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Story: Few things are more romanticised than a desert road trip. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of driving with the windows down, music blasting as the Californian landscape whirrs by. With the crowds of the city fading into the distance, colours seem to become more vibrant – especially at sunset.

Joshua Tree National Park is among the best places to explore here, whether hiking, cycling or simply driving. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. The rich cultural history and surreal geological features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness.

For a few nights we stayed in eclectic Joshua Tree, where musicians, artists, writers and hippies flocked in the 60s. Odd sculptures, installations and unusual structures such as The Integration (apparently placed on an energetic vortex) serve as relics of this era, tying the town to its past and preserving its old-west charm. Between farmers’ markets, thrift stores, funky shops, organic food stores and coffee shops, the creative spirit and energy of Joshua Tree is tangible.

Afterwards, we hit the road again and made the short drive to Palm Springs. Surrounded by the mountains and deserts of the Coachella Valley, this town feels like an oasis. The mid-century architecture, the perfectly green lawns and the sky-high palm trees appear as if straight out of a movie. It’s a favourite getaway of many starlets and socialites, and you can feel the old Hollywood glamour as you drive through the city.


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