As summer gives way to autumn, our favorite desert destination, Joshua Tree, swings back into high season – boasting hot-but-comfortable conditions during the day, perfect sunset temps, and chilly, starry nights.

Though arguments can be made for all seasons – we love winter’s snow days, spring’s blooms, summer’s hot nights, and autumn’s perfect weather – most would say the best time to visit Joshua Tree is March through May, and October through November, capitalizing on spring and autumn’s milder climates.

As part time desert dwellers with some authority – and strong opinions – we prefer the bookends of high seasons. Visit Joshua Tree during the hotter ends of either high season (like May and October) where days can be spent by the pool, while dedicating mornings and evenings to hikes. Hotter months also mean less crowded trails, which is always welcome; plus, keeping the hikes to the desert’s very photogenic golden hours is always a very good idea.

Whatever your seasonal preference, we’re here to help take your desert getaway to the next level. Below, we’ve compiled a list of vacation rentals whose pools are so drool-worthy you may not make it on a hike at all. (But you really should.)

Dive in to our list below, and to plan a trip, check out the Escape L.A. Guide to Joshua Tree.

*Disclosure: Escape LA independently reviews and curates everything we recommend. When you book through our links, we may earn a commission. All views and recommendations are our own.

Photo: Mattie O’Neill

Dive into the stunning 30-foot checkered pool and hot tub at Stay Wyle Desert, a two-bedroom two-bathroom vacation rental in Yucca Valley. Enjoy the other outdoor spaces like the outdoor shower, shaded pergola, and outdoor firepit tastefully set on the 5 acres of private land. Interiors blend in with the desert tones of the views and are well-appointed for a relaxing stay. ~$450/night.

Bonus: Cook with a view at the large custom-built outdoor kitchen featuring a large white-ceramic charcoal grill.

Backyard Pool of Yucca Valley vacation rental Las Palmas near Joshua Tree National Park

Photo: Escape Los Angeles

Take in the unobstructed mountain views from the cowboy pool or hot tub at Las Palmas, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom midcentury home in Yucca Valley. Other spaces to enjoy outside include multiple patios, a BBQ, and an outdoor shower. Inside, vintage furnishings tastefully pay homage to the era of the home, and the location is perfect for exploring Joshua Tree National Park and the towns of Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree. ~$200/night.

Bonus: An enclosed private greenhouse with a dining table that seats six offers a perfect sunset dining spot.

Photo c/o Homestead Modern

This pool home near the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, Orion *Major, is a spacious, three bedroom residence organized around a south-facing central courtyard and pool deck. All bedrooms are accessed off the entry breezeway and courtyard, providing easy access to the spectacular 70 foot long infinity edge reflecting swimming pool and spa. The house was designed with privacy in mind: each bedroom is designed as a stand-alone suite complete with a full bathroom, king-size platform bed and Parachute linens. ~$800/night.

Bonus: Bringing extra guests? Rent the whole compound, including Orion *Minor, for space up to 10 guests.

Outdoor cowboy pool full of flowers overlooking the desert landscape at Desierto Occidental rental home near Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Photo c/o Plum Guide

Joyful color palettes extend throughout at Desierto Occidental, a playful, design-centric three-bedroom vacation home. Set on five acres, take in the views with a dip in the flower-filled stock tank pool complete with a fringed umbrella. Dine outdoors at the colorful terrace or cozy up inside playing some vinyl records from the collection. ~$550/night.

Bonus: An outdoor copper bathtub shaded by yuccas and palms is the perfect place to unwind.

View of the pool and lounge area at Desert Skies vacation home rental near Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Photo c/o Plum Guide

Desert Skies is stunning both inside and out. This three-bedroom three-bathroom modern desert escape is set amongst the desert boulder landscape without a neighbor in site. Outside, guests can unwind at the saltwater pool, hot tub, or outdoor shower – while inside, floor-to-ceiling windows merge the indoor spaces with expansive views. Modern design meets playful decor touches at Desert Skies for a truly unique stay. ~$1,500/night.

Bonus: This home is full of items from local artists and famous designers.

Patio deck with teak seating and a cowboy pool at Hey Cowboy vacation rental near Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Photo c/o Plum Guide

The solar-powered Hey Cowboy homestead perfectly balances a modern but rustic vibe, both inside and out. With three bedrooms, bring some friends for dips in the steel cowboy pool to beat the heat or hop into the outdoor bath to stargaze at night. The raised deck is the perfect spot for lazing or enjoy one of the many other outdoor spaces to hang like the shaded hammock or firepit. ~$450/night.

Bonus: This home is conveniently located a short drive from Joshua Tree or Palm Springs, making it an ideal outpost for those that want to explore both desert towns.

Photo c/o Homestead Modern

On the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, where a forest of wild paloverde trees meets towering granite boulders, the Joshua Tree Retreat Center (aka the Institute of Mentalphysics) recently welcomed the first traditional premium hospitality offering on site. The 14 suites, now known as The Bungalows, were designed and constructed in 1960 by the architect Harold Zook as accommodations for the site’s on-campus teachers. Located in the corner of the center’s more than 130 acres of desert, The Bungalows still feature their original wood exteriors, while the interiors seem sun-bleached, with earthy jute and sea grass rugs, woven cane-backed chairs, and intricate millwork to evoke a bare-sand feel. ~$350/night.

Bonus: During a stay, guests can cook in their kitchen, on the site’s communal grills or dine at the retreat center’s vegetarian cafe. Check the JTRC calendar for events on-site.

Exterior view at dusk of pool and home of vacation rental Le Chacuel near Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Photo c/o Plum Guide

Take a therapeutic dip in Le Chacuel’s saltwater pool, a four-bedroom three-bathroom desert vacation rental near Joshua Tree National Park. An outdoor hot tub, shady pergola, and outdoor shower allow for taking in the surrounding landscape throughout the day. Inside, watch movies via a projector or listen to your favorite tunes with the built-in sound system and enjoy the laid-back vibe of this home. ~$1,300/night.

Bonus: The tucked-away auxiliary building that is a standalone bedroom offers the ultimate quiet time if traveling with a group.

Exterior view of a cowboy pool and two wooden sun lounge chairs at geodesic Joshua Tree vacation rental Abracadabra Dome.

Photo c/o Plum Guide

Take in the 2.5 acre desert landscape from the pool at Abracadaba Dome, a two-bedroom vacation rental near Joshua Tree. A patio complete with BBQ, fire pit, and other lounge areas offer ample opportunity to enjoy the serene landscape. Inside, the boho meets Morrocan decor creates a welcoming space in the unique design of this geodesic home. ~$230/night.

Bonus: This rental is only a five-minute drive from the Integratron – we suggest booking a sound bath to fully immerse in the surrounding environment.

Photo credit: June Choi

Take in the vast mountain views from the newly built saltwater pool and spa at Rancho Bella Vista, a five-bedroom two-bathroom vacation rental in Morongo Valley (conveniently between Palm Springs and Joshua Tree). This mid-century home is set on a stunning 2.5-acre property and has been updated with modern amenities like EV charging while retaining its vintage charm. With five bedrooms this is a great home to gather with a group or family. ~$450/night.

Bonus: Strike up some friendly competition at the on-site bocce ball court or indoor pool table.

Explore more nearby summer getaways with our guides to Lake Arrowhead, and Idyllwild – or go coastal to Big Sur. See you out there!