SUMMER'S GOING... A lot of national parks are in their final major push of the year. Lines of autos are still pulling up to the main gates and on-the-hour tours are still at maximum capacity. Soon, though, things will quiet down, little by little. Except, of course, in Death Valley, which is pretty much the opposite in every way from every other national park. Well, at least in terms of when the big crowds swell and the park gets busy. With that in mind, the new Death Valley Explorer package from Furnace Creek Resort kicks off on October 1, just when other places start to take the slow road.
EXPLORER FEATURES: Two nights stay and a two-door Jeep Wrangler rental (plus a loaner ice chest that includes, among other things, ice and water; essential). Prices start at $560 for a standard room, and the deal'll only run for just shy of three months (and Thanksgiving weekend is a no-go). Get the to-knows and age requirements and such. And remember: layer. It is Death Valley, and fall can still deliver toasty temps, but later in the day? Chilly times. We also want to add on to our "big crowds swell" comment above. If you know Death Valley, you know that even over the busiest of weekends the park can still seem dang empty. And dang emptiness? Love.