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This spot in Eastern California’s Mojave Desert is the lowest, driest, and hottest area in North America—and got dubbed Death Valley by prospectors traveling through during the Gold Rush. It’s just a two- to three-hour drive from Las Vegas: The faster way is on route 95, but you can take a more scenic look from the 160, where you’ll see the simple beauty of flat plains, valleys and cracked earth.  (You can also easily find 40-minute flights there.) The guided tour from the Visitors Center is well worth the time—particularly for dinosaur fans who will be fascinated by the paleontology tour. Also, don’t miss Scotty’s Castle in Grapevine Canyon, an incredible Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial villa located in an oasis in Grapevine Canyon.

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Death Valley National Park

This spot in Eastern California’s Mojave Desert is the lowest, driest, and hottest area in North America—and got dubbed Death Valley by prospectors traveling through during the Gold Rush. It’s just a two- to three-hour drive from Las Vegas: The faster way is on route 95, but you can take a more scenic look from the 160, where you’ll see the simple beauty of flat plains, valleys and cracked earth.  (You can also easily find 40-minute flights there.) The guided tour from the Visitors Center is well worth the time—particularly for dinosaur fans who will be fascinated by the paleontology tour. Also, don’t miss Scotty’s Castle in Grapevine Canyon, an incredible Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial villa located in an oasis in Grapevine Canyon.