The 20 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas

Los Angeles

With the cost of gas rising exponentially across the country, travel prices at an all-time high, and people itching to get out of the house and away from home despite the rising cost of just about everything, day trips are growing in popularity. Las Vegas is within a few hours of several very cool locations, and day trips are plentiful. If you’re looking to get out but not spend days traveling, here are a few of the best day trip locations from Vegas. You won’t regret adding a few to your travel bucket list.

Bryce Canyon National Park

20. Bryce Canyon National Park (4 hours)

There are a lot of things that make this particular area special, not the least of which include plenty of space for hiking and camping. You can even go snowshoeing there. There is plenty of wildlife to enjoy as well, including pronghorn deer. If you’re looking for a quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is a perfect opportunity to do exactly that. During certain times of the year, you can also enjoy a vast difference in the climate when compared to places like Las Vegas.

Zion National Park

19. Zion National Park (2 ½ hours)

If you love walking trails in pristine surroundings, this is one of the best places to go. There is no shortage of things to do. Choose some of the easier, paved walking trails or go on a challenging hike in the wilderness. You can enjoy watching the wildlife as well as rock climbing and exploring everything that nature has to offer. There is definitely something here for every person that loves nature, and you won’t be bored. In fact, you’ll probably find that there’s so much to do, you’ll want to come back again and again.

Death Valley

18. Death Valley (2 ½ hours)

If you think that Death Valley doesn’t have anything to offer except a lot of heat, think again. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see anything more beautiful than Death Valley at night. It’s truly one of the greatest places in the entire country to watch the stars. Since there isn’t a lot of hustle and bustle in the area, the stars are perfectly visible at night, leaving astronomy gurus and everyday stargazers alike to enjoy the surroundings with plenty of peace and quiet to boot. It’s truly an experience that you will never forget.

Area 51

17. Area 51 (2 hours)

Maybe you are a true believer in extraterrestrials. Perhaps you’re just interested in the possibility that they might exist. On the other hand, you could just be a dedicated fan of The X-Files. Regardless of where you fall into this category, there is no doubt that Area 51 offers a lot of a mystery. Stories have surrounded it for years. As such, you practically owe it to yourself to take a drive down the Extraterrestrial Highway. As a matter of fact, you can even book a tour of the area now. You still won’t be able to see everything you probably would like to see, but it will certainly get you closer than just watching something on television.

Mount Charleston

16. Mount Charleston (50 minutes)

This is a great option for anybody that loves skiing. Mount Charleston comes complete with a ski lodge, but you can enjoy it even if skiing isn’t your thing. In fact, it’s one of the rare places around Las Vegas where you can actually find snow. If you’re looking for a break from the heat and the desert atmosphere, this is the perfect place to go. It gives you an opportunity to enjoy a day out of that desert environment. Who knows, once you get there you may decide that you want to stay for a lot longer than you had initially planned.

Lake Mead

15. Lake Mead (40 minutes)

There is more to do on Lake Mead than you could ever imagine. Sure, you can take the boat out or you can sit by the shore and enjoy the scenery. However, you can also go horseback riding, enjoy some kayaking, or even go scuba diving. Regardless of what you enjoy doing the most, there is something to do on Lake Mead. In addition to all of the fun activities they have to offer, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. If you go, it’s definitely a place that you will never forget.

Magic Mountains

14. Magic Mountains (30 minutes)

This is not a mountain range, nor anything like it. Instead, it is a three million dollar art exhibition that involves a number of heavy boulders, stacked one on top of another in order to form columns, all painted in the brightest colors you could ever imagine. It’s definitely something that will get your attention. The art is also something that you can see for quite a good distance, especially given the flat landscape in the area. Over the years, countless numbers of people have stopped to take pictures next to the art installation. It’s really something that you can’t simply drive past if you’re lucky enough to be anywhere near it.

Grand Canyon

13. Grand Canyon (2 hours)

Who doesn’t want to have an opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon? It’s one of the most remarkable natural wonders in the entire world. If you’ve never been, you might be thinking that it’s nothing more than a big hole in the ground, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s so breathtaking that it’s hard to stop looking at it once you’re finally able to see it with your own eyes. In addition to the beautiful scenery, you have an opportunity to take in the remarkable history of the area, including how the canyon itself was formed. There is also an opportunity to go camping, take a helicopter ride that overlooks the canyon, and even ride donkeys down to the bottom of the canyon and back up again. It doesn’t matter if you are the artistic type who is looking for inspiration or the more adventurous type who needs to feel the adrenaline running through your veins, you can find it here.

Hoover Dam

12. Hoover Dam (45 minutes)

If you’ve always wondered how massive amounts of power are generated in an area like Las Vegas, a tour through the Hoover Dam can answer all of those questions for you. This is an imposing sight, to say the least. After all, it stands more than 700 feet tall and it’s big enough in length to boggle the mind. If you don’t mind heights, you can walk along the top of it and take in some of the most scenic views in the area. If the mere thought of that scares you, consider taking a guided tour. Believe it or not, the tours allow you to go down inside the dam so you can get a first-hand look at how the entire operation works. You can choose either the one hour tour or the 30-minute option, depending on how much time you have and how adventurous you’re feeling at the moment.

Boulder City

11. Boulder City

This is a near-perfect option for anyone who loves to go looking through antique shops. The charming downtown area has one antique shop after another, with a few unique restaurants sprinkled in for good taste. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for the perfect cup of coffee to go with you or antiquing adventures or you want to have lunch with someone, you can spend an entire day in Boulder City. One thing is certain, it’s a day that will give you an opportunity to enjoy some of the best antique shops in the entire country.

Valley of Fire

10. Valley of Fire (1 hour)

Where can you go to enjoy a day full of hiking and rock climbing, in addition to some of the most spectacular views you will ever see in your entire life? This is definitely the place. Sure, you can go hiking and rock climbing in a lot of different places but you can’t enjoy the scenery that you can see here in any other location. It got its name from the way it looks when the sun is setting and hitting the rocks, effectively appearing to set them on fire. In addition, you also have an opportunity to look at petroglyphs that are more than 2,000 years old, making this one of the best places in the country to get a natural history lesson as well as a good dose of culture.

Red Rock Canyon

9. Red Rock Canyon (30 minutes)

This is the perfect spot for anybody that loves to hike. In fact, there are no less than twenty-six different hiking trails in this particular location. Clearly, this is a place that is almost perfect for anyone who loves spending time outdoors. It’s also a great area for having a picnic lunch with those closest to you or even looking at some drawings that are estimated to be approximately 800 years old. Whether you’re looking for a history lesson or just a place to slow down for a bit, this is a great place to accomplish your goals.

Havasu National Wildlife Refuge

8. Havasu National Wildlife Refuge (2 hours)

Who doesn’t love the opportunity to look at wildlife as it was meant to be explored? This is one of the best places to get a look at the local wildlife without disturbing it. The area also provides opportunities on the outskirts of the refuge for camping and hiking, with an opportunity to see some interesting wildlife along the way. One of the most popular destinations for birdwatchers, this is an area that offers countless opportunities to see a variety of different species of birds, all in one location. In fact, many dedicated birdwatchers considered it to be the Holy Grail of places for bird watching because of the opportunity to see so many different species without having to travel great distances in order to do so.

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

7. Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area (30 minutes)

Again, this is a great place for anyone that loves the outdoors. There are petroglyphs, dry lake beds and plenty of wilderness area to enjoy. If rock climbing is your thing, you definitely have plenty of opportunities for engaging in one of your favorite hobbies here. In fact, there are all kinds of hiking trails and places where you can go rock climbing that lend themselves to your particular level of experience. If you’re just starting out, tackle some of the easier areas. More experienced hikers or rock climbers can enjoy some of the more challenging options. Either way, you’re sure to have a great day that you will remember fondly for the rest of your life.

St. George

6. St. George (1 ½ hours)

This beautiful city in Utah has some of the best shops and restaurants in the entire area. It doesn’t matter if you prefer small boutiques, antique stores or even the theater, this city is a good option for you. In addition, the architecture of the city is absolutely stunning, making the most of the sun’s afternoon rays as they shine on the various builders throughout town.

Willow Beach

5. Willow Beach (1 hour)

If you are interested in the idea of camping in one of the most beautiful shore lines in the country, consider going to Willow Beach. You can camp in a tent or in a recreational area specifically set up for RVs. There is also a convenience store, a gift shop, and a small restaurant in the area. The best part about it is that it gives you access to Lake Mead and all of the recreational water activities that you could ever hope for. Last but not least, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery as the sun sets over the hills.

Fish Lake National Forest

4. Fish Lake National Forest (4 hours)

Have you ever heard of an aspen tree called the pando? If you haven’t, you would be doing yourself a favor to travel to this recreational area and take a look for yourself. This particular tree is a living organism that covers no less than 106 acres and is connected to over 40,000 trees. If that’s not enough to get your attention, consider the fact that it weighs approximately 13 million pounds.

Pahrump

3. Pahrump (1 hour)

Are you an adrenaline junkie? If you are, this is the place to be. Think about virtually any type of adrenaline based sport out there, and you can find it here. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the mood for ziplining, hiking, mountain biking, or virtually anything else, it can be found here.

Laughlin

2. Laughlin (1 ½ hours)

This is a small town with a big heart. It’s also a great place to enjoy all types of adventures like horseback riding, scuba diving and of course, hiking. The town practically thrives on adventure tourism and people that are looking for some fast-paced fun without the fast pace of city life can find exactly what they’re looking for here.

Los Angeles

1. Los Angeles (4 hours)

If you live in the area, you practically have to visit LA at least once. It doesn’t matter what you’re into, you can find it here. If you’ve never been, you don’t know what you’re missing. All you have to do is jump in the car, find your passion and enjoy.

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