Travelers worldwide flock to the lights and grandeur of the Las Vegas Strip. With its luxurious hotels, swanky clubs, and fabulous shows, those who visit rarely leave disappointed. However, others who look past the glitzy glamour will find an entirely different experience. Visitors to this region can enjoy spectacular hikes near Las Vegas, go kayaking, attend festivals, and so much more outside of the casinos. From nearby Red Rock Canyon to a snowy ski resort in Utah- these beautiful day trips from Las Vegas will take you from the Strip to unique destinations beyond your imagination.
Red Rock Canyon (18 Miles)
Upon arriving at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, stop first at the visitor center. Spend some time looking at the exhibits and outdoor amphitheater. The amphitheater overlooks the red rocks of the Calico Basin from a distance. Return to your vehicle and begin the 13-mile scenic loop drive. Take numerous stops for photo ops of deep canyons and tall mountains.
Want to experience Red Rock Canyon outside of your vehicle? Many stops along the scenic loop offer short and long hikes. Explore Calico Basin or continue on to the Willow Springs Loop. If the seasons are changing, Ice Box Canyon leads you from desert temperatures to a chilly waterfall. Finally, the Lost Creek- Children’s Discovery trail will inspire your kids to search and discover the wilderness.
Bonus: Blue Diamond
Don’t want to leave the mountains just yet? Head south toward the small town of Blue Diamond. Stop along the way at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park and have a picnic on the vast grounds of the old farm. Or, continue to Cottonwood Station Eatery for dinner and a glass of wine.
Boulder City (28 Miles)
Boulder City grew as the Hoover Dam did in the 1930s. Today, around the small desert town, visitors can zipline Bootleg Canyon, kayak beneath the Hoover Dam, and ride a historic train. Railbikes are also popular, allowing guests to pedal a cart on the old railroad tracks at sunset.
After your adventures, stroll through Boulder City’s downtown. Stop in at some of the quaint boutique shops. Finally, finish the evening at one of the many restaurants that offer outdoor seating. The Southwest Diner is a classic, and the Boulder Dam Hotel Restaurant will remind you of days gone by.
Goodsprings (33 Miles)
While not a main tourist destination, Goodsprings will take you from the 21st century to the true Old West. This ghost town is home to the Pioneer Saloon, where guests can:
- buy their own barrel of whiskey,
- stargaze, or
- participate in a haunted lockdown inside the bar.
Many locals will take nearby ATV trails through the mountains and stop for the famous Ghost Burger, made with secret Ghost sauce and jalapeno bacon. Don’t forget to find the holes in the wall from real Old West shoot-outs, and visit the outdoor seating area while a local band plays.
Arizona Hot Springs + Colorado River (39 miles)
Located on the western side of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona Hot Springs hides deep in canyons away from the highway. Walk through shallow, flowing, warm water to a ladder. Then, climb up to soak in the healing mineral waters.
To arrive at Arizona Hot Springs, you can hike the 6 to 7 mile loop, or rent a kayak from Boulder City. If you choose the latter, your rental company will drop you off at the base of the Hoover Dam. From there, you will have the freedom to explore many hikes and hot springs hidden along the lonely waterway.
Nearby, along the Colorado River is the Emerald Cove, a hidden gem of a cave with emerald green water. A true beauty.
Some guests pack to stay the night at the Hot Springs. Here’s what you would need to do the same:
- Compact air mattress
- Blanket and compact pillow
- Towel and swimsuit
- At least a gallon of water per day of your trip
- Salty food and snacks
- Tent (optional)
Before embarking on this adventure, make sure you do your research. The trail closes in the summer months, as temperatures can soar above 120 degrees. Above all, make sure you have what you need, and take out anything you carry in. Leave no trace.
And if you’re looking for an extended day trip from Las Vegas, you could also do a 7-hour drive to the stunning, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado and Utah.
Mt. Charleston (43 miles)
Looking for an escape from the sandy desert? Want a more alpine experience? Set your sights on Mt. Charleston in the Mt. Charleston Recreation Area. Here at 7,000 feet, you can grab lunch at the Mt. Charleston Lodge or hit the slopes at Lee Canyon Ski Resort. There are many hikes throughout the Spring Mountains, including the short Robber’s Roost and the majestic Mary Jane Falls. If you have all day, hike to the peak of Mt. Charleston itself on a 17-mile loop.
Valley of Fire (56 miles)
Valley of Fire State Park, found at the north end of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, will transport you to a vast, beautiful, orange wilderness. Here, you can hike White Domes’ slot canyons, and visit a movie set from old Hollywood, still on site. You can also experience evidence of the ancient cultures while following Petroglyph Canyon Trail.
This is one of the easiest Las Vegas day trips as it starts just off the road on you way to the Grand Canyon!
Pahrump, NV (58 Miles)
Pahrump is the perfect stop for those visiting the West in an RV or camper van. You can set up camp at
- Lakeside Casino and RV Park
- Nevada Treasure RV Resort
- Pahrump Station RV Park
Wine Ridge RV Resort is located next to the Pahrump Valley Winery, where you can sample many different wines made right there in the valley. You can also tour the winery, and end your day at their restaurant.
Tecopa, CA (78 Miles)
Follow lonely, winding desert roads to the town of Tecopa, California. Here, among the flat desert and distant mountains, you can visit China Ranch Date Farm an oasis in the Mojave Desert. The Farm, deep in the Amargosa Valley, has been operating since around 1850. Sample the dates yourself, and visit the bakery. Then, at the end of your day, soak in one of the many mineral hot springs tucked around Tecopa.
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, NV (97 Miles)
Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect stop for anyone who loves camping, fishing, boating, and hunting. Located far away from any big towns, you’ll enjoy seeing the stars each night from your campsite. There are also many trails throughout Pahranagat, both for hiking and ATVs. Again, be sure to bring enough water, and also take out what you bring in.
Mesquite, NV & the Virgin River Gorge, AZ (105 Miles)
Mesquite, NV is a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. Right off the highway, Casablanca Resort is a popular place to stop. The casino resort offers a golf and spa getaway, so anyone in your party can relax the way they like best. For another beautiful diversion, continue north on the highway to drive through the Virgin River Gorge. You’ll see steep canyons, rushing rivers, and bighorn sheep right outside your car window.
St. George, UT (124 Miles)
Through the Virgin River Gorge, you will enter St. George, Utah. This beautiful town is set against Utah’s red rocks and green foliage. Experience St. George’s downtown by browsing in shops like Urban Renewal, a unique vintage store. Then, grab a bite and local brew across the street at George’s Corner Restaurant.
The St. George area has a vast history, spanning back to the dinosaurs. At the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site, you can check out real dinosaur tracks. St. George is also close to many state and national parks, like Sand Hollow State Park (pictured above) and Zion National Park. At Sand Hollow, guests can rent a Jeep and race through orange sands. In Zion, take a bus to the Narrows, and hike deep into the canyons.
Please Note: Zion & COVID-19
Before heading out on any national park trip, it is important to check any restrictions that may be in place. COVID-19 has led to a limited number of visitors per day. Be sure to plan ahead and have your ticket purchased ahead of time for best results.
Death Valley National Park (128 Miles)
Death Valley National Park shares land in Nevada and California. Visitors come to see the salt flats, view the badlands at Zabriskie Point, hike, and explore the backcountry wilderness. However, be very careful when visiting and exploring all of the amazing things to do in Death Valley. As the hottest and driest national park, temperatures in the summer can range high above 120 degrees. This is one of the warmest places to visit in the USA! So bring enough water for everyone with you and pay attention to any road closures or alerts.
Lake Havasu City, AZ (152 Miles)
Did you know the real London Bridge is in Arizona? You can view it in Lake Havasu City, where it was moved in the 1960’s. Lake Havasu City is also home to a state park, and many picturesque beaches along the lake. Spend a day picnicking, sailing, kayaking, boating, or riding a jet ski. Lake Havasu City is a haven for any lover of watersports.
Cedar City, UT (175 Miles)
Cedar City, Utah is known for its many festivals. However, before planning a trip for any festival, especially as day trips from vegas, check current guidelines. Many Cedar City festivals were canceled in 2020 but may reopen in upcoming years.
Even if you are unable to attend the festival of your choice, there’s more to do just east of Cedar City. Head to the snowy slopes of Brianhead, Utah and stay in a cozy ski lodge. You can also visit breathtaking Cedar Breaks, and listen to the echoes of times gone by.
The Grand Canyon & Havasu Falls (126-279 Miles)
Perhaps the grandest of all day trips from Las Vegas is the Grand Canyon itself. Before leaving on your journey, choose which rim you would like to see. The closest to Las Vegas is Grand Canyon West. Here, you can take a shuttle from the visitor center to the canyon, historical sites, and the famous glass walkway.
If you would rather park and walk directly to the edge of the Grand Canyon, head further west to Williams, Arizona. Then, continue north to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Hike directly down into the canyon, and experience the trails for yourself.
Bonus: Consider going to Havasu Falls located within the Grand Canyon National Park. You will have to make reservations ahead of time as this is Havasupai tribal lands
Las Vegas, Nevada is an amazing vacation destination. However, if you find yourself planning a trip there, be sure to include one of these 19+ day trips from Las Vegas. Your vacation will not only be one of luxury and relaxation, but also of exploration, discovery, and adventure. If you like this, subscribe to our travel blog‘s monthly newsletter for all things travel, culture, lifestyle, and nature!
About the Author of 19 Day Trips from Las Vegas:
Erin grew up and currently lives in the woods of Wisconsin… but her heart lives out West. While staying in Las Vegas for four years, Erin made it her mission to see as much of the amazing deserts as she could. She hiked, biked, camped, and explored small ghost towns and big cities alike along with her many road trips from Las Vegas. She is passionate about holistic, outdoor living, and strives to share her experience through her writing. Now, she offers services through online content for law firms, education services, and travel blogs.