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The Coachella Valley is on many Angelenos’ radars for its music--namely, the just-finished eponymous rock concert and this weekend’s forthcoming Stagecoach country music fest. But while we’re certainly fans of all this crowded musical revelry, we’ve recently been loving a quieter destination just an hour away: Joshua Tree, which is currently experiencing an unprecedented blossoming.

The main attraction is Joshua Tree National Park, an otherworldly landscape dotted with 100-million-year-old boulders and titular yucca trees, so named by settlers imagining the biblical Joshua reaching upward in prayer. The park is larger than Rhode Island, but fear not: Rangers can pare down your itinerary to a quick walk, a hike to a scenic overlook or a bouldering adventure. 

As for where to stay, just down the road there’s a new hostelry with a groovy-natural vibe: Mojave Sands. This 1950s-era motel (from $200 a night) has been renovated hipster-style to include Bose sound docks and typewriters--but no TVs, to encourage stargazing instead. Dinner is a grilled portobello sandwich at the nearby rustic Crossroads Cafe, then it’s early to bed for another day of hiking or a visit to High Desert Test Sites, half installation gallery, half commune of creative individuals. 

Nature, beauty, art--this getaway is music to our ears.

Mojave Sands, 62121 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree; 760-799-1603 or

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