Last week, we got excited for Visit California's 2018 Summer Road Trips Guide. This week, we're going a little off-guide, using it as a jumping-off point to design our ideal desert road trip.
First up: Palm Springs
Street in Palm Springs (Pixabay).
We also mentioned last week that we've been grooving on year-round summery destinations like Palm Springs. To maximize the chill vibe in hot heat, this trip would begin and end in the sunny, swimming pool-filled city.
Next: Joshua Tree or Mojave National Preserve
The desert season is drawing to a close, sort of – hot, dry places like the Mojave can actually attract a ton of international visitors during the really hot months, especially at the beginning and end of the summer. The big advantage there is that you can meet a ton of cool new people from all around the world.
After that: Las Vegas
Road trips can be so fun because your vacation can switch up every day. In pure fantasyland, this is a month-long trip, with half a week in each place. Even if you can only do one night in each area (or less, if you're really booking it), going from the great outdoors to Vegas helps people appreciate both of them.
The halfway point: Grand Canyon National Park
Again, after the bright lights (and light pollution) of Las Vegas, the isolation and starlight in Grand Canyon National Park will really stand out.
Stopping by: Lake Havasu
Assuming we'd covered ourselves in sunscreen over the past four stops, it would be cool (literally) to move on to man-made Lake Havasu. The majesty of the Grand Canyon can't be beat, but Lake Havasu makes for a splashy break.
Back to California: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
If man-made Lake Havasu left us missing the Grand Canyon, we'd head out next to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The largest state park in California is dry, but if you look closely, it's surprisingly full of life, from cacti in bloom to bighorn sheep to golden eagles.
The grand finale: Palm Springs (part 2!)
After all of that driving, making it back to Palm Springs feels like coming home. (And a pool and a reliable, air-conditioned hotel room is very welcome, too.)