When visiting Las Vegas, you might be distracted by the big city lights, endless shows, casinos and entertainment. Las Vegas can be an intense destination, and if you’re looking to slow down and explore a bit further afield, whether in the surrounding state of Nevada or even further into the stunning landscapes of Utah and Arizona, you’ll find that there is a wealth of beauty.
Within just a couple of hour’s drive from Sin City, there are some amazing day trips from Las Vegas to otherworldly state and national parks. Further afield, you can find some of America’s most famous sights, such as the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Monument Valley. Some of the trips below are simple there-and-back day trips, while others might require spending the night to make the most of everything on offer, but all are easily reachable by self-driving or on tour from Las Vegas.
- 20 Day Trips From Las Vegas
- Top 3 Day Tours
- Day Trips From Las Vegas To Nevada
- Day Trips From Las Vegas – Utah
- Day Trips From Las Vegas To California
- Day Trips From Las Vegas To Arizona
20 Day Trips From Las Vegas
Day Trips From Las Vegas To Nevada
1- Grand Canyon
Visiting the iconic Grand Canyon is arguably one of the most famous and popular day trips from Las Vegas.
Although it can be a long day, with the drive taking around 4.5 hours each way, it can be done either as a day trip or on a tour.
The Grand Canyon is most easily visited at either the West or South rims from Las Vegas.
The West rim is most common on day tours and is where the famous glass Skywalk is located, allowing you to step out over the canyon – perfect for thrill seekers.
Tours here usually start around 8 am and return in the late evening, allowing you a good few hours and lunch at the canyon.
If you’re self-driving, head to the south rim for a classic perspective and you’ll encounter far fewer people.
As it is a national park, the entrance here will cost $35, which allows your vehicle (and anyone in it) into the park for up to seven days – if you want to extend your day trip.
The south rim also has more opportunities for hiking, camping and rafting.
Although there is no Skywalk, many stunning viewpoints are scattered around the rim, which allows you to take photos, unlike the west rim. Check these out:
2- Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is one of the easy-to-do short trips from Las Vegas, only around 20 minutes drive from the city.
The pretty park is made up of vast red cliffs and hidden gorges, which is extremely popular for hiking with the over one million people who visit here every year.
Red Rock Canyon is a conservation area, and the entire park and is taken in quickly by simply taking the scenic drive, which has lots of beautiful viewpoints and is also the starting point for many trails.
If you are up for hiking, Calico Hills is one of the best trails, snaking through shady red rocks and windy bluffs.
Another fascinating sight not to be missed are the ancient petroglyphs scattered throughout the park, which are rock carvings from around 800 years ago.
You can find more information about what they mean at the visitor centre, which has many resources about the area’s history. A fun day trip to Red Rock Canyon is to go on a horseback ride and enjoy a delicious cowboy barbeque.
3- Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire is yet another scenic escape from the city, just over two hours from Las Vegas.
It can be planned out as a full-day trip, an overnight adventure or a pit stop on the way to other destinations.
The State Park is made up of miles of unique red rock formations, which, when hit by the sun, give the park its name.
The park only costs $15 to enter by car and is best explored by driving and getting out along the way the see some of the best viewpoints and short hikes.
Some of the most popular things to see are Rainbow Vista Point, so called for its sweeping views of the park, tinged with all different colours of rock.
White Domes is also a popular and not too-strenuous hike – the trailhead can be reached by car.
Although there are other labelled attractions, Valley of Fire is one for the adventurers and some of the best things to see here can be found unexpectedly or by stopping your car by the road when you see something exciting.
Mind out for your vehicle here, too, the park is home to big horn sheep that often wander in packs across the road. Escape from the city and enjoy this hiking tour of the Valley of Fire.
4- Death Valley
Death Valley is only an hour from Las Vegas and is rightly known as one of the world’s most unique and strange landscapes.
It’s the lowest point in America and the hottest, so it isn’t advisable to visit in the summer months and always bring plenty of water and coolant.
From the famous salt flats at Badwater Basin, the lowest part of the park, to Artist’s Point, stretching hills covered in multicoloured rock, and Devil’s Golf Course, a strange expanse of land covered in spiky golf ball-shaped rocks, there is endless things to see and do.
Dante’s View is also known for having the park’s best view, with sweeping vistas across the entire area.
Driving is recommended to the different sights in the park, but you can get out and explore on foot whenever you spot something interesting.
Some brave souls also camp and hike here, which is possible on overnight trips. Here’s one of the most popular tours you can join.
5- Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam is one of the world’s most famous dams, even though dams are traditionally not being the first thing you’d consider a cool tourist attraction.
However, this dam, which borders Arizona and Nevada, weighs almost seven million tonnes making it an impressive feat of engineering.
Although you can easily see the dam from afar in your car and even drive across it, for a more in-depth look, you can opt to take a tour (guided or self-guided).
You’ll learn more about the dam and its construction, and the visitor centre has stunning views across the water and nearby Lake Mead. If you only want to visit the Hoover Dam and the Seven Magic Mountains, here’s a mini tour that won’t take the entire day.
6- Seven Magic Mountains
Seven Magic Mountains is one of the shortest but most unique day trips from Vegas, made famous through influencers on Instagram posting photos with these unusual pillars.
Around half an hour from the city, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, stands this colourful art installation by artist Ugo Rondinone.
The installation consists of seven towers made up of individual limestone rocks, each painted in bright neon colours.
The attraction is a beautiful sight against the flat desert and distant mountains, and hundreds of people flock here to take photos and even have ‘spiritual’ experiences.
It’s best to arrive early due to its popularity and the site is completely free to visit. Visit the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Seven Magic Mountains in one amazing day trip from Las Vegas. Check it out here.
7- Area 51
Although technically you can’t go into Area 51 itself, anyone curious about the goings on in this government facility should take a trip out into the desert here.
Only around two hours from Las Vegas, you won’t see much of the site, which is unsurprisingly well protected with CCTV, however, nearby businesses have quickly capitalised on the attraction.
Just up from the town of Alamo begins Nevada’s ‘Extra Terrestrial Highway’, where many people claim to have seen aliens and spaceships.
Around the whole area, you can find unique shops, gas stations and attractions with an alien theme, from alien cafes to nightclubs, souvenir shops and more, including the Black Postbox, where ET enthusiasts gather to share tales of alien sightings.
It’s one of the weirdest and most wonderful day trips if you have a few hours spare and joining an organised day tour is the best way to guarantee you’ll learn some intriguing secrets.
8- Mount Charleston
Las Vegas can get extremely hot in the middle of the Nevada desert, but did you know that you can hit the slopes under an hour away?
Mount Charleston is only a 45-minute drive from the city, and the entire area stays a cool twenty degrees cooler than Vegas throughout the year, meaning landscapes of dense forests and snowy peaks wait for you.
There are over 100 miles (161 km) of hiking trails fit for any level of fitness or interest, or if you’re feeling less active, you can take advantage of the Lee Canyon Ski Lift to get up the mountain.
Skiing is the most popular activity here in the winter months and at 8,600 ft (2621 m) elevation, the mountain has a ski resort and plenty of snow.
For inexperienced skiers, there are easy slopes, as well as tobogganing, snow tubing and sledding.
9- Cathedral Gorge State Park
If you don’t have enough time to make the journey to Bryce Canyon, Cathedral Gorge is the next best thing and almost a mini version of the popular national park.
Just 2.5 hours from Las Vegas, this hidden gem has unique red cliffs and gorges similar to Bryce and Zion, all featuring beautifully multicoloured layers caused by millions of years of erosion.
The park is full of easy hiking trails, and you can find out more about the park at the visitor’s centre.
The park also has hiking trails that wind into its unique series of caves, created by the towering rocks, and are fun to explore.
It costs $5 for cars to enter, meaning it is much more affordable than larger national parks and is one of the lesser-known but most beautiful day trips you can do from the city.
10- Sloan Canyon Conservation Area
Sloan Canyon is only 20 minutes from Las Vegas and is a tranquil escape from the city, filled with natural history.
Despite being close to the city, the park is far less visited than many of its famous neighbours, which means those who visit get to experience it themselves.
The park is made up of forests, red rocks and black volcanic mountains but is most famous for its Archaeological District, also known as Petroglyph Canyon.
If you love history, this is a stunning place to explore and full of ancient geological wonders, such as lava flows, obsidian and ash falls, and petroglyph carvings.
The park is protected, so the only activities allowed here are hiking, cycling and horse riding, which provides plenty of opportunity to see all of the sights.
The petroglyph canyon is free, but everyone must register at the visitor centre before setting off into the park.
11- Boulder City
Boulder City is only half an hour south of Las Vegas, and you will likely pass through here if you’re heading to the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead or the Grand Canyon.
The city is much like a smaller version of Las Vegas, so if you can’t handle the intensity of Sin City, this could be a better option.
The city also has a historic side, and before Las Vegas was popular, Boulder was the region’s booming city.
Check out the Nevada State Railroad Museum or explore the many antique shops, including Goatfeather’s Emporium, for which the city is famous.
It has many great restaurants, parks and golf courses, and is a popular starting point for Hoover Dam and Lake Mead tours, so you can combine the city into a day trip with either of these attractions. Check out this day tour.
Day Trips From Las Vegas – Utah
12- Zion National Park
Zion National Park is frequently voted one of the best in the USA, and at just three hours from Las Vegas, it’s a must-see for anyone with a spare day.
It has a diverse landscape perfect for exploring with panoramic views, unique rock formations and wild hiking.
Hiking is the park’s most popular activity and Angel’s Landing is known as one of the most dangerous hikes in the USA, with visitors requiring a permit to climb.
Other popular hikes include Scout’s Lookout, Observation Point, Canyon Overlook and The Narrows, the latter of which ventures through slot canyons while submerged in water.
If you’re short on time, even just driving through the park on Highway 9 will allow you to see stunning vistas from your car. Check out this day tour of Zion and Bryce Canyon.
13- Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is around an hour and a half further north than Zion, approximately 4.5 hours from Las Vegas, so this should be done on an overnight trip for maximum sightseeing.
Bryce Canyon is famous for its spectacular landscape, which resembles thousands of sharp pinnacles, cliffs and rocks in vibrant reds and whites.
For those with less time, driving into the park and doing the scenic hike around the rim will be your best bet for cramming the best views into a short amount of time.
For those with more time, the entire park has miles of trails winding among the rocks and cliffs, and you can also camp if you’re feeling adventurous. Visit two of the most stunning national parks in Utah in one day on this Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park day tour from Las Vegas.
14- Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park is a pretty and lesser visited park around 2.5 hours from Las Vegas in the direction of Zion.
Unsurprisingly, it is known as a mini-Zion and features similar landscapes to its more famous neighbour.
This is a great option if you don’t have time to make the most of Zion, as Snow Canyon is far smaller and can be explored easily on a day trip.
Like Zion, hiking is the main attraction at this stunning park which features over 20 miles (32 km) worth of trails of varying difficulties.
Explore dunes, sweeping viewpoints, lava tubes and ancient petrified dunes along the way.
If you bring or rent gear, you can also go road biking, rock climbing, camping and sledding on the dunes – there are endless fun activities. Looking to visit a few parks in one go? Check out this fantastic three-day national park trip from Las Vegas.
Day Trips From Las Vegas To California
15- Mojave National Preserve
Only an hour north of Las Vegas, the Mojave National Preserve is one of the largest preserves in the United States, consisting of more than 1.5 million acres of desert landscapes and the highest concentration of Joshua Trees in the world.
That’s right – if you want to see these unusual trees and don’t have time to hit Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave Desert has more than enough.
You can see the trees by simply driving through the preserve, in which you will also find towering dunes and distant mountains.
There are also lots of viewpoints that end in pretty overlooks across the preserve, however, due to the elevation, the park can get cold (it even sees snow in winter!), so it’s essential to bring a warm jumper, even in the summer months. This half-day Mojave Desert ATV tour is a fun way to explore if you’re looking for an adventure you won’t forget.
Day Trips From Las Vegas To Arizona
16- Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is a beautiful place to stop on your way to many extended day trip sights from Vegas, such as Monument Valley or the Grand Canyon.
Five hours from Las Vegas, the attraction is just outside the town of Page, Arizona and is one of the state’s most popular places to visit.
Within the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend is a uniquely shaped formation of winding red cliffs, unsurprisingly shaped like a horseshoe, at the base of which runs the mighty Colorado River.
Entry is $10 for your car, and once you’ve parked, there’s a short 1.5-mile (2.4 km) easy walk down a marked trail to the viewpoint.
The area is always busy, however far more so at sunset, but there is plenty of space to find your own spot to take photos and admire the view down into the river and across the landscape.
Down below, you may even spot hardy travellers who go camping and kayaking in the Grand Canyon. You might also prefer to join this popular tour.
17- Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is a trip that can’t be missed and generally requires a professional guide to see.
It’s best to incorporate this day trip with the nearby town of Page and Horseshoe Bend for a day of amazing views.
Antelope Canyon has become famous worldwide for its fantastic slot canyons, which are vibrant reds and oranges and allow slivers of sunlight in, allowing visitors to explore below the surface.
The canyon is within the Navajo Nation, and although Upper Antelope Canyon is the most popular area to visit, there is plenty more to see.
Hiking through the canyon is a must-do; however the area is also popular with photographers, and you can take part in photography tours throughout the area. From Las Vegas, you can join a small group tour to explore either Lower Antelope Canyon or Antelope Canyon X as we as and Horseshoe Bend in one day. Check it out here.
18- Williams, Route 66
Williams is a small but fascinating town in Arizona known as a gateway town to the Grand Canyon, making it perfect if you’re planning a trip to the area.
The town is around 3. 5 hours from Las Vegas and is a popular detour for one reason.
The main street in Williams is part of the original Route 66, which famously stretches from the east to the west coast of America.
The town has many places to celebrate the road, such as signs, souvenir shops and cafes.
Being in the Midwest, you’ll find many cowboy and western shops, bars and western shows, and an old-fashioned railway museum.
If your trip doesn’t quite have the time to drive the entire road, visiting this small slice of Route 66 is an excellent stopping point on a day trip from Vegas.
19- Kaibab National Forest
Kaibab National Forest is an expansive area located just south of the Grand Canyon, and, if you’re heading to the South Rim, you’ll almost certainly drive through the forest on the way, so it’s worth making time to stop and explore.
The forest is around 4.5 hours from Las Vegas and is divided into three areas, Williams, Tusayan and North Kaibab.
The lush green area has lots to do, from winding hiking and cycling trails to horse riding, camping and even snow sports.
If you have a little more time, it’s a great place to explore during the day before staying overnight on the way to the Grand Canyon, allowing you to make the most of both attractions.
20- Monument Valley
Monument Valley is one of the longer Las Vegas trips and should incorporate an overnight stay.
The valley, which is entirely part of the Navajo Nation and classed as tribal land, is one of America’s most unique and famous landscapes, consisting of striking mesas and buttes towering over the desert.
Monument Valley is a minimum seven-hour drive from Las Vegas, so starting early is recommended.
Accommodation inside the reservation is limited, and the only two hotels to be found are The View and Goulding’s Lodge, which both have panoramic views.
Some of the Monument Valley loop can be self-driven, but if you want to explore hidden spots and famous locations such as John Ford’s point, booking a jeep tour in advance with a Navajo guide is recommended.
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