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A corner look at a bright red new saloon in the middle of the California desert.
Pioneertown’s Red Dog Saloon
Joseph Weaver

20 Places to Drink and Dine Around Joshua Tree National Park

Old Western saloons, rib joints, and swanky poolside hangouts in Southern California’s desert escape

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Pioneertown’s Red Dog Saloon
| Joseph Weaver

If old legends are to be believed (and in the desert, they often are), the Joshua Tree got its name from a group of 19th century Mormon settlers who saw the upturned branches and were reminded of the prophet Joshua. It was as if the strange, prickly trees were beckoning them to the promised land.

Biblical mythology aside, Joshua Tree National Park is a sort of promised land for desert lovers. Located approximately 130 miles from Los Angeles, the 760,636-acre park is a mecca for rock climbers, hikers, and stargazers. The nearby towns of Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, and Twentynine Palms also offer a classic California desert experience in the form of saloons that serve cocktails in Mason jars, sun-soaked cafes, and poolside restaurants that feel like literal oases in the desert.

Whether a trip to Joshua Tree calls for treks through the desert or margaritas at the pool, here’s where to drink and dine near the park.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Dillon's Burgers & Beers

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49574 Twentynine Palms Highway
Morongo Valley, CA 92256
(760) 774-9896
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On the outer reaches of the Joshua Tree area just before dropping down into Palm Springs, the tiny town of Morongo Valley offers plenty of mountainous scenery (and one very cool cactus shop), but few dining options. Enter Dillon’s Burgers & Beer. This no-frills restaurant, which also has a location in Desert Hot Springs, will get the job done with its two namesake items. The menu includes classic cheeseburgers, bison burgers, veggie burgers, and chicken burgers served with a choice of fries, tater tots, pasta salad, or coleslaw.

2. Morongo Valley Cafe

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49780 Twentynine Palms Highway
Morongo Valley, CA 92256
(760) 363-6939
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Morongo Valley Cafe is known for its dog-friendly patio and all-day breakfast. Diners can expect classic comfort food including biscuits and gravy, French toast, tuna melts, and rotating soup specials.

3. The Red Dog Saloon

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53539 Mane St
Pioneertown, CA 92268
(760) 228-9047
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A little bit hipster, a little bit cowboy. That’s the vibe at Red Dog Saloon, a recent addition to the Pioneertown bar and restaurant scene. A former Hell’s Angels biker bar that looks straight out of a western film set (because it was), Red Dog Saloon serves elevated Tex Mex menu items, including wagyu beef brisket tacos, mushroom asada tacos, and chips and queso. The cocktail list fits the desert setting: mezcal margaritas, mules with fresh ginger juice, and Manhattans made with mole bitters.

A red tray of tacos and queso and beans during daylight.
Tacos and more from Red Dog Saloon
Joseph Weaver

4. Pappy & Harriet's

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53688 Pioneertown Rd
Pioneertown, CA 92268
(760) 228-2222
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In 1946, a team of Hollywood investors created Pioneertown as an old Western film set. After more than 50 films and TV shows were shot on-site, it transformed into its current iteration: a restaurant, saloon, and live music venue. Located on an isolated patch of high desert far away from city lights and cell service, the restaurant serves quesadillas, barbecue, burgers, and cocktails in mason jars. In 2021, Desert Daze festival founder Phil Pirrone and Knitting Factory Entertainment took over booking for the venue. Fun fact: Pappy & Harriet’s shows up in the 2017 movie Ingrid Goes West, where it is referred to as “a bit sketch.” In real life, the venue, which has been the site of impromptu concerts from legendary musicians like Paul McCartney, is anything but.

5. Frontier Café

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55844 Twentynine Palms Highway
Yucca Valley, CA 92284
(760) 820-1360
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Nestled among antique shops and boutiques, this Yucca Valley cafe serves sandwiches and salads, plus wine, beer, and kombucha. The emphasis is on fresh, desert ingredients (think prickly pear lemonade and arugula salad tossed with pepitas). There are plenty of plant-based options too, including a vegan BLT with housemade tempeh bacon.

6. La Copine

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848 Old Woman Springs Rd
Yucca Valley, CA 92284
(760) 289-8537
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Minimalist desert style meets thoughtfully created dishes at this stylish fine dining hot spot. La Copine hits all the right notes with its sun-bathed interior and seasonal dishes. The seasonal menu includes an eclectic array of cuisine which can include items like corvina ceviche, pork belly ramen, crispy buttermilk chicken with grits, and warm beignets. Only open Thursday through Sunday, La Copine is very popular and does not offer reservations — but it’s worth waiting for a table.

La Copine
La Copine

7. Pie for the People! Pizza di Circo

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58960 Twentynine Palms Highway
Yucca Valley, CA 92284
(760) 366-0400
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After a long hike, sometimes pizza is the only answer. Fortunately, Pie for the People serves pizza that is worth making it back from the desert wilderness for. Diners can choose from specialty pies, like the elote pizza topped with corn, aioli, and cotija, or create their own starting with a choice of crusts including Sicilian thick crust, gluten-free, and cauliflower.

8. Sam's Indian Food & Pizza

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61380 Twentynine Palms Highway #13
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
(760) 366-9511
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Sam’s Indian Food & Pizza does indeed serve both of its eponymous items, with an emphasis on Indian food — shrimp tandoori, jalapeno naan, and saag shorba. The pizza menu includes all of the usual favorites (meat lovers, Hawaiian, veggie), plus unique Indian fusion pizzas, such as the Bombay pizza topped with chicken tikka masala.

9. Royal Siam Cuisine Thai Restaurant

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61599 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
(760) 366-2923

Located in an unassuming strip mall, Royal Siam Cuisine Thai Restaurant may not be as flashy as some other Joshua tree spots, but it’s a reliably delicious standby for generous portions of pad see ew, jungle curry, pad thai, and poh-taek. Lunch specials make for a filling post-hike meal.

10. Natural Sisters Cafe

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61695 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
(760) 366-3600
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This quintessential Joshua Tree counter service restaurant always has a crowd of rock climbers and hikers posted up out front. Situated at the epicenter of the small downtown area, Natural Sisters Cafe is one of the most popular restaurants near the park. The plant-based restaurant serves curried rice wraps with homemade tahini dressing, quinoa burgers on whole grain, spinach and sun-dried tomato salads, plus customizable juices and smoothies.

11. The Dez

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61705 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
(760) 974-9747
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From pre-hike sausage rolls and cortados to post-climb charcuterie, The Dez is a great option for grab-and-go breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Diners can choose from a la carte items such as caprese paninis and avocado toast or order entire boxed lunches made with desert adventures in mind.

12. Crossroads Cafe

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61715 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
(760) 366-5414
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Crossroads Cafe serves diner food inspired by southwest and California tastes. In other words, there are good old fashioned hamburgers made with beef, but there are also ahi tuna burgers with jalapeno-lime aioli and Impossible burgers on brioche. The menu also includes tacos, quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, housemade pastries, and beer and wine.

13. Joshua Tree Coffee Company

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61738 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
(760) 974-4060
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There’s nothing quite like a truly good cup of coffee at sunrise in the desert. Joshua Tree Coffee Co. provides just that by way of organic coffee made with beans roasted in a drum coffee roaster for a smoother, more nuanced flavor. The menu also includes cold-brewed and nitro-brewed coffee, plus bags of coffee (made in small batches — and also a pretty decent Joshua Tree souvenir) to-go.

14. Joshua Tree Country Kitchen

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61768 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
(760) 366-8988
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What is it about desert trips that makes roadside diner food taste so good? When passing through the town of Joshua Tree, the place to have it is Country Kitchen. Open since 1977, this restaurant serves all-day breakfast and lunch with comfort food classics such as biscuits and gravy, blueberry pancakes, and country-fried steak.

15. Joshua Tree Saloon

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61835 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
(760) 366-2250
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Joshua Tree Saloon’s outdoor space (simply called The Yard) may be one of the most photogenic spots in town. It’s also the site of live music and outdoor barbecue on the weekends, and it’s the perfect place to savor ginger-marinated ahi tuna poke with homemade tortilla chips or beer-battered jalapeño slices. An indoor saloon serves 14 draft beers and a must-try mojito. Karaoke night draws crowds here.

16. The Rib Co

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72183 Twentynine Palms Highway
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 367-1663
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Longtime Twentynine Palms favorite The Rib Co. sits poised on the Twentynine Palms Highway (the two-lane road that serves as the main artery through the Joshua Tree area), just begging desert travelers to pull over for some brisket. The menu includes several styles of ribs, like baby back, St. Louis style, and Tennessee whiskey glazed, to name a few. There are also burgers, brisket sandwiches, and build-your-own plates served with a choice of meat, plus two side dishes, and corn muffins loaded with honey butter.

17. Edchada's

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73502 Twentynine Palms Highway
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 367-2131

The bar at Edchada’s in Twentynine Palms serves as an unlikely melting pot of Marines from the nearby base, hikers from the national park, and local desert dwellers. One thing they all have in common? The need for a good margarita. Edchada’s serves peach margaritas, strawberry margaritas, Midori margaritas, and even a moonlight margarita, made with an electrifying dash of blue curaçao. The menu also features burritos, chimichangas, tacos, sopas, and other Mexican favorites.

18. Kitchen in the Desert

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6427 Mesquite Ave
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 865-0245
Visit Website

The town of Joshua Tree gets a lot of acclaim for its artsy aesthetic and desert culinary gems, but in recent years Twentynine Palms has been drawing its own crowds, thanks in part to the addition of Kitchen in the Desert. Featuring a cactus studded patio interspersed with historic mining equipment, this restaurant serves Carribean-influenced American brunch and dinner seven days a week. Diners can enjoy jerk chicken, fried cauliflower, and mezcal palomas while exploring the historic property and listening to occasional live music performances.

19. 29 Palms Inn

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73950 Inn Ave
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 367-3505
Visit Website

After a long day in the sun-bleached desert, Joshua Tree travelers can lounge poolside at The Restaurant at 29 Palms Inn and sip margaritas made with prickly pear juice from cacti grown on-site. In addition to the herbaceous cocktail list, the menu features roasted butternut squash hummus, lemon thyme cream risotto, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, and mixed berry basil sorbet.

20. Palms Restaurant

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83131 Amboy Rd
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 361-2810
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Located way out in the Wonder Valley, Palms Restaurant is so directly in the middle of nowhere that it might appear as an actual mirage to travelers. Those curious enough to step inside will find one of the most authentic desert dive bars in California complete with a pool table, PBR on draft, and a stage out back for live music under the stars. The shockingly cheap menu includes burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and chili cheese dogs.

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1. Dillon's Burgers & Beers

49574 Twentynine Palms Highway, Morongo Valley, CA 92256

On the outer reaches of the Joshua Tree area just before dropping down into Palm Springs, the tiny town of Morongo Valley offers plenty of mountainous scenery (and one very cool cactus shop), but few dining options. Enter Dillon’s Burgers & Beer. This no-frills restaurant, which also has a location in Desert Hot Springs, will get the job done with its two namesake items. The menu includes classic cheeseburgers, bison burgers, veggie burgers, and chicken burgers served with a choice of fries, tater tots, pasta salad, or coleslaw.

49574 Twentynine Palms Highway
Morongo Valley, CA 92256

2. Morongo Valley Cafe

49780 Twentynine Palms Highway, Morongo Valley, CA 92256

Morongo Valley Cafe is known for its dog-friendly patio and all-day breakfast. Diners can expect classic comfort food including biscuits and gravy, French toast, tuna melts, and rotating soup specials.

49780 Twentynine Palms Highway
Morongo Valley, CA 92256

3. The Red Dog Saloon

53539 Mane St, Pioneertown, CA 92268
A red tray of tacos and queso and beans during daylight.
Tacos and more from Red Dog Saloon
Joseph Weaver

A little bit hipster, a little bit cowboy. That’s the vibe at Red Dog Saloon, a recent addition to the Pioneertown bar and restaurant scene. A former Hell’s Angels biker bar that looks straight out of a western film set (because it was), Red Dog Saloon serves elevated Tex Mex menu items, including wagyu beef brisket tacos, mushroom asada tacos, and chips and queso. The cocktail list fits the desert setting: mezcal margaritas, mules with fresh ginger juice, and Manhattans made with mole bitters.

53539 Mane St
Pioneertown, CA 92268

4. Pappy & Harriet's

53688 Pioneertown Rd, Pioneertown, CA 92268

In 1946, a team of Hollywood investors created Pioneertown as an old Western film set. After more than 50 films and TV shows were shot on-site, it transformed into its current iteration: a restaurant, saloon, and live music venue. Located on an isolated patch of high desert far away from city lights and cell service, the restaurant serves quesadillas, barbecue, burgers, and cocktails in mason jars. In 2021, Desert Daze festival founder Phil Pirrone and Knitting Factory Entertainment took over booking for the venue. Fun fact: Pappy & Harriet’s shows up in the 2017 movie Ingrid Goes West, where it is referred to as “a bit sketch.” In real life, the venue, which has been the site of impromptu concerts from legendary musicians like Paul McCartney, is anything but.

53688 Pioneertown Rd
Pioneertown, CA 92268

5. Frontier Café

55844 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA 92284

Nestled among antique shops and boutiques, this Yucca Valley cafe serves sandwiches and salads, plus wine, beer, and kombucha. The emphasis is on fresh, desert ingredients (think prickly pear lemonade and arugula salad tossed with pepitas). There are plenty of plant-based options too, including a vegan BLT with housemade tempeh bacon.

55844 Twentynine Palms Highway
Yucca Valley, CA 92284

6. La Copine

848 Old Woman Springs Rd, Yucca Valley, CA 92284
La Copine
La Copine

Minimalist desert style meets thoughtfully created dishes at this stylish fine dining hot spot. La Copine hits all the right notes with its sun-bathed interior and seasonal dishes. The seasonal menu includes an eclectic array of cuisine which can include items like corvina ceviche, pork belly ramen, crispy buttermilk chicken with grits, and warm beignets. Only open Thursday through Sunday, La Copine is very popular and does not offer reservations — but it’s worth waiting for a table.

848 Old Woman Springs Rd
Yucca Valley, CA 92284

7. Pie for the People! Pizza di Circo

58960 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA 92284

After a long hike, sometimes pizza is the only answer. Fortunately, Pie for the People serves pizza that is worth making it back from the desert wilderness for. Diners can choose from specialty pies, like the elote pizza topped with corn, aioli, and cotija, or create their own starting with a choice of crusts including Sicilian thick crust, gluten-free, and cauliflower.

58960 Twentynine Palms Highway
Yucca Valley, CA 92284

8. Sam's Indian Food & Pizza

61380 Twentynine Palms Highway #13, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Sam’s Indian Food & Pizza does indeed serve both of its eponymous items, with an emphasis on Indian food — shrimp tandoori, jalapeno naan, and saag shorba. The pizza menu includes all of the usual favorites (meat lovers, Hawaiian, veggie), plus unique Indian fusion pizzas, such as the Bombay pizza topped with chicken tikka masala.

61380 Twentynine Palms Highway #13
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

9. Royal Siam Cuisine Thai Restaurant

61599 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Located in an unassuming strip mall, Royal Siam Cuisine Thai Restaurant may not be as flashy as some other Joshua tree spots, but it’s a reliably delicious standby for generous portions of pad see ew, jungle curry, pad thai, and poh-taek. Lunch specials make for a filling post-hike meal.

61599 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

10. Natural Sisters Cafe

61695 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

This quintessential Joshua Tree counter service restaurant always has a crowd of rock climbers and hikers posted up out front. Situated at the epicenter of the small downtown area, Natural Sisters Cafe is one of the most popular restaurants near the park. The plant-based restaurant serves curried rice wraps with homemade tahini dressing, quinoa burgers on whole grain, spinach and sun-dried tomato salads, plus customizable juices and smoothies.

61695 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

11. The Dez

61705 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

From pre-hike sausage rolls and cortados to post-climb charcuterie, The Dez is a great option for grab-and-go breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Diners can choose from a la carte items such as caprese paninis and avocado toast or order entire boxed lunches made with desert adventures in mind.

61705 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

12. Crossroads Cafe

61715 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Crossroads Cafe serves diner food inspired by southwest and California tastes. In other words, there are good old fashioned hamburgers made with beef, but there are also ahi tuna burgers with jalapeno-lime aioli and Impossible burgers on brioche. The menu also includes tacos, quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, housemade pastries, and beer and wine.

61715 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

13. Joshua Tree Coffee Company

61738 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

There’s nothing quite like a truly good cup of coffee at sunrise in the desert. Joshua Tree Coffee Co. provides just that by way of organic coffee made with beans roasted in a drum coffee roaster for a smoother, more nuanced flavor. The menu also includes cold-brewed and nitro-brewed coffee, plus bags of coffee (made in small batches — and also a pretty decent Joshua Tree souvenir) to-go.

61738 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

14. Joshua Tree Country Kitchen

61768 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

What is it about desert trips that makes roadside diner food taste so good? When passing through the town of Joshua Tree, the place to have it is Country Kitchen. Open since 1977, this restaurant serves all-day breakfast and lunch with comfort food classics such as biscuits and gravy, blueberry pancakes, and country-fried steak.

61768 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

15. Joshua Tree Saloon

61835 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Joshua Tree Saloon’s outdoor space (simply called The Yard) may be one of the most photogenic spots in town. It’s also the site of live music and outdoor barbecue on the weekends, and it’s the perfect place to savor ginger-marinated ahi tuna poke with homemade tortilla chips or beer-battered jalapeño slices. An indoor saloon serves 14 draft beers and a must-try mojito. Karaoke night draws crowds here.

61835 Twentynine Palms Highway
Joshua Tree, CA 92252

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16. The Rib Co

72183 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

Longtime Twentynine Palms favorite The Rib Co. sits poised on the Twentynine Palms Highway (the two-lane road that serves as the main artery through the Joshua Tree area), just begging desert travelers to pull over for some brisket. The menu includes several styles of ribs, like baby back, St. Louis style, and Tennessee whiskey glazed, to name a few. There are also burgers, brisket sandwiches, and build-your-own plates served with a choice of meat, plus two side dishes, and corn muffins loaded with honey butter.

72183 Twentynine Palms Highway
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

17. Edchada's

73502 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

The bar at Edchada’s in Twentynine Palms serves as an unlikely melting pot of Marines from the nearby base, hikers from the national park, and local desert dwellers. One thing they all have in common? The need for a good margarita. Edchada’s serves peach margaritas, strawberry margaritas, Midori margaritas, and even a moonlight margarita, made with an electrifying dash of blue curaçao. The menu also features burritos, chimichangas, tacos, sopas, and other Mexican favorites.

73502 Twentynine Palms Highway
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

18. Kitchen in the Desert

6427 Mesquite Ave, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

The town of Joshua Tree gets a lot of acclaim for its artsy aesthetic and desert culinary gems, but in recent years Twentynine Palms has been drawing its own crowds, thanks in part to the addition of Kitchen in the Desert. Featuring a cactus studded patio interspersed with historic mining equipment, this restaurant serves Carribean-influenced American brunch and dinner seven days a week. Diners can enjoy jerk chicken, fried cauliflower, and mezcal palomas while exploring the historic property and listening to occasional live music performances.

6427 Mesquite Ave
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

19. 29 Palms Inn

73950 Inn Ave, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

After a long day in the sun-bleached desert, Joshua Tree travelers can lounge poolside at The Restaurant at 29 Palms Inn and sip margaritas made with prickly pear juice from cacti grown on-site. In addition to the herbaceous cocktail list, the menu features roasted butternut squash hummus, lemon thyme cream risotto, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, and mixed berry basil sorbet.

73950 Inn Ave
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

20. Palms Restaurant

83131 Amboy Rd, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

Located way out in the Wonder Valley, Palms Restaurant is so directly in the middle of nowhere that it might appear as an actual mirage to travelers. Those curious enough to step inside will find one of the most authentic desert dive bars in California complete with a pool table, PBR on draft, and a stage out back for live music under the stars. The shockingly cheap menu includes burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and chili cheese dogs.

83131 Amboy Rd
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

Related Maps