The desert resort town of Palm Springs and nearby Joshua Tree National Park, a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, make for a perfect road trip combo of natural beauty and stylish comfort.
Start out your trip with a drive through Joshua Tree, an otherworldly landscape of towering boulders and plants that looks like Martian vegetation. The Joshua Trees themselves look like something out of Dr. Seuss, but they're only one of hundreds of unique desert plants on display. Joshua Tree is also a world-class rock climbing and bouldering destination, with guided climbs for beginners and experts. If dangling from a cliff isn't your thing, drive the 18-mile (29-kilometer) self-guided Geology Tour.
End your day in Palm Springs, a popular and playful Hollywood getaway since the 1920s. Choose from an impressive list of fine restaurants (the Asian/Austrian-inspired Johannes is a top pick), get the celebrity treatment at any of the many local spas and resorts, or play a round of golf at one of the world-famous links.
Now, let's go East into the razor-backed Sierra Nevada to visit the incomparable Yosemite.