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Where to Stay in Death Valley in 2024 | Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Death Valley in 2024 | Best Areas & Hotels

The question of where to stay in Death Valley is quite easy to answer in one way, and really difficult in another. The area is basically huge and the cities further apart from each other. On the other hand, the roads are great and they’re all connected.

The 5 Best Places to Stay in Death Valley

Where to Stay in Death Valley map in vector format featuring the best areas of town

The area around Death Valley National Park is genuinely huge, so there’s no point coming here without a car. Yet, there are considerable differences between parts of the region. Primarily — and that was our criterion of choice — some of them are near the park, and others are further away.

Your choice should probably depend on the proximity to the park. You can either stay inside Death Valley itself, close to the park, or up to three hours away.

The choice is yours, including staying in:

  1. Death Valley National Park: Stay inside the park, close to its many attractions, and some of America’s most interesting hotels.
  2. Pahrump: The closest city to the park, full of vineyards and casinos, it’s a great place if you want to stay near to the park, yet enjoy the benefits of civilization.
  3. Ridgecrest: Second closest city to the park, and probably the most versatile, offering a nice balance of natural beauty, museums, hotels and restaurants.
  4. Lone Pine: Is a typical Western American town, surrounded by natural beauties, and the cheapest place on our list — great if you’re on a budget.
  5. Barstow: The best place if you’re on a family trip, with a nice hotel and a lot of museums where you can take your kids.

The Best Areas & Hotels in Death Valley

There are considerable differences between the distribution of hotels in the area. The short answer would be that the further you go from Death Valley National Parks, there are fewer and fewer luxury hotels, and more and more budget options.

Basically, the proximity to the valley is the index which determines the price and the luxuriousness of the hotels. The best and the most expensive hotels are to be found in Death Valley.

They’re historic, beautiful, and cost a lot of money, but they’re worth every dollar because of the uniqueness of the experience they offer. The cities in close proximity to the park — Pahrump and Ridgecrest — offer a lot of variety.

But, the variety mainly consists of different types of three-star hotel, some of them leaning to a more budget option, and others to the luxurious type.

As you go further away from the park, to places like Lone Pine and Barstow, the accommodation option becomes cheaper by the mile. Lone Pine, for example, has no luxury hotel whatsoever, but an enormous number of budget hotels.

The choice, finally, is completely yours. Either something close to the park and more expensive, or something further away from the park, and quite cheaper.

1. Death Valley National Park

Person in a white tent camping outside the rock formations on a nice day for a piece on where to stay in Death Valley


The sense of awe and mystery won’t leave you till you make your final step outside of Death Valley National Park. As long as you are in there, between the spiky mountains, sandy dunes, and scorching temperatures, you’ll be under the influence of its magic.

The name itself — Death Valley — inspires both a sense of mystery and a feeling of the sublime, and the place is definitely more than just a wasteland in the form of a desert.

While you’re in the park, your main sense should be your eye, and your most important instrument should be your legs. Simply put, you have to do a lot of walking and looking if you want to feel the magic of Death Valley.

The first thing you should definitely do is reach the viewpoints, so you can see the area in its proper perspective — from the top. Dante’s view in the center of the park is a high spot that’s towering above the Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the whole of the USA.

That should give you a sense of perspective. Zabriskie point — the inspiration behind Antonioni’s famous movie — is another great viewpoint, especially when night falls, and the stars are visible.

Next in line are the canyons, which are basically another viewpoint in a different way. The Golden Canyon provides the easiest hike; Mosaic canyon is just a bit harder; and Grotto Canyon is the hardest of the three. Visit all three of them, if you’re up for the challenge.

The sense of mystery that surrounds Death Valley is mainly due to some really creepy stuff that happens on its territory. The lumpy salt flats named Devil’s Golf Course are really weird looking and can be quite dangerous if you’re not careful.

But that’s nothing compared to the sailing stones at Racetrack Playa — the famous stones slowly glide through the empty basin. Finding food and accommodation inside the National Park is not that easy, but it’s not impossible.

There are a few luxurious hotels which are really great, but also really expensive; some mid-range options, and a couple of budget accommodations, including the camping spaces.

The restaurants, obviously, are really close to the hotels and the hostels on the list. Just remember, the accommodations on our list are the only accommodations in the park itself. There are no others.

Death Valley National Park Budget Hotels

  • Furnace Creek, located near The Inn at Death Valley, The Ranch at Death Valley, and the Death Valley Visitor center, is the only camping place in the park that takes reservations. It’s usually full during the winter and the spring season, when the park is mostly visited. 
  • Panamint Springs Motel & Tents is located on the western outskirts of the national park, near Darwin and around 300m from Panamint Springs. It hasn’t much to offer, except the beautiful patio, the perfect view, and the convenient location.

Death Valley National Park Mid-Range Hotels

  • Stovepipe Wells Village located on the north part of the park, is a beautiful three-star hotel .The general design of the hotel is Western (like a saloon), and the hotel offers spacious rooms and a heated, outside swimming pool.
  • Amargosa Opera House & Hotel in Death Junction Valley, just outside the park, is a decent two-star hotel. Each room in the hotel is furnished in a unique way, mainly in terms of decoration, and all of the rooms are air-conditioned.

Death Valley National Park Luxury Hotels

  • The Inn at Death Valley is a perfect five star hotel, which is probably the best accommodation on this whole guide. Located inside the park itself, luxurious, with an outside pool, sauna and fitness center, the hotel has both a bar and a restaurant on its premises.
  • The Ranch At Death Valley is the second best option on the grounds of the national park, it offers a swimming pool, a tennis court, a children’s playground, a garden, a terrace and a bar. The restaurant on the premises serves American cuisine, with great vegan and vegetarian options.

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2. Pahrump

Historic saloon just outside Death Valley for a piece on where to stay in Death Valley when visiting

Histroic saloon building and casino in Pahrump Nevada – LAS VEGAS-NEVADA – OCTOBER 11, 2017/4kclips/Shutterstock

If you’ve watched the cult 1996 comedy Mars Attacks!, you surely remember the scene when the Martians are landing, and announce that they’ve come in pace. That place, interesting enough, is no other than Pahrum, a small city of around 40 000 people, an hour and a half away from Death Valley National Park.

Basically, it’s the perfect stopping point if you want to stay longer at the park, but you still want to enjoy the benefits of civilization, like supermarkets, restaurants, coffee shops, casinos, and accommodation.

The first and obvious thing you should do if you’re staying in Pahrump is to visit Death Valley National Park, which is close by. You can go back and forth at least two times — the perfect timing to thoroughly experience its beauty — because the drive is not that long.

But, aside from the park, Pahrump has interesting things to offer too, and it’s a really great place to spend your time. Pahrump is a perfect place for the lovers of wine and fine dining in authentic western vineyards.

Two places are especially worth visiting: Pahrump Valley Winery in the wild and rough countryside of the city, offers a lot of free tours and events, aside from the regular wine and dine experience.

The second place is Sanders Family Winery which is quite a romantic place, with tasting venues decorated with the artworks by local artists, and a great amphitheater on the premises. Don’t forget that Pahrump is 75 miles away from Las Vegas — and what does that mean?

Casinos and gambling, obviously. Pahrump has a few decent ones, like The Pahrump Nugget Casino, Lakeside Casino, and Gold town Casino — the three of them part of the collective Gold Casino Group. Here you can gamble, drink, dine, or whatever floats your boat, and helps you to relax.

Pahrump is quite a decent place in terms of restaurants and accommodation. The city abounds in beautiful restaurants, mostly of the American-diner-steak type, and some nice wineries, which are the main attractions of the place.

There are a lot of hotels too, generally of the three-star type — some of them leaning towards a budget price, and some of them towards the luxury type. All in all, you won’t be hungry or without a roof on your head while you’re staying in Pahrump.

Pahrump Budget Hotels

  • Preferred RV Resort is offering parkings spots for RVs with full hookup. It’s listed as having two stars, and offers really great stuff for its visitors, like plasma TV’s, indoor and outdoor pools, a shared lounge room with different games — including a pool — and etc.
  • Pahrump RV Park & Lodging offers comfortable and nicely furnished accommodations, supplied with plasma TVs, a furnished kitchen, refrigerator, and a private bathroom. It also has some nice shared spaces, like a lounge, picnic area, and a barbeque facility.
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pahrump, an IHG Hotel is the only near-luxurious accommodation that you’ll find in Pahrump. It’s listed as a three-star hotel, but it’s price is significantly higher than the other hotels in the area. It has an outdoor swimming pool, beautifully furnished rooms, and the hotel is pet friendly.

Pahrump Mid-Range Hotels

  • Saddle West Casino Hotel is a great three star hotel that comes at a cheap price. It has an outdoor pool, a casino, and a restaurant on the premises of the hotel. The rooms are nicely furnished, offering a beautiful view, and equipped with flat TVs and work desks.
  • K7 Bed and Breakfast is a sweet and cozy place that offers a rural atmosphere to its visitors. The hotel serves breakfast every morning, and has a beautiful, relaxing bar on the premises.

Pahrump Luxury Hotels

  • Best Western Pahrump Oasis is another quasi luxurious three-star hotel in Pahrump, which has a swimming pool and a bar on the premises. The hotel is also pet friendly, and it offers great breakfast in the morning, and the visitors can use the business center in the building.

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3. Ridgecrest

Gorgeous rock formations pictured in the evening on a dirt road for a piece on where to stay in Death Valley

Angel DiBilio/Shutterstock

A two and a half hour drive from Death Valley, Ridgecrest is another small town near the famous National Park. Located to the west of the park — on the opposite side of Pahrump — it’s a charming 20-something thousand city that has a lot to offer, not only as a stopping point for Death Valley, but in itself.

The first and obvious thing to do while staying in Ridgecrest is to visit Death Valley National Park. It’s a little further down the road, but with a car and a lot of enthusiasm, it shouldn’t be a problem.

The whole area is gigantic anyway, and it doesn’t go well with small distances and civilization. If you want to visit this part of America, this is a sacrifice you have to make. While staying in Ridgecrest you should definitely see some interesting things.

The first one on the list is the interesting Maturango Museum. It started working in 1962, and it’s all about the cultural and natural history of the area. There is Native American stuff, exhibits of plants, fossils and animals, and some other contemporary art artifacts.

It’s really a place worth seeing. Next in line is an interesting outdoor activity — the Big and Little Petroglyph: two unusual landforms located in the nearby Mojave Desert.

They are one of the main places where you can see the so-called Native American petroglyphs, or rock art, whose meaning is still up for interpretation. There are tours available which offer guidance and necessary information.

They’re usually booked at the Maturango Museum. Finally, there’s the China Lake Museum (or Naval Museum of Armament & Technology) which narrates and interprets the history of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, located just outside the city.

It’s a great place for fans of the history of the American army and weaponry. Ridgecrest is simply full of hotels and restaurants. The accommodation options — having in mind the fact that the city is quite tiny — are unbelievable.

There are a lot of budget, mid-range and luxurious hotels — and all of them are quite cheap, even the luxurious ones. Concerning food, there are all kinds of restaurants in the city, which offer different cousins and national and international dishes: American, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and mixed options.

Ridgecrest Budget Hotels

  • Baymont by Wyndham Ridgecrest located in the center of Ridgecrest, offers air-conditioned rooms, with free Wi-Fi, and cable tv with focus on sport channels. The hotel offers continental breakfast every morning including muffins and donuts.
  • A Nights Inn is another, slightly cheaper two-star hotel located on the northern side from the city center of Ridgecrest. It has nicely furnished rooms with air conditioning and flat screen TVs. The parking is also free, and the place is usually recommended for couples.

Ridgecrest Mid-Range Hotels

  • Clarion Inn Ridgecrest is a great two-star hotel with a price and quality as a decent three-star hotel. The hotel has a swimming pool, a bar, and a bistrot, it serves great breakfast every morning, has rooms with microwaves and refrigerator, and — on top of everything — is completely pet-friendly.
  • Heritage Inn & Suites Ridgecrest – China Lake is a beautiful and not very expensive three-star hotel. It offers free parking, free Wi-Fi, a laundry facility, and rooms with almost all amenities. It also has a pool and a business center on the premises, and it’s completely pet-friendly.

Ridgecrest Luxury Hotels

  • SpringHill Suites Ridgecrest is the most expensive hotel in town, and it’s quite worth the price. It has an outdoor swimming pool,a bar, and a barbeque facility on the premises, it offers very tasty breakfast every morning, and has nicely furnished rooms with a microwave, refrigerator and coffee machine.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Ridgecrest is another three-star hotel, which, because of the strong competition in the area — Las Vegas — is listed with that number of stars. Regardless of that, it has an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, a business center, and a barbeque facility on the hotel’s ground, and rooms with flat 32 inch screen TVs.

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4. Lone Pine

Amazing low-exposure view of Lone Pine, one of the best places to stay in Death Valley, pictured in the evening

Wisanu Boonrawd/Shutterstock

Lone Pine is a small Hollywood-styled Western town, located to the north-west of Death Valley National Park. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, such as the Alabama Hills, Mount Whitney and the Eastern Peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and close to the beautiful Owens Lake, it’s a great place for nature enthusiasts.

There are not many places like Lone Pine in the world, encircled by such an amount of natural sublimities. Lone Pine is a little further away from Death Valley National Park — you’ll have to drive around three hours to reach its dunes and peaks.

But, concerning the fact that there aren’t many towns in the area which can offer quality accommodation and food, Lone Pine is worth the gasoline spent on. Since everything in this area is forlorn and devoid of civilization, you’ll have to compromise a lot.

The scenery is just wonderful, and a lot of the hotels in Lone Pine offer unforgettable rooms with a view. There are many hiking tours available from the city, first of all, to the famous Alabama Hills.

They offer an unforgettable hiking and climbing experience — and scenic driving too! —  and the authentic feel of the atmosphere present in countless Western movies. While we are speaking about Western movies, Lone Pine offers quite a treat.

Since more than 400 movies have been shot in the city, from the 1920s till today, Lone Pine decided to open a movie and commemorate that side of its identity.

So, in 2006  the Museum of Western Film History started working, showing its beautiful collection of Western-themed memorabilia, old cameras and other movie props, to countless visitors.

Finally, there’s Owens Lake south of the city, which offers a great opportunity for relaxation, and — interesting enough — birding. But, don’t expect to do some fishing there, because the lake is mostly dry.

But, if you want to give your new fishing equipment a try, go to the Eastern Sierra of California, where the California golden trout wait for you. Concerning the accommodation options, Lone Pine is one of the cheapest places in the area.

It’s quite a small place, with a large number of options of mid-range and budget hotels, but almost no luxury accommodations. It’s a great place if you’re on a budget, and you want to spend most of your time traveling between parks, mountains and lakes.

Lone Pine Budget Hotels

  • Whitney Portal Hotel And Hostel is a two-star hotel which is a great option if you’re on a budget, and you want to spend your time cheaply but in decent conditions. All rooms are air conditioned and have TVs. The hostel has a nice location, close to various places where you can fish or hunt, if you like.
  • Mount Whitney Motel is a one-star budget option motel, in the true sense of the word. It doesn’t offer much, except a good price, free parking, a cable TV, microwave and a refrigerator in every room, and a 24 hour reception.

Lone Pine Mid-Range Hotels

  • Trails Motel is a decent two-star motel with free Wi-Fi on the premises, a seasonal outdoor pool, and nicely furnished rooms. The rooms are furnished with flat screen TVs, coffee and tea making facilities, and there’s a Tesla charging station quite close to the motel.
  • Dow Villa Motel offers great rooms equipped with a microwave, refrigerator, and a coffee machine. Some of the rooms in this three star hotel offer a mountain view. There’s no breakfast in the morning, but the outdoor pool with a hot tub is really great.

Lone Pine Luxury Hotels

  • Quality Inn Lone Pine near Mount Whitney offers, first of all, a beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s a great three-star hotel with an outdoor heated pool, and rooms equipped with microwaves, refrigerators, and DirectTV. There’s also an available breakfast every morning consisting of waffles, fruit, cereal, juice and coffee. It’s not quite a luxury hotel, but in this context, it may count as one.

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5. Barstow

Cool green traffic sign with highway 15 that says Barstow for a piece on where to stay in Death Valley

Toms Auzins/Shutterstock

Just to the south of Death Valley National Park, lies the interesting city of Barstow. It’s neither the biggest nor the smallest city that we’ve presented in this guide (population 25 000), and for all these years it has been a stopping point for people who want to visit Death Valley, Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

The city offers great hotels at a low price and decent restaurants, which make it a perfect place to spend your family vacation. Like all the cities on this list, Barstow is primarily important because of its proximity to Death Valley.

The drive to the park is about 3 hours, which shouldn’t be a problem, since the city is located at the crossroads of several important highways: Interstate 15, California State Route 58 and the historic Route 66 are some of them.

In other words, your connection to almost everything in the area will be absolutely great. Interestingly enough, there’re a lot of museums in Barstow — something you wouldn’t expect from a tiny Western town.

They include:

  • Route 66 “Mother Road” Museum is the first and the most important one, and it tells the story of the legendary 2,248-mile road. Aside from that, here you’ll find exhibits, photographs, and artifacts connected to the Mojave desert and the early railways.
  • Western America Railroad Museum is the next in line and it’s located in an old railway depot. Here you’ll see everything connected to railways: old uniforms, timetables, and other artifacts. There’s also a shop in the museum, where you can buy — suitable enough — railway souvenirs.
  • Finally, there’s the Mojave River Valley Museum which is all about the Mojave River Valley from the time of the early pioneers (18th century) till today. There are more than 20 000 photographs, and exhibits and artifacts connected with the pioneers, miners, and the railroads which shaped this part of America.

The hotel options in Barstow are simply great. All of the hotels come at a decent  — even cheap price — and there’s almost no facility on our list which doesn’t have a pool.

So, they’re both cheap and quite good: great for spending your trip with your family, and enjoying the time between the visits of the different places in the area.

Barstow Budget Hotels

  • Budget Inn is conveniently named as the perfect options for visitors who plan to spend their trip on a budget. All the rooms have TVs, a small fridge and private bathroom. And there’s a big surprise: there’s a small outdoor pool on the premises!
  • Travelodge by Wyndham Barstow is another two-star budget hotel that really offers much at a scandalously low price. All rooms have private bathrooms, TVs, working desks, and ironing facilities.  Also, there’s quite nice swimming on the premises, which — by the way — are completely pet friendly.

Barstow Mid-Range Hotels

  • Best Western Desert Villa Inn is a great three-star hotel located in the center of this small charming city. It has an outdoor pool to dip in, and it’s completely pet friendly, so feel free to bring your furry best friend. The complimentary breakfast offer in the hotel is quite nice, as in all Best Western hotels.  
  • Rodeway Inn On Historic Route 66: Located on the historic Route 66, it’s a great place for relaxing after a trip to the Death Valley. It has a pool on the premises, and its rooms are freshly renovated, with desks, hair dryers and cable TVs. The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast every morning.

Barstow Luxury Hotels

  • Home2 Suites By Hilton Barstow, Ca located near Barstow (in the southern area of the city) is a true luxury hotel with private parking, swimming pool, fitness center and a restaurant on the premises. Some of the rooms are equipped with a kitchen, microwave and a fridge, but all of them are air conditioned and feature plasma TVs.
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Barstow is another three-star luxurious hotel in the southern area of Bartow, with a gym and an outdoor pool on its premises. All the rooms in the hotel have a large window, and a comfortable working space, but also feature a microwave, a refrigerator and HD TVs.

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So, Where Should You Stay in Death Valley?

Guy doing a snow angel on the sand dune for a piece titled Where to Stay in Death Valley

Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

Now that the guide is almost over, let’s do a quick recap of everything that was said in our answer to the question “Where to stay in Death Valley.”

Let’s recap our recommendations:

🥂 Most Luxurious AreaDeath Valley National Park
🍷 Best Area for WineriesPahrump
✅ Best Area to See EverythingRidgecrest
💰 Most Budget-FriendlyLone Pine
👪 Best for FamiliesBarstow

Regardless of which city you you choose in which to stay, a trip to Death Valley is one you’ll remember for a lifetime. There’s gorgeous scenery to take in, friendly locals, and endless opportunity for adventure. Happy travels!