Twentynine Palms was initially settled mostly by homesteaders, many of whom were veterans of World War 1. Today the town owes much of its existence/prosperity to Joshua Tree National Park and the large Marine Base here. Twentynine Palms acknowledges that with a nice little Veterans Park with several monuments to those who have served in the nation's military and especially those who have paid the ultimate price.
There is another neat museum in town; The Old School Museum. The establishment of the school was somewhat controversial and the Superintendent of Schools refused to fund it. In 1927, the Campbell Family donated 5 acres of their homestead for the school and $300 was raised for materials and construction. Today that school is preserved as a museum. Hours are 1 PM to 4 PM WWednesday through Sunday September to May and 1 PM to 4 PM June through August. Admission is Free.
Twentynine Palms bills itself as an "oasis of murals"; and there are certainly quite a few of them around town. Some of the murals depict scenes from the history of the town and since the town has a very large US Marine Corps Base, many are in support of the military. Mural 1 depicts a flash flood that damaged the town in the mid 1900s; Mural 2 is dedicated to Bill and Thelma Smith, early homesteaders who developed several businesses and sites on their property to assist their neighbors and for the amusement of the townspeople; Mural 3 honors the importance of the cattle industry to the town; Mural 4 honors Jack Cones "The Flying Constable"; and Mural 5 honors the U.S. Marine Corps.
Historic Plaza is dedicated to the story of two couples that were integral to the early history of Twentynine Palms; Frank and Helen Bagley who homesteaded here in 1927 and Bill and Ada Hatch who surveyed the town and started many town necessities like the first bank, first school and the first church.
A good first stop in Twentynine Palms is the Visitors Center where you can get information about area attractions, accommodations, dining, and other information to help you plan your visit. The lady I met here was friendly and helpful. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday and 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday.
The Joshua Tree National Park houses a surprisingly diverse plant and animal life. The main attraction, of course is the Joshua Tree itself (Yucca brevifolia). Additionally, there is the landscape which was shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place. You would need to spend a few days here to fully explore the park. If your time is limited you may want to consider limiting yourself to the main park roads. There are a number of pullouts with wayside exhibits all along these roads. There are 12 self-guiding nature trails, and you may want to experience at least one of these walks. Keys View, depending on the weather, offersspectacular views including the San Andreas Fault and on really clear days views beyond Salton Sea to Mexico. There are 9 campgrounds and a number of picnic areas in the park. Joshua Tree National Park is also a very popular rock-climbing destination. The park is always open and may be visited anytime of year. Visitation increases as temperatures moderate in the fall, peaks during spring wildflower season, and diminishes during the heat of summer. A 7-Day Vehicle Permit costs $15 and admits the passengers of a single, non-commercial vehicle for the day of purchase and the next six days.
The 29 Palms Murals Project has been ongoing since 1994. There are over twenty murals painted on the outside walls of various buildings in the city. They depict a variety of scenes, from desert wildlife to pioneer life, and from basketball tournaments to homecomings from war for Marines. Not to be missed!
Twentynine Palms is the headquarters of Joshua Tree National Park. The park encompasses two different desert ecosystems, and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, geologic wonders, and its namesake, the Joshua tree.
Twentynine Palms has a nice library where you can research area history, check your e-mail, and catch up with the latest on VT.
Since Twentynine Palms is relatively new, there are not that many buildings in town of historical and/or architectural interest. There are, however, two neat churches.
There is also a special monument to those who trained as Glider Pilots at nearby Condor Field in preparation for combat during World War 2.
There is a special monument to those who are held as Prisoners of War and those still missing in action.
Twentynine Palms has a decent little art museum/art gallery which also houses working artists. Hours are 12 PM to 3 PM Wednesday through Sunday and 12 PM to 3 PM Friday through Sunday in the summer.
The world's largest Marine Corps base at 932 square miles, the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) is the premiere combat training facility for the USMC.