The Oasis at Death Valley

The two-hour-ish drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley is pretty straightforward, and there is not much civilization after you turn left from Pahrump, Nev., and head west into California. The landscape becomes more remote and rugged, and it is easy to think you have landed on another planet.

Around a bend, there it is, rising from the desert like a mirage — the four-diamond The Oasis at Death Valley. Previously known as The Inn at Furnace Creek, the historic 66-room Inn at Death Valley and more family-friendly 224-room Ranch at Death Valley are undergoing a magnificent, multimillion dollar renovation that, when completed, will reveal a welcoming respite in the middle of the desert. The good news is, The Oasis is open during renovations.

Date palms in an oasis, Death Valley

© Oleksandr Buzko |

Built in the late-1920s and into the 1930s, your family will feel like they stepped back in time, yet with modern amenities, when you check into The Oasis at Death Valley, either into the inn or the ranch. Aside from the comfortable accommodations — more luxe in the inn, more rustic in the ranch — you will find two natural spring-fed pools in which to splash around and cool off, a playground on which to expend any excess energy, and the Death Valley National Park Service Visitor’s Center just a few steps away. Horseback riding is available seasonally (when the desert heat gets to be too hot, the horses take a vacation themselves), and when the sun sets, seemingly billions of stars put on a show overhead in the dark sky.

Golfers in your family will want to be sure to set a tee time to play the Furnace Creek Golf Course at Death Valley, the world’s lowest elevation golf course at 214 feet below sea level. Named one of “America’s 50 Toughest Courses” by Golf Digest, the 18-hole, par-70 course winds through trees with desert and mountain backdrops to make for a dramatic round of golf.

When the renovations are finished — expected later this summer — the all-new Town Square at The Ranch at Death Valley will include a guest registration area, restaurant, shopping area and The Last Kind Words Saloon. The design of the Town Square will complement the mission California style found throughout The Inn at Death Valley, up on the hillside overlooking the ranch.

A visit to the California desert is not complete without a stay at The Oasis at Death Valley.