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Jordana Meilleur/Alamy


Go off the grid in a tricked-up teepee near Death Valley

Most people visit Tecopa for a quick soak in the old mining town’s artesian mineral waters, but now there’s a reason to linger: One of three luxury canvas teepees at the shady China Ranch oasis three miles down the road could be your unconventional lodging in the Mojave Desert.

“I am providing a place where you can get in touch with nature, which will change the way you think. It will make a better human of you.” — Cynthia Keinitz, owner, Cynthia’s lodging near Death Valley

Owner Cynthia Keinitz, a former head of a successful design firm based in Las Vegas and Chicago, decided to ditch the rat race and reconnect with herself and nature. In the Amargosa Canyon, 38 miles south of Death Valley Junction, she bought a circa-1920 cottage and named it Ranch House. Her trio of canvas teepees sits in a leafy grove of cottonwoods, just steps from the cottage, where guests swap tales of their desert adventures over breakfast (available for an extra fee). Bathrooms and outdoor showers are shared. There’s also an outdoor kitchen with a shared fridge and microwave.

But the teepees are the stars here. Don’t think cramped quarters—each teepee is 22 feet wide and sleeps four. Turkish rugs, plush linens, and heated mattress pads for winter nights make them surprisingly homey. While coyotes howl in the distance and desert winds blow, you’ll be snug as bugs inside. The teepees have no phone service nor internet, but no matter—the digital world can’t compare to the excitement of the nighttime desert sky when you peek outside.

Get up early and hike from your teepee door into Amargosa Canyon, where birds and wildlife thrive along the Amargosa River. Head back to Tecopa to sip a date shake from the adjacent China Ranch Date Farm. Check out the date museum, and then load up your car with fresh dates for the drive into Death Valley. 

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The Rebel Ballerina Who Made a Ghost Town in Death Valley into Her Stage
Under a blistering Death Valley sun, Marta Becket resurrected the Amargosa Opera House with nothing but a paint brush and fierce devotion to her art. Decades later, a young ballerina fills her pointe shoes and carries Marta’s dream with an unyielding spirit.
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Kodiak Greenwood

Southern California

Discover the Deserts

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Average (°C)
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The strike of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool. The desert region is a sensory feast. 

Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.

Death Valley National Park holds the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded (54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing spring wild flowers. The oasis like Palm Springs region (two hours’ east of Los Angeles and three hours north east of San Diego) has golf resorts, mid-century modern architecture and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

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At 282 ft. below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
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Lucas Himovitz

Luxury Resorts in the Desert

Relax at spoil-yourself spas under the desert sun

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Mary Austin
A boutique in the California Deserts region
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Desert Shopping

From boutiques to bargains, vintage to boho-chic, you’ll find it here

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Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to sample fresh fruits and...

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Kodiak Greenwood

Golf & tennis

Swing clubs and racquets where the pros do in the Coachella Valley

With world-class golf courses set against dramatic desert landscapes and top-quality tennis courts beneath towering palms, two sports get classy...

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Courtesy of Elvis Presley Estate

Mid-Century Modern Design

Swing into Sinatra cool in Palm Springs

Filled with distinctive post-World War II buildings designed by leading architects of the time, Palm Springs is America’s Mid-century Modern mecca...

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The lowest golf course in the world is Furnace Creek in Death Valley, at 214 feet below sea level.
From edgy rock n’ roll to haute fashions, find your fest in the desert

For all of the desert’s natural splendor and outdoor destinations, creativity comes with the territory, too. Throughout the year, the region finds ways to celebrate art, design, music, and film...

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The Lumineers at Coachella by Lucas Himovitz
LGBTQ Party in Palm Springs
David A Lee

LGBTQ Travel in the Deserts

Experience a scene that really heats up when the weather starts to cool down

Fabulous pool parties. Stylish bars and impeccably designed hotels. Pampering spas and energetic nightclubs. Lavish events. There’s no question...

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Both vast and intimate, the California desert is a region that ranges from arid, barren expanses to oasis-like canyons with hidden waterfalls. Towering sand dunes rise above the desert floor,...

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Joshua Tree National Park by Alex Farnum
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Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

Amboy Crater

Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and located just off historic Route 66, Amboy Crater is an example of geology creating geometry- it...

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Photo by The Greater Southwestern Exploration Company/Flickr

Fossil Falls

Rushing river, sculpted black lava

The truth is that the name Fossil Falls is a bit of a misnomer. After all, there are neither fossils nor a waterfall here. But a walk through...

Find beauty, wildlife, and solitude in three of America’s newest national preserves

You could call it a monumental achievement: In February 2016, three new national monuments were created, protecting a combined total of 1.8 million acres of California desert. The names of the...

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Ann Marie Brown