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

Need a quick getaway? These are the best day trips from Las Vegas.

Whenever people find out we live in Las Vegas, the common response by far is “Wow, how is that?”

Most people only think of the Strip when they’re visiting Vegas, but our favorite part of living here are all the outdoor adventures you can go on in our backyard and within a few hours drive.

15+ Best Day Trips from Las Vegas by CarPin

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Last Updated: April 20, 2021

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: 
Poke Express, Esther’s Kitchen, Island Flavor
Where to Stay: Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa

Red Rock Canyon (out of towners call it Red Rocks) is technically still part of Las Vegas, but we consider it a day trip depending on what area you live in. You get spoiled driving in Vegas, and you start to think anything over a 10 minute drive is far.

Red Rock is great for a day hike or scenic drive. If you’re a climber, you’re probably already familiar with this place since it’s a huge climbing destination. Tons of climbers travel here to climb the hundreds of boulders and trad and sport climbing routes.

When it’s climbing season, you can find us here at least once a week.

Local Tip: The best time to visit is late fall through early spring. 

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Las VegasPin
Best Bouldering Pants + 15 Great Gifts for Rock ClimbersPin

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

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 Tours from Las VegasPin

2525 Kyle Canyon Road, 89124, map

Mt. Charleston is the local’s getaway 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.

If you climb, it’s also where we locals like to go climbing in the summer when Red Rock gets too hot.

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

Distance: 44.5 mi South / 45 min (map)
What to Do / See: Chapel, Crashed Plane, Eldorado Canyon Gold Mine Tour
What to Eat: Poke Express, Island Flavor, Settebello Pizza

It’s a beautiful, rustic ghost town to explore and photograph. It’s popular among photographers. We’ve been twice, and both times there were multiple photo shoots happening. Our favorite area to shoot was the crashed plane.

las vegas plane crashPin

5. Valley of Fire, Nevada

2525 Kyle Canyon Road, 89124, map

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

During fall and spring, we get visitors almost every week, and this is one of our favorite spots to take them since it’s only an hour away.

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 Valley of Fire + 15 Unique Experiences in Las Vegas You Cannot MissPin
Valley of Fire + 15 Most Popular Road Trips from Vegas // localadventurer.comPin

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.

kayaking on lake meadPin

7. 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 drive through Mojave National Preserve a lot going to Joshua Tree, but have only stopped by the Lava Tube and Kelso Dunes 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.

Did you know that Mojave has the largest concentration of Joshua trees in the world (not Joshua Tree National Park)?

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

Distance: 119 mi / 1 hr 45 min (map)
What to Do / See: Pioneer Park, Red Hills Desert Garden, Kayenta
What to Eat: Painted Pony, Benja Thai & Sushi, Cliffside Restaurant

We’ve done a handful of day trips to St George mostly to go bouldering at Moe’s Valley and Super Mario World.

Desert red rock meets alpine mountains here. 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.

If you want to escape the crowds, though, there are some amazing hikes at Red Cliffs NCA with roughly 45,000 acres of public land. 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 also nearby made up of beautiful red and white Navajo sandstone.

St George, Utah + 15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas By CarPin
snow canyon hikingPin
Vortex Hike St George + 101 Things to Do in Utah Bucket ListPin
dixie rock st georgePin

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 recommend you make a weekend out of it or longer.

If you’ve never seen it before and you’re limited on time, though, it will be worth the drive. You can walk along the skywalk, go white water rafting, or ride a helicopter.

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Guano PointPin

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 ValleyPin

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, check out our ET Highway road trip guide with all the best stops. You’ll drive near Area 51. Don’t you ever wonder what’s really going on there?

Extraterrestrial Highway Black Mailbox in NevadaPin
Rachel NV Hotel - Little Ale Inn on the Extraterrestrial Road TripPin
Extraterrestrial Highway SignPin

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!

bridgewater channel lake havasuPin

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 deserves more than just a day, but with Las Vegas being so close, you can absolutely pop over for just a day. We took a day trip to hike Angel’s Landing. It was exhausting driving back, but if you’re limited on time, it’s still an option. There are plenty of amazing day hikes or you can just enjoy the views from the valley.

The Narrows at Zion National ParkPin
Angels Landing Zion National ParkPin

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.

Miller Point Trail at Cathedral Gorge State Park NevadaPin

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. The town itself is a tourist trap with plenty of stores selling Route 66 souvenirs, but it was still fun to explore.

Note: The iconic route 66 signs on the roads have been painted over by locals so that tourists don’t stop in the middle of the road for photos.

Seligman AZ on Route 66 + 15 Best Day Trips from Las VegasPin
Seligman Arizona on Route 66 + 15 Best Day Trips from Las VegasPin
Route 66 Seligman + 15 Best Day Trips from Las VegasPin

Map of Best Day Trips from Las Vegas

More Las Vegas Day Trip Ideas 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)
  • Willow Beach (48.7 mi / 56 min / 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)
  • Rhyolite Ghost Town (120 mi / 1 h 49 min / map)
  • Dixie National Forest, UT (182 mi / 2 h 40 min / map)

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

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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. Kim

    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. Esther JuLee

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

  2. Ashleigh

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

  3. Jason

    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. Esther JuLee

      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. Elvin

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

    1. Local Adventurer

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

  5. Shivendra Tarkar

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

  6. Marta Kulesza

    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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