The desert has so much inspiration to offer! I am blown away by the beauty of the Mojave.
It is a gift to experience this magical landscape every day. From the High Desert of Joshua Tree to the canyons of Palm Springs (and all the shops and stops in between), it’s my favorite place in the world.
Thick As Thieves, Palm Springs
This is the cutest little shop. Home décor, jewelry, and flowy desert fashions are the specialty, with a focus on handmade wares. The vibe is chill, and I can never leave without a new treasure. Pick up a gift for a friend (or, more likely, yourself), then wander down the block to browse the art galleries and antique shops lining Indian Canyon Drive.
Joshua Tree National Park
Cooler temps, abundant wildlife, and a breathtaking sky reward the brave souls who hike early. Plan to be at the trailhead before sunrise and download a park map before you go — the ranger stations don’t open till 8 a.m. Afterward, hit the JT Country Kitchen for French toast, then mosey back to your hotel for a noontime siesta.
Palm Springs Art Museum
Escape the summer heat in the air-conditioned galleries of the world-class Palm Springs Art Museum. Highlights include stunning Picasso pottery, a giant Helen Frankenthaler painting (my fave), the glass gallery, and rotating exhibitions. Docents lead free tours of the permanent collection starting at 2 p.m.
High Bar at the Rowan, Palm Springs
The dazzling San Jacinto Mountains are the backdrop to cocktails at this lovely rooftop bar. (They make a tasty Aperol spritz.) As the light wanes and the cool evening arrives, enjoy summery bar snacks, like the Instagram-worthy crudité plate. If your appetite is stronger, head to hotel restaurant 4 Saints on the other side of the pool.
L’Atelier Café, Palm Springs
This adorable, tiny French café in the La Plaza shopping center makes the most delicious croque madame this side of the Atlantic. Pop in for breakfast or grab a few pastries to go (the butter croissants and the pain au chocolat … oui!). A delicious hidden gem in the heart of downtown.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Take a ride on the tram before you head out of town. It may be sweltering down below, but atop the mountain it’s cool, breezy, and surrounded by alpine flora. Wear walking shoes and take a ramble along the many hiking trails of Mount San Jacinto State Park, or enjoy a snack at Pines Café and savor the panoramic view of the valley below.
Lindsay Hollinger is an artist, designer, and owner of Casa Joshua Tree, a High Desert vacation rental. Follow her on Instagram at @casajoshuatree and view her work at lindsayhollinger.com.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARISA VITALE