“The desert tells a different story every time one ventures on it.” - Robert Edison Fulton Jr.
If you believe the rewards of travel include the journey as well as the destination, this desert road trip through Southern California to Andaz Scottsdale is an ideal escape. It’s an adventure that will help you see nature in a new light, with unexpected beauty in surprising locations and moments that will last a lifetime.
Starting in Los Angeles, head east on I-10 east for 90 miles until you hit our first stop, the Cabazon Dinosaurs. Here in Cabazon, Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex have been a roadside attraction for nearly 50 years—Dinny was built in 1975, while Mr. Rex followed in 1981. But they really became stars when they appeared in the cult classic, “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.” Make sure to check the website before you visit; they are known to get makeovers for special occasions!
Once you are done snapping pics with Dinny and Rex, it’s time to jump back in the car for a short drive to Palm Springs. There is a mystical charm about this desert oasis, with its old Hollywood glam, unique architecture, music festivals, and other attractions. It’s also a foodie’s paradise—there’s truly something for everyone here! Rent a bike and spend the day on a self-guided tour of historic houses, and don’t miss the famous painted doors. Explore downtown, where the Walk of Stars gives you a chance to grab a selfie with Sonny Bono, Lucille Ball and other Palm Springs royalty. Be sure to grab a famous date shake, too, made with the bounty of the area’s many date farms.
Traveling with a nature lover? Take a detour on Highway 62 to Joshua Tree National Park. Named after the native Joshua tree, it is 1,200+ square miles of land, rock, and plants that have made this unique climate home. It’s unlike anywhere on Earth, summoning adventurers who love to hike, rock climb, discover ghost towns, explore cactus gardens, and gaze at the stars. If you’re there overnight, get up early and watch the sunrise from Cholla Cactus Garden. It is a magical sight to catch the first rays of sunlight dance over the desert flora. Skull Rock is a must-see as well—formed into the shape of a skull by erosion, the rock looms over visitors. And a sunset at Cap Rock is the perfect, well, capper to your day.
Another detour to consider is a pilgrimage on Highway 111 to Salvation Mountain, a vision created by folk artist Leonard Knight. Made of bricks, discarded automobile parts and gallons of paint, this monument and a variety of murals come together at this colorful site in the middle of the California desert with a clear message: “God is Love.” But you don’t need to be religious to enjoy the experience, and the feeling of connection and peace. Just follow the yellow brick road to the top for stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
And with that, it’s time to head out to our final destination—Andaz Scottsdale. Just hop on Highway 10, download our Spotify playlist and let your desert story begin …