Journey by Design: Joshua Tree, California
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Journey by Design: Joshua Tree, California

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By Sara Combs
Sara and Rich Combs, the pair behind the chic getaway known as the Joshua Tree House, share their favorite haunts and hideouts in this offbeat desert destination.

We’re Sara and Rich Combs—interior designers, authors, and hosts sharing our lives in the desert through our brand the Joshua Tree House. It was on a road trip that we first discovered Joshua Tree National Park, and completely fell in love. As we continued to travel, we couldn’t stop thinking about how magnetizing Joshua Tree was to us: the open landscape, the connection to nature, and the creative community all drew us in quickly. We’ve never felt more at home than we do living in Joshua Tree.

While Joshua Tree is a small town, there’s always something going on. We’re often joking that we’re more social living in the middle of the desert than we were living in the city, but it’s because there are so many cool people bringing their dreams to life out here. Joshua Tree is full of independent shops, restaurants, strange art installations, and calming experiences. Below are some of our favorites!

What to See & Do

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum

Beginning in the 1980s, artist Noah Purifoy began creating assemblage sculpture on 10 acres of land. We always feel transported into Noah’s memories when we visit this place.

Beginning in the 1980s, artist Noah Purifoy began creating assemblage sculpture on 10 acres of land. We always feel transported into Noah’s memories when we visit this place.

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One of the very first things we did once we moved to Joshua Tree was take a tour of AZ West (Andrea Zittel’s home, studio, and artwork exploring ways to live). We left the tour completely inspired and thinking in new ways.  

One of the very first things we did once we moved to Joshua Tree was take a tour of AZ West (Andrea Zittel’s home, studio, and artwork exploring ways to live). We left the tour completely inspired and thinking in new ways.  

We always try to get out to the Integraton a couple times a year. It’s the perfect place to reset, and experience sound in a way you likely have never felt before with a sound bath. It also has such a rich history that’s too long for this guide—look up George Van Tassel!

We always try to get out to the Integraton a couple times a year. It’s the perfect place to reset, and experience sound in a way you likely have never felt before with a sound bath. It also has such a rich history that’s too long for this guide—look up George Van Tassel!

We are pretty major cactus lovers, and if you feel the same we’d highly suggest a visit to Moorten Botanical Garden. It’s "down the hill" from Joshua Tree in Palm Springs, but it’s worth the trip. 

We are pretty major cactus lovers, and if you feel the same we’d highly suggest a visit to Moorten Botanical Garden. It’s "down the hill" from Joshua Tree in Palm Springs, but it’s worth the trip. 

Where to Shop

Bkb Ceramics

Bkb Ceramics is one of our favorite small shops in downtown Joshua Tree. You’ll find ceramics, books, jewelry, and other artwork made by locals to JT.

Bkb Ceramics is one of our favorite small shops in downtown Joshua Tree. You’ll find ceramics, books, jewelry, and other artwork made by locals to JT.

If you do decide to make the trip down the hill, our friend’s shop Soukie Modern is one of our favorite spots to spend an afternoon. The owners Kenya and Taib will likely welcome you with a glass of rosé, and an authentic moroccan rug shopping experience.

If you do decide to make the trip down the hill, our friend’s shop Soukie Modern is one of our favorite spots to spend an afternoon. The owners Kenya and Taib will likely welcome you with a glass of rosé, and an authentic moroccan rug shopping experience.

Sky Village Swap Meet

We love nothing more than a flea market, and the Sky Village Swap Meet is our local desert version. It happens every Saturday and Sunday, and there’s always so many treasures to find: vintage books, records, crystals, cacti, furniture etc. While you’re there, make sure to find the crystal cave at the center of the swap meet!

We love nothing more than a flea market, and the Sky Village Swap Meet is our local desert version. It happens every Saturday and Sunday, and there’s always so many treasures to find: vintage books, records, crystals, cacti, furniture etc. While you’re there, make sure to find the crystal cave at the center of the swap meet!

This charming shop has everything you could need in the desert—everything from Western boots and jackets to skincare to take care of yourself in our dry climate. 

This charming shop has everything you could need in the desert—everything from Western boots and jackets to skincare to take care of yourself in our dry climate. 

Shop on the Mesa is run by our friend Thao who is so gifted at curating beautiful home goods and cultivating community in her shop. She’s always hosting workshops and events here as well.

Shop on the Mesa is run by our friend Thao who is so gifted at curating beautiful home goods and cultivating community in her shop. She’s always hosting workshops and events here as well.

Wine & Rock shop is full of our favorite things: wine and crystals. They also have a great selection of beer and small gift items. 

Wine & Rock shop is full of our favorite things: wine and crystals. They also have a great selection of beer and small gift items. 

This is a traveling flea market with events scheduled throughout the year, which are often in the Joshua Tree area. It’s a great place to be able to support small brands and artisans.

This is a traveling flea market with events scheduled throughout the year, which are often in the Joshua Tree area. It’s a great place to be able to support small brands and artisans.

We love this shop in old town Yucca. Many different vendors sell vintage and antique home goods here, and it’s always fun to pop in and see what’s new.  

We love this shop in old town Yucca. Many different vendors sell vintage and antique home goods here, and it’s always fun to pop in and see what’s new.  

You can’t miss this shop as you’re headed into Joshua Tree on Route 62. Once you head inside, you’ll find the best curation of vintage clothes and accessories. 

You can’t miss this shop as you’re headed into Joshua Tree on Route 62. Once you head inside, you’ll find the best curation of vintage clothes and accessories. 

Where to Eat & Drink

Country Kitchen

This charming restaurant in downtown Joshua Tree serves classic American breakfast, and Cambodian lunch. Make sure to get the peanut salad! 

This charming restaurant in downtown Joshua Tree serves classic American breakfast, and Cambodian lunch. Make sure to get the peanut salad! 

We highly recommend getting the nitro at our charming local coffee shop! 

We highly recommend getting the nitro at our charming local coffee shop! 

La Copine is run by Claire and Nikki, the sweetest couple. We’re constantly inspired by what they’ve created together—a beautiful community who can come together over a French- and Californian-inspired meal. 

La Copine is run by Claire and Nikki, the sweetest couple. We’re constantly inspired by what they’ve created together—a beautiful community who can come together over a French- and Californian-inspired meal. 

Pappy’s is the place to go when it comes to good food and live music. It’s like a magical little world in the middle of the desert, always packed and energized. 

Pappy’s is the place to go when it comes to good food and live music. It’s like a magical little world in the middle of the desert, always packed and energized. 

Best place in town to grab a drink, play some pool, and get a veggie burger! 

Best place in town to grab a drink, play some pool, and get a veggie burger! 

We’re so grateful to have an awesome little farmer’s market in downtown Joshua Tree every Saturday morning from 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. We typically pick up a fresh loaf of local bread, a bouquet of flowers, and whatever fruit and veggies are in season (we get especially excited when it’s date season!) 

We’re so grateful to have an awesome little farmer’s market in downtown Joshua Tree every Saturday morning from 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. We typically pick up a fresh loaf of local bread, a bouquet of flowers, and whatever fruit and veggies are in season (we get especially excited when it’s date season!) 

Kasa is a small Mexican market with a hidden taco shop in the back. It’s one of our favorite stops for lunch, or picking up ingredients to make our own homemade salsa.

Kasa is a small Mexican market with a hidden taco shop in the back. It’s one of our favorite stops for lunch, or picking up ingredients to make our own homemade salsa.

Where to Stay

The Joshua Tree House

This is the house that reignited our love of design and creating experiences. If you’re craving being close to town (walking distance from the weekend farmer’s market and brunch), yet surrounded by over 100 Joshua trees, this is the place. 

This is the house that reignited our love of design and creating experiences. If you’re craving being close to town (walking distance from the weekend farmer’s market and brunch), yet surrounded by over 100 Joshua trees, this is the place. 

The Casita is completely immersed in nature, surrounded by hundreds of acres of protected land. Nestled up to the boulders, this is the perfect spot for starry skies and wildlife sightings. 

The Casita is completely immersed in nature, surrounded by hundreds of acres of protected land. Nestled up to the boulders, this is the perfect spot for starry skies and wildlife sightings. 

This is our personal home, which we rent when we go on long trips. It’s our sanctuary, and a place we’ve loved sharing with our guests. 

This is our personal home, which we rent when we go on long trips. It’s our sanctuary, and a place we’ve loved sharing with our guests. 

Visiting Pioneertown Motel is like stepping back in time (and onto a movie set). It’s right next to Pappy & Harriet’s, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re craving that Western vibe. 

Visiting Pioneertown Motel is like stepping back in time (and onto a movie set). It’s right next to Pappy & Harriet’s, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re craving that Western vibe. 

Situated in a natural oasis, 29 Palms Inn is such a special place to visit. They have their own garden on site, which they use often for ingredients at their restaurant. 

Situated in a natural oasis, 29 Palms Inn is such a special place to visit. They have their own garden on site, which they use often for ingredients at their restaurant.