Joshua Tree Has Gone From a Sleepy Desert Respite to Short Term Rental Refuge

And not all the residents are happy about it.

Joshua Tree is one of Southern California’s most unusual and breathtaking natural wonders. Just outside the Palm Springs area, the national park is popular with campers, hikers and photographers who want to soak in the outer worldly rock formations, good vibes and crystal clear starry skies.

But Joshua Tree’s rediscovered popularity has also changed the dynamic of the town just outside the park’s gates. Once a relatively quiet community that enjoyed a steady outside tourism, Joshua Tree is seeing a boom in short term rentals outfitted for eager desert travelers.

According to the LA Times, “The unincorporated high desert community of Joshua Tree has a population of about 9,000 and an estimated 800 unlicensed vacation rental businesses offering a menu of quirky alternatives to traditional motel lodging: neighborhood homes, vintage trailers, Sherpa huts, tipis, shipping containers and camps where guests are encouraged to let their dogs run free while they sip cocktails and watch the sunset.”

But not all residents of Joshua Tree are happy about the influx of weekend visitors, and a new ordinance coming later this year could help crack down on unsafe or unsanitary rentals.

“The ordinance can’t come soon enough for residents struggling to cope with the influx of rentals they see as an assault on the environment, and a culture locals describe as ‘where hippie blurs to redneck.’”

You can read more about the culture clash here.