Did you know that the most popular time of year to visit Death Valley is during Christmas?
We took a two-hour drive to Death Valley and were surprised by the 20-minute way to buy a park pass at one of the self-service roadside stops.
I thought Death Valley was only just alright. The scenery wasn't spectacular, it was in fact somewhat plain. But then again, we didn't have too much time to drive around so we probably scratched the surface of the largest national park in the lower 48. I wish we had more time, that way I'd be able to hike off the road and see more of the park for myself. Nevertheless, I still hold firm to my conviction that Washington State has the best nature spots in the entire country.
Fun fact: Everything is closed on Christmas Day outside the Las Vegas Strip. We should've known - wanted to grab fruit cups from Whole Foods for our little roadtrip, but it was shut. We ended up eating at McDonald's twice on Christmas Day. There was literally nothing else open once you left the urbanized core of Las Vegas. Even in towns along the way, McDonald's would be the only thing open.
One thing that's awesome about Death Valley: the night sky. It's one of the darkest place in the world, and you can literally just look up from where you're standing and see the entire sky covered with stars. It's gorgeous - and I highly recommend staying till sunset (especially in the winter, when the sun sets really early). Make sure you have enough warm clothing though - the day we were there, it was super windy and the wind chill prevented us from just sitting outside and staring at the stars. We had to make do with hiding in the car and warming our hands by the heater, and jumping out every now and then to gaze at the stars, then return to the car before we got too cold.