If you go Where to stay
Stovepipe Wells Hotel. 51880 Route 190, Death Valley. 760-7862387, deathvalleyhotels.com One of only a few Death Valley lodging options, this centrally located full-service hotel has a restaurant and lively saloon, plus a swimming pool. A general store and national park office are across the road. Rooms start at $140. Furnace Creek Resort. Route 190, Death Valley. 760-786-2345, furnacecreekresort.com. The sprawling resort has two properties: the luxe Furnace Creek Inn, built in 1927, with a posh pool, fine dining and an 18-hole golf course; and the more affordable Ranch at Furnace Creek, with a restaurant and general store. Ranch rates start at $150 and Inn rates at $400.
Where to eat
Badwater Saloon. Stovepipe Wells, 51880 Route 190, Death Valley. 760-786-2387 Among the two options at the Stovepipe Wells Hotel, this one has more personality, plus 20 beers on tap and a pool table. The Mexicanand Western-influenced pub food is hearty and exuberantly named. (Examples include 49er Miner’s All-Business Chili, Badwater 282 Below Tostada Salad.)
What to do
Death Valley National Park. nps.gov/deva A surreal place of extremes, including hottest, driest and lowest of all U.S. national parks. Winter and its shoulders months are the time to visit. Summer temperatures well above 100 degrees can be dangerously oppressive. Rare rains last spring brought on an explosion of wildflowers known as the Super Bloom. Vehicle-entrance fees are $25 per vehicle for seven days, $50 for one year. Gene Woods Racing Experience. 121 E. Sunset Rd., Las Vegas. 702-270-8100, racingexperiencelv.com In Las Vegas, experience go-carts on steroids on this half-mile track. The price is $20 per 15-to-20-lap race.