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Death Valley

Farmingville, New...
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Death Valley

I'm planning a trip to Death Valley National Park. How many days do I need and which hotel do I stay in?

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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1. Re: Death Valley

This is an extremely broad question. I’m tempted to say you should spend as much time as you can, because the park is huge (the size of Connecticut) and there is so much to see and do. But that wouldn’t be very helpful.

It would help us to know more about you and your travel style and a little about your overall plans.

- What time of year do you want to come?

- Are you adults only, a family with young children, solo? Any walking limitations or disabilities?

- Are you driving cross country over in your own vehicle (what kind?) or flying to a nearby city and renting a car?

- Are you interested in backcountry exploring (weather and choice of vehicle will be a factor), or seeing the main natural wonders and historic sites? Do you like hiking?

- Is this trip just for Death Valley, or is it part of a larger trip that might include Yosemite, southern California, Las Vegas, and/or Arizona or Utah national parks?

One definite recommendation: stay at a park resort if you can. There are three choices: Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch (2 facilities close together, same owner), Stovepipe Wells Village, and Panamint Springs. There are towns in the area with lodging, but they are not ideal as a base for several days of exploring Death Valley. The closest are Beatty NV and Death Valley Junction CA. We can talk more about all the lodging options when we know more about your plans. But staying outside the park would mean commuting on your vacation, and it would be less convenient to enjoy things like sunrise or sunset in DV, evening nature strolls, early morning wildlife sightings, and so on. A town is a town, so you wouldn’t have a true Death Valley experience.

Once we know more about you and your travel plans, we can be more specific with suggestions. Also, the DVJ forum is for a hamlet just outside the park. Threads here will show up on the Death Valley National Park forum, but you can communicate more directly with us on the DVNP forum.

Seattle
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2. Re: Death Valley

We were at Death Valley 3 days/2 nights 2 years ago and it wasn't long enough. So we're going back for 2 weeks in March!

We stayed the 2 nights at the Furnace Creek Inn. It was expensive and the room wasn't much to speak of, especially for $385/night. The restaurant on the other hand was Fantastic! And the grounds and the pool were very nice, too.

We're going to rent an RV to go back for 2 weeks. As Frisco_Roadrunner says, the park is huge. There is a lot to see and do there. If you just want to drive around and stop the vehicle once in a while for short periods of time, then you can see a lot in just a couple of days. But if you want to spend any time at some of the popular locations (Badwater, Scotty's Castle, Mosaic Canyon, The Dunes, Artist's Palette just to name a few) or take any hikes, then you need more time.

Farmingville, New...
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3. Re: Death Valley

Thank you for your reply.

I was thinking of going between Christmas and New Years. 2 adults. I was going to fly into Las Vegas, rent a suv and drive to Death Valley. There is not much choice in hotels so I was thinking about staying in Beatty, NV.

Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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4. Re: Death Valley

Try to stay in the park if possible. Beatty is not a bad option if the in-park lodging is sold out.

You can rent a jeep at Farrabees in the park if you want to explore dirt roads. Cars rented from the airport are not really allowed to do that.

Edited: 2:31 pm, September 19, 2013
Santa Ana, CA
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5. Re: Death Valley

Mrs. DS and I went to DV one year between Christmas and New Year and stayed at the Stagecoach Inn in Beatty. It worked out fine. It was a little extra driving each day but no big deal. Every place inside the national park was sold out.

Go to the Beatty, Nevada forum and read the posting for the User's Guide to Beatty and it will help out a lot..

Fortaleza, CE
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6. Re: Death Valley

You posted this in the section for Death Valley Junction, a tiny town outside of the park. Thinking of staying there? First step would be to look at the park's Web site http://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm There''s lots of info there, including a section on "Plan Your Visit."

It is a popular time to visit the park. Book early. Weather is generally good, but it can get quite cold at night (we drove to Dante''s View for the great sunrise and were freezing). Since you don't give a budget, I concur with the idea of staying in the park, at the Furnace Creek Ranch, Furnace Creek Inn (pricey) or Stovepipe Wells motel. Not far away, and less expensive, are places in the town of Beatty, Nevada and Panamint Springs, Calif. Death Valley Junction is a bit further away from most attractions.

You do not need an SUV to visit the park. Most roads you'd go on are paved or graded, and suitable for sedans. Most rental companies may prohibit driving on the rough dirt roads you might think you'd need an SUV for. There is a place at Furnace Creek Ranch that rents off-road jeeps.

Edited: 3:58 pm, September 19, 2013
Fortaleza, CE
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7. Re: Death Valley

Beatty would save you money, if you find the rates at Furnace Creek (the "Ranch" motel being far less expensive than the historic Inn) or, the least expensive in-park option, Stovepipe Wells, too high for you. Check www.furnacecreekresort.com and http://www.escapetodeathvalley.com/ Beatty is close to an hour's drive from Furnace Creek, where the visitor's center is located. Stovepipe Wells, across the road from the most visited sand dunes, is maybe a little under a half-hour's drive north of Furnace Creek.

Note that the attractions in the park can be far from each other, which adds to the time to see the park.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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8. Re: Death Valley

Especially for a first-time visit to Death Valley or any national park, the best choice is to stay in the park if possible.

The big deal is not the extra driving. It is the ambience. A town is a town. Beatty is a nice town, and it does a good job of welcoming visitors, but it has lights, streets, traffic, and other distractions. There is really no substitute for staying in the park so you can be immersed in the natural surroundings. You're closer to the places you want to see, and you can enjoy the scenery, nature strolls or rides, wildlife, sunsets, or stargazing a short distance from where you're staying.

With that said, Beatty is the nicest town within a reasonable travel distance of Death Valley.

Another possible choice is Death Valley Junction, a ghost town (a borax mining settlement in the 1920s) and definitely a true Death Valley experience. But the only business, literally, is the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House complex (including a cafe). DVJ has no gas station, store, post office, or any other services. It can be a fun experience if you're a low-maintenance traveler, know what to expect, and enjoy history and ghost towns.

People also ask about staying in Pahrump, which is one of the least appealing towns anywhere near DV--and it isn't even really near enough to be convenient. It's a bedroom community for Las Vegas that grew from rural to suburban with almost no town planning or review process; people just put stuff anywhere. If a town consists of older houses, tract homes, mobile homes, trailers, defunct vehicles in yards, Wal-Mart, and rows of fast food joints and gas stations all jumbled together, Pahrump is a town.

9. Re: Death Valley

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