First published in Go World Travel
I had been living in Los Angeles for just under a month before my eldest brother came out to visit me. I wanted to make his 2 weeks in the US worthwhile so in our classic family style we hired a car and took to the road, attempting to visit a number of National Parks along the way.
We were staying in Las Vegas when we made the decision to spend a day exploring one of the largest and driest national parks in the United States, Death Valley National Park - approximately a 2½hr drive from Vegas (or a 4hr drive from Los Angeles). The night before we left to go on this spontaneous adventure we had come up with a brief list of things to see and do, not really knowing what to expect. All we knew was that the original Star Wars films had been shot in a few of the park's locations. And as big fans we had a feeling the day ahead was bound to be exciting.
There is so much to see and do at Death Valley National Park. Incredible volcanic colours are pasted across the landscape, there are stunning views of snow capped mountains, creepy ghost towns to explore, and abundant adventures to undertake; from hiking to sand-boarding.
Although we only had one day it was still worth the trip as we got to see most of the touristy sites - the benefits of going in February. But I’d highly advise spending more than one day, it'll give you time to relax and explore further sections of the park up north. And always go during the winter months - weather for us reached about 25°C (77°F ) which then rose subtly when walking through the canyons.
Here is a list of the best places to see in Death Valley National Park.
The US prides itself on the ultimate roadtrip, and that was just what I wanted to achieve last weekend. With warm weather and two free days I saw it as the perfect opportunity to rent a car and head up the Pacific Coast Highway, the longest state route in California, and one of the most scenic.
I woke up early Saturday morning and picked up the rental car. Of course I was a little nervous; this being my first time driving solo on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. But much to my surprise it really wasn’t as difficult as I had expected - five months living in the US must have re-wired my brain. I took to the highway with the windows down, sun shining, music blaring, I even cracked open an ice cold Bundaberg Lemon Lime & Bitters (a rare find here in the States).
Caitlin is a 20-something broad from Australia with a passion for filmmaking, writing and exploring the world.