The Closest Airport to Death Valley & Top Tips for Getting There

Death Valley National Park is not served by a major California airport. However, you have several options for finding airports near Death Valley. This guide will help you figure out which airport is best for your Death Valley trip. We also offer advice for how long it will take to get from each airport to Death Valley and details about car rentals and trip planning tips. 

Planning Your Trip to Death Valley

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We have a pile of resources to help you plan your trip to Death Valley National Park. Start with our overall Death Valley planning guide. It has general information about the parks, an FAQ, top things to do, accommodation information and links out to itinerary, hiking and camping articles. 

You can also check out our 2-day Death Valley itinerary. We’ve also got tips for taking the scenic Golden Valley and Sidewinder Canyon hikes and nearby ghost towns. If you are planning to camp, be sure to use our camping guide to figure out the best place to stay. 

If you aren’t camping, be sure to book ahead if you want to stay inside the park, because there are only three hotels in the park’s borders. But you can use our Death Valley lodging guide to find hotels inside and outside of the park which has choices for all budgets.

Get jazzed for your trip (and play some fun trivia with the kids) by reading our list of fun facts about Death Valley. You can learn whether or not Scotty actually built Scotty’s Castle, what makes Badwater Basin special and how the park got its deadly name. 

Las Vegas McClarran Airport welcome sign

There is actually an airport in Death Valley near Furnace Creek. But it doesn’t accept commercial flights. You can only use it if you have your own private plane and even then, there aren’t any ground transportation or rental car options at Furnace Creek. 

So, scratch that. What follows is our recommendation for the most convenient airport for Death Valley, plus a few other options that may suit a longer California road trip. 

All of the distances are given from the airport terminal to Furnace Creek, which is in the heart of the park. 

The Closest Airport to Death Valley

Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS) 

  • Distance to Death Valley: 120 miles
  • Drive Time: 2-2.5 hours

Las Vegas is the closest airport to Death Valley, by a long shot. The next closest airports are more than twice the distance. 

All major US carriers fly to Las Vegas and you can find direct flights from most US states. The carriers offer frequent fare deals into LAS, particularly on weekdays. So the airport is a good choice for saving you both time and money. 

In addition, all of the major car rental companies service Las Vegas. They are all clustered at a consolidated offsite car rental center. Shop around for your best car rental deal using Rentalcars.com

Our normal hack for getting a good deal on a rental car is to rent the smallest car available (which are often in short supply) and then hope for a free upgrade. This usually works, but if you are bringing a lot of luggage or camping gear, then be sure to simply rent the car you need.

If you want to spend some time in Vegas before heading to Death Valley, check out this guide for kitschy downtown Vegas. You could also consider flying into Las Vegas and out of San Francisco using our Vegas to SFO road trip itinerary or our Death Valley to SF itinerary.

Otherwise, use our Las Vegas to Death Valley day trip itinerary to explore several routing options with key stops on the way to the park.

The Next Best Airport for Death Valley

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

  • Distance to Death Valley: 272 miles
  • Drive Time: 5-5.5 hours

All major US and international carriers fly to LAX, so you will have a lot of choice for routing options. This kind of competition keeps airfares competitive. LAX also has all major rental car companies 

LAX isn’t the closest airport to Death Valley, but it’s worth considering if you are doing the park as part of a larger southern California vacation. Choose LAX if you are also planning to visit Joshua Tree National Park, as it’s closer to that park than the Las Vegas airport. We also have a guide for how to maximize a drive between Death Valley and Joshua Tree.

If you aren’t in a hurry to get to Death Valley, check out our list of scenic drives in California. If offers several detours to Death Valley with options for going through the San Bernardino mountains, Anza Borrego state park, and/or the Palm to Pines scenic byway in Palm Springs.

Other Airport to Consider

Using Burbank Bob Hope (BUR), Santa Ana John Wayne (SNA), Ontario (ONT) or Palm Springs (PSP) airports can be a good choice IF you can get an inexpensive, direct flight. 

That’s a big if though. These airports are smaller than both LAX and LAS, with fewer flights and typically higher fares. 

Ontario Airport (ONT)

  • Distance to Death Valley: 254 miles
  • Drive Time: 4-4.5 hours

Santa Ana John Wayne Airport (SNA)

  • Distance to Death Valley: 293 miles
  • Drive Time: 5-5.5 hours

Palm Springs Airport (PSP)

  • Distance to Death Valley: 288 miles
  • Drive Time: 5 hours

Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR)

  • Distance to Death Valley: 255 miles
  • Drive Time: 4-4.5 hours

Enjoy your trip to Death Valley National park and happy trails!

More Airport Resources for California Vacationers

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