Exploring California: One day at Death Valley National Park

Our road trip
We flew from SFO to LAX and started our Southern California road trip in Los Angeles. From LA, we went to Joshua Tree National Park to Death Valley National Park to Alabama Hills, then back to LA. We spent 2 days at Death Valley National Park.

What is Death Valley National Park? Where is it?
Death Valley National Park is an American national park located in Eastern California. North America’s lowest point is within this national park. It is the hottest, driest, and lowest national park filled with mountains, salt flats, and sand dunes. From Joshua Tree National Park, it was around a 4-5 hr drive. From LA, it is around a 3-4 hr drive.

How do you get there?
As noted above, we flew from SFO to LAX and then drove to Joshua Tree National Park, then to Death Valley National Park. We rented a car at Sixt at the airport (KIA Soul). For a day, the car rental was ~50 USD.

Where do you stay?
If you’d like to save some of your budget, you can camp/sleep in your car. However, if you prefer to stay in a hotel/rental, there are plenty of options as well. We stayed at The Ranch in Death Valley. There aren’t many food options in the park, so the only food option (if you didn’t bring any food in to the national park) would be at the hotels. The Ranch has a sit down restaurant (make a reservation!), a buffet hall, and a quick to go food station. For one night, the hotel was XX USD. Parking is free.

What did we do at Death Valley National Park?
Badwater Basin:
Salt flats; it is the lowest point in North America (282 ft below sea level). Amazing landscape, we couldn’t get enough of it. 
Artist Palette:
Light purple, light green, and light brown mountains. Around this national park, it’s mainly a brown color, but you can see a pop of color at Artist Palette. The colors on these mountains are produced by the oxidation of the metals and elements found in the ground there. 
Zabriskie Point:
Many watch the sunrise at this point. The mountains here are unique, unlike any mountains I’ve seen before in America. If you have played Pokemon before, these mountains look like Ninetales’ tail.
Mesquite Flats:
Endless amount of sand dunes that you can climb and roll around in. It’s like a ginormous sandbox that you find at the playgrounds!

For all the above, there is parking available next to the sights.

Yes – this national park is huge and full of different characteristics. At one point, we were at the salt flats, then the mountains, and then sand dunes. There are so many different points of interest in one national park!

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