance.
Pro tip: If you’re packing in water to your site, don’t forget a hydration pack. Here are 5 Hydration Packs we love.
Backcountry Camping in Joshua Tree National Park
If established campsites aren’t your thing, you’re still in luck: camping in Joshua Tree’s where backcountry is permitted. Over 85% of the park is managed as wilderness, so you’ll have plenty of places to choose from. According to NPS wilderness backpacking regulations, you can camp outside of established campgrounds provided you’re not on one of the day-use areas, you’re camping at least one mile from roads, and you’re at least 500 feet away from any trail or water source. Backcountry camping is free, but you’re required to register at one of the park's thirteen backcountry boards before setting out.
Check out our top desert hiking tips if you’re planning on spending time backcountry, and here are 5 of the best backpacking tents for desert camping.
Campgrounds Close to Joshua Tree National Park
If all of Joshua Tree’s in-park camping or RV spots are booked, or if you prefer being a bit closer to civilization, there are quite a few private campgrounds and RV parks nearby. Here are three of our favorites:
Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground
Pink moon at Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground. Used with permission.
Located less than 15 minutes from the park’s north entrance, the Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground is an ideal location. It’s also one of the more affordable options for RVers looking to camp outside of Joshua Tree, so it’s great for families. Dry camping sites without hookups and with dump station access start at $30 per night, topping out at $55 per night for a full hookup. Tent campers can set up shop here for $15 per night. Joshua Tree group campers must inquire ahead for availability.
29 Palms RV Resort and Cottages
Image courtesy of 29 Palms RV Resort & Cottages. Used with permission.
Two miles from the park’s east entrance, 29 Palms RV Resort and Cottages is one of the best RV parks near Joshua Tree National Park. A clubhouse, fitness center, and a pool and spa area are all perks you won’t find in any of the NPS-operated campgrounds, making it perfect for a romantic couple’s getaway. Nightly rates for RVs start at $54 for a standard back-in site and go up to $66 for a premium site.
Palm Springs / Joshua Tree KOA
Image courtesy of Palm Springs / Joshua Tree KOA. Used with permission.
Just 10 miles from Palm Springs and 45 minutes from Joshua Tree, the Palm Springs / Joshua Tree KOA is a great home base for those who want to camp near the park but be within striking distance of other nearby points of interest like Palm Springs. A hot spring-fed swimming pool is the highlight of this top-notch Joshua Tree campground with tent sites, deluxe cabins, and full hookup RV sites. Rates vary based on season and availability, but plan to spend around $69 per night for an RV site and $49 per night for a tent site.
Joshua Tree National Park Camping Alternatives
If camping isn’t your thing, there are many other lodging choices, including glamping options like yurts, airstreams, or safari tents and traditional vacation home rentals.
AutoCamp Joshua Tree
Located just 9 minutes from the gates of Joshua Tree National Park, AutoCamp offers an unparalleled experience for guests with a pool on site and clubhouse with food and beverages on offer. Enjoy the serenity of the desert in a luxuriously updated 31-foot Airstream, or kick it up a notch with a modern villa with space for you and the family. Both the Airstreams and villas have beautiful private bathrooms with running water and fully functional kitchenettes. When you’re not out hiking the park or enjoying your accommodation, AutoCamp offers many experiences from extreme ATV trips to relaxing yoga. Our team recently got to experience this amazing camp — you won’t be disappointed.
Glamping Near Joshua Tree National Park
For many, glamping strikes the perfect balance between tent camping and renting a house. Renting a yurt, safari tent, or tipi is a great way to experience the unique desert ecosystem while still retaining some of the creature comforts unavailable with traditional camping. GlampingHub is the Airbnb of glamping options, allowing you to look at photos, read past reviews from fellow travelers, and book online.
Vacation Rentals Near Joshua Tree National Park
The towns around Joshua Tree National Park are chock-full of vacation rentals. Sites like Airbnb and Vrbo are great places to begin searching for a home, apartment, or less traditional lodging like an Airstream camper or off-the-grid cabin. These two sites also list quite a few yurts and other spots for camping near Joshua Tree National Park, making them an easy choice, especially if you’re already familiar with using one of these platforms.
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