Are you looking to take a trip to Death Valley but have no idea where to stay? We hope our “Where to Stay in Death Valley Guide” will help you in your research and planning! Death Valley National Park has a little bit of everything for everyone! Whether you’re looking to rough it and camp under the bright stars, relax and enjoy the valley from the view of a 5-star resort, or a little bit of everything, Death Valley National Park can tick all of those boxes!
About Death Valley
Death Valley is located in Eastern California, in the Mojave Desert. As many know, deserts can have some of the wildest climates on Earth. In fact, during summer months, Death Valley is THE hottest place on earth!
Understanding the Death Valley Seasons
While Death Valley is widely known for its hot, hot summers, it’s a subtropical climate that does cool down a bit after the summer heat has past. During summer months, you can expect temperatures to reach well over 100 degrees fahrenheit, with record highs at almost 150 degrees!
Starting in November (wow, that was a long summer!) temperatures drop to an average of around 77 degrees fahrenheit, but only stay within a few degrees of that until the end of February. Typically, the summer heat begins to kick in around March and will continue through October.
Spring is the most popular time to visit Death Valley. Because temperatures have not yet reached their peak, warm and sunny days are expected. Since one of the biggest attractions in Death Valley are the spring wildflowers, there’s a good chance they’ll be on display if the previous winter was packed with rain. Peak viewing time for the wildflowers is later in March through early April. Since this is the most popular visiting season in Death Valley, expect campgrounds and hotels to be packed. Reservations are recommended months in advance.
As mentioned above, summer starts early and ends later in Death Valley. By mid to late spring, Death Valley will be too hot for your average visitor. However, there’s no shortage of visitors during all seasons in Death Valley. During summer months only experienced campers will stick it out through the hot temperatures of the lower elevations. For those simply looking to check Death Valley off of their bucket list, consider driving to the major points of interest.
Autumn/fall starts later in Death Valley, but temperatures are a bit more pleasant than summertime. Expect sunny, clear skies. During autumn months camping season picks up, so consider that when booking camp sites.
If you’re traveling to Death Valley during winter months, expect cooler days, chilly nights with the occasional rain. If you’re interested in seeing deserts with snow capped mountains in the distance, Death Valley is a great option during the winter. During winter months crowds tend to grow during high volume holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, and long weekends like Martin Luther King Day and Presidents’ Day weekend. It’s recommended to book reservations in advance if you plan on visiting Death Valley during one of these high peak times.
Understanding the Death Valley National Park Layout
Death Valley is roughly 5,000 square miles, so it’s not a small park by any means. In fact, Death Vally National Park is about the size of the state of Connecticut here in the United States. You can expect long distances between major points, but there’s also no congestion to deal with. Only open desert with amazing scenery.
While we’ll jump into the benefits of the types of accommodations in Death Valley, as well as where to stay inside and outside the park, but as a general rule, if you have the means, it’s best to stay at a Death Valley resort for the sake of convenience. Keep in mind that if you are looking for the TRUE Death Valley experience, there’s no better place to stay than INSIDE the park. This will give you opportunity to see (or improve your odds of seeing) endless views, dark starry nights, nature hikes in all directions, and the opportunity to see wildlife in its natural habitat.
Staying Inside Death Valley National Park
The Oasis at Death Valley
The Oasis at Death Valley consists of The Ranch and The Inn. The Oasis at Death Valley is about 125 miles from Las Vegas and is the largest resort-style accommodation inside Death Valley. The Oasis at Death Valley is located in the Furnace Creek area which is the generally the center for most visitors to Death Valley.
The Inn is the most upscale, in my opinion, and is also a historic piece of property built like a Spanish villa from the 1920s.
The Ranch has more of a family vibe, with more action and is a bit larger than The Inn. The Ranch features small cabins, standard and deluxe rooms, bare-bones RV hookups, but don’t expect amenities as found at The Inn. At The Inn you can expect restaurants, bars, a general store, a gas station, golf, tennis, and some seasonal activities.
Camping Inside Death Valley National Park
If you’re really looking to get up close with the beauty and nature of Death Valley, there’s no better lodging option than camping.
In Death Valley, there are three types of camping options.
There are 9 NPS campgrounds throughout Death Valley. There are minimal amenities like working bathrooms and plumbing, but don’t expect showers.
Furnace Creek Ranch is not too far (walking distance) from the Visitor Center and is a great NPS option. This campground is the only option if you’re looking to mark reservations during peak season (October through April), otherwise campsites are first-come, first-served.
- Other NPS campgrounds include:
- Texas Springs
- Mesquite Springs
- Stovepipe wells
- Mahogany Flat
If you’re looking to explore the backcountry of Death Valley, there are some limited camping options that hopefully meet your needs. While backcountry camping is permitted in some areas, it’s important to respect the land and follow all National Park guidelines. In short, the NPS needs your help in ensuring the safety of you, other visitors and wildlife. It’s important to not alter the land in any way.
Follow these NPS guidelines on backcountry camping to ensure a safe experience for all. And remember, LEAVE NO TRACE!
All resorts in Death Valley National Park have campgrounds. While they may not be the biggest grounds, they are meant to provide a camping experience for those staying at the resorts. The goal is to not take away from the camping services offered directly through the NPS.
Death Vally resort campgrounds are a great options because you get the best of both worlds. On one hand you get the opportunity to “rough it” but have the option to tap into the amenities of the resorts if needed or desired. You can opt out of grilling one night and make reservations at one of the resort’s restaurants if the mood strikes you.
Resort campgrounds can be found at Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells Village, and Panamint Springs.
Staying Outside Death Valley National Park
Many visitors to Death Valley National Park will consider staying outside of the park. While there are many reasons, the most common reasons is availability inside the park or it’s just too expensive.
As mentioned above, because of the size of Death Valley, if you have the means, it’s best to stay inside the park. Death Valley National Park is very wide and spread out. Major attractions are not very close to towns outside of the park, so if you do choose to stay outside, remember that you will spending a lot of time (and gas) going back and forth.
If staying inside the park is not an option, prioritize the location outside the park based on your itinerary, preferences, and budget.
If you’re planning to visit Death Valley for multiple days, Beatty NV is a great option. In fact, you may see other towns notes as “gateway” towns, but Beatty will be your next best choice if staying inside is just not possible.
Beatty has everything that you will need to make your stay comfortable and convenient to Death Valley. In Beatty you’ll find plenty of dining options, plus all major conveniences should you need them. However, while Beatty is the next best option, it’s roughly 40 miles from Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells. This is where you might start to compare your gas costs to the cost of the hotels inside the parks.
Where to Stay in Death Valley on a Budget
Just like most cities or attractions in the United States, the closer you are to the main points of interest the more expensive your hotels and accommodations will be. The same theory applies to Death Valley when it comes to traditional homes and resorts. The further you go from the center the more budget friendly your choices become.
However, you can still stay inside the park close to major highlights if you camp. The most expensive campsite inside Death Valley NP is likely cheaper than a budget hotel 40 miles from the park.
Beatty, NV still comes in as the best option when staying outside of the Nation Park. It also happens to tick the “budget friendly” option too.
In Beatty you’ll find plenty of budget friendly hotels and motels, as well as Airbnb properties just outside of the Beatty city limits. As of today, hotels and BNBs can be found from $85-$150 per night.