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

Should you visit Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park?

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 Yosemite National Park 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 unique, fascinating, and adventurous national park. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include hiking.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a popular, world-famous, and stunning national park. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It's also popular because of the hiking.

Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to El Capitan


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

Travelers will usually find more to do in Yosemite National Park. Although Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park are popular destinations, Yosemite National Park has more sights and attractions for tourists. Yosemite National Park is very popular for its food, resorts, and impressive beauty, while Joshua Tree National Park attracts visitors for its museums, nightlife, and shopping. Yosemite National Park is more touristy than Joshua Tree National Park and is popular for its stunning hikes, giant Sequoias, breathtaking vistas, and the granite cliffs of Half Dome. It is also well known for El Capitan. Joshua Tree National Park is famous for its unique vegetation and large boulders.

How is Joshua Tree National Park different from Yosemite National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Yosemite National Park 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 Yosemite National Park?

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a moderate national park for its sights and museums. However, Yosemite National Park does not have museums and landmarks.

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.

Yosemite National Park does not have museums and landmarks.


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

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a decent place to visit for its restaurants. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

Yosemite National Park may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. There are a few varied restaurants in the park that offer casual food or packaged meals that you can take away. The food is generally expensive and not always the best, so you'll likely enjoy packing your own picnic food to enjoy within the park.

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 Yosemite National Park Better for Nightlife?

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is not a good place to visit for its evening party scene. However, Yosemite National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

People don't go to Joshua Tree National Park for the nightlife. Stargazing and gathering around campfires are the most popular activities during the evening.

Yosemite National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park Better for Resorts?

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a very popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Joshua Tree National Park is not a resort destination.

In Yosemite National Park, you'll find some of the region's top resorts. There are several grand hotels and lodges within the park. Reservations are a must, especially if you're traveling during peak seasons.

Joshua Tree National Park is not a resort destination.


Is Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park Better for Hiking?

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Both Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park are destinations which offer terrific hiking.

Around Joshua Tree National Park visitors will find world-class hiking 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.

Yosemite National Park is well-known for its hiking and trekking. This park has many famous hikes that take you by Half Dome, near Yosemite Falls, and through breathtaking landscapes. Popular hikes in the area include Mist Trail to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall and Mirror Lake Trail.

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

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is not a good place to visit for its shopping areas. However, Yosemite National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

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.

Yosemite National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park Better for Families?

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Both Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park are excellent to visit with kids.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Joshua Tree National Park. 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.

Yosemite National Park is a very family-friendly place to visit. This park has many hikes, climbs, and activities that kids of all ages can enjoy. When the weather's warm the kids will enjoy getting wet in Merced River. They'll also be impressed by the giant sequoias and the beautiful waterfalls. In the evening the staff host ranger programs that are fun and educational for everyone. The park also has kid-friendly camping and lodges.


Is Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park Better for Couples?

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Both Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park are excellent destinations for a couple's getaway.

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.

Couples visit Yosemite National Park frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples who enjoy nature, rock climbing, hiking, and being outside will enjoy a visit to this park. There is an endless supply of romantic views and fun-filled activities that are perfect for avid hikers or those looking for a more relaxing travel experience.

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

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park are both terrific destinations for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Joshua Tree National Park, as it is a very popular national park for budget travelers. There are campgrounds and hiking trails that are popular with backpackers and nature enthusiasts.

Yosemite National Park is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. Campgrounds and back country trails make this area a backpacker's paradise.

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

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a national park with good options for times when you don't have a car. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Yosemite National Park has some public transit options. There is a free bus service that travels around Yosemite Valley.

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 Yosemite National Park a more walkable city?

Joshua Tree National Park
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park 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.

Yosemite National Park is generally not a very walkable national park. The park is large and a car is necessary to reach many places within the park.

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 Yosemite National Park Worth Visiting?.

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

How long in Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park?

Both Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Yosemite National Park than in Joshua Tree National Park. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Joshua Tree National Park, and 3-7 days is enough time in Yosemite National Park.

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

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


  • How many days in Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Joshua Tree National Park 2-4 
    Yosemite National Park 3-7

One day in Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park?

The national park of Joshua Tree National Park offers . Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Visitors enjoy the when visiting the breathtaking national park of Yosemite National Park. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A weekend in Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park?

The adventurous destination of Joshua Tree National Park offers . This national park offers something for everyone. It is common to spend a weekend here. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Visitors enjoy the when visiting the destination of Yosemite National Park. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people visit for the hiking. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.


Five days in Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Joshua Tree National Park. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Yosemite National Park is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have five days, this national park makes for a great vacation. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here. It offers something for everyone.

A week in Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park?

Joshua Tree National Park is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the when visiting the destination of Joshua Tree National Park. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Yosemite National Park is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. Most people visit for the hiking. One week is usually enough time to experience most activities. 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, Yosemite National Park 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 Yosemite National Park is $129. 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 Yosemite National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Joshua Tree National Park $87
    Yosemite National Park $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Joshua Tree National Park $174
    Yosemite National Park $128
Compare Hotels in Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park

Looking for a hotel in Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park? 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 Yosemite National Park


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: Yosemite National Park Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Joshua Tree National Park $47
    Yosemite National Park $41

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

Prices for flights to both Yosemite National Park 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
    Yosemite National Park $40

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

Tours and Activities in Yosemite National Park

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Yosemite National Park are as follows:

  • Big Trees Hike & Riverside Cookout Adventure: $180
  • El Capitan, Yosemite: A Rock Climber's Odyssey - Private Tour: $295
  • Family Fun Private Half Day Fly Fishing Adventure: $215
  • Private Guided Hiking Tour in Yosemite: $293
  • Semi Private Yosemite Tour with Ahwahnee Lunch and Hotel Pickup: $250
  • Waterfalls of Yosemite: Customizable Private Tour: $446
  • Yosemite Full Day Small Group High Country / Mariposa Tour: $299
  • Yosemite Highlights Small Group Tour: $200
  • Yosemite Panorama Trail Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Yosemite Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Yosemite Valley & Glacier Point Adaptive Tour: $180
  • Yosemite Valley Full Day Small Group Tour : $299

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Joshua Tree National Park $4.93
    Yosemite National Park $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park, we can see that Joshua Tree National Park is more expensive. And not only is Yosemite National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Yosemite National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Yosemite 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 Joshua Tree National Park would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Joshua Tree National Park than you might in Yosemite 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 Yosemite National Park Expensive?.