FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Korean Air

Family Destination: Death Valley

by Susan Barnes

Feb 8, 2018

Jonmanjeot | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Its name is not particularly inviting — Death Valley. Even with its sometimes-snowcapped mountains reaching toward the sky, the desert landscape lies below sea level and is known for its steady droughts and record summer heat, with temperatures topping out at well more than 100 degrees. Why in the world would anyone want to visit a land of such extremes?


Father and daughter hiking in Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley National Park, California. Photo: Margaret619 | Dreamstime.com

Easy — it is beautiful. Though it is a desert, the landscapes in Death Valley are as varied as the people who visit, and those people who visit come from all around the world to do just that. Death Valley National Park spans 3.4 million acres (5,300 square miles) in California, and juts out a bit into Nevada, and has plenty of places to see.


The National Park Service named its Must-See Highlights within the park, which can be seen within a day and from the comfort of your car. Let’s take a look.


The lowest point in all of North America is found at Badwater Basin, which sits at 282 feet below sea level. The salt flats may become a temporary lake after a heavy rainstorm, and the NPS suggests visitors not walk out onto them during hot weather. Otherwise, if the weather is cooperating, get out of the car and take a walk around — it is really remarkable.


twenty mule team canyon landscape. Park, space. Death Valley

© Chon Kit Leong | Dreamstime.com


Another spot to get out and about in cooler weather is the 2.7-mile, one-way Twenty Mule Team Canyon loop drive. The unpaved drive is accessible by car if there has not been any recent rain, and is terrific for biking or hiking, especially if your dog is along for the fun.


Devil’s Golf Course is a fascinating stop — a massive area filled with rock salt formations created over the years by wind and rain. Its jagged landscape prompted someone to say that “only the devil could play golf on such rough links,” and so the name was born. If you hear soft popping and pinging sounds whilst gazing about, have no fear — the sound is that of billions of tiny salt crystals bursting as they expand and contract in the heat.


The largest dune field in Death Valley National Park is at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes about 30 minutes west of Furnace Creek. Three types of sand dunes are found here — crescent, linear and star-shaped — and Mesquite trees have created large hummocks.


Photographers will want to time their visits right to be at Zabriskie Point for sunrise and/or sunset; it is the most famous viewpoint in the park. Stay at the viewing point overlooking the badlands, or hike from the point around the Badlands Loop for a different perspective. Connector trails lead away from Zabriskie Point to Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch and Red Cathedral — just be sure you’re well-prepared with drinking water before setting out.


Death Valley National PArk

© Jonmanjeot | Dreamstime.com


Artist’s Drive is another spot that’s a must-shoot for photographers, especially as the afternoon light hits the multicolored hillsides. The one-way drive that winds through is 9 miles in length, so you will want to make sure to give yourself enough time to make stops along the way to capture its beauty. Star Wars fans may recognize Artist’s Drive, as well as Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, from scenes from the original trilogy.


Make reservations at The Oasis at Death Valley, in the inn or the ranch, and take some time to explore this American wonder. Just remember, the No. 1 thing to do in Death Valley is to hydrate!


Insta Feed
Apr 2, 2024

Princess Cruises Offers Accessible, Affordable Multigenerational Travel

According to a National Tourism Association study, multigenerational vacations continue to be a popular choice for family travel, with about half of all vacations taken by parents and grandparents considered multigenerational. Additionally, 45 percent of all leisure travelers brought kids on their trips last year.

Travel Tips to Help Protect Your Health and Your Trip

Five Tips to Help Minimize Potential Travel Problems

Mar 28, 2024

Unforgettable Family Adventures Await at These 4 Multigenerational Destinations

The best type of family travel is when the whole family gets involved. For your next family trip, consider these multigenerational destinations and resorts.

Mar 21, 2024

Kids Can Now Adopt Plants at Grand Velas Los Cabos

Grand Velas Los Cabos recently launched a new Adopt-a-Plant program that allows kids to adopt and care for a plant of their choosing during their stay at the resort. The resort believes a love and appreciation for nature is more important than ever, and the hands-on activity will teach valuable lessons about responsibility and stewardship — perfect for family travelers!

Interior Upgrades Begin Rolling Out Across United Fleet

United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.

Mar 19, 2024

Set Sail with City Cruises New York’s Spring Programming

City Cruises New York invites family travelers aboard this spring with seasonal offerings for Easter and Mother’s Day. Cruising along the East and Hudson Rivers, City Cruises hosts special brunches and dinners for the spring holidays.