A Travel Price Comparison for California Joshua Tree National Park vs. Sacramento for Backpackers, Attractions, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Joshua Tree National Park and Sacramento can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a adventurous, unique, and fascinating national park. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the hiking.

Sacramento

Sacramento is a undiscovered, laid back, and relaxed city. It's also popular because of the food, shopping, and museums.

Joshua Tree National Park and Sacramento: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Sacramento. Although Joshua Tree National Park and Sacramento are both popular with visitors, Sacramento has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Sacramento is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, and shopping, while Joshua Tree National Park is known for its hiking and impressive beauty. Joshua Tree National Park is more touristy than Sacramento and is known for its unique vegetation and large boulders. Sacramento is popular for its history and state capital. It is also home to the California State Railroad Museum.

How is Joshua Tree National Park different from Sacramento?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Sacramento and Joshua Tree National Park. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Sacramento is a very popular place for its museums and history. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for its museums and landmarks.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Sacramento. As the state capital, you'll find a number of historical and informational museums around town. You should check out the State Capital, as well as the California State Railroad Museum, the Crocker Museum of Art, Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, and the California Automobile Museum.

Joshua Tree National Park offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. There are a couple of museums in the area that display local art or cultural and historical items.


Is the Food Better in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Sacramento is a city with good options for its restaurants. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

Sacramento is becoming an appealing option for foodies. Casual restaurants with laid back atmospheres are what's most common around town. You'll also find a variety of international cuisines that include Korean and Vietnamese.

While Joshua Tree National Park is not famous for its food, you'll find what you need there. There aren't any restaurants inside the park, so you'll want to pack your own food and eat at one of the picnic areas.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento Better for Nightlife?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Sacramento is a city with good options for its evening party scene. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Sacramento. There highest concentration of activities are found in Downtown Sacramento. You'll find bars, clubs and live music in the area. You can also head to midtown, which has performing arts and comedy shows.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Joshua Tree National Park. Stargazing and gathering around campfires are the most popular activities during the evening.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento Better for Hiking?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Joshua Tree National Park is very popular for its hiking trails. However, Sacramento is not a hiking destination.

Known for its hiking, Joshua Tree National Park draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. There are a wide range of hikes that include easy, moderate, and strenuous options. Some of the best hikes include Discovery Trail, Boy Scout Trail, and Black Rock Canyon Panorama Loop.

Sacramento is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Sacramento is a city with good options for its shopping areas. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for shopping.

Sacramento has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find down-to-earth vendors who have reasonable prices and a great selection. Some of the most interesting shopping is found at the Old Sacramento Waterfront or along Folsom Boulevard.

Joshua Tree National Park has some shopping areas for those that seek them out. There is a park store where you can pick up gifts or other items.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento Better for Families?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Joshua Tree National Park is a very popular place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Joshua Tree National Park is very family-friendly. With its giant boulders that kids can scramble on and its Dr. Seuss-like Joshua Trees, this really is nature's best playground. There are also kid-friendly hikes and Junior Ranger Programs that will both educate and entertain the kids.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Sacramento. With the large number of families that live in the area, you'll a variety of kid-friendly activities. Options include smaller amusement parks like Funderland Amusement Park, museums like the Sacramento Children's Museum, and indoor trampoline parks. There's also Fairytale Town, which is an imagination filled playground.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento Better for Couples?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Joshua Tree National Park is a very popular place for its romantic activities. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for couples.

Joshua Tree National Park makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy the outdoors, adventure sports like rock climbing, and hiking through spectacular landscapes will find this to be the ultimate romantic destination.

Sacramento is not always the best place to visit for a couple. Picnics, nice restaurants, and shows make for enjoyable date activities while you're in town.


Is Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Joshua Tree National Park is very popular for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Joshua Tree National Park is extremely popular for backpackers. There are campgrounds and hiking trails that are popular with backpackers and nature enthusiasts.

Sacramento is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Although most backpackers skip this town for more popular destinations, there are a couple of hostels in town.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Sacramento is a decent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Sacramento. There's both light rail and buses around town.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Joshua Tree National Park. There's no reliable public transportation in the park.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento a more walkable city?

Joshua Tree National Park
Sacramento

Sacramento is a decent place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for its walkability.

Sacramento is generally not a very walkable city. You'll really want a car to get around town, but Midtown is one of the more walkable areas.

Joshua Tree National Park is not a walkable national park. You need a car to truly explore the park.


For even more information, also check out Is Joshua Tree National Park Worth Visiting? and Is Sacramento Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Sacramento or Joshua Tree National Park?

How long in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Joshua Tree National Park than Sacramento because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Joshua Tree National Park, and 1-2 days is enough time in Sacramento.

Families should spend more time in Joshua Tree National Park than Sacramento. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Joshua Tree National Park, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Sacramento than Joshua Tree National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Sacramento that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Sacramento than Joshua Tree National Park if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Sacramento.


  • How many days in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento? Ideal Length of Stay
    Joshua Tree National Park 2-4 
    Sacramento 1-2

One day in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

With around the fascinating national park of Joshua Tree National Park, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the undiscovered city of Sacramento. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A weekend in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

With around the destination of Joshua Tree National Park, there's plenty to do. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this national park.

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Sacramento. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

Five days in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

Joshua Tree National Park, a popular national park, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Sacramento is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. It offers something for everyone.


A week in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

Joshua Tree National Park is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the hiking. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Sacramento is a popular choice for travelers. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, The Best Photography Tours in United States of America, The Best Camping Tours in United States of America, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Sacramento or Joshua Tree National Park?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Joshua Tree National Park is $152, while the average daily cost in Sacramento is $281. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Joshua Tree National Park and Sacramento in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Joshua Tree National Park $87
    Sacramento $111
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Joshua Tree National Park $174
    Sacramento $222
Compare Hotels in Joshua Tree National Park and Sacramento

Looking for a hotel in Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Joshua Tree National Park


Hotels in Sacramento


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Sacramento Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Joshua Tree National Park $47
    Sacramento $51

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sacramento

Also for Sacramento, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Sacramento Airport to Northstar/Squaw Valley - Arrival Transfer: $218
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $219
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Arrival Private Transfer: $110
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Mammoth Mountain - Arrival Transfer: $294
  • Round Trip Private Transfer in Sacramento Airport to Calistoga: $294

Is it cheaper to fly into Joshua Tree National Park or Sacramento?

Prices for flights to both Sacramento and Joshua Tree National Park change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Joshua Tree National Park $35
    Sacramento $53

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sacramento

For Sacramento, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Historic Old Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $95
  • Midtown Sacramento Arts and Food Tour: $98
  • Downtown Sacramento Historical Food Tour: $98
  • Midtown Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $125
  • Midtown Walking Food Tour: $145
  • Italian Cooking and Dance Class Experience: $160

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Joshua Tree National Park $27
    Sacramento $19

Tours and Activities in Sacramento

For Sacramento, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Auburn to Placerville: $12
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Jackson to Angels Camp: $12
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Placerville to Jackson: $12
  • Davis Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Delta's History and Wine: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $12
  • Downtown Sacramento Mural and Art Walking Tour : $45
  • Driving in Delta’s Wine Country: Private Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • Folsom Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Full-Day Boarding Experience Wakeboard,Wakesurf,orKneeboard: $850
  • Gold Rush and Ghosts of Sacramento Smart Phone guided (App/GPS) Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Half Day Boarding Experience Wakeboard,Wakesurf,or Kneeboard: $425
  • Historic Folsom: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Joshua Tree National Park $4.93
    Sacramento $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Sacramento

Also in Sacramento, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Sacramento Bar Hunt: Sacramento Sprint Bar Crawl: $12
  • Placer County Wine Tasting Pass: $19
  • Wine Tasting Audio Tour - Lodi California: $35
  • Cider and Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch - near Sacramento: $125


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Joshua Tree National Park and Sacramento, we can see that Sacramento is more expensive. And not only is Joshua Tree National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Joshua Tree National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Joshua Tree National Park and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Sacramento would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sacramento than you might in Joshua Tree National Park.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Joshua Tree National Park Expensive? and Is Sacramento Expensive?.