Visiting Death Valley
Check out Twain Heart/gold country. Columbia and the caves are well worth it. Highway 88 is beautiful that time of year. Jackson, Pioneer and the old mining towns along 88 and 49 are worth visiting. Not sure how far you want to drive, but Santa Cruz, or up highway 1 to the Redwood forests is spectacular.
Death Valley is a must see in a lifetime. As are many places along 395 between Lee Vining and Ridgecrest. Other places around there are Searles Valley, Joshua Tree, Red Rock Canyon, Fossil Falls, Palm Springs, (but it can be in the 100s.)
Hope this helps.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Death Valley recommendations wanted: I'm going on a trip very soon with a 10 year boy and two adult males to Death Valley. I would appreciate hearing about any attractions (old mines, ghost towns) of particular interest to a 10 year old boy. Thanks.
Been there many times. My favorites include walking into Artist Palette and down below Zabriskie Point - past the Vista Points. The beginnings of Marble Canyon were impressive and climbing into some of the mine holes in the 12 mule drive. Very special was the early morning horseback ride into the dessert. You don't need any prior riding experience for this group outing and it put me more in touch with the past of Death Valley. I always like the indoor and outdoor museum at the Furnace Creek Ranch with all the things left behind by the pioneers. On a windy day a hike down to the bottom of Ubehebe Crater is fun. The sand dunes will be unforgettable if you climb the biggest ones and then rest on top. You truly will feel like the king of the mountain surrounded by total silence. I once saw two daring teenagers sliding them down on the steep side. The biggest dunes are 10 minutes away from the Stovepipe Wells Motel on the same road. (This motel sometimes has Coyotes hanging around a night in the parking lot. Fun to watch.) If you go down the regular sand dune tourist road, you'll miss the big dunes (after crossing 40+ dunes you won't have the energy to go on). The most important advice: time everything beautiful around sunrise and sunset!