One of my favorite quick getaway destinations is Joshua Tree, only a 2—3 hour drive from Los Angeles. It's a sweet combination of the great outdoors + new agey artists. Here are some highlights of my trips!
I came here for a girl's weekend. We wanted to get away and make some art, and this was the perfect venue! The ground is fully concrete so we had room to spread out, AC kept us relatively cool. We kept the record player spinning Fleetwood Mac and had a dance party at night.
In the backyard, there's a fully functional bathtub. I brought a beer out there one morning (before anyone else was awake) and had a pretty relaxing time :)
Outpost Projects Art Gallery House
In 2017, we had a slightly bigger group, and stayed at the Outpost Projects house. It was huge, with 3 bedrooms, a large, functional kitchen, and a spacious backyard with a fire pit. There's also a small tin pool they open up during the hotter months.
Integratron Sound Bath
The last trip I took revolved around visiting the Integratron. It's a circular building made entirely of wood that the owner created for an upcoming alien invasion he anticipated. The aliens never came, but plenty of new-age hipsters have!
We booked our sound bath through their site about 3 months in advance. It was $35 for a spot at the public option, and we arrived about 45 minutes early. I'd highly recommend this, as the grounds have several hammocks, a gift shop (with the nicest, most relaxed cashier I've met), and some sculptures. It's a peaceful place to hang out for a bit.
Once your group is ushered inside the Integratron, you hear a brief history from a guide, leave your shoes on the first floor, and walk up a wooden ladder. The second floor is spacious, open, all wood and is acoustically engineered in really interesting ways. You take turns standing in the very middle, where there's a hole in the ground. When you speak at a normal volume, your voice sounds really loud to you but no one else in the room. If you stand at opposite sides of the room from a friend and they start whispering, it'll sound like they're talking in your ear.
Then the sound bath started. We all chose a blanket and laid down on a cushion. If you've never had a sound bath, someone is playing crystal bowls that make a droning tone—it's pretty loud. It's a relaxing experience, and several people fell asleep and snored a little. Because of the acoustics of the room we were in, the sounds traveled all around and sounded pretty cool.
I loved this experience and think it's a great thing to try at least once.
Pappy & Harriet's and Pioneertown
We headed to Pappy & Harriet's for dinner, a very cool saloon-type restaurant that doubles as a venue. The wait there on the weekends is really long, so we wandered over to Pioneertown, a fake town that was founded by Hollywood investors in 1946. More than 50 westerns were filmed here in the 40s and 50s.
On our last day, we took a quick hike at the Barker Dam Trail. It's a super easy, mostly flat hike, but has plenty to see and rocks to climb! It's only 1.2 miles in a loop.
There was plenty of water along the trail, including this red pool at the top of a mountain of rocks. It was windy and cold the month that we went (March) but it does get really hot during most of the other months—bring water and hike early in the morning!
Joshua Tree is beautiful, weird, and close to LA. Go!