As departed on the first leg of our California-Michigan drive, we deviated from the most efficient route to Phoenix on I-10 to drive through Joshua Tree National Park. We entered the park through the main entrance in the unincorporated town of Joshua Tree and then drove through the park and exited using the south entrance.

While we were certainly equipped to camp in the park, all of the campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park were first-come, first-served campsites. Perhaps it’s my need to extensively plan travel out (this blog is a good example of that), but I did not like the idea of hinging our travel plans on being able to secure an unreserved campsite in a very busy national park.

Waiting for our lunch to rehydrate in Joshua Tree National Park.

So, instead of camping in the park, we drove through and used one of several day-use picnic areas to eat lunch. We have a fairly well-equipped camp kitchen – a two-burner propane stove and cast-iron skillets to accompany – but ended up using out JetBoil to heat up water to eat a dehydrated meal.

There is definitely much more to do and see in Joshua Tree National park than one afternoon stop allows, but we drove through the park and then made our back to I-10 and got into Phoenix.