Eastern California’s Mojave Desert.
One of the world’s hottest places, Death Valley’s name is off-putting, but its colorful scenery isn’t. Located within the Mojave Desert, the valley is filled with sculpted dunes, salt pans, and canyons. Pack a few gallons of water and then get your bearings at the visitor’s center. Head south along California Route 190 to Dante’s View to see the lowest point in the U.S. and the Panamint Range, before recharging at the area’s landmark hotel.
Borax Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch
Tour the little museum, home to the 20-mule teams that hauled the heavy mineral.
The Forty Niner Café at the Furnace Creek Ranch
The restaurant is a slice of Americana, serving biscuits and gravy, date shakes, and burgers.
Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort
The stucco buildings with orange tiled roofs have been recently updated and are set around a lush garden of date and fan palms near a warm-spring-fed pool.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is the hottest and driest of the national parks in the U.S., and the largest in the lower 48 states. Over 800,000 visitors come annually, many to bird watch the more 200 species that have been spotted here.