15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas You Can’t Miss

15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas You Can’t Miss

Whenever people find out we live in Las Vegas, the common response by far is “Wow, how was that?” Most people only think of the Strip when they’re visiting Vegas, but our favorite part of living here is how much there is to explore outdoors.

15 Incredible Day Trips from Las Vegas By Car // localadventurer.com

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Last Updated: August 13, 2019.  First Published: January 8, 2018

Local Tip / Pro Tip / Note: dsfsdfsd

1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161, map

Distance: 16.4 mi / 20 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Calico Hills, Scenic Loop, Red Springs Loop Hike
What to Eat: 
Other Mama, Poke Express
Where to Stay: The Venetian (luxury), Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa (mid-range), Hooters Casino (budget + cheapest table games on the Strip) 

Red Rock Canyon is technically still in Las Vegas, but we consider it more of a day trip depending on what area you live in. It’s funny how living in Vegas makes you think anything over a 10 minute drive is far.

Red Rock is great for a day hike or scenic drive. It’s also a huge climbing destination, and tons of climbers travel here since there are hundreds of boulders and sport climbing routes. When it’s climbing season, we’re usually here at least once a week.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com

2. Boulder City, Nevada

81 Hoover Dam Access Rd, Boulder City, 89005, map

Distance: 26.2 mi / 31 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Zipline Bootleg Canyon, Gold Strike Hot Springs, Hoover Dam
What to Eat: The Coffee Cup, Fox Smokehouse BBQ, Southwest Diner
Where to Stay: Boulder Dam Hotel (mid-range), Sands Motel (budget)

Boulder City is close by but it feels completely different than Vegas. Downtown is a great area to eat and shop, but there is also plenty to do in the area. You can zipline, check out the natural hot springs, go shooting, or tour the iconic Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam // Setting Goals for October.

3. Mt. Charleston, Nevada

Mt. Charleston is the perfect place to get away especially on days that are blistering hot in the city. It’s typically 10 degrees cooler and gets you away from all the crowds of the strip. Go for a hike, have a picnic, or just enjoy the views along the byway.

Mt Charleston, Nevada + 15 Most Popular Road Trips from Vegas (photo: jpellgen) // localadventurer.com photo: jpellgen

4. Valley of Fire, Nevada

Distance: 49.1 mi / 55 min (map)
What to Do / See: Fire Wave Hike, Elephant Rock, Rainbow Vista
What to Eat: Carly’s Pizza, Sugar’s Home Plate, Just Eat in Vegas

This was one of our favorite spots to explore near Vegas. There are plenty of hikes to check out or if it’s really hot, you can enjoy the views from your car on the scenic drive. Seeing the night sky from the park is amazing too!

Fire Wave at Valley of Fire + 15 Most Popular Road Trips from Vegas // localadventurer.com
Valley of Fire + 15 Most Popular Road Trips from Vegas // localadventurer.com

5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area

10 Lakeshore Rd, Boulder City, NV 89005, map

Distance: 20.3 mi, 30 min drive, map
Things You Can’t Miss: Cruise to Hoover Dam, Rogers Spring, Dive at Kingman Wash
What to Eat:
The Coffee Cup, The Dillinger
Where to Stay: Rent a houseboat

Lake Mead National Recreation Area covers a massive 1.5 million acres with mountains, canyons, valleys, and two huge lakes. It is America’s first and largest national recreation area and you can hike, swim, boat, camp, and explore to your heart’s content.

6. Mojave National Preserve, California

Distance: 58.5 mi / 53 min (map)
What to Do / See: Lava Tube, Kelso Dunes, Rings Trail
What to Eat: No restaurants in the preserve, eat in Vegas or pack food.

We drove by Mojave National Preserve a lot going to and from LA or SD but only stopped by once. Just like Death Valley, it covers a huge amount of land, so we recommend only trying to see a portion of it at a time as a day trip.

Mojave National Preserve, California + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas (ph: jshyun) // localadventurer.com
Mojave National Preserve + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Las Vegas (ph: jshyun) // localadventurer.com

7. St George, Utah

Desert red rock meets alpine mountains in St. George, Utah. You can explore museums, shop in town, or enjoy all the amazing outdoor scenery. It’s an easy getaway for a day trip but can easily fill your whole weekend too. It’s also the closest “big” city to Zion National Park.
St George, Utah + 15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas By Car

8. Red Cliffs National Conservation Area + Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Distance: 121 mi / 1 hr 45 min (map)
What to Do / See: Silver Reef Trail (Dinosaur Tracks), Chuckwalla Trail, Anasazi Trail
What to Eat: Angelica’s Mexican Grill, Roys Pizza & Pasta, Irmita’s Casita

There are roughly 45,000 acres of public land in the Red Cliffs NCA. It’s surrounded by small communities, and you can easily access the amenities you need before or after visiting. Once in the area, there are a ton of hikes and trails to explore. You can also check out Snow Canyon State Park which is nearby. It is made up of beuatiful red and white Navajo sandstone.

Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah + 15 Incredible Driving Trips from Las Vegas (photo: junaidrao) // Local Adventurer
Snow Canyon State Park, Utah + 15 Incredible Driving Trips from Las Vegas (photo: Thomas Jundt) // Local Adventurer

photo: junaidrao (left), Thomas Jundt (right)

9. Grand Canyon West, Arizona

Distance: 122 mi / 2 hr 10 min (map)
What to Do / See: Grand Canyon Skywalk, Hualapai River Runners, Helicopter Ride
What to Eat: Sa Nyu Wa Restaurant. Not many great options, so pack food.

Grand Canyon West isn’t our favorite part of Grand Canyon National Park, but it is the closest part of the park from Las Vegas. There’s so much to see and do at the Grand Canyon that we prefer making it longer than a day trip, but if you’ve never seen it before and you’re limited on time, it’s worth driving out to see. You can walk along the skywalk or do something more adventurous, like white water rafting or ride a helicopter.

Grand Canyon West + 15 Incredible DayTrips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com

10. Death Valley National Park, Nevada and California

Death Valley National Park is a huge park! You can be in the middle of sand dunes at one moment, then amongst some of the most colorful hills you’ve ever seen the next. If you’re headed up for a day trip don’t try to do it all. Focus on one region of the park. Everything is so far apart.

What to See in Death Valley

11. UFO Road Trip, Nevada

Distance: 147 mi / 2 h 13 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Rachel, Extraterrestrial Hwy, Black Mailbox / Area 51
What to Eat: Little A’Le’Inn, Windmill Ridge, Alamo Diner

If you’re into aliens or just looking for something weird and quirky to do, this is a great road trip with lots of stops. Take photos with the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign, stop at ET Fresh Jerky, or pick up a gift a the Alien Research Center Gift Shop. You’ll also drive through Area 51 and can spend your afternoon wondering what’s going on!

Black Mailbox, Area 51, Rachel, Nevada + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas (photo: James Marvin Phelps) // localadventurer.com
Area 51, Rachel, Nevada + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas (photo: Caacrinolaas) // localadventurer.com

Extraterrestrial Highway, Rachel, Nevada + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas (photo: Chris Moran @ TravelNevada) // localadventurer.com

photo: James Marvin Phelps (left), Caacrinolaas (right), Chris Moran @ TravelNevada (bottom)

12. Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Distance: 154 mi / 2 hr 26 min (map)
What to Do / See: Lake Havasu, London Bridge, Rotary Park
What to Eat: Cha-Bones, Barley Brothers Brewery, Shugrue’s Restaurant & Bakery

Lake Havasu is known as a spring break spot, but the beautiful waters are worth visiting without all the crowds. It’s a great way to get in some beach time without heading to the coast. Also, don’t forget to check out London Bridge. In the 60s, the London Bridge was dismantled and shipped to Lake Havasu, so you can actually cross the bridge in Arizona!

Lake Havasu City, Arizona + Best Road Trips from Las Vegas By Car (photo: dconvertini) // Local Adventurer
photo: dconvertini

 

Distance: 160 mi / 2 hr 35 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Angels Landing, Zion Narrows (Bottom-Up), Canyon Overlook Trail

Zion National Park definitely deserves more than just a day, but being so close, you can absolutely pop up there for just for a day. We drove up just to hike Angel’s Landing. There are plenty of amazing day hikes or you can just enjoy the views from the valley.
Angels Landing Zion National Park
The Narrows, Zion National Park + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas // Local Adventurer

Distance: 165 mi / 2 hr 35 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Miller Point, Cathedral Caves, Moon Caves
What to Eat: Silver CafeGhost Town Art & Coffee Co

We visited Cathedral Gorge State Park during our Ultimate Nevada Road Trip and it was one of our favorite spots by far! It has such a unique landscape and so many corners to explore and is a true Nevada hidden gem. There are also a couple of other state parks nearby to check like like Kershaw-Ryan State Park and Echo Canyon State Park, but you can easily fill your day playing at Cathedral Gorge.

Cathedral Gorge State Park + 15 Incredible Day Trips from Vegas // localadventurer.com

15. Route 66 to Seligman, AZ

For those of you who love road trips, head south to Route 66 and drive to Seligman, AZ. Enjoy the views along this scenic drive and appreciate why this is such an iconic trip.

Route 66 to Seligman Arizona + 15 Best Driving Trips from Las Vegas (photo: Randy Heinitz) // localadventurer.com

Map of Las Vegas Day Trip Ideas

More Day Trips from Las Vegas Under 3 Hours

  • Lake Las Vegas (20.2 mi / 31 min / map)
  • River Mountains Loop Trail, Henderson (21.0 / 24 min / map)
  • Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, Henderson (28.2 mi / 33 min / map)
  • Pioneer Saloon (38.3 mi / 41 min / map)
  • Nelson, NV (43.7 / 43 min / map)
  • Willow Beach (48.7 mi / 56 min / map)
  • Eldorado Canyon & Gold Mine, NV (52.6 mi / 1 hr / map)
  • Pahrump, NV (63.1 mi / 1 h 10 min / map)
  • Overton – Lost City Museum (64.1 / 1 hr 2 min / map)
  • Nipton, CA (64.4 mi /1 hr 2 min / map)
  • Mount Tipton Wilderness Area, AZ (82.8 mi / 1 hr 30 min / map)
  • Armagosa Valley (87.9 mi / 1 h 17 min / map)
  • Shoshone, CA (90.1 mi / 1 h 34 min / map)
  • Laughlin, NV (97.6 mi / 1 h 30 min / map)
  • Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, CA (112 mi / 1 h 43 min / map)
  • Rhyolite Ghost Town (120 mi / 1 h 49 min / map)
  • Dixie National Forest, UT (182 mi / 2 h 40 min / map)

Essential Tips

What to Pack for Your __

Best Places to Stay

More Resources

How many have you done? Any other day trips from Las Vegas that aren’t on here?

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15 Best Road Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com
15 Popular Road Trips from Vegas You Can't Miss // Local Adventurer
15 Incredible Places to Visit Near Las Vegas By Car // localadventurer.com

SEE MORE THINGS TO DO IN LAS VEGAS

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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust

15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas You Can't Miss

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I looked online to find a road trip while staying in Vegas and found your page. We decided to go to St. George, Utah. What a really lovely day we had. Great drive from Vegas through Virgin River Gorge, amazing scenery. We had brunch at Black Bear Diner which we enjoyed. Just wanted to say thanks. We shall do another of your recommends next time we visit Vegas.
    Merry Christmas.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip. Merry Christmas, Kim!

  2. Great list! Red Rock and Boulder City are some of my favorites.
    Ashleigh

  3. Incredible post! There’s so much more to Las Vegas than the strip. Although the strip is iconic in it’s own right, the real beauty lies beneath. Death Valley is one of the most memorable places for me and your post with it’s excellent photography just brought all those memories back, thanks Ester and Jacob.

    1. Thank you, Jason. And I totally agree. It’s funny how people only think of the Strip, but I’m more familiar with a completely different side of Vegas.

  4. wow, this is a different las vegas from what i knew. looks awesome, have to do a road trip there soon!

    1. Definitely! So many great things to do other than visiting The Strip. :)

  5. First of all thanks for sharing this post your photographs are really amazing. I want to visit here with my friends.

  6. Hey Ester and Jacob. Cool article but the title says 25 spots then there’s only 15 in the list. I think it’s a typo. I can’t wait to do a road trip around Las Vegas it’s looks sensation, especially all the national parks.

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