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.
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Last Updated: April 20, 2021
15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas
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.
2. Boulder City, Nevada
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.
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.
5. Valley of Fire, Nevada
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!
6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
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.
7. Mojave National Preserve, California
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)?
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.
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.
10. Death Valley National Park, Nevada and California
Distance: 142 mi / 2 hr 11 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Zabriskie Point, Mesquite Dunes, Badwater Basin
What to Eat: Toll Road Restaurant, Timbisha Village Frybread Tacos and Shave Ice, Panamint Springs Resort Restaurant
Where to Stay: The Inn at Death Valley (mid-range), Death Valley Inn and RV Park, Beatty (budget)
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.
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?
12. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
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!
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.
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.
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.
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)
- 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)
How many have you done? Any other day trips from Las Vegas that aren’t on here?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
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.