Joshua Tree to Santa Clarita Road Trip Guide


Joshua Tree is a small town in San Bernardino County in the middle of the desert. Bordered by the Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, and Coachella Valley, it is a popular place with travelers looking for a lot of open space and nature. The weather in Joshua Tree is great for year-round outdoor fun with an average of 80 degrees for the high, 52 degrees for the low, and a rare chance of rain in any month.

The Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum is a special place to see if you enjoy metal art. And the World Famous Crochet Museum is a very unique place to see while you are in Joshua Tree. The tiny but adorable museum is making a name for itself all over the country. Another unique and interesting museum is the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. They have been there since 1964 helping visitors, as well as the locals, learn more about the flora and fauna of the area.

One of the main attractions with RVers in Joshua Tree is the Joshua Tree National Park. The park has over 790,000 acres of wilderness including the Mojave and Colorado Desert, Cholla Cactus Garden, and tons of Joshua trees. Visitors from all over the country come to Joshua Tree National Park to see the unusual-looking trees, which cannot be found anywhere else. They are not exactly trees, though. They are monocots, which are a type of plant that has flowers in multiples of three like tulips and lilies. It is also a type of yucca from the Agave family. But one thing is for sure; you won’t see anything like them anywhere else, so make sure you get a selfie with one.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 1 days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: family

Point of Interest

Palm Springs

Just under an hour southwest on CA-62, Palm Springs is well-known for its spas, hot springs, and beautiful architecture. However, what many people head to this city for are the outdoor attractions. Located in the Sonoran Desert but surrounded by the Santa Rosa and San Bernardino Mountains, it is hard to stay indoors. And with an average year-round temperature of 75 degrees, you won’t want to be cooped up inside at all.

Take a trail ride in the Morongo Valley by way of the Big Horse Carriage Company or ride a bike along the Palm Springs Bike Trails. If you like animals (and who doesn’t?), go to the Living Desert and see some. You can get up close to most of them and even pet and feed certain ones like the kraal, giraffes, and camels. The kids will love the Discovery Center where you can all learn about how the sand, wind, sun, and water work together to create the desert.

You can also head over to Indian Canyon where you can see rock art, a 60-foot waterfall, and a visitor center full of artifacts from Tahquitz Canyon. The Cahuilla people lived here for thousands of years and the park displays house pits and foundations, dams, and trails made by those who lived here long ago. Of course, there are many more parks, museums, and other attractions to see, but you have to head on to your next destination.

San Bernardino

Less than an hour up I-10, San Bernardino is located in the southern part of California where it is tucked in the lush green foliage of the San Bernardino National Forest. You can enjoy the 679,380-acre wilderness space playing in the water, hiking or biking in the woods, or climbing the mountains to get to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. If you don’t feel like hiking that far, the mountains also make for a great background in your family photos and selfies.

Take a ride on the Lake Arrowhead Queen while you are in San Bernardino. This 50-minute riverboat ride takes off from the banks of Lake Arrowhead Village and takes you on a tour of the lake where you will learn a plethora of interesting facts about the history of the area. The captain, who is also your guide, will tell you all about the famous people who have lived in the village and along the lake.

Take the kids to Castle Park for a couple of hours of carnival rides and games. With over 25 rides and a water park as well as 200 video games and several live shows, you may have to stay for three hours. Oh, and make sure you drive by the World’s Largest Paper Cup in Riverside for a few selfies with the giant cup. But don’t forget, you have to get to Santa Clarita.


The gang is probably itching to get to your final stop, right? Luckily, it is just a little over an hour to Santa Clarita. Named after the Santa Clarita River, which was named for Spanish explorers from Saint Clare of Assisi, the town may be newer than many, but it has a lot of history behind it. In fact, according to the experts, artifacts found on-site date back to 450 AD, which means it may actually be one of the oldest cities.

If you want to learn more about Santa Clarita history, the Hart Museum gives excellent guided tours by experts on the subject at the Hart Mansion. If you would rather explore on your own, you can visit the Hart Ranch House by the picnic area. Afterward, you can enjoy the Hart Park right next door. About a block away, the Pioneer Oil Refinery Museum is another place you may enjoy seeing, but you won’t be able to get too close since they have it fenced off. A bit further down I-5 about 10 miles, you can find the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, which has an amazing collection of Armenian artifacts dating back hundreds of years.

For some outdoor fun, head over to Placerita Canyon State Park just off of I-5 and CA-14. The first discovery of gold in California was found in this park way back in 1842. You can take a guided tour or just enjoy some hiking or picnicking here. There is even a small museum in the park. If you need a place to camp, check out the Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, which is less than 30 miles up I-5. They have over 100 campsites with restrooms, showers, and a dump station. If you’d rather have a site with utilities, the Acton / Los Angeles North KOA is less than 20 miles to the east. They have about 80 sites with full hookups, a pool, a dog park, and more.

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