11 Mar Vegas Day Trip: China Ranch Date Farm
A few hours outside the gleaming lights of the Las Vegas Strip is a well visited oasis in an otherwise barren area on the outskirts of Death Valley.
The drive from Vegas to the China Ranch Date Farm is picturesque. We pulled off several times to stop and get pictures. And you won’t be in anyone’s way. Once out of Vegas you’re on your own; we passed only a handful of cars on our way to the farm.
The farm is well marked once you get off the main road, so there shouldn’t be any trouble finding it. The road turns to dirt as you get closer and sandy badlands rise up around you while you wind your way to the farm.
Once you get to the gift shop and bakery, get sick off the syrupy sweet, creamy date samples. They have all kinds of varieties of dates as well as a few of their own hybrids. The best (according to us, of course) are the China Gold, Honey, Black Beauties and the Gourmets.
Don’t get too stuffed on sampling all the delicious dates before you try the date bread and muffins, and the vanilla date oatmeal cookies. And definitely don’t leave before you get yourself a date milkshake. I can hear your skepticism from here, but trust me. Once you’ve eaten their dates which are so soft and creamy (not hard like the dried ones you get at the store), you’ll understand how good this date shake will be.
Walk through the bakery to visit the attached antique store where you’ll find geodes of all shapes and colors, tapestries, long horn cow skulls, and plenty of desert rose.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, bring along some water and wear your hiking boots and head out for a hike behind the back of the gift shop. You’ll cross over a small natural spring and enter the farming area. From there you can hike a little or a lot. Plan your visit from October through March if you plan to hike; it gets pretty toasty, as you can imagine. The gift store has a map for purchase that shows the different trails.
- Come hungry and sample all the different varieties of dates.
- Don’t miss the Gourmet, China Gold, Black Beauty, and Honey date varieties.
- Get a date shake.
- Wear comfortable shoes and bring water if you plan to hike.
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