10 days in Santa Cruz & Joshua Tree National Park Itinerary

10 days in Santa Cruz & Joshua Tree National Park Itinerary

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Route & dates

10 days in Santa Cruz & Joshua Tree National Park Itinerary

Start: Mill Valley
Drive:  1​h 45​min
1
Santa Cruz
— 1 night
+2
shuttle + Fly + Drive:  6​h
2
Joshua Tree National Park
— 8 nights
Drive + Fly:  5​h 45​min
End: Mill Valley

1
night
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz ©
Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Carmel Beach Boardwalk. Start off your visit on the 30th (Sun): make a trip to Carmel Beach Boardwalk, take a memorable drive along West Cliff Drive, take a leisurely stroll along Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove, then take in the waterfront at Santa Cruz Wharf, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Cowell's Beach.

Plan a trip to Santa Cruz easily and quickly by telling Inspirock to suggest an itinerary.

Mill Valley to Santa Cruz is an approximately 2-hour car ride. You can also take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. While traveling from Mill Valley, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in Santa Cruz, ranging from highs of 72°F to lows of 52°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Joshua Tree National Park.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Carmel Beach Boardwalk
Highlights from your plan
Santa Cruz Wharf ©
Santa Cruz Wharf
Cowell's Beach ©
Cowell's Beach
Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove ©
Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove

8
nights
Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park ©
Joshua Tree National Park takes its name from the Joshua tree, a twisted, spiky tree with bayonet-shaped leaves at the top that's one of the few plant species hardy enough to thrive in the extreme climate of the Mojave Desert.
Get some cultural insight at Keys Ranch and General George S. Patton Memorial Museum. Take a break from the city and head to Skull Rock and Lost Palms Oasis Trail. The adventure continues: admire the natural beauty at Cholla Cactus Garden, admire all the interesting features of Queen Valley Road, hike along Ryan Mountain, and stroll through Wall Street Mill.

To find reviews and more tourist information, use the Joshua Tree National Park day trip planner.

Traveling by combination of shuttle, flight, and car from Santa Cruz to Joshua Tree National Park takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Expect much warmer temperatures when traveling from Santa Cruz in July; daily highs in Joshua Tree National Park reach 103°F and lows reach 78°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 9th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Joshua Tree National Park

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

General George S. Patton Memorial Museum
Highlights from your plan
Cholla Cactus Garden ©
Cholla Cactus Garden
Skull Rock ©
Skull Rock
Cottonwood Spring Oasis ©
Cottonwood Spring Oasis

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