We're going to be flying into Phoenix and driving over to Joshua tree to spend some time hiking and relaxing. We want to visit Palm Springs and the Sonny Bono Wildlife Refuge to look for burrowing owls, but I'd love some other suggestions if anyone has been there in the past.
Thanks in advance!
When in Palm Springs you might want to visit the Indian Canyon within the Aquas Caliente Indian Reservation. You have to pay a small fee at the entrance. Drive all the way to the end, there is great hiking to be had. Trails start going down into a palm tree covered canyon oasis and gradually go up thereafter. You can either do a circle or hike for miles after miles. Lots of hummingbirds and wildflowers in the area.
When you exit Joshua Tree National Park on the opposite side in Yucca Valley, visit Pioneertown. It is a town that was built for making Wild West movies in the 50ies. All restored with a great saloon and in a great setting. Check out posts on Barclaystravel.
+1 to Liketraveling's suggestion on Pioneertown. Beautiful set from the 50's and you can even stay in one of the sets now converted to a motel (its actually a fancy desert resort) called Pioneertown Motel.
A unique drink to try in Joshua Tree area is date shake. Milk + vanilla ice cream + chunks of fresh date = yumm
When in Palm Springs, stop by for a drink at the decidedly old-school, retro-chic Melvyn's, a favorite of Sinatra. Dont stay at The Saguaro Palm Springs though - its one of the most Instagramed hotels but honestly its like spring break destination of college kids. Downtown PalmSprings has lots of cute boutiques especially if you want to grab something from the 70s Hollywood/SoCal era.