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25 Greatest Day Journeys from Las Vegas You Can’t Miss

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Whenever people find out we lived in Las Vegas, the most common response by far is “Wow, how was that?” Most people only think of the Strip when they’re visiting Vegas, but our favorite part of living there was how much there was to explore outdoors.

15 Incredible Day Trips from Las Vegas By Car // localadventurer.com

15 BEST DAY TRIPS FROM LAS VEGAS

THE LIST [ CLICK LINKS TO SKIP AHEAD ]

  1. Red Rock Canyon NCA
  2. Bonnie Springs Ranch
  3. Boulder City
  4. Mt Charleston
  5. Valley of Fire State Park
  6. Mojave National Preserve CA
  7. St George UT
  8. Red Cliffs NCA + Snow Canyon UT
  9. Grand Canyon West AZ
  10. Death Valley National Park NV + CA
  11. UFOs + Extraterrestrial Hwy
  12. Lake Havasu City AZ
  13. Zion National Park UT
  14. Cathedral Gorge State Park
  15. Route 66

+ More Day Trip Ideas Under 3 Hours

1. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Distance: 16.4 mi / 20 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Calico Hills, Scenic Loop, Red Springs Loop Hike
What to Eat:
Other Mama, DW Bistro, Aloha Kitchen

Red Rock Canyon is technically in Las Vegas, but when we lived there, we considered it more like a day trip. It’s nice for a day hike or scenic drive. It’s also a huge climbing destination, and tons of climbers travel here since there are hundreds of boulders and sport climbing routes! Sadly, we got into climbing after we left Vegas, but got our first chance to climb there while visiting last year.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.comRed Rock Canyon National Conservation Area + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com

2. Bonnie Springs Ranch, Nevada

Distance: 26.7 mi / 34 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Old Town, Horseback Riding, Petting Zoo
What to Eat: Bonnie Springs Ranch Restaurant, Suzuya Patisserie, Tonkatsu Kiyoshi

Originally built in 1843, this is a great spot to experience what the west used to be like. You can watch daily reenactments honoring the Old West, check out the shops, or visit the petting zoo. This is a popular spot for families.

Bonnie Springs Ranch, Nevada + 15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas By Car (photo: Miss Shari) // localadventurer.com
photo: Miss Shari

3. Boulder City, Nevada

Distance: 26.2 mi / 31 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Zipline Bootleg Canyon, Gold Strike Hot Springs, Hoover Dam
What to Eat: The Coffee Cup, Fox Smokehouse BBQ, Southwest Diner

Boulder City is close by but it feels completely different than Vegas. Downtown is a great area to eat and shop, but there is also plenty to do in the area. You can zipline, check out the natural hot springs, go shooting, or tour the iconic Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam // Setting Goals for October.

4. Mt. Charleston, Nevada

Distance: 39.1 mi / 45 min (map)
What to Do / See: Mt. Charleston Scenic Byway, Spring Mountains Visitor Center, Bristlecone Trail
What to Eat: Mt Charleston Lodge, Kame Omakase, Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub

Mt. Charleston is the perfect place to get away especially on days that are blistering hot in the city. It’s typically 10 degrees cooler and gets you away from all the crowds of the strip. Go for a hike, have a picnic, or just enjoy the views along the byway.

Mt Charleston, Nevada + 15 Most Popular Road Trips from Vegas (photo: jpellgen) // localadventurer.com
photo: jpellgen

5. Valley of Fire, Nevada

Distance: 49.1 mi / 55 min (map)
What to Do / See: Fire Wave Hike, Elephant Rock, Rainbow Vista
What to Eat: Carly’s Pizza, Sugar’s Home Plate, Just Eat in Vegas

This was one of our favorite spots to explore near Vegas. There are plenty of hikes to check out, including the Fire Wave, or if it’s really hot, you can enjoy the views from your car on the scenic drive. Seeing the night sky from the park is amazing too!

Fire Wave at Valley of Fire + 15 Most Popular Road Trips from Vegas // localadventurer.comValley of Fire + 15 Most Popular Road Trips from Vegas // localadventurer.com

6. Mojave National Preserve, California

Distance: 58.5 mi / 53 min (map)
What to Do / See: Lava Tube, Kelso Dunes, Rings Trail
What to Eat: No restaurants in the preserve, eat in Vegas or pack food.

We drove by Mojave National Preserve a lot going to and from LA or SD but only stopped by once. Just like Death Valley, it covers a huge amount of land, so we recommend only trying to see a portion of it at a time as a day trip.

Mojave National Preserve + 15 Most Popular Day Trips from Las Vegas (ph: jshyun) // localadventurer.comMojave National Preserve, California + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas (ph: jshyun) // localadventurer.com
photo: jshyun

7. St George, Utah

Distance: 119 mi / 1 hr 45 min (map)
What to Do / See: St George Utah Temple,Pioneer Park, Red Hills Desert Garden, Kayenta
What to Eat: Painted Pony, Benja Thai & Sushi, Cliffside Restaurant

Desert red rock meets alpine mountains in St. George, Utah. You can explore museums, shop in town, or enjoy all the amazing outdoor scenery. It’s an easy getaway for a day trip but can easily fill your whole weekend too. It’s also the closest “big” city to Zion National Park.

St George, Utah + 15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas By Car // localadventurer.com
photo: Carl Berger

8. Red Cliffs National Conservation Area + Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Distance: 121 mi / 1 hr 45 min (map)
What to Do / See: Silver Reef Trail (Dinosaur Tracks), Chuckwalla Trail, Anasazi Trail
What to Eat: Angelica’s Mexican Grill, Roys Pizza & Pasta, Irmita’s Casita

There are roughly 45,000 acres of public land in the Red Cliffs NCA. It’s surrounded by small communities, and you can easily access the amenities you need before or after visiting. Once in the area, there are a ton of hikes and trails to explore. You can also check out Snow Canyon State Park which is nearby. It is made up of beuatiful red and white Navajo sandstone.

Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Utah + 15 Incredible Driving Trips from Las Vegas (photo: junaidrao) // Local AdventurerSnow Canyon State Park, Utah + 15 Incredible Driving Trips from Las Vegas (photo: Thomas Jundt) // Local Adventurer
photo: junaidrao (left), Thomas Jundt (right)

9. Grand Canyon West, Arizona

Distance: 122 mi / 2 hr 10 min (map)
What to Do / See: Grand Canyon Skywalk, Hualapai River Runners, Helicopter Ride
What to Eat: Sa Nyu Wa Restaurant. Not many great options, so pack food.

Grand Canyon West is the closest part of Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. It’s a great spot to get a taste of how amazing this canyon is. You can walk along the skywalk or do something more adventurous, like white water raft or ride a helicopter. There’s so much to see and do at the Grand Canyon that we prefer making it longer than a day trip, but we have done it in a day when we were limited on time.

Grand Canyon West + 15 Incredible DayTrips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com

10. Death Valley National Park, Nevada and California

Distance: 142 mi / 2 hr 11 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Zabriskie Point, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Badwater Basin
What to Eat: Toll Road Restaurant, Timbisha Village Frybread Tacos and Shave Ice, Panamint Springs Resort Restaurant

Death Valley National Park is a huge park! You can be in the middle of sand dunes at one moment, then amongst some of the most colorful hills you’ve ever seen the next. If you’re headed up for a day trip don’t try to do it all. Focus on one region of the park. Everything is so far apart. To help you get started, check out these 9 incredible things to do!

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park + 15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas By Car // localadventurer.com

11. UFO Road Trip, Nevada

Distance: 147 mi / 2 h 13 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Rachel, Extraterrestrial Hwy, Black Mailbox / Area 51
What to Eat: Little A’Le’Inn, Windmill Ridge, Alamo Diner

If you’re into aliens or just looking for something weird and quirky to do, this is a great road trip with lots of stops. Take photos with the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign, stop at ET Fresh Jerky, or pick up a gift a the Alien Research Center Gift Shop. You’ll also drive through Area 51 and can spend your afternoon wondering what’s going on!

Black Mailbox, Area 51, Rachel, Nevada + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas (photo: James Marvin Phelps) // localadventurer.comArea 51, Rachel, Nevada + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas (photo: Caacrinolaas) // localadventurer.com
Extraterrestrial Highway, Rachel, Nevada + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas (photo: Chris Moran @ TravelNevada) // localadventurer.com
photo: James Marvin Phelps (left), Caacrinolaas (right), Chris Moran @ TravelNevada (bottom)

12. Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Distance: 154 mi / 2 hr 26 min (map)
What to Do / See: Lake Havasu, London Bridge, Rotary Park
What to Eat: Cha-Bones, Barley Brothers Brewery, Shugrue’s Restaurant & Bakery

Lake Havasu is known as a spring break spot, but the beautiful waters are worth visiting without all the crowds. It’s a great way to get in some beach time without heading to the coast. Also, don’t forget to check out London Bridge. In the 60s, the London Bridge was dismantled and shipped to Lake Havasu, so you can actually cross the bridge in Arizona!

Lake Havasu City, Arizona + Best Road Trips from Las Vegas By Car (photo: dconvertini) // Local Adventurer
photo: dconvertini

13. Zion National Park, Utah

Distance: 160 mi / 2 hr 35 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Angels Landing, Zion Narrows (Bottom-Up), Canyon Overlook Trail
What to Eat:

Zion National Park definitely deserves more than just a day, but being so close, you can absolutely pop up there for just for a day. We drove up just to hike Angel’s Landing. There are plenty of other amazing day hikes in Zion, or you can just enjoy the views from the valley.

The Narrows, Zion National Park + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas // Local AdventurerAngels Landing, Zion National Park + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas // Local Adventurer

14. Cathedral Gorge State Park

Distance: 165 mi / 2 hr 35 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Miller Point, Cathedral Caves, Moon Caves
What to Eat: Silver Cafe, Ghost Town Art & Coffee Co

We visited Cathedral Gorge State Park during our Ultimate Nevada Road Trip and it was one of our favorite spots by far! It has such a unique landscape and so many corners to explore. There are also a couple of other state parks nearby to check like like Kershaw-Ryan State Park and Echo Canyon State Park, but you can easily fill your day playing at Cathedral Gorge.

Cathedral Gorge State Park + 15 Incredible Day Trips from Vegas // localadventurer.com

15. Route 66 to Seligman, AZ

Distance: 190 mi / 3 hr (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Giganticus Headicus, Keepers of the Wild, Grand Canyon Caverns
What to Eat: Diamond Creek Restaurant, Westside Lilo’s Cafe, Mr. Dz’s Route 66 Diner

For those of you who love road trips, head south to Route 66 and drive to Seligman, AZ. Enjoy the views along this scenic drive and appreciate why this is such an iconic trip.

Route 66 to Seligman Arizona + 15 Best Driving Trips from Las Vegas (photo: Randy Heinitz) // localadventurer.com
photo: Randy Heinitz

More Day Trip Ideas under 3 Hours

  • Lake Las Vegas (20.2 mi / 31 min / map)
  • River Mountains Loop Trail, Henderson (21.0 / 24 min / map)
  • Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, Henderson (28.2 mi / 33 min / map)
  • Lake Mead (31.8 mi / 37 min / map)
  • Pioneer Saloon (38.3 mi / 41 min / map)
  • Nelson, NV (43.7 / 43 min / map)
  • Willow Beach (48.7 mi / 56 min / map)
  • Eldorado Canyon & Gold Mine, NV (52.6 mi / 1 hr / map)
  • Pahrump, NV (63.1 mi / 1 h 10 min / map)
  • Overton – Lost City Museum (64.1 / 1 hr 2 min / map)
  • Nipton, CA (64.4 mi /1 hr 2 min / map)
  • Mount Tipton Wilderness Area, AZ (82.8 mi / 1 hr 30 min / map)
  • Armagosa Valley (87.9 mi / 1 h 17 min / map)
  • Shoshone, CA (90.1 mi / 1 h 34 min / map)
  • Laughlin, NV (97.6 mi / 1 h 30 min / map)
  • Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, CA (112 mi / 1 h 43 min / map)
  • Rhyolite Ghost Town (120 mi / 1 h 49 min / map)
  • Dixie National Forest, UT (182 mi / 2 h 40 min / map)

DID YOU ENJOY THE POST? PIN IT FOR LATER

15 Incredible Places to Visit Near Las Vegas By Car // localadventurer.com15 Popular Road Trips from Vegas You Can't Miss // Local Adventurer15 Best Road Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com

15 Best Road Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas By Car // localadventurer.com15 Incredible Day / Short Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com
Cathedral Gorge State Park + 15 Incredible Day Trips from Vegas // localadventurer.comZabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park + 15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas By Car // localadventurer.comGrand Canyon West + 15 Incredible Road Trips from Las Vegas // localadventurer.com

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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust

“Meet

ESTHER + JACOB

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city every year and are currently in NYC.

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