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.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.
Last Updated: August 13, 2019. First Published: January 8, 2018
15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas
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.
2. Boulder City, Nevada
3. Mt. Charleston, Nevada
4. Valley of Fire, Nevada
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!
5. 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.
6. Mojave National Preserve, California
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.
7. St George, Utah
8. Red Cliffs National Conservation Area + Snow Canyon State Park, Utah
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.
9. Grand Canyon West, Arizona
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.
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.
11. UFO Road Trip, Nevada
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!
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!
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.
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)
What to Pack for Your __
Best Places to Stay
How many have you done? Any other day trips from Las Vegas that aren’t on here?
Did you enjoy this post? Pin it for later
SEE MORE THINGS TO DO IN LAS VEGAS
“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.