Las Vegas is the perfect place for a vacation in Southwest USA. There are many great places to explore in and around the city! In this article, I’ll share my favorite day trips from Las Vegas.
Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is about an hour away from the Las Vegas Strip. It’s a completely different world from the Las Vegas Strip. The landscape has a bright red color. The entrance fee is $10 (per vehicle) and you’ll be able to go for a scenic drive in the park. You can also explore some great trails, like the short hike to the beautiful Fire Wave.
Check the official website for more information about Valley of Fire State Park.
Another highlight in the Las Vegas area is the enormous Hoover Dam, which is also about a one-hour drive from the Strip. It’s an impressive structure, and it’s great to walk around for a bit. The Hoover Dam is located on the border of two different states: Nevada and Arizona. There’s a one-hour time difference between the two states, so you can stand in two different timezones at the same time. Tip: parking is free at the Arizona side of the Hoover Dam, you have to pay for parking in Nevada. Another great stop is the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. From here you’ll have a great view of the Hoover Dam and you can actually see how big it is.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a beautiful landscape, which is only a half an hour drive from the Las Vegas Strip. Besides it being very close to the city, you’ll feel like being in a completely different world. It’s a desert landscape with cacti, Joshua trees, and red rocks, and you can explore some amazing trails. I hiked to the top of Turtlehead Mountain and from the top, you’ll have an amazing view of Red Rock Canyon and Las Vegas. A gorgeous and surreal view! The entrance is $15 (per vehicle), but you can also opt to buy the America the Beautiful Annual Pass ($80). With this pass, you can enter each National Park in the USA for a year. Check out this website for more information about Red Rock Canyon.
Seven Magic Mountains & Mojave National Preserve
Seven Magic Mountains is an art project, which is located about 30 minutes south of Las Vegas. You’ll see seven large columns with multi-colored rocks. It looks surreal because it’s right next to the freeway in the middle of the desert (check for rattlesnakes). It’s a nice place for a short break. When you’re there, you might as well continue on to road trip to the Mojave National Reserve in California. The roads in this area are almost empty, and it will give you the ultimate road trip feeling. There’s lots of Joshua Trees and there’s also the Kelso Depot, which is some sort of ghost town.
Death Valley National Park is located 2,5 hours west of Las Vegas. This is one of the hottest places on the planet (during summer, temperatures can reach 50 degrees celsius!), and it looks like you’re on the moon. Highlights are Badwater Basin (which is the lowest point of the United States), and Zabriskie Point. More information about Death Valley can be found at the official website. Death Valley is quite a drive from Las Vegas if you only want to do a day trip, but certainly worth a visit. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water, and gas before you enter the park. If you like to do some stargazing, make sure to spend a night in the park. You can find accommodation in Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells.
Tip: if you have more time, it would be awesome to combine Death Valley and San Francisco in a great California road trip.
These are my favorite day trips from Las Vegas. Would like to add a night or two? Then these are a couple of trips I can also highly recommend:
Would you like to get your kicks on Route 66? That is possible from Las Vegas! Route 66 is definitely something to put on your USA bucket list. It takes a couple of hours to get there from Las Vegas, so I would recommend going there for two days. On the first day, you can drive to Barstow, Amboy, and Needles. And after a night in Needles, you can continue Route 66 to Oatman, and Kingman. A great trip! And you can also add Seven Magic Mountains and the Hoover Dam to this trip.
There are many National Parks in the proximity of Las Vegas, and Grand Canyon National Park is probably the most famous. It’s a 4,5-hour drive to get to the park, so make sure to stay the night. The most popular place to visit is the South Rim. Here you’ll find several hotels and lodges, restaurants, a visitor center, lots of trails, and viewpoints.
You can also choose to visit the North Rim, which is also a 4,5-hour drive from Las Vegas. Check before you go, because the road might be closed because of snow. Check the official website for more information about Grand Canyon National Park.
Zion National Park
It’s only a 2,5-hour drive to Zion National Park, so you can visit Zion as a day trip from Las Vegas. It’s a beautiful park, with a spectacular canyon and red rocks. However, the best time to visit this park is in the early morning and in the evening, that’s why I recommend staying in the park or in the town of Springdale for at least a night. Or even better: combine your visit from Las Vegas to Zion with Bryce Canyon National Park. That’s actually one of the best USA road trip ideas.
Joshua Tree National Park
During my last trip to the USA, I went on a road trip from Las Vegas to Joshua Tree National Park and it was a beautiful drive! It takes about three hours, so I would spend the afternoon and a morning in Joshua Tree National Park before heading back to Las Vegas. Highlights in the park are (of course) the Joshua Trees, crazy rock formations like Skull Rock, and the Cholla Cactus Garden. You can sleep at one of the beautiful campgrounds in the park (I slept at the amazing Jumbo Rocks Campground, but if you prefer a hotel, you can book something in Twentynine Palms or Joshua Tree. You can find more information about Joshua Tree National Park on the official website.
These are my favorite trips from Las Vegas! What are your favorites?
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