Almost every year around late August, my family packs into the car and embarks on a road trip. We go camping or hang out at Bethany Beach, and we bond over crab cakes and boardwalk fries. This year though, my parents took a break and my brothers and I decided to do a trip on our own. Rick and I flew from Chicago to LA to meet Robert, and from there we hopped into a rental car and headed to Joshua Tree National Park for a couple of days of camping before a week in Mexico.
We knew it would be hot, but the park was on all of our lists, so we thought we’d brave it. Who knew when we’d all be together in California with time to spare again? Rick was about to start college in Minnesota, Robert will graduate from Santa Barbara next year, and I’m never in the same place for more than a few weeks. With timing on our side, we decided to embrace the heat. All 115 degrees of it.
I imagine the park is more pleasant at other times of the year, but it was still incredibly beautiful, and we were actually able to do quite a bit. If you visit in August:
- Drink lots and lots of water. We each drank about two gallons a day. Water is hard to come by at the park, so stock up before you get in if possible.
- Plan your hikes for the early morning or evening. We went on some wonderful sunrise hikes, and the colors are amazing at sunset.
- During the hottest point of the day, take a scenic drive through the park. From end to end, it takes about four hours and winds through some of the most picturesque areas of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. We stopped often to take photos, but were always excited to return to the air-conditioned car.
- Stop in the visitor center for a break from the heat and lots of information on the history, plants, and animals at Joshua Tree.
- Remember that it is a desert, so it does get chilly at night. Though it seems impossible during the day, you will be thankful for a warm sleeping bag come midnight.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. And maybe a hat.
Have you visited Joshua Tree in the heat of the summer? What did you think? Let me know in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org