It may be the driest spot in North America, but Death Valley has its secret stashes of watery bliss, and one is at this low-key ranch resort in the south end of the national park. Book an overnight stay at this Western-themed lodging and you can relax in the chemical-free pool, naturally heated by warm underground springs and kept at a constant 82°F.
Don’t confuse the Ranch with the similarly named—and much more luxurious—Inn at Death Valley, one mile away. The Ranch (formerly known as The Ranch at Furnace Creek) is Death Valley’s economy lodging, but it’s got plenty of reasons to check it out. Of course there’s that inviting pool, but there’s also a borax museum, where you can study up on the 20-mule teams that first put Death Valley on America’s radar. (The land was once owned by the Pacific Coast Borax Company.) Or play a round of golf next door at Furnance Creek, the “world’s lowest golf course.”
The 224-room lodging is part of a small desert community, with a post office, general store, two restaurants, tennis courts, and a saloon. Horseback and carriage rides are offered at Furnace Creek Stables. Death Valley National Park’s excellent Furnace Creek Visitor Center is within walking distance, and guided walks, naturalist talks, and interpretive programs are offered daily from mid-October to mid-May.