Glamping is made more inclusive and effortless than ever at AutoCamp Joshua Tree, 38 miles outside of Palm Springs and a three-hour drive from Los Angeles. The design and layout of this multitasking camp — which can accommodate family groups and corporate retreats as readily as couples — puts guests front and center amidst the natural wonders and phenomena of the Coachella desert, even while providing creature comforts found at better hotels and practical features like well-appointed kitchenettes with basic cookware, towels and linens, and a fire pit with a grill.
Most of the lodgings at AutoCamp Joshua Tree for two ($229/night) are in neatly arranged, gleaming Airstream trailers. The same holds true for a handful of Vista X Suites ($379/night), slightly scaled up to accommodate three adults or a family of four. Different phases of 20th– and 21st-century style are represented, from the early mid-century exteriors of the trailers to 1970s-inspired decorative accents, to contemporary dark hardwood planks in the living areas and hexagonal tiles in the bathroom. The shower in each unit is surprisingly roomy, outfitted with unisex Ursa Major skincare amenities and brushed black metal hardware. The bedroom is small but cozy, with earthy and soft bed linens. Streamlined storage areas, featuring a 1960s Scandinavian vibe (with towels and two plush bathrobes stashed inside), can hold clothing and small sports gear.
The kitchenette adjoining the living area includes a fully appointed sink, a small refrigerator, microwave oven and cabinets with plates, glasses, cookware and barbecue. All of these items cue guests to take full advantage of the barbecue grill and mini-patio immediately outside the door. French-press coffee and artisanal teas from local producers are available for an additional fee. There’s also complimentary WiFi available, though the vibe of the camp and the friendly staff will remind visitors it’s probably best to unplug to take full advantage of Joshua Tree’s magnificent surroundings.
On-property activities include a fire-pit sitting area (tailor-made for s’mores, with kits available for sale), pool, complimentary bikes and a cornhole court. There are also free yoga classes staged on some mornings, as well as live music nights from time to time. The concierge service offers special activities and custom tours for guests to discover the larger area protected by The Mojave Desert Land Trust, an accredited non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of 100,000 acres of prime desert habitat weaving through national parks, national monuments, wilderness areas and wildlife linkage corridors. Specialty activities include a Sunset Wine Tasting with the Joshua Tree Bottle Shop, as well as Herbal Medicine Making & Desert Ecology Hike, half-day adventure hikes and rock-climbing excursions coordinated by AutoCamp and Mojave Guides at Joshua Tree National Park.
The main building pulls together a check-in area, concierge desk, lounge seating and a large retail space. Covered picnic and patio tables, a larger customizable dining area (for groups and special events), a bar and the pool lie right outside the back door. In addition to camping and outdoor necessities, the shop carries an imaginatively curated collection of goods running the gamut, from AutoCamp Joshua Tree souvenir tees and hoodies for the whole family to educational toys, books, sunglasses and a bottle shop section stocked with regional wineries, breweries and soft-drink makers. Fresh coffee, tea and granola are set out every morning free of charge to all guests, though there’s a hearty menu of baked goods and full-sized meals, as well as lunch and dinner fare offered later in the day from a local caterer.
If you’re planning a more ambitious road trip to California, the extended AutoCamp family includes similarly equipped outposts in Sequoia, Yosemite and the Russian River Valley. There are also two East Coast locales in the Catskills (New York) and Cape Cod, with others soon to open in Texas Hill Country, Utah’s Zion area, and Asheville, North Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, set to open in 2023. Each AutoCamp is designed to reflect the natural geology and geography of each location.
62209 Verbena Road
Joshua Tree, CA
tel 844 366 9715
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Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.
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