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18 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Worth Exploring

18 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Worth Exploring

Las Vegas is a city that has no shortage of activities and entertainment. It almost has too many things to do that can be draining. You might want to get away. These are some of the best day trips from Las Vegas worth exploring.

Las Vegas is known as The Entertainment Capital of the World – and for good reason. It offers something for everyone – shows, magic, gambling, concerts, fine dining, comedy, sports, and people-watching.

While there is so much to experience in Vegas, it can become exhausting.

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Best Day Trips from Las Vegas, Nevada

6 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas | Fun Day Tours [4K HD]
Watch this video on YouTube.
Watch this video on YouTube.

So, if you’re looking for a little change of pace and places to explore in Nevada and bordering states and you plan on renting a car in Las Vegas, here are the best day trips from Las Vegas by car (and sometimes helicopter).

I’ll start with perhaps the most popular and famous Las Vegas day trip of them all:

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam: Las Vegas, Nevada

At the top of my list of best day trips from Las Vegas is the Hoover Dam. Less than an hour away, this National Civil Engineering Landmark is a convenient destination when planning a day trip from Las Vegas. And it’s something you need to see in person to appreciate the engineering and architectural work of art.

More than 700 feet high, the Hoover Dam provides power to southern California, Nevada, and Arizona and can irrigate two million acres. You can make the day trip from Las Vegas by car or make a reservation with a tour company.

Here’s what you can experience on the day trip from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam.

  • Tour the historic Hoover Dam power plant – a fascinating look inside some incredible architecture and engineering.
  • The Hoover Dam auditorium and Visitor Center provide educational resources to learn more about how the dam was built over four years during the Great Depression.
  • Walk along the dam.
  • Panoramic views of Lake Mead, the Colorado River and the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.
  • Stand in two states at the same time – Arizona and Nevada.
  • Great views of Lake Mead from the approach to the dam from downtown Las Vegas.
  • After you’ve seen all there is to see of the Hoover Dam, take a trip to Boulder City for further excitement.

Check out these views of Lake Mead National Recreation Park and the Hoover Dam. This will make you want to visit.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area: 5 Things You MUST Know [4K HD]
Watch this video on YouTube.
Watch this video on YouTube.

Book your trip to the Hoover Dam with GetYourGuide, and they will pick you up directly from your hotel in Las Vegas.

Arizona Day Trips: Just How Far Is Las Vegas from Arizona?

How you travel to Las Vegas from Arizona will determine the length of your trip. If you are taking a road trip, you can expect it to take approximately seven hours, leaving you little time to see much while you’re there.

However, if you want to take a short day trip, you can get to Las Vegas from Arizona by plane in under an hour.

With that in mind, let’s see what Arizona has up its sleeves:

Lower Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Lower Antelope Canyon

Hiking in the Lower Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona, is one of our family’s favorite vacations of all time. It’s a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Las Vegas but worth the road trip. You will not be disappointed – only mesmerized.

Flash flooding created the stunning, surreal, and natural art gallery. Located on Navajo tribal lands, you must make reservations with a reputable company as Lower Antelope Canyon is only accessible with a Navajo guide. This slot canyon has gained a lot of popularity since we visited it a few years ago due to its exposure on Instagram.

We visited in early March, and it was not crowded, so we definitely recommend visiting that time of year. Make sure to bring a coat or jacket as it does get chilly underground.

The Lower Antelope Canyon is less than a one-mile round trip and is an easy to moderate hike as there is some uneven terrain and tight passages, and you are required to climb up and down ladders, stairs, and steps (some have handrails).

Like what you are hearing? Check out these best hotels in Page, Arizona, to ensure you see all the sites.

See RelatedDay Trips from Phoenix

Horseshoe Bend / Carl Hayden Visitor Center at Glen Canyon, Page, Arizona 

Horseshoe Bend

If you’re in the neighborhood and took that long day trip from Las Vegas, make sure to also stop by Horseshoe Bend for some great photo ops. It’s only about seven miles from Lower Antelope Canyon.

Named because of the horseshoe-shaped bend the Colorado River takes, the views from 1,000 feet up are breathtaking.

It’s tempting to go to the edge to take it all in but use extreme caution as most of the rim on Horseshoe Bend is exposed. However, there is now a viewing platform with rails.

The hike from the parking area to the rim is about 1.5 miles roundtrip. It’s easy-going downhill, but going uphill could be a little challenging for some.

Five miles upstream (or you’ll most likely drive there), you’ll find the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at Glen Canyon Dam. Here you can take photos of the impressive dam and a self-guided tour around the visitor center or the 45-minute guided tour of the dam.

See Related: Best Things to do in Las Vegas

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park Panoramic

It is possible to take a day trip from Las Vegas to the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park. It will be a full day but can be done.

A Grand Canyon day trip from Las Vegas is about nine hours round trip if road tripping it. Make your road trip more manageable by visiting the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Or you can do what we did and invest in a helicopter ride with a landing on the Grand Canyon floor with a champagne breakfast. This is a great opportunity to see one of the world’s seven natural wonders.

My husband and I had visited the Grand Canyon several times before, but this was the first time we visited as a family. Exploring the Grand Canyon by air is a little spendy, but the half-day experience was priceless.

My son and I sat in the front of the chopper while my husband was in the back, and we all had great views. Our flight even took us over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, so that was cool to see from an aerial perspective.

To say you descended 4,000 feet to enjoy a champagne breakfast on the floor of the Grand Canyon, how cool is that? (Our son was a teenager then, so he had apple juice.)

Book your trip to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas easily and be completely hassle-free. There is a reason why the Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places in the world. You’ll be pretty amazed once you get there.

Like what you are hearing? Check out our Grand Canyon itinerary to make the most of your trip.

See Related: Grand Canyon Skywalk Bridge

Grand Canyon Day Trip from Las Vegas − Guided Tours

People enjoying in Grand Canyon

Looking for more Grand Canyon day trips from Las Vegas? Here are a few more options as you set up your vacation itinerary.

Three-Hour Black Canyon Tour

Black Canyon Tour on Motorized Raft

On this three-hour Black Canyon tour, you will be on a motorized raft as you escape the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. You will board the raft on the Colorado River and relax as you take a trip through the canyon landscape. You will have the scenery of the Hoover Dam, rock cliffs, caves, and riverside beaches.

Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour

Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour

Ready for a Hoover Dam photo stop? This Grand Canyon West Rim bus tour allows you to avoid the usual Grand Canyon crowds while allowing you to enjoy your tour and all the sights the West Rim has to offer. The tour guide will fill you in on everything you need to know about the Grand Canyon and Hualapai Indians.

Grand Canyon Seven Magic Mountains

Grand Canyon Seven Magic Mountains

This Grand Canyon Seven Magic Mountains small group VIP tour lets you experience the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam in one day while you skip the crowds. You will have plenty of time for a photo-op at the Las Vegas sign.

You will view the Seven Magic Mountains art installation and Grand Canyon West. Take a walk on the Grand Canyon Skywalk for even more incredible views.

See RelatedBest Road Trip Books for Kids

Other Nevada Day Trips from Las Vegas

You thought that was all Nevada had to offer? Think again!

Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas

The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is only a few miles west of Las Vegas if you’re looking for a quick road trip.

With nearly 196,000 acres in the Mojave Desert, you’ll never run out of things to explore.

The geological formations include the Aztec sandstone cliffs, which are thousands of feet high and 180 to 190 million years old.

Highlights of Red Rock Canyon include:

  • A 13-mile scenic drive (my husband and son took an exotic car tour through Red Rock Canyon)
  • 26 hiking trails
  • Rock climbing
  • Biking on the one-way scenic drive
  • Off-road driving in designated areas

See Related: The Ultimate Scottsdale Itinerary for a Vacation

The Ghost Town of Goodsprings, Nevada

As you plan the best day trips from Las Vegas by car, you may want to consider Goodsprings, Nevada. Only 40 minutes from Las Vegas, this ghost town was once home to a vibrant mining community.

Today, you can tour the ghost town, take a haunted tour or stop in at the famous Pioneer Saloon – established in 1913 (it’s been featured in several movies and TV shows). The saloon is said to be home to two ghosts – one of a gunshot victim and an old miner.

See RelatedBest National Parks to Visit in November

Techatticup Mine, Nelson, Nevada

Techatticup Mine- Nelson, Nevada

Located only 45 minutes away from Las Vegas, the Techatticup Mine is another place to explore in Nevada. The oldest and richest gold mine, operational from 1861 to 1942, is now a tourist attraction in Nelson, Nevada.

The 1.25-mile walking tour will take a little over an hour. Be sure to bring a light jacket as the mine interior can get a little breezy and cool. During the tour, you’ll see the quartz veins where the gold and silver ran back in the day. Reservations are required for the mine tours, which are held at 9 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm.

See Related: Best Things to do in Primm, Nevada

Valley of Fire, Overton, Nevada

Valley of Fire

Another one of the top day trips from Las Vegas is the Valley of Fire and Fire State Park located in Overton, Nevada. This beautiful state park is only about an hour away and was voted the most scenic drive in southern Nevada.

Here you’ll find 40,000 acres of ancient red Aztec sandstone formations, multicolored landscapes, rock arches, narrow slot canyons, petrified trees, and ancient rock carvings (petroglyphs) that go back 2,000 years.

Some landmarks thousands of years in the making include:

  • Elephant Rock
  • Arch Rock
  • Fire Wave
  • Atlatl Rock (which features petroglyphs from 3,000 years ago)

Rock climbing and repelling are allowed in designated areas, and cycling on roadways is also popular. Valley of Fire also includes many trails with different levels of difficulty. Mouse’s Tank Trail is known to have the largest number of petroglyphs in Nevada.

Open daily year-round, the Valley of Fire visitor center offers a number of exhibits to learn more about this state park.

See RelatedLos Angeles vs San Diego

Lost City Museum, Overton, Nevada

Also located in Overton is the Lost City Museum (formerly known as the Boulder Dam Park Museum). It houses prehistoric artifacts excavated from the area when the Colorado River was dammed to form Lake Mead.

These artifacts include tools, baskets, pottery, and more. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Lost City Museum was created to preserve the ruins of the Basketmakers and Pueblos.

The museum includes three exhibition galleries, a screening room to watch film features, and a museum store. On the grounds, you can find a Native American pit house (built underground by Basketmakers) and reconstructed pueblos you can enter. The structures of the Lost City are pretty elaborate – some pueblos were constructed with 20 or more rooms.

See RelatedScott’s Cheap Flights Review

Area 51, Groom Lake, Nevada

Area 51 No Trespassing Sign Baord

Are you an X-Files fan? Then you might be interested in taking a day trip from Las Vegas to Area 51!

It’s a real place; Edwards Air Force Base – in fact, it’s a military installation where they test out experimental aircraft, just 88 miles away from the Las Vegas Strip.

Area 51 is widely known for numerous UFO sightings, although the official word is that it’s a flight testing facility. Many conspiracy theories over the years fueled the mystery surrounding this place.

Whether you believe in UFOs and aliens or are simply curious, a road trip on your own or with a tour company will provide some entertaining tales and take you through a scenic desert and the Joshua Tree Forest.

Some tours include a stop near LAS to see the secretive Janet Airlines. You can also check petroglyphs (prehistoric rock carvings) of what some say depict aliens while others interpret them like frogs.

Please note Area 51 is a US Air Force facility, so you’ll want to follow and respect all laws and any restrictions in the area. If you trespass, the best outcome you can expect is immediate arrest and charges brought against you by the feds.

They do however signpost the area with warnings that trespassers will be shot, so make what you will of that.

See RelatedUnknown Places to Visit in the US

Cathedral Gorge State Park, Panaca, Nevada

Cathedral Gorge State Park- Panaca, Nevada

Over hundreds of thousands of years, volcanic activity and erosion have carved out stunning cliffs and cathedral-like spires in this canyon.

The dramatic landscape of Cathedral Gorge State Park also includes slot canyons with narrow passageways where some lead into secret chambers.

A one-mile trail connects the Miller Point overlook to the park’s picnic area, while you can access a four-mile loop trail in a more remote area of the park.

It’s a perfect road-trip destination for hikers, photographers, and nature lovers. This state park is a 2.5-hour road trip that I’m definitely adding to my bucket list of places to explore in Nevada when visiting Las Vegas.

See RelatedLas Vegas vs Phoenix

Utah Day Trips from Las Vegas

If you’ve had your fill of good times in Sin City, there are a couple of incredible day trip destinations just over the border in Utah!

Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Utah

Bryce CanyonBryce Canyon National Park- Bryce, Utah National Park

If you need a break from the Strip, plan a day trip from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. It’s about a four-hour road trip one-way.

Here you’ll find not a single canyon but several natural amphitheaters or bowls with hoodoos – irregular spires of rocks.

The four main viewpoints are Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point and Sunrise Point.

Because of its popularity, a shuttle service runs from April to October to reduce traffic.

See Related: RVShare Review

Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah

Zion National Park

One of the top day trips from Las Vegas is Zion National Park – about 2.5 hours away.

Zion National Park is popular due to its beautiful slot canyons, deep canyons, and nearly 125,000 acres of wilderness where you can hike on more than 90 trails.

Note that some tour companies offer day-trip packages from Las Vegas to both Utah national parks (Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park), so you could visit both in one day. This is the place to be if you are looking for that iconic desert landscape in southern Utah.

Check out this tour of the things to do and attractions in Zion from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.

Check out these best hotels in Zion National Park to book and make the most of your stay.

See Related: Best Day Trips from Zion National Park

Cool California Day Trips from Las Vegas

Arguably the best state to venture into for day trips outside of Las Vegas is California – home to a diverse blend of cultures, landscapes, and attractions. We love California.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Can you take a day trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley in California? Yes. Yes you can.

We did and absolutely loved it. It’s only about a two-hour drive to reach Death Valley, but expect to spend a full day of sightseeing and the ability to also see the Mojave National Preserve.

You can drive yourself or sign up with a tour company. Despite its name, Death Valley National Park in the Mojave Desert is beautiful.

Check out some scenes from our time exploring the Mojave National Preserve.

Mojave National Preserve: Things to Do & See [4K HD]
Watch this video on YouTube.
Watch this video on YouTube.

Here are some of the more popular spots in this US National Park.

  • Furnace Creek Visitor Center: Great place to get all your questions answered by park rangers, buy snacks, use the restroom and watch a 20-minute movie about Death Valley.
  • Badwater Basin: This is the lowest elevation in the continental United States – 282 feet below sea level.
  • Salt flats: The protected salt flats in the Badwater Basin cover about 200 square miles.
  • Devil’s Golf Course: You’re not going to believe that you can play golf or even walk on this course as it’s extremely rough terrain formed by halite salt crystals.
  • Zabriskie Point: If you’re a U2 fan, you may recognize this place as the shooting location for their Joshua Tree album.
  • Dante’s View: From this lookout at an elevation of 5,475 feet, you can view the Badwater Basin and salt flats.

Death Valley is the hottest and driest place on earth. How hot? Death Valley recorded the highest temperature on earth – 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913.

Yeesh! Sounds like a job for sunscreen and aloe. To echo the National Park Service, stay cool and stay safe!

See RelatedHow to Plan a Month-Long Vacation

Los Angeles and Hollywood Day Tour from Las Vegas

Los Angeles and Hollywood Day Tour

This Los Angeles and Hollywood Day Tour from Las Vegas is a small group guided tour with roundtrip transportation from Las Vegas. You will get to see the best of Los Angeles. You will see famous Hollywood sites and Los Angeles county staples like the Santa Monica Pier and glamorous Beverly Hills.

Final Thoughts

These are just some of the best day trips from Las Vegas worth exploring, but there are a ton more out there. What destinations would you add as places to explore in Nevada or its bordering states? Are there any day trips in the Vegas area where you’ve had a blast but we didn’t mention? Let us know!

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