Is the family feeling a little cooped up at a Rancho resort?  Kids need an outing?  Here are five tips to get going fast and enjoy a day of fun in the unparalleled Joshua Tree National Park.

  1. Head to Bristol Farms on the South east corner of Country Club and Monterey.  In the deli section ask the server to make and cut up into quarters a couple of sandwiches.  Select two salads.  While waiting for the sandwiches and salads have the bakery box a cupcake per person.   In the produce department bag a bunch of grapes and some apples.  Grab 2 bottles water per person, some paper plates, plastic forks and a couple of candy bars on the way to check out.
  2. A tablecloth can make a picnic so pinch a couple of towels from the Resort, load them into the trunk of your car along with the vitals and then tell the kids you’re going on an adventure and that they have five minutes to get their electronic gear and their happy attitudes in the back seat.   Hats, sun glasses and tennis shoes required.
  3. GPS locate Joshua Tree National Park and during the 45 minute drive from Rancho Mirage let the kids listen to their music or play their electronic games.
  4. Once at the park head to Hidden Valley.  Park and take the well-marked one mile loop trail with your kids acting as trail leaders using the Visitor Guide given to you by the Ranger when you entered the park.  At the conclusion of the hike spread out your towels on one of the many picnic tables and chow down.  Porta potties are ubiquitous.
  5. Let the kids play until they start to quarrel.  Load them up and head for home.  In five minutes they will be dozing and you’ll be hero of the day!