Yucca Valley lies in the Morongo Basin of the Mojave Desert with the San Bernardino National Forest to the west and Joshua Tree National Park to the east. Surrounded by verdant oases of breathtaking beauty, the region provides opportunities for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. Just to the south is one of the most famous resort areas in the world, with its soothing hot springs, shopping, swimming, sunbathing, and championship golf courses. Here are some of the best places to look for a vacation rental in Yucca Valley.

1. The Town of Yucca Valley, California

Source: Flickr/Erik Wilde

Because it sits at an elevation of over 3,000 feet, vacation rentals in the town of Yucca Valley enjoy more moderate temperatures than the resorts to the south. Perennial sunny days and clear nights allow a year-round range of outdoor activities in the nearby forests and mountains. Yucca Valley’s Hi-Desert Nature Museum is full of family-friendly attractions, such as natural history dioramas, a mini-zoo, hands-on kids’ activities, fossils, and Native American artifacts.

2. Joshua Tree, Southern California

Source: Flickr/JohnnyC

Vacation rentals in the community of Joshua Tree lie just to the east of Yucca Valley in a spectacularly beautiful desert setting. The downtown area has the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center, as well as galleries with local arts and crafts, souvenir shops, and health food stores. Besides being a convenient jumping-off point for the national park, the town hosts a number of annual events, including the Joshua Tree Music Festival, the Turtle Days Street Fair, and the Sportsman’s Club’s Gem and Mineral Show.

3. Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino County, California

Source: Flickr/charlie vinz

The city of Twentynine Palms gets its name from the Oasis of Mara, where according to legend, Serrano Native Americans planted twenty-nine palm trees. The Oasis of Mara is now a major tourist attraction and serves as one of the main entrances to Joshua Trees National Park. Renowned as one of the top rock climbing locations in the world, the park offers spectacular displays of rugged geological formations. It also has hiking trails where you can bird-watch and observe its unique desert wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, coyotes, jackrabbits, tarantulas, and numerous species of reptile.

4. Pioneertown, California

Source: Flickr/Wayne Stadler

A short scenic drive links the unique community of Pioneertown with Yucca Valley. In the 1940s, investors from Hollywood built Pioneertown to be a replica of a frontier town in the Old West. It became a popular place to film TV shows and movies, including “Judge Roy Bean” and “The Cisco Kid.” Featuring gold mining ruins, rugged mountains, and boulders and buttresses, this community offers a truly unique experience that the entire family will love. The town still retains its appearance as a movie set from the wild west with its period saloons, stables, and restaurants.

5. Johnson Valley, Southern California

Source: Flickr/ Ontheway Advice

Johnson Valley lies northeast of Yucca Valley. Within the town, Desert Dreams Garden began as a community project and grew into a cool relaxing haven of plants, fountains, benches, and a pavilion used for special events. The Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area is renowned as one of the best off-road vehicle tracks in the country. Johnson Valley is also a gateway to Big Bear Lake within the San Bernardino National Forest, a beautiful natural area, great for mountain biking, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, and water sports.

6. Morongo Valley, California

Source: Flickr/Matt Artz

The town of Morongo Valley, located southeast of Yucca Valley, lies between two nature reserves that are unique desert oases. In the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, natural springs cause cottonwood and willows to thrive, creating habitats for a diversity of wildlife, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, bobcats, gray foxes, and raccoons. A number of trails facilitate wildlife observation and bird watching. Mission Creek Preserve adjoins the Pacific Crest Trail, offering a diversity of wildlife and lush foliage along its perennial stream.

7. Whitewater, Riverside County, California

Source: Flickr/Don Barrett

The town of Whitewater sits alongside the Whitewater River between Yucca Valley and Palm Springs. Formerly a stagecoach station and waypoint for prospectors on the way to the Colorado River Gold Rush, it now serves as a convenient stepping-off place to visit scenic Whitewater Preserve. Within a canyon populated by deer, bighorn sheep, bears, and various endangered species of birds, the preserve has hiking trails, picnic areas, a visitor’s facility housed in a former trout farm, and an all-equipment-provided special catch and release fishing program for children, so you and the family can spend a full day enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

8. Desert Hot Springs, Riverside County, California

Source: Flickr/mirsasha

The town of Desert Hot Springs is located directly over natural hot water aquifers that bubble mineral water to the surface in numerous locations. It’s world-renowned for its spas that offer hot soaks, facials, massages, aromatherapy, and other health and beauty treatments, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing day pampering yourself. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is a unique family-friendly attraction in the town. Built in the style of a vast 35-room Hopi pueblo, it features exhibits that bring to life early California Native American and homestead history.

9. Palm Springs, Southern California

Source: Flickr/Chris Goldberg

The city of Palm Springs is less than 30 miles south of Yucca Valley. This famous resort draws celebrities and other visitors from all over the world to its warm sunny climate and abundance of recreational activities such as swimming, cycling, tennis, horseback riding, and golf. Spend time swimming, skateboarding, or ice skating at the city’s numerous parks and entertainment centers. Among its many other points of interest are the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium, and the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

10. Cathedral City, Riverside County, California

Source: Flickr/Kent Kanouse

Cathedral City adjoins Palm Springs to the south and shares its pleasant climate and wealth of recreational opportunities. Parks scattered throughout the city offer havens of greenery, fountains, rose gardens, picnic areas, and sports facilities. Lounge by the water while soaking up the sun, or unwind after exploring the city by teeing off at the several famous golf courses.

11. Rancho Mirage, Riverside County, California

Source: Flickr/emilydickinsonridesabmx

Rancho Mirage is a unique and luxurious community tucked away between Cathedral City and Palm Desert. Take the family to explore the numerous parks, featuring hiking trails, waterfalls, gardens, and playgrounds. The community also features recreational facilities, including a number of championship tennis courts and golf courses.

12. Palm Desert, Riverside County, California

Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

Palm Desert is a popular resort city just south of Rancho Mirage. El Paseo Drive, the main shopping street, is full of art galleries, upscale boutiques, and restaurants, where you can buy souvenirs, view famous art, and grab a bite to eat with the family. The city abounds in parks, tennis courts, and golf courses, providing many opportunities for outdoor recreation. It’s also the home of the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, which is devoted to the preservation and display of desert plants and wildlife.