The author in the middle of a road in Red Rock Canyon, one of the best day trips from Las Vegas

21 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas (By a Local)

Living in Las Vegas, there are always things to do. But there are times when I need a change of scenery, and fun day trips from Las Vegas are the best way to do that! 

I’m a Las Vegas local, so I have put together a list of the best day trips from Las Vegas to assist you with planning your next trip.

We’ll cover the best places to take your day trip, including ones most people don’t know about. From swimming in the mountains to exploring ancient petroglyphs, you can do it all within a couple of hours from the Las Vegas strip!

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21 Best Las Vegas Day Trips

Grand Canyon

The world-famous Grand Canyon is accessible via a short but epic day trip from Las Vegas

Overlooking view of the Colorado River from Horseshoe Bend in the Grand Canyon
Magnificent views of the Colorado River from Horseshoe Bend in the Grand Canyon.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 90 minutes to 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Grand Canyon West Website | 👉 Top Private Tour for Grand Canyon West

As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is at the top of most lists of day trips from Las Vegas. Many people don’t realize this epic day trip is only a couple hours’ drive away from Sin City. Visiting the Grand Canyon is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas because it is one of the most famous, and most incredible attractions in the USA.  

The Grand Canyon National Park features a 4,000-foot-tall glass bridge that you can walk on by adding the ticket to your admission passes! You can also try ziplining over the canyon or white-water rafting in the Colorado River.

Don’t have a car or want someone else to take care of the logistics? This private tour provides round-trip transportation from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and takes you to see the most popular spots!

👉 Local Tip: Make sure that you plan to visit the west rim of the Grand Canyon, as the south rim is a 5-hour drive (a little too long for a day trip from Las Vegas).

Lake Las Vegas

Stunning scenery and weekly live entertainment make this one of my favorite Vegas getaways

View of a inflatable water park in Lake Las Vegas
The inflatable water park at Lake Las Vegas! (photo: Kit Leong / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 30 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Lake Las Vegas Website

Lake Las Vegas is one of the day trips from Las Vegas that I take many times a year. Lake Las Vegas is a lake surrounded by a small town. Coming from Vegas, it makes you feel like you have traveled to a different state entirely. 

At the Lake Las Vegas inflatable water park, you can climb, swing, and slide on the lake! Kayaks, paddleboards, and small boats are available to rent out for the day at different areas on the lake.

You’ll find many hotels to stay at if you want to extend your stay, but my personal favorite is the Westin at Lake Las Vegas. On Saturdays, you can enjoy live outdoor entertainment on the lake while enjoying their delicious fine dining options.

👉 Read Next: Where to Stay in Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon

The perfect place to get lost in nature away from the bright lights of Sin City

The author in the middle of a road in Red Rock Canyon
Me enjoying the tranquility and natural beauty found in Red Rock Canyon!

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Red Rock Canyon Website | 👉 Browse Top Red Rock Canyon Tours on Viator

Red Rock Canyon is one of my favorite quick day trips from Las Vegas because it is only 30 minutes away from downtown Las Vegas. It is a magical place to explore, hike, and even do some bird watching. There are several different mountains and hiking paths to explore. You may even catch a glimpse of the beautiful waterfalls after it has rained or during the spring months.

Red Rock Canyon has many areas to go rock climbing if you are feeling adventurous! Horseback riding through this stunning canyon is another popular activity.

At the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center, you will find a Desert Tortoise habitat and a variety of outdoor exhibits!

👉 Local Tip: If you just want to stay in the car, there is a 13-mile long scenic drive that will take you through the whole canyon!

Mount Charleston

The perfect mountain retreat, with fun activities to enjoy for every season

The Mount Charleston with snow during the late spring season months
Mount Charleston has snow up until the late spring months.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Mount Charleston Website | 👉 Top Suggested Mount Charleston Tour

While driving around Las Vegas, you might catch a glimpse of Mount Charleston looming over the city. Mount Charleston sits at an altitude of around 7,510 feet, so be aware that it is often much colder than the city. In the summer months from June to September, you’ll find perfect temperatures with highs in the 70s, making it the perfect Las Vegas day trip to escape the heat.

Skiing, snowboarding, and sledding are the most popular things to do in the winter in Mount Charleston. You’ll even find magical winter sleigh rides during the holiday season. 

During the warmer seasons, Mount Charleston offers horseback riding, rock climbing, and a variety of places to go camping. If you are looking to stay overnight, there is even a cozy lodge in the mountains where you can book a cute cabin.

Zion National Park

Utah’s famous park offers stunning vistas, epic hiking trails, and picture-perfect swimming pools

The Watchman Mountain at the Zion National Park
Sparkling river flowing through Watchman Mountain at Zion National Park.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 90 minutes to 2.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Zion National Park Website | 👉 Browse Top Zion Tours on Viator 

Located in southern Utah, Zion National Park sports spectacular mountains and natural swimming spots. Some of the top recommended hiking spots at Zion National Park are The Narrows and Angels Landing. The Narrows is a long and intense trail, while Angels Landing is pretty dangerous so make sure to do your research beforehand! 

For a more relaxing and beginner-level trail, the Canyon Overlook Trail is also recommended. The Emerald Pools Trail at Zion National Park will take you to see the glistening natural pools and waterfalls.

Area 51

Immerse yourself in intriguing mysteries at one of the most out-of-this-world day trips from Las Vegas

The Extraterrestrial Highway signage in Area 51
Extraterrestrial Highway is the eerie road that you take when passing by Area 51!

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 90 minutes to 2.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | 👉 Top Suggested Area 51 Day Tour

Area 51 is infamous around the world for all of the mysteries and stories attached to this military base. If you want to learn more with a knowledgeable guide, this highly rated tour will take you down Extraterrestrial Highway and guide you through everything Area 51-related. You will see the eerie black mailbox, Area 51 itself, and the mysterious Joshua tree forest.

Stop by the alien research center to pick up some out-of-this-world souvenirs and also learn more about the history of Area 51. You might work up an appetite going on an alien hunt, so be sure to go to the Little A’Le’Inn in the tiny town of Rachel, Nevada, and try their alien burger!

If visiting independently, be sure to call the alien research center ahead, because I’ve learned that sometimes they are not always open according to the hours posted on their website.

Seven Magic Mountains

A unique and free outdoor art installation that makes for a perfect sunset picture spot, or a nice add-on to a day trip to see the Hoover Dam

The author posing for a photo with the colorful art installation in Seven Magic Mountains
Me posing with this vibrant art installation!

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Seven Magic Mountains Website | 👉 Browse Top Seven Magic Mountains Tours on Viator

Swiss artist Ugo Rodinone opened this art exhibit in 2016 to represent the presence of humans in preserved places, such as the Nevada desert. The dazzling Seven Magic Mountains exhibit is completely free to visit and take photos in front of. If you are already planning to visit the Hoover Dam or Valley of Fire, some tours will take you to see this art installation along the way. It’s a great way to combine multiple day trips from Las Vegas into one day!

Seven Magic Mountains was originally only intended to be on display for a couple of years. But it became such a big Vegas area attraction that there are no longer plans to take it down. It is a perfect place to take photos (especially during golden hour), and it is a very enchanting piece of art to see in person.

Willow Beach

A quick Las Vegas day trip that makes for a relaxing day on the water

The author paddleboarding in Willow Beach
Paddleboarding and kayaking at Willow Beach are some of my favorite things to do!

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Willow Beach Website | 👉 Browse Top Willow Beach Kayak Tours on Viator 

Just a short drive away from the Las Vegas Strip lies a hidden gem in Las Vegas, and its name is Willow Beach. At Willow Beach, you can rent small boats, kayaks, and paddleboards to take on the water. If you want to make it into a weekend trip, there are also cozy campgrounds. 

While at Willow Beach, kayak to Emerald Cove, and experience the beautiful emerald-colored water. The trip to Emerald Cove on the water is around two miles, so don’t forget to bring plenty of water and snacks!

Once you finish exploring in the water, you can head to the recreational area and experience different hiking trails. Even if you don’t stay overnight, it makes for a fun-filled day trip.

Lake Mead

Bathe in the natural hot springs at Lake Mead or hike historic railroad tunnels on this easy day trip from Vegas

The Lake Mead surrounded by mountains
Bright blue Lake Mead surrounded by a valley of mountains.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Lake Mead Website | 👉 Top Suggested ATV Tour of Lake Mead 

Lake Mead offers a wide variety of things to see and do, and makes for one of the best day trips from Las Vegas. Tour the Hoover Dam, have brunch or even eat dinner on the water, you can enjoy all these things on a Lake Mead cruise.

The Historic Railroad Hiking Trail at Lake Mead has stunning scenery that takes you through old train tunnels no longer in use. The Arizona Hot Spring Trail is also a very unique hike to take because it will lead you to bubbly hot springs. This trail is a little more strenuous and is around 5 miles long so make sure to plan in advance.

👉 2022 Note: The Arizona Hot Spring Trail at Lake Mead will not be open until September 2022 due to flooding!

Eldorado Canyon

Try your luck at mining for gold, take an ATV tour, and explore an abandoned mining town less than an hour from Las Vegas

A ghost town located in Eldorado Canyon
Ghost town in Eldorado Canyon. (photo: Harry Beugelink / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Eldorado Canyon Website | 👉 Top Suggested Eldorado Canyon ATV Tour

Eldorado Canyon is most well known for having the oldest gold mine in Southern Nevada, Techatticup Gold Mine. Take an ATV tour around El Dorado Canyon, the gold mine, and Nelson ghost town, with lunch and admission tickets included. If you’re lucky you might even find your own gold on this Vegas day trip.

Nelson ghost town is an abandoned mining town where you will find restored buildings and cars to take pictures with. If you are feeling bold, visit Nelson’s Landing and go cliff jumping into Lake Mojave! 

Valley of Fire State Park

Explore colorful mountains, watch wildlife, and get active on this day trip’s many hiking trails 

Scenic view from the Valley of Fire State Park
Capturing incredible fire waves in the Valley of Fire State Park!

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Valley of Fire State Park Website | 👉 Browse Top Valley of Fire Tours on Viator

The Valley of Fire State Park in the Mojave Desert features colorful mountains that are perfect for hiking and taking incredible photos. You may catch a glimpse of lizards, bighorn sheep, or even rattlesnakes while you are there. Stop by the Valley of Fire visitor center to learn more about the park’s history and get maps to make the most of your hikes.

One of the main points of interest at the Valley of Fire State Park is the fire wave which is a picture-perfect spot and it does not take long to walk around it. In certain areas of the valley, you can enjoy the thrill of rock climbing and your kids can join since they are not very threatening climbs.

👉 Local Tip: If visiting in the summer make sure to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated, as the temperatures can get to over 100 degrees in the Valley of Fire.

Hoover Dam

One of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world is undeniably one of the most popular day trips from Las Vegas

Overlooking view of the Hoover Dam
Magnificent views of the Hoover Dam and Colorado River.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Hoover Dam Website | 👉 Browse Top Hoover Dam Tours on Viator

The Hoover Dam is in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, and it opened in 1936. The Hoover Dam has many different guided tours, which will give you the full backstory of this incredible landmark. The Hoover Dam helps fuel hydroelectric power and decreases the amount of flooding that came from the Colorado River.

It is free to walk around the dam, but the powerplant and visitor’s center have admission fees ranging from $15-$30. The Hoover Dam is one of the most special day trips from Las Vegas that you can take, because it is considered to be one of the seven engineering wonders of the world.

It is important to note that if you are bringing children younger than 8 years old, they are not allowed to go on the Hoover Dam tour. Children are welcome in places like the powerplant, visitor’s center, and other areas of the Hoover Dam.

Boulder City

Enjoy a picnic and fantastic lake views surrounded by bighorn sheep galore

View of bighorn sheep in Hemenway Park
Bighorn Sheep roaming freely around Hemenway Park in Boulder City.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Boulder City Website

Boulder City is most famous for being home to the historical landmark, Hoover Dam, but there is much more to see on this easy day trip from Las Vegas.

Bighorn sheep are Nevada’s state animal, and at Hemenway Park, you can enjoy a picnic up close and personal with these fascinating animals. Check out the Historic Downtown Main Street, which has antique shops, restaurants, and museums. Museums to see are the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum and the Nevada State Railroad Museum. 

After a long day visiting the Hoover Dam and walking around Boulder City, end the day with even more fun at their local bowling alley, Boulder Bowl.

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Famous for being the perfect picnic spot, Cathedral Gorge State Park is the perfect getaway from the Vegas crowds

View of a cave in Cathedral Gorge State Park
Intriguing caves at Cathedral Gorge State Park!

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 2.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Cathedral Gorge State Park Website

Cathedral Gorge State Park is famous for its magnificent caves and unparalleled hiking trails. This is one of the top day trips from Las Vegas to take if you want a break from large crowds and tourists. This low-key spot is also perfect for a sunrise or sunset picnic with breathtaking views in the picnicking area.

The Bullionville Cemetery Trail is a short trail that leads you to a cemetery from the 1800s. Some of the caves to see include the Cathedral Caves, the Moon Caves, and the Canyon Caves. The Miller Point Trail is a short and simple hike, which leads you to a tall staircase where you can get the best views of Cathedral Gorge.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Take a long day trip to Utah’s breathtaking park, or stay overnight to soak in amazing sunrises and night sky views

The Bryce Canyon National Park under the colorful sky during sunset
Breathtaking views of the sunrise at Bryce Canyon National Park.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 4 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Bryce Canyon Website | 👉 Browse Top Bryce Canyon Tours on Viator

Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah is most known for its famous hoodoo formations. Sunrise Point and Sunset Point give you an amazing spot to see the colorful skies. If you stay past the sunset, you are sure to see incredible views of stars shimmering in the night sky.

Bryce Amphitheater has a variety of hiking trails, and holds some of the most popular attractions like Thor’s Hammer. Bryce Canyon is part of the Dixie National Forest where you will find more magnificent, red canyons.

It’s a long drive from Las Vegas, and you may want to stay longer to enjoy the night sky views, so consider booking one of the top places to stay in Bryce Canyon for a night.

Snow Canyon State Park

Journey through unique sand dunes and lava tubes at this unique day trip spot

A river passing through the Snow Canyon State Park
Red Reef Trail with the river passing through Snow Canyon State Park.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 2.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Snow Canyon State Park Website | 👉 Top Suggested Snow Canyon Tour

If you love to hike, Snow Canyon State Park is one of the day trips from Las Vegas that I recommend. There are different trails to hike, each with extraordinary views and scenery surrounding them. The scenic Snow Canyon Drive is also a great place to see all the incredible parts of the canyon from the comfort of your own car.

One of the main points of interest at Snow Canyon State Park is their bright red-colored sand dunes and lava tubes which you can hike into. The Snow Canyon website also lists different events that they host such as moonlit or sunset hikes.

Death Valley National Park

Explore the hottest place in the United States, and the nearest national park to Las Vegas

View of sand dunes in Death Valley National Park

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Death Valley Website | 👉 Top Suggested Death Valley Tour

Death Valley National Park is the closest national park to Las Vegas and is part of the expansive Mojave Desert. Death Valley is the hottest and lowest place in the United States, so be sure to bring lots of cold water if visiting in the summer. 

Take a hike through Badwater Basin, or take a night trip to see some of the best views of the night sky that Las Vegas has to offer.

Rhyolite is a ghost town on the way to Death Valley National Park, abandoned in 1920. Check out the Tom Kelly bottle house which is completely made out of medicine and liquor bottles! The sculpture garden of ghosts is also a great location for a spooky photoshoot.

Lake Havasu City

See the world-famous London Bridge and other unique attractions

Colorful hot air balloons over the Lake Havasu City
Lake Havasu balloon festival and fair.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 2.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Lake Havasu City Website | 👉 Top Suggested Lake Havasu Tour

Lake Havasu is a world-famous attraction because it is where the London Bridge is now located. You can take this tour from Las Vegas to Lake Havasu to learn all about the London Bridge.

Lake Havasu has a variety of different beaches to check out, like London Bridge Beach. If you are traveling in January, you can also check out the Lake Havasu Hot Air Balloon Festival over the lake.

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

Explore ancient volcanoes and petroglyphs at one of the closest day trips from Vegas

Petroglyphs found on the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Ancient petroglyphs found in Sloan Canyon!

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Sloan Canyon Website

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the closest day trips from Las Vegas that you can take. This ancient site is a lesser-known area, so it remains untouched for the most part. 

From a distance, you will notice black volcanic mountains hovering above Sloan Canyon. These black mountains are available to hike, although it will take around five hours. Up close, you will find the lava flows and sparkling obsidian from when the volcano last erupted, about 20 million years ago.

The most notable thing about Sloan Canyon is the petroglyphs found, dating back to the historic era. There are over 300 rock walls filled with this ancient art. The Petroglyph Trail is around a 4-mile hike, but you can also join a guided tour to make the most out of your experience.

👉 Pro Tip: When observing the petroglyphs, be sure not to touch them so that the rock art can stay preserved for many more years to come!

Laughlin

Get the best of both worlds with an active nightlife and outdoor activities

Skyscrapers and its reflection on the Lake Mohave in Laughlin
Bright casinos on Lake Mohave in Laughlin, Nevada. (photo: Gregory E. Clifford / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 90 minutes to 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Laughlin Website

Laughlin, Nevada has the nightlife of a big city, but the close-knit feeling of a small town. While in Laughlin, you can do everything from gambling at the casinos to scuba diving in Lake Mohave. This makes for one of the most unique day trips from Las Vegas because you can enjoy both city life and nature. 

Lake Mohave is a great place to unwind on the beach, try scuba diving, or even rent a boat! After a day spent relaxing at the lake, you can head over to the casinos to try your luck at gambling, or grab a bite to eat. 

Most of the casinos in Laughlin have great views of the lake, so if you plan to stay overnight it makes for a gorgeous getaway. Check out these Laughlin Hotels on Booking.com.

Antelope Canyon

Snap breathtaking photos against the perfect canyon background

Colorful mountains in Antelope Canyon
Unique and vibrant mountains found in Antelope Canyon.

🗺️ Distance from Las Vegas: 4 hours | 📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Top Antelope Canyon Tours on Viator

Antelope Canyon is a beautiful slot canyon located in northern Arizona. It is very unique because of its shape and the way the sunlight reflects off certain angles. It is considered to be one of the most famous slot canyons in the world. 

Antelope Canyon is only accessible via licensed tours. I suggest pre-booking this highly rated tour to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, which also provides round-trip transportation from Las Vegas.

Horseshoe Bend is only a 10-minute drive from Antelope Canyon and admission is free. The hike is only around a mile long and you get extraordinary views of the Colorado River while you are there.

👉 Read Next: Best Day Trips from Los Angeles, CA

FAQs About Day Trips From Vegas

What is there to do within 2 hours of Las Vegas?

The most popular things to do within 2 hours of Las Vegas include visiting Death Valley National Park, Red Rock Canyon, and the Hoover Dam. Other hidden gem day trips from Las Vegas that are less than 2 hours away include the Seven Magic Mountains or the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum. 

Can you take a day trip to the Grand Canyon from Vegas?

It is possible to take a day trip from Vegas to the west rim of the Grand Canyon in around 2 hours. Start your trip in the earlier morning hours of the day, and you can spend the whole day at the Grand Canyon and still get back to Vegas before it gets dark.

***

Thank you for reading to the end! Which Vegas day trips are you planning? Let me know in the comments which day trip you are looking forward to the most.

I hope I’ve helped you find the perfect day trips from Las Vegas for your trip!

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