Las Vegas is a city that is known for a lot of things. Most people think about the musicians, comedians, and magicians who regularly put on live shows inside the many hotels along the Las Vegas Strip.
Some of the most reputable entertainers who live in Las Vegas include Wayne Newton and Siegfried & Roy. They’ve come to define the way people all over the world think about Las Vegas.
However, one of the best things about living or visiting Las Vegas is all the fabulous sights and attractions that are within driving distance away. There are so many different day trips from Las Vegas that you could take by yourself or with your friends and family. Las Vegas day trips are safe and fun too.
They give you a chance to drive on roads throughout the desert that are mostly straight and uncongested. If you plan accordingly, one day trip from Las Vegas could get you back to the city by nighttime. That way, you don’t need to stay at a hotel in the location you travel to.
To save you the trouble of finding great places to visit, we’ve done all the research for you. Below are the top 26 best day trips from Las Vegas that you could take.
1) Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is known as a national conservation area which is roughly 15 miles away from Las Vegas. If you go to the Las Vegas Strip, you can see the canyon in the distance.
It is covered with huge red rock formations and sandstone walls that are 3,000 feet high. Many of the people who visit Vegas love to go rock climbing and hiking up the canyon.
If you’re feeling very adventurous, then you can attempt to reach the top of La Madre Mountain, which is approximately 8,154 feet above sea level.
Otherwise, there are plenty of trails and side roads to explore at the site. You can even go on a bicycle tour if you have a lot of stamina and leg muscle to keep up.
As you go further south in the conservation area, you’ll approach Bonnie Springs Ranch and the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.
2) Mount Charleston
Mount Charleston can serve as a very short-day trip from Las Vegas. At only a 35-mile distance, you could drive to Mount Charleston within 30 to 45 minutes. This is a beautiful recreational environment which serves as the perfect place to go horseback riding, picnicking, skiing, and hiking.
And since the elevation is 3,615 meters, you’ll find the temperatures to be cooler by up to 30°F. If you need to escape the dreadful dry heat of Las Vegas, then Mount Charleston is the perfect place to visit.
For those of you who are interested in environmental protection programs, Mount Charleston offers several educational programs every day for visitors and volunteers who want to help preserve this endangered ecosystem.
3) Dixie National Forest
The Dixie National Forest is roughly 3,088 square miles in size. You’ll find the Dixie National Forest in the great state of Utah and located in the middle of the Great Basin and Colorado River. Some of the best things to see at the forest are the rare wild creatures, which are vital to the ecosystem of the forest.
Some of these creatures include the Utah prairie dog, cougar, and bobcat. Don’t worry because you’ll be perfectly safe as long as you respect the rules of the park. Some of the less threatening animals to watch out for are the golden eagles, blue grouse, and wild turkeys.
As far as Las Vegas day trips go, a trip to the Dixie National Forest will take you 3 hours and 15 minutes by car. Prepare to spend the whole day at the park because there are all sorts of activities to do there. You can camp, hike, bike, hunt, ski, and horseback riding.
4) Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
The Sloan Canyon National Conversation Area will be one of the shorter day trips from Las Vegas that you make. It is only a 35-minute drive to get to this massive 49,000 acres of beautiful and ancient desert scenery.
Not only is it home to a petroglyph site, but it has several renowned cultural areas with dry lake beds and tall rocky peaks. The petroglyph site alone is worth the visit just to see the nearly 2,000 designs on the 300+ panels of rock art.
This is a designated conversation area because the petroglyphs are extremely delicate. The staff members watch people carefully to make sure none of the ancient images and artwork gets damaged.
That is why trails have been designed for guests to use. No one can leave the trail during their tour of the canyon.
5) Lake Mead National Recreational Area
It won’t take you long at all to get to Lake Mead from Vegas. If you don’t mind spending 30 to 40 minutes in the car to drive 25 miles, then you’ll definitely want to spend an afternoon visiting the Lake Mead National Recreational Area.
There are over 550 miles of shoreline throughout this magnificent area. You could spend a week at Lake Mead and still not see everything there is to see.
There are cruise ships and tours passing through Lake Made almost every day. If you want to do something more adventurous there, you can go boating, camping, skiing, swimming, and fishing.
Anyone who is a true outdoors person and appreciates the beauty of nature won’t want to miss a day trip from Vegas to this glorious attraction.
6) Rachel, Nevada (Area 51)
Did you know the mysterious United States Air Force facility known as “Area 51” is located about 150 miles away from Las Vegas? It is near the small village of Rachel, Nevada.
It would take you about 3 hours to drive 150 miles, which is plenty of time to make a day trip from Las Vegas. You’ll know when you get close to the town because you’ll see signs indicating that you’re on the Extraterrestrial Highway.
Area 51 is not positioned directly in Rachel, NV. You would need to ask around for directions or simply get them off the internet. However, we do not recommend that you attempt to access Area 51 because it is a heavily secured facility. You won’t make it close to the base before getting stopped by military officers or the police.
Therefore, if you want to make the trip fun and exciting, just hang around the village of Rachel and visit the alien-themed restaurants and Inn. There is also an Alien Research Center along the Extraterrestrial Highway. You can check that out too.
7) Hollywood, California (Los Angeles)
Los Angeles is a lot closer to Las Vegas than you might realize. They are approximately 270 miles apart, which makes it about a 4-hour drive to get to Los Angeles from Las Vegas.
There are several reasons why you’d want to make a day trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. The biggest reason is to visit the famous neighborhood known as Hollywood, California.
Hollywood is where all the major American film studios are located. They create the movies and cinema that you’ve grown up with. Some of the best sites in Hollywood include the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign, Universal Studios Hollywood, TCL Chinese Theatre, Paramount Pictures, Dolby Theatre, and so many other places.
You will not be bored for one minute when you visit this glorious and world-renowned neighborhood of Los Angeles.
8) Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is located just outside of Boulder City about 45 miles away from Las Vegas. The Hoover Dam has become a sort of a landmark of Vegas, even though it is not actually located in the same city.
This is one of the faster day trips from Vegas that you could make because it only takes roughly 45 minutes of driving to get to the Hoover Dam. You could make this trip within one morning or afternoon and still have time to do other things over the course of your day.
It took 5 years for the Hoover Dam to be constructed back in the 1930s. It was built in order to stop flooding and to produce hydroelectric power. It is one of the biggest dams in the world, with a water capacity of 28.98 million acre-feet.
The beauty and magnificence of the dam have turned it into a tourist attraction. There are guided tours almost every day which take people through the dam complex and the power plant that is next to it.
9) Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park is home to one of the steepest and most beautiful canyons in the world. Its red rock layers are millions of years old and can be viewed from wide distances.
You can also see the Colorado River that flows directly through it. There are several different viewpoints you can visit at the Grand Canyon, including Yavapai Observation Station, Desert View Watchtower, and Mather Point.
You’ll need to take a 277-mile journey from Las Vegas to get to the Grand Canyon. It is about a 4-hour drive, so you need to start your trip early in order to make it back within the same day. Aside from sightseeing, you can go hiking, backpacking and camping at the Grand Canyon.
Some people even celebrate their birthdays and weddings there too. The best part is that it is an affordable trip because your only real expense is the fuel for your vehicle.
10) Death Valley National Park
Death Valley may sound like a scary place to visit. Not only is Death Valley considered to be one of the driest places in the United States, but it is also one of the hottest locations in the entire world. It often experiences temperatures exceeding 120°F.
However, as a national park, Death Valley is a beautiful place to see. It is home to several different desert creatures and colorful wildflowers. If you visit during the colder months of the winter, then the experience won’t be so bad. You can go rock climbing, hiking, sightseeing, or camping without feeling too exhausted.
Death Valley National Park is approximately 135 miles away from Las Vegas. This makes the driving time just over 2 hours. Some of the best areas to visit in Death Valley National park include Scotty’s Castle, Zabriskie Point, and the 20 Mule Team Canyon. If you don’t wander off into the desert alone, then you’ll be just fine during this trip.
11) Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is approximately 260 miles away from Las Vegas. It is in southwestern Utah, so you’ll need to drive northeast to get there.
This is one of the more pleasant day trips from Vegas because you’ll get to see a lot of beautiful desert scenery during your trip to the park. Once you get there, you’ll get to witness a lot of wonderful rock formations at sites like Silent City, Cathedral, and Pink Cliffs.
Bryce Canyon will open your imagination to all new heights. The geographical formations of the canyon resemble so many real-life buildings and structures, including city wall ruins, battlements, castles, and even the faces of people.
Once again, this is an inexpensive trip to make which only requires you to spend gas money. Just be prepared for the nearly 4-hour car ride to get there.
12) The Mount Tipton Wilderness Area
It is surprising that the Mount Tipton Wilderness Area of Mohave County, Arizona does not get enough attention. It can serve as one of the best day trips from Las Vegas that you can make if you’re interested in wilderness and picturesque landscapes.
There are more than 30,000 acres of the wilderness area to see, which includes wild animals, hills, valleys, and mountains. The driving time is about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Mount Tipton has an elevation of just over 7,100 feet. Look out for the wild mustang herds while you’re there. People love to come to Mount Tipton and the area around it for the purpose of hiking, rock climbing, campaign, photography, and backpacking.
If you really want to explore the barren terrain, you can bring an all-wheel-drive vehicle with you. Just make sure you bring a medical kit and safety supplies because the summer months can be brutally hot there.
13) The Techatticup Gold Mine
Have you ever wanted to mine for gold? If so, then you should visit this southern Nevada mine because it is the oldest gold mine in the state. The Techatticup Gold Mine is in the Eldorado Canyon along the Colorado River.
At one point, the Techatticup Gold Mine was known for having an abundance of gold. In fact, the entire gold mining industry in Nevada had revolved around the Techatticup Gold Mine. Perhaps you can get lucky by searching for gold there.
This day trip from Vegas will take you about 45 minutes to 1 hour because the distance is about 45 miles. If you don’t want to mine for gold, you can bring an all-terrain vehicle and start exploring the Eldorado Canyon in greater depth.
There used to be a lot of Wild West activity in this region of the state. Maybe you could stumble upon some famous artifacts by accident.
14) Zion National Park
Zion National Park is best known for being the first national park to be declared in the state of Utah. Millions of people visit the park annually because of its exquisite views of green gorges and rocky canyons. You won’t find too many canyons in Utah which have this kind of greenery to it.
In fact, the rarity of the landscape often draws artistic inspiration to creative people, such as writers and photographers. They visit Zion National Park just for an extra dose of inspiration.
If this sounds like what you need, then you won’t mind driving 2 hours and 30 minutes from Las Vegas to get there.
15) Pahrump, Nevada
Pahrump is a spacious, but adventurous town about 60 miles from Las Vegas. All you need to do is drive west for 70 minutes, and you’ll end up in this very interesting town with a lot to do there.
If you’re an adventurer, then you can drive all-terrain vehicles on the desert landscape or go biking or hiking up the hills and mountains. But if you’d rather do some sightseeing, then you can visit the bars, entertainment venues, restaurants, wineries, and museums there.
16) Valley of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire gets its name for a reason. It features a plethora of red rock formations which make it resemble a fiery landscape of rocky canyons and hills. It is truly an iconic natural wonder that you won’t want to miss.
There are Indian petroglyphs found in the valley that are more than 3,000 years old. The rock carvings are preserved well, so you’ll get to see them clearly. It is worth driving 55 miles from Vegas to see the red rocks and ancient petroglyphs of various Native American civilizations from the past.
Do not forget to add Valley of Fire State Park to your list of best things to do in Las Vegas with Kids.
17) The Town of Laughlin
If you drive south of Las Vegas for about 90 miles, you’ll end up in a town called Laughlin. This can serve as the perfect escape from the hectic city lifestyle of Las Vegas. The town offers bars, restaurants, gift shops, high-class resorts, and several adventurous activities for travellers to participate in.
You can go hiking, camping, horseback riding, scuba diving, and white-water rafting. But if you’d rather have a more laid-back experience, then you can go golfing at the many resorts in the town.
18) Clark County Heritage Museum
The Clark County Heritage Museum offers no shortage of things to see. The site is 30 acres in size and contains several restored barns, houses, and churches which were rebuilt to resemble the classic structures of Goldfield, Henderson, Boulder City, and Las Vegas.
There are also exhibits of famous ghost towns and mines in Nevada as well. The museum is only 20 miles from Vegas, which is about a 25-minute drive. You could easily visit the museum as one of your many day trips from Las Vegas.
19) Bonnie Springs Ranch
The Bonnie Springs Ranch dates all the way back to the late 1840s. A lot of people travelling in their wagons to California used to stop at the Bonnie Springs Ranch along the way. It is a quiet and peaceful area which makes up 63 acres of the Mojave Desert.
You can find a lot of relaxing amenities at the Bonnie Springs Ranch Motel, including fireplaces and Jacuzzis. Some of the activities to do there include train rides, pony rides, and rock climbing. If you’re lucky, you may see some wild wolves or Canadian lynx while you’re there.
20) Mojave National Preserve
The Mojave National Preserve has a massive size of 1.6 million acres. The government has preserved this land because it contains so many different environments and natural wonders. You’ll find tall mountains, Joshua tree forests, volcanic cinder cones, and sandy dunes which stretch as far as the eye can see.
You can drive 60 miles from Las Vegas to get to the preserve. Once you’re there, you can explore the former military outposts, abandoned mines, and deep canyons. It’s also a good place to go horseback riding, hiking, and hunting.
21) Fish Lake National Forest
The Fish Lake National Forest has everything you could ever want in an adventurous getaway. But the most memorable site is the body of water known as Fish Lake. It is called Fish Lake because the water is stocked with a lot of good-sized fish.
You’ll find lake trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch, and tiger muskie. If you’re interested in fishing, then you’ll love this lake. Some fishermen have caught trout which weighs over 50 pounds. Perhaps you could eat what you catch and feel like a true outdoorsman on your day trip from Las Vegas.
22) Snow Canyon State Park
In the city of Saint George, Utah, you’ll find Snow Canyon State Park. It offers an array of red cliffs of sandstone and lots of different trails and dunes to explore. Some of the most notable trails include the Sand Dunes Trail, Pioneer Nails Trail, and Butterfly Trail.
The drive from Vegas is 1 hour and 45 minutes, so you’ll want to be in an adventurous mood. There are other attractions too, such as art galleries, shops, museums, skydiving, and hot air balloons if you’re interested.
23) Clark County Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park features an assortment of animals, birds, and plants. You only need to drive 20 minutes from Vegas to get to the park. There are over 100 different species of animals and plants there.
The wetlands are protected in order to preserve the ecosystem and shield the animals from death. A trail system exists through the wetlands, which allows you to explore the park safely. There is no fee for admission.
24) Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Hundreds of birds fly to the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge throughout the year. During the winter, some species of birds come to the refuge for warmth. This is truly a bird watchers paradise if you’re into those kinds of activities.
You’ll also find numerous viewpoints of the Colorado River at the refuge. If you want to go hunting, fishing, or hiking, you can do that too. The drive is 2 hours from Vegas, so make sure you really care about fish and wildlife before visiting. That’ll make it worth the trip.
25) Pilot Peak
Do you like mountains with vast peaks to them? If so, then you’ll want to visit Pilot Peak in Elko County. It is the biggest peak of the county and the fourth biggest in the entire state of Nevada. If you’re a mountain climber, then don’t expect this climb to be easy.
Pilot Peak has several steep slopes, so it is not recommended for amateur climbers. As part of history, Pilot Peak was where the Donner Party travelled to in 1846 before they died. As a day trip from Las Vegas, it’ll take 4 hours of driving to get there.
26) Willow Beach
Along the Colorado River, you’ll find a region called Black Canyon. Inside the canyon is the beautiful Lake Mead. But more importantly, you’ll find Willow Beach next to the lake.
Willow Beach is a particularly special beach because it offers some of the clearest and warmest waters that the lake has to offer. You can rent boats or watersport equipment to have a very awesome time out on the water. There is also a convenience store, restaurant and gift shop as well.
As you can see, you will never be bored in Las Vegas. Whenever you want to escape from the action of Sin City, there are plenty of adventurous, scenic, and historical sites within driving distance of there.
You’ll have the best day trips from Las Vegas if you start visiting these locations. The best part is that you don’t need to have a lot of money to enjoy these sites. All you need is a functional vehicle with enough money for fuel along the way. The rest of your day trip from Vegas will be priceless.