BIRDS OVERHEAD, LIZARDS BELOW... and all around nature and animalia and beauty and beasties. Where are you? Well, you could be in many spots around the Golden State, but we're picturing Joshua Tree National Park, a haven for winged, tail-sporting creatures who burrow and soar and lend so much life and color to the boulder-beautiful expanse. But inviting along our own furry friends to join us on a trip to the Joshua Tree region is more of a question mark. Will the place we stay welcome our four-footed pal? Where will we feel comfortable and welcome?
THERE ARE ANIMAL-SWEET STAYOVERS... throughout the arid area. Look to the Thunderbird Lodge Retreat, which welcomes an array of animals onto the property, including horses. A sextet of cabins gives visitors a little more room to move about, and a visit with Jewel, the resident llama, is a must. The guest areas include "pet-safe fences," too, so your time on the property is a relaxing one.
OTHER HOTELS AND MOTELS... say hello to hounds, including Black Rock Campground of Yucca Valley, The Green Acres Ranch in Joshua Tree, Mojave Sands Motel in Joshua Tree, and the DogSpa Resort & Wellness Center in Desert Hot Springs (look for the swimming pool created just for pups). If you want to head into the park and need a place for your pet to chillax during the day, there are places to sit and board, too. Just check with your front desk.
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AS FAR AS... the dogs-are-okay-here eateries around the area? Hangouts like Pie for the People in Joshua Tree and Sherman's Deli & Bakery say yes to pooches on the patio. As always, take the weather and temperature into consideration when traveling into the often toasty area, and make plans for your sweet mutt to stay near an interior A/C, with his dog bed or cooling floor at the ready, while you do any sightseeing. But no more does a jaunt into one of California's most spectacular stretches mean bidding your baby goodbye. Several area businesses want to make a good vacation happen for you both.