16 Incredible Things to Do in Death Valley National Park for 2023

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Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the USA and is located in the sunny state of California. In fact, it’s most well-known for being the hottest place on Earth. With a name as foreboding as Death Valley, you might be in two minds about whether or not to visit.

Despite its name and reputation, Death Valley is absolutely worth visiting. Its landscape is so varied and unique, with desert on one side and mountains on the other.

It also has a salt basin and a volcanic crater, as well as a strange natural phenomenon that causes the rocks to move with no gravitational cause – spooky!

If you’re thinking of visiting Death Valley, but you’re not sure what to do, don’t fret. In this guide, we’ve listed all the top things to do in Death Valley, as well as shared some valuable tips and advice to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

Our Experience of Death Valley National Park

Badwater Basin salt flats Death Valley

We didn’t know there were so many incredible things to do in Death Valley National Park until after our two-day visit. Now we know this is not just a place you drive through on your way to other California destinations!

After five months of desert travel and daily hikes, I was dragging my feet about visiting Death Valley National Park California.

The pool around our Las Vegas RV Park was way more enticing.

I had just spent two days cleaning our travel trailer and removing all the red mud and dust Utah covered her in. I was not excited about adding a fresh new layer of dust, this time white and yellow.

We attempted to visit Death Valley NP a couple of months earlier in the winter, but the RV parks were full and we had no boondocking capabilities (solar power) then so we skipped it.

Now that we can dry camp, we have more options!

We were looking for a few days to fill in before visiting Yosemite National Park and when we checked the weather report we saw the perfect opportunity to explore all the top things to do in Death Valley National Park.

visit death valley national park
Driving through Death Valley toward Badwater Basin on Badwater Road

It was pretty much on the way to Yosemite from Las Vegas, AND for the two days, we were looking at going, the weather dropped from the low 100s to the low 80s.

There wouldn’t be another perfect opportunity. So we took it, still with feet dragging.

Boy did they perk up once I kicked my shoes off and walked onto the salt flats of Badwater Basin in Death Valley.

What is Special About Death Valley National Park?

And what is Death Valley National Park known for? Death Valley is the hottest, driest, and lowest National Park in the USA.

High on the cliff face (282 ft. high) at Badwater Basin was a white plaque with huge capitals denoting SEA LEVEL. We were standing in the lowest part of North America.

That’s right the Death Valley elevation at Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level – just one of the cool Death Valley facts!

It was a thrill level I was not anticipating. How could we have almost passed up that opportunity?

And Death Valley California has the highest temperature ever recorded 134 degree Fahrenheit (57 degree Celsius) on July 10, 1913.

I’m surprised we haven’t seen higher recorded since then, but, 2016 and 2017 have claimed the hottest average temperatures in Death Valley Park history. In July of 2021, the highest recorded temperature was 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4°C).

We certainly know the earth is heating up.

death valley national park with kids
Sign just before entering the Furnace Creek area

The death of this valley is sandwiched – by two mountain ranges – and you are heading deep into a bowl here.

Any upcoming earthquake has the potential to make this valley a little lower and a little hotter.

I don’t know why we think nature has finished her creation. It’s always moving and changing, so subtly as it has for millions of years. We barely notice the progress to more exquisite beauty but it’s there.

It was not that hot when we visited, but possibly the windiest. It did a good job of nearly knocking us off our feet, but at least it cooled things down a little.

The hottest, driest, and lowest part of the continent didn’t stop wowing and surprising us for the remainder of our stay.

It was definitely the perfect way to finish five months in the desert and transition into the green forest world of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

Things to Do in Death Valley National Park

ARtists drive death valley
Gorgeous scenery along Artists Drive

If you don’t know what to do in Death Valley, it is a place where you don’t need to do too much for it to quickly become one of your favorite USA national parks.

There are no crazy hiking adventures like Angels Landing in Zion National Park. Really all that is required of you is to open your eyes and admire the views.

Its beauty is startling.

I love how it’s an easy national park to explore, doesn’t have hordes of people, and doesn’t require much other than a few footsteps from your car to the viewpoint.

You can even wear flip-flops for most of the journey. Given that we’d just spent weeks of hiking, it was a welcome experience for us.

Death Valley trails are there if you want them, but you want to be extra cautious if you are visiting in the hot summer months. It is not wise to hike after 10am and many signs around the park will remind you of this.

1. Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley
One of the best views in America

If you only stop to see Zabriskie Point on your visit, then driving through Death Valley is worthwhile. It is one of the most surreal landscapes I have ever seen.

Ripples of white, yellow, mauve, pink, and chocolate sand dunes frozen in time stretch out in front of you with a purple sandy river running through it and the snow-capped Panamint Mountain ranges in the background.

You can even see the salt flats down in the valley below.

The colors, shapes, and textures are simply breathtaking and mind-blowing. Perhaps we’ll invent a new word to express that. Let’s call it The Zabriskie.

The ranger told us it was best at sunrise. Lonely Planet had a photo that showed a Death Valley sunset from here so we followed the travel bible – it was extraordinary at sunset.

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley
Stay awhile. It”s extraordinary

I do think sunrise at Zabriskie Point would be worth doing as well. We visited about two hours after sunrise the next day and it gave us another beautiful perspective. This time we could see the mountains and salt flats as the sun was shining on them.

Sunrise was just a little too early for us to get there with the kids (5:30am).

Either way, put this on your list of the best things to do in Death Valley National Park.

2. Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin, Death Valley salt flats
Some of the fun for kids in Death Valley

As mentioned, Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America, and a Death Valley must-see on your first visit!

This is where you can walk out on the salt flats and see the hexagonal honeycomb shapes. I don’t think we visited at the right time, or walked out far enough to see those, but it was still an incredible place to explore and walk bare feet on – although by far the windiest place we visited in Death Valley!

But we did witness devils golf course – an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires!

Badwater Death Valley consists of a small natural pool of undrinkable water next to the gravel road in a sink, and the accumulated salt crystals of the surrounding basin make it undrinkable, thus giving it the name.

Adjacent to the pool, where water is not always present at the surface, repeated freeze–thaw and evaporation cycles gradually push the thin salt crust into hexagonal honeycomb shapes.

As this area gets less than two inches of rain annually and no water can flow out of the basin, the water evaporates leaving behind mineral deposits that cover the basin like a salty dusting of snow.

Salt flats Death Valley
Kick off your shoes and soak up the salt

Badwater Basin is centrally located in the National Park and very popular, and the parking lot fills quickly.

Be sure to follow the warnings about hiking during the extreme temperatures of summer, so go early morning and bring lots of water!

But definitely add this to your list of top things to see in Death Valley National Park!

3. Dante’s View

Dantes View Death Valley
Don’t miss Dante’s View

Dante’s View is a little off the path, but totally worth it.

It’s a paved road the entire way although the last section contains steep switchbacks and is not fit for long RVs. There are parking bays to unhook and leave your trailers if needed.

As the road climbed the mountain, the stark desert landscape turned a little lush.

Dante’s View will give you the BEST bird’s eye view of Death Valley. You really don’t want to miss it. You’ll get the swirling whites and muted browns of the salt basin deep in the valley that stretches for miles.

It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and is a Death Valley must see!

It is way cooler up at Dante’s Viewpoint too – we had to burst out the jacket from under the car seat. It was a welcome relief from the desert heat.

If you visit Death Valley National Park in the winter, be sure to pack your scarves and beanies.

4. Artists Drive

Artists Drive Death Valley
Look at that beautiful new scenic drive

Artists Drive Death Valley is one of the most unique scenic drives I’ve ever experienced.

I felt like it’s where they got the inspiration for the Cars Ride at Disneyland.

At one point we were on a narrow section of the Death Valley dirt road driving around the foothills of the mountains. The mountains rose steeply up on another side of us, dwarfing even our F250.

This one-way paved road is called the Artist Drive for a reason, the mountain faces look like someone had thrown splashes of paint all over them, prompting the naming of one section to be the artist’s palette.

Now we’d seen enough color in Southern Utah to question the validity of the name of this drive before we went on it, but we can definitely verify that it has earned that title.

We saw most colors in Utah, but rarely so many shades of blue on the rocks.

Views on Artist Drive Death Valley
More incredible views

There are two sections on this 9-mile Death Valley National Park scenic drive you can jump out at to look more closely at the palettes of color.

We were SO lucky to have arrived the day after they opened this drive. Apparently, it had been closed for years!! As it was all new, the road was pristine dark black which just made the landscape pop even more.

I was so grateful that our trip to Death Valley had been delayed for a couple of months, otherwise, we would have missed this.

What is the saying, God’s delays are not God’s denials? Trust in what the delays will bring you.

5. Golden Canyon Hike

Golden Canyon Death Valley
Beautiful hike through Golden Canyon

We had a stuff up when it came to hiking the Golden Canyon.

We’ve been great at training the girls since they were born to be responsible travelers – that is pack their own bags, dress, pack snacks, etc. If they forget then they manage boredom or hunger and won’t forget the next time.

Usually, we’re good at checking them though.

We didn’t when we jumped in the car for our afternoon of exploring Death Valley NP.

Savannah somehow thought it was good to explore the hottest place in the world with no shoes!!! It worked fine at the salt flats – even better to walk barefoot – and we weren’t expecting to hike anywhere.

Then we stumbled upon Golden Canyon, and with time on our side decided to check it out. A 3-mile return rocky path was no match for bare feet.

We found a pair of Kalyra’s muddy boots in the car and put them on her feet. They kept falling off until we thought of rolling down the tops of the boots. It helped them stay on her feet but it wasn’t so comfortable for her.

We plowed through the walk, but only a short way in before turning around and ending her torture.

The Golden Canyon is BEAUTIFUL and one of the best hikes in Death Valley! You can also combine it with the Gower Gulch and Badlands Loop

Golden Canyon hike
Gorgeous Golden Canyon hike

I loved the silence and stillness here and the changing colors and shapes of the rock. It was so quiet you could hear the swooshing of the raven’s wings as it flew down the canyon quite high above our heads.

The 1.5 miles in leads to the red cathedral, which is where we were hoping to go.

You can go further and hike 2.5 miles all the way to Zabriskie’s Point, which is on my bucket list of top things to do in Death Valley National Park for when we come back!

I couldn’t imagine how beautiful that walk would be and if you could time it at sunset it would be incredible.

You’d need someone to meet you there or be willing to hike it back. But definitely put this on your Death Valley National Park hiking list!

6. Salt Creek Trailhead

Salt Creek Trailhead Death Valley things to do
Such a pretty walk in Death Valley (easy for kids)

I read that the Salt Creek Trailhead is one of the good places to go in Death Valley National Park for families, so decided to check it out but wasn’t expecting too much.

We are quite adventurous and go on many challenging hikes, boardwalks usually feel quite sedate to me, but once again Death Valley wowed me.

The Salt Creek Trailhead is a special part of Death Valley NP not to miss. It is only a mile off the main road and offers proof that the desert is full of life.

A creek runs through this valley and either side of it is filled with a green brush.

In the background are white and pastel yellow cliffs making it so striking.

As far as Death Valley National Park hikes go, the boardwalk is only 1/2 mile in total and is flat and wheelchair accessible.

The kids will love looking at the rare pupfish darting around in the water. They look like tadpoles. Their frenetic rush is their need to feed and breed before their one-year lifespan is up.

7. Mesquite Sand Dunes

Mesquite sand dunes - fun things to do in death valley with kids
Fun thing for kids to do in Death Valley

This is one of the most popular things to do in Death Valley National Park.

We arrived at the wrong time to experience the Mesquite Sand dunes – we couldn’t time everything perfectly.

We visited on the way out of the western entrance to the national park and arrived at the same time as hundreds of French tourists on buses. No offense to them as we’re tourists as well wanting the same things they are, but it did mean a lot of people making tracks in the sand. At least you had a nice language to listen to in the background!

It was also the middle of the day so pretty hot and sunlight was harsh for photos and the dunes were well trampled.

You can walk out to the highest sand dune which is a mile away in the distance. A mile is an easy walk on the flat but up and over sand dunes makes it a different kind of trail, especially in the HEAT.

Considering the Death Valley National Park sand dunes were the very last thing we were going to do after 5 months in the desert, we were happy to just stand and watch.

Sand dunes in death valley
Get here early – Death Valley NP tip

Your kids will love playing in the sand dunes here. The girls were, even more, desert tired than me and were in no mood for sand dune play.

Come early in the morning or evening. Sunset is meant to be wonderful here. I’d time it for then if you can.

It’s a fair way from the other Death Valley attractions near the Furnace Creek area so that may impact your timing.

8. Wildlife Spotting in Death Valley

Coyote, Death Valley

Just because the word DEATH is in the title, doesn’t mean there ain’t no life in this valley.

Look closely and you’ll find Death Valley animals.

We had a coyote running across the main road (and causing a few traffic delays) just outside our campsite in Furnace Creek.

And we also saw a cute and unique chuckwalla lizard at Mesquite sand dunes.

We especially loved seeing this one after learning about it from the ranger when the girls did their Junior Ranger pledge. It gets in between two rocks and puffs up so its predators can’t snatch it away.

I LOVE nature! We loved watching it do little push-ups.

One of my favorite things to see in Death Valley National Park was when a raven came flying above us down the canyon. You will see and hear a lot of ravens swooshing their wings. That is a silence to appreciate.

We also enjoyed seeing the pupfish in Salt Creek. You have to admire something that can survive in all that salty water.

Enjoy these little reminders that the desert – even the hottest ones in the world – hold life.

In addition to those desert animals we saw, Death Valley NP also has scorpions, road runners, kit foxes, rattlesnakes, kangaroo rats, and bats.

9. Become a Junior Ranger

Junior Ranger Program Death Valley
Our kids did the Junior Ranger pledge

You probably already know that we love the >Junior Ranger program created by the National Park service.

It does make a difference to your child’s appreciation of the environment they are interacting in. Not to mention how much they’ll learn.

Head to the >Death Valley National Park Visitor Center at Furnace Creek to pick up your booklets and return when finished to say your pledge and get your badges.

As my girls learned more about the desert with the ranger and said their pledge, I felt so grateful a program like this exists to teach our kids to protect Mother Nature.

I have hope for the generation we are raising. They are privy to so much more information, experiences, and people working hard to make changes happen.

They grow up knowing that taking care of the planet is just something we do.

10. Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater is an incredible sight to see in Death Valley National Park. The crater is over 700 feet deep and almost 0.5 miles in diameter, making it one of the largest in the world. It’s also one of the youngest craters, as it’s estimated to only be 2,100 years old.

Though it’s technically an active volcano, the risk of it erupting is very low.

The hike around the crater is fairly easy, making it accessible for most hikers. You can view the crater from the parking lot, but you can walk around the entire rim of the crater, where you’ll find some great spots for photos.

If you’re looking for an amazing day trip in Death Valley National Park, be sure to visit Ubehebe Crater. The sights are incredible, and it’s a great way to explore one of the most stunning areas in the country.

11. Racetrack Playa

racetrack playa death valley
dry mud crack in racetrack playa in death valley national park

Racetrack Playa is a dry lake bed that is flat and featureless, making it perfect for testing the theory that stones can move across the surface on their own.

The rocks have been observed moving for years, but no one knows how they do it. Some people believe that the wind is responsible, while others think that the rocks are moved by ice particles or water. No one has been able to provide a definitive answer, but it’s still an interesting place to visit.

Though it’s named a racetrack, driving off-road is strictly prohibited. We also don’t recommend driving along here if you have a high clearance vehicle as the road is a bit challenging to drive on.

12. Mosaic Canyon

mosaic canyon

Mosaic Canyon is one of the most beautiful and unique places in Death Valley National Park. The canyon is lined with colorful, vitreous rocks that have been eroded by wind and water over time, creating a spectacular mosaic-like effect.

It’s a great place to explore on foot, as there is a 4 mi (6.4km) out-and-back hiking trail that runs through the middle of the canyon. There are plenty of informative signs along the way to help you learn about the canyon’s history and geology.

The hike is labeled moderate to difficult because after about 2km a big boulder disrupts the path, and only adventurous hikers squeeze between the gaps to get around it.

If you’re visiting Death Valley National Park, be sure to put Mosaic Canyon on your list of must-see destinations. You won’t be disappointed!

13. Twenty Mule Team Canyon

Twenty Mule Team Canyon is a beautiful and serene place, named for the twenty mule teams that used to transport borax out of the area.

The canyon is a great place to drive through on your way to Zabriskie Point.

The canyon, also referred to as the badlands, is known for its colorful and unique rock formations. They have been the setting for many blockbuster movies such as Star Wars Episode VI.

If you’re a fan of Star Wars movies, this is a great place to drive through and stop to take photos of you pretending to be a Jedi!

14. Scotty’s Castle

scotty's castle

Scotty’s Castle is a must-see attraction in Death Valley National Park. This Spanish colonial villa was named after gold prospector Walter E. Scott, though he never lived there. Nor is the building actually a castle, more of a mansion with some castle-like features.

It was built in the 1920s by Chicago millionaire Albert Mussey Johnson who was conned into investing in Scott’s gold mine in the Death Valley area. Though the mine turned out to be fraudulent, Johnson and Scott became good friends and so the building was named after him.

The building was built as the vacation home for Johnson and his wife, and they visited several times. But sadly they died without heirs, so the villa was taken over by the National Park Service in 1970.

The castle is a beautiful example of Spanish architecture and is full of intricate details. The grounds are also worth exploring, with gardens, and ponds.

If you’re visiting Death Valley National Park, be sure to add Scotty’s Castle to your list of things to see. It’s amazing to see how someone would want to build such a lavish mansion in this arid landscape.

15. Darwin Falls Hike

The Darwin Falls hike in Death Valley National Park is a great hike for hikers of all levels. The hike is around 2 miles round trip and is relatively easy, making it a perfect hike for families or beginner hikers.

The trail follows a beautiful stream and shrubbery that leads to the spectacular Darwin Falls. As you hike, you have to cross many streams (yes, that’s right, in the desert there are streams) and pass through plenty of shade.

In the Spring, you’ll see wildflowers bloom along the trail, which is certainly the best time to visit.

The waterfall is a great place to take a break and enjoy the beauty of nature. You cannot swim in the falls as they are a source of drinking water in the area. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no services along the way.

16. Hike to Telescope Peak

views from telescope peak

For those serious hikers, Telescope Peak is a must-hike in Death Valey. It’s the highest point in the National Park and is even known to have snow at the top!

Telescope Peak is a strenuous hike but offers stunning views of the park’s salt flats, canyons, and mountains. At 11,043ft, this is one of the best places to visit in the park for sunrise since it offers views over most of the park (hence the name, Telescope Peak). You can see as far as Joshua Tree Forest on a clear day.

The peak can be reached by way of two trails: the shorter but more difficult Mosaic Canyon Trail or the longer but less steep Saline Valley Route. No matter which route you choose, make sure to allow plenty of time to reach the summit, as it can take several hours even for experienced hikers.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of this unique and beautiful park.

Important Things to Know Before You Go to Death Valley

Before you visit Death Valley, here are some important words of advice and things you need to know.

  1. Fill up your gas tank before you get there. This is NOT one of the things to do in Death Valley as the gas prices are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. It’s verging on price gouging. At Furnace Creek, it was $6.20 per gallon of diesel fuel. Note that gas in California is way more expensive than anywhere else but really $6.20?? Apparently, the gas at Stovepipe Wells Village is cheaper but they don’t have diesel. We found cheaper diesel at Trona ($3.79 a gallon) when we made it there with 30 miles left in the tank and filled her up. We only put $30 in at the rip-off gas station just to get us out of the park!,
  2. Death Valley NP gets very HOT. Be sure to drink plenty of water, carry salty snacks, and explore in the cooler morning and evening hours.
  3. Plan your Death Valley itinerary carefully to avoid excess mileage – see point 1.
  4. Many of the Death Valley National Park campgrounds close during the summer months!
  5. Many of the roads to attractions will often be closed due to weather damage. Almost all roads off the main one were closed when we visited, which reduced our off-the-beaten-path adventures but also see point 1.
  6. In the summer, you can head to the surrounding mountains for a cooler experience. Always check with the rangers to see what is opened and closed.
  7. Death Valley is a Gold Rated International Dark Sky Park. It was a full moon when we visited so not ideal for star gazing. The best places for stargazing are said to be: Badwater Basin, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and Harmony Borax Works. Just make sure to check whether it will be a clear night sky before visiting.
  8. We didn’t see any rattlesnakes, but we met someone in Sedona who said they had never seen so many rattlesnakes as in Death Valley. Watch where you put your hands and feet.
  9. Cell phone service is unreliable. We had limited Wi-Fi throughout the park with Verizon.
  10. Entrance fees are $30 for 7 days per vehicle. If you plan to visit several national parks in the USA, an annual National Parks Pass is a MUST. It will cost you $80 for the year saving you hundreds of dollars with unlimited access to federal lands without having to pay individual park entrance fees.

Here is another unique and mystical place in California: Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve near Yosemite.

Planning a Trip to Death Valley

Below you will find some helpful tips and advice for planning your trip to Death Valley, from how to get there, how to organize your trip, and finding places to stay.

Where is Death Valley National Park?

What state is Death Valley in? It is mostly in southwestern California, east of the Sierra Nevada, although a small portion extends into Nevada’s Bullfrog Hills.

How to Get to Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is easily accessible from Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The main road transecting Death Valley National Park from east to west is California Highway 190.

  • Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park: 123 miles (approx 2 hrs)
  • Los Angeles to Death Valley: 215 miles (approx 3.45 hrs)
  • San Diego to Death Valley National Park: 283 miles (approx 4.45 hrs)
  • Yosemite to Death Valley National Park: 245 miles (approx 4 hrs)
  • Sequoia National Park to Death Valley: 268 miles (approx 4.45 hrs)
  • Bakersfield to Death Valley National Park: 174 miles (approx 3 hrs)

How Long Do You Need at Death Valley?

Death valley scenic drive
On the road out towards Bakersfield

If you’re coming in for the day, then we recommend an early start and late finish and staying overnight. That way you’ll have ample time to do everything at the right times.

To see all the Death Valley attractions, I think we planned almost the perfect itinerary. So I’ll share that with you.

Your timing will change depending on the sunset time when you visit, and the direction from where you enter and leave the park from.

We arrived from Las Vegas via Hwy 95 in the afternoon and then exited towards Bakersfield via Hwy 190 the next day after lunch.

Death Valley Itinerary

Assuming you arrive mid-afternoon on the first day, these are the attractions we suggest you see for a full day at Death Valley.

Day 1:

  • Badwater Basin
  • Artists Drive
  • Golden Canyon
  • Sunset at Zabriskie’s point

Day 2:

  • Sunrise at Zabriskie’s Point
  • Dante’s View
  • Sand Trail Interpretive Walk
  • Mesquite Sand Dunes

Can You Visit Death Valley as a Day Trip from Las Vegas?

You could, but it would be a very long day and quite rushed. I’d recommend doing it like we did. Arrive in the afternoon, stay the night and leave the next day after lunch.

If you don’t have your own vehicle, RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest rental car booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

For RV Rentals, check RVShare if you want to rent a unique campervan or RV and explore further afield.

You can easily combine Death Valley with other California national parks and incredible places to visit in California.

Here are some other Las Vegas day trip ideas instead.

Where to Stay in Death Valley

We recommend staying in Furnace Creek, especially if you are short on time.

It’s closer to the main attractions in Death Valley as I’ve listed above. And it’s situated in a somewhat shady and pretty oasis area. You will get more relief from the heat here.

Stovepipe Wells Village will offer you a more secluded experience and is right near the sand dunes, however, it is pretty much out in the open heat of the desert. In winter it won’t matter too much.

Camping in Death Valley

Death Valley camping
We stayed at Fiddler’s Campground

From my research, you’ll typically be able to find Death Valley National Park camping spots available.

However, if you’re on a Southwest Road trip and require RV hookups you’ll want to reserve in advance as they are few and far between.

The National Park has a few campgrounds. Prices are $14-$16 and $36 for hookups. And all except Furnace Creek are first come first served.

Furnace Creek Campground – open year-round, but was closed when we visited for some reason. First come first served during summer (mid-April to mid-Oct) Reservations are strongly recommended over winter months. Has a few hookup sites.

  • Sunset: Closed in summer. Back in sites.
  • Texas Springs: Closed summer. First come, first served.
  • There is one in Stovepipe Wells: Closed summer.
  • Mesquite Spring: open year round.
  • Emigrant: tent camping only. Open year-round
  • Wildrose: open year round. 25gft limit
  • Thorndike: Open March – Nov. 25 ft limit
  • Mahogany Flat: open March- Nov. 25 ft length

Get more details about camping in Death Valley here

Private Campgrounds

  • Fiddler’s Campground ($24). Open year round. Fiddlers gives you access to the Oasis at Death Valley swimming pool and showers. You can also use their restaurant facilities. It’s adjacent to the Oasis and the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
  • Stovepipe Wells RV Park – Open all year round. Hookups available ($34)
  • Panamint Springs – Open all year. Hookups available ($35) $20 dry camping. It’s at higher elevation so will be cooler. We had friends stay here and recommended it.

There are boondocking spots outside of Death Valley plus a few other RV parks if you get stuck.

There is also a cool spot we found on Harvest Host just outside the park. You have to be a Harvest Host member to get access to that though (perfect for long-term RVers and boondockers).

Hotels in Death Valley

Death Valley Inn
Inn at Death Valley

The Oasis at Death Valley is one resort with two distinct Death Valley National Park hotels.

The historic, serene, and peaceful Four Diamond Inn at Death Valley. And the family-friendly, adventure-focused Ranch at Death Valley

If I was to stay at hotels in Death Valley, it would be here. I loved its setting on the hill surrounded by desert palms and overlooking the salt flats and furnace creek.

For a full list of hotels near Death Valley National Park, Booking.com has over 20 properties to choose from.

Before You Go

So there you have it, those are the best things to do in Death Valley National Park, and as you can see, there’s a lot to explore here.

Before you go, be sure to take lots and lots of water and sun protection with you. As the hottest place on Earth, you’re going to need it!

Tours of Death Valley

If you can’t get yourself to Death Valley, consider doing a Death Valley tour from Las Vegas. Below are tour options:

Places to Visit near Death Valley

Looking for more places to visit in the USA near Death Valley? Start with these posts:

Tips on More National Parks in the USA

Are you planning to visit more national parks in the USA? Then you might find these guides useful!

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I hope this guide to things to do in Death Valley National Park helps you plan your trip? If you still have any questions about what to see in Death Valley, leave a comment below.

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