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A Front Row Seat to the Milky Way

Posted by by Maria Aoki on August 15, 2022 in Adventure, California, Desert, Milky Way, Stars, Travel, Travel Guide
A Front Row Seat to the Milky Way

Photo by Alan Carrillo on Unsplash

 

When was the last time you looked up at the stars? Or, if you live in a big city, when was the last time you could see them?

A mere 2-3 hours outside of Los Angeles you'll find Joshua Tree National Park. Far enough away from the harsh lights of the city, and roughly 5,000 ft above sea level, Joshua Tree has all the elements necessary for proper stargazing. Here you'll truly get a front row seat to the Milky Way. 

A quick search online will provide a number of tips to consider when planning a stargazing trip. You'll want to go on or as close to a new moon as possible, because it will ensure as dark a night sky as you can get (which will allow for the stars to take center stage). Chairs are optional but recommended, and you may want to layer up in case the temperature drops. With proper preparation the only real question becomes, "where will you stay?" 

Ready to go? Here are some of our favorite ways to take in the stars. 

Camp It Out

There are nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree to choose from, and the site with the darkest night sky is Cottonwood Campground. Cottonwood has 62 available sites and is reservation only during its busy season (September - May). This is a true unplugged experience, with no cell service or electric hookups. 

joshua tree cottonwood campground at night

Drive-In Style

If you're not quite ready to experience the great outdoors, you can always opt to drive into the park at night. The long windy desert roads at night are truly an experience; throw on your favorite moody playlist and let the twists and turns provide the perfect backdrop.

Photo by Brent Cox on Unsplash

Staying In

There are plenty of spots dotted around the park where you can still experience much of the stars without leaving the comforts of home. The stars may not be as visible as in the middle of the desert, but can you beat the experience of stargazing from a hot tub?! 

Check out these cool air bnb's for your next JT trip:

Air Bnb Cottontail Cabin in Joshua Tree

The Cottontail Cabin 

 

Rockwood Hill House Air bnb Joshua Tree

The Rockwood Hill House

 

Joshua Tree Mojave Moon Casita Airbnb

 The Mojave Moon Casita

 

Happy stargazing!

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