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The 12 Best California Attractions


9 of 13

Badwater, Death Valley

Mesquite Dunes at Death Valley National Park

©2014 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

It's hard to resist the appeal of extremes and Badwater is not only the lowest spot in the United States at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level but also the site of the highest temperature ever recorded. It was 134°F (56.7°C) here on July 10, 1913 - and it's only 85 miles away from Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States.

All of Death Valley looks like it was designed by a minimalist, and Badwater could be the starkest spot in the entire national park, a wide, flat salt pan that dwarfs even the largest crowds of humans who walk out onto it. Wonders at Death Valley don't stop at Badwater, though. The Devil has a cornfield and a golf course here and you'll find sand dunes to climb, ghost towns to explore and the enigmatic Scotty's Castle (which isn't a castle and didn't belong to Scotty). It could take a few days to explore it all.

More About Badwater and Death Valley

If you need more information, check the Complete Guide to Death Valley. It will tell you about hours, how to get there and the best time to go.

Take a photo tour of Death Valley to see Badwater and the place it's located in.

Find out how to get there.

Don't Take Our Word For It

See how Badwater stacks up against other top attractions in this reader poll.

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