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Look, not every weekend trip has to be at the just-opened boutique hotel or where the beautiful people flock. As an antidote to the overly glitzy and way over-touristed getaway, we have two words for you: Death Valley. It’s as rustic as Palm Springs is developed.

Death Valley’s combination of intense heat and distance from Los Angeles (it’s four hours’ drive compared to Palm Springs’ two) have kept this dried remains of an Ice Age lake pristine. But it’s totally worth a visit for charms all its own, from star-gazing lessons to sandboarding. Check out your desert itinerary.

Hunt for Minerals

During the annual Gem-O-Rama festival, held the second weekend in October, the small mining town of Trona welcomes hundreds of crafts enthusiasts and rock collectors to wade through mineral deposits and collect treasures.

13337 Main St., Trona; 760-372-5363 or

Stay in an Airstream

Rent the iconic silver bullet and tow it behind your SUV. No SUV? Airstream2Go will rent you an SUV, too. Reserve a parking space at the Furnace Creek Resort and swim in the spring-fed pool.

1212 E. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel; 800-780-9880 or

Visit a Spooky Ruin

Rhyolite Ghost Town straddles the California-Nevada border, a deserted remnant of a Gold Rush town that prospered for a mere 12 years in the early 1900s.

Located 35 miles from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center,

Go Sandboarding

It’s slower than on snow, so it’s easier for beginners. And since the dunes have no chair lifts, it’s like a Stairmaster on sand. Bring your own boards and have fun sliding downhill at the Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley National Park.

Learn more at

Watch the Sunrise

Zabriskie Point is the backdrop for a famous scene of free love in Michelangelo Antonioni?s 1970 film of the same name. Thanks to the national parks service, the area?s ridges of eroded mineral sands are still pristine.

Learn more at

Get a tour of the stars

Twice a month, park rangers narrate the moonrise and the Milky Way, since both are clearly visible due to the isolated location’s status as an International Dark Sky Park, free of light pollution from artificial sources. You can also use the Starmap app to I.D. constellations based on your GPS coordinates.

Schedule your tour at

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