While there’s plenty to do in the city, there are also some pretty awesome day trips from Las Vegas. It’s well worth it to leave the Strip for a bit to check out places like the stunning Red Rock Canyon.
Most people tend to plan a weekend in Vegas, staying just one or two nights. By staying for a little longer, you can easily tack on a couple of day trips from Las Vegas. Places like Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Hoover Dam are easily accessible.
By giving yourself a week in total, you have the potential for some epic Las Vegas road trips. This gives you enough time to venture further afield to bucket-list destinations like the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park.
In this post, you’ll get all the relevant info for some of the best day trips from Las Vegas, including links to reputable tour operators in case you don’t want to do the driving.
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Las Vegas Day Trip 1: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park
This is definitely the granddaddy of them all. Who doesn’t want to gaze upon the magnificent Grand Canyon at some point? It’s one of the most quintessential road trip destinations in the entire US.
Thankfully you have lots of options for traveling from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park. The quickest and easiest way to experience this natural wonder is by visiting the West Rim.
It’s just over two hours by car from the Strip to get there, which is about half the time it takes to get to either the North or South Rim. If you’re not into renting a car and driving, there are plenty of tours from the city.
The Hualapai Tribe owns and manages the West Rim. There’s a $45 general admission charge to access the area. This includes the shuttle service that you need to use to get around.
West Rim Attractions
The highlight of a visit here is definitely the Skywalk—an open-air glass bridge that allows you to look 4,000 feet down into the Canyon. It costs an extra $23 on its own, or you can buy a grand package for $59 that includes it.
In addition to the Skywalk, you can also hike to Guano Point to take in the views. You can even add on a helicopter and pontoon tour if you want to make it an unforgettable experience. It costs $219 per person for this adventure. They also run whitewater rafting trips on the Colorado River.
For those who would rather skip out on the drive entirely, one of the best day trips from Las Vegas is taking a helicopter straight to the Grand Canyon. These cost between $350-500 per person, depending on what’s included.
Visiting either the North or South Rim on a Las Vegas day trip is tough. It takes 4-5 hours to get to either one, so you’re better off making it an overnight excursion. Better yet—make it one big adventure and add a trip to nearby Zion National Park. But, if you’re determined, you can see the South Rim on this day tour.
Las Vegas Day Trip 2: Red Rock Canyon
When it comes to things to do outside of Las Vegas, it’s hard to top the scenic Red Rock Canyon. This National Conservation Area is located just 15 miles west of the Strip, making it one of the easiest day trips from Las Vegas.
You have a few options for visiting Red Rock Canyon. If you’ve got your own wheels, it’s $15 per vehicle to enter the area. There’s a 13-mile long loop drive that takes you to lots of viewpoints and trailheads.
Pro Tip: it’s well worth it to pick up an America the Beautiful pass if you plan to visit a few parks on your trip. It costs $80 and is good for a whole year. This gets you into all national parks and hundreds of other federal recreation sites across the country. It pays for itself after visiting just a few.
It’s also possible to hop on a tour of the city. You can choose to enjoy the canyon from an air-conditioned SUV ($113) or explore it on two wheels with a super fun e-bike tour ($119). Rock climbing is also popular here, and it’s possible to sign up for a guided tour.
However, if you decide to explore Red Rock Canyon, bring sunscreen and plenty of water. That desert sun is no joke! It’s important to protect yourself and stay hydrated.
Las Vegas Day Trip 3: Hoover Dam
One of the most popular Las Vegas day trips is the nearby Hoover Dam. This engineering marvel was built during the height of the Great Depression by tens of thousands of workers.
This massive project set out to tame the mighty Colorado River while providing water and hydroelectric power for the Southwest. When finally completed, it helped great American cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas develop.
As with most of these day trips from Las Vegas, you have the option of getting yourself out to the Hoover Dam or jumping on a tour. It’s an easy one-hour drive from the Strip, and there’s plenty of parking.
Your options include a $10 ticket for a self-guided tour of the visitor center, $15 for a guided power plant tour, or $30 for the full guided dam tour. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, but tours only run from 9-5, with the last tour departing at 4.
Just about every tour operator in the city has trips out to the Hoover Dam. Many of them also make a stop at Lake Mead, the reservoir that was formed by the dam.
Las Vegas Day Trip 4: Lake Mead
Speaking of Lake Mead, it’s a great Las Vegas day trip on its own. It’s the perfect place to beat the desert heat with a bit of boating, fishing, or swimming. If you want to work up a sweat first, there are also plenty of hiking trails.
A popular way to visit the lake is on a cruise. Lake Mead Cruises has a 90-minute Hoover Dam sightseeing tour at noon on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for $35. They also have a dinner cruise on Friday and Saturday at 5:30 for $79.
Combining a trip to the Hoover Dam with a few hours at Lake Mead is definitely one of the top day trips from Las Vegas. You can opt to drive yourself out there or hop on a tour out of the city.
One of the best ways to appreciate Lake Mead is to kayak it to see its impressive beauty from within! This tour checks off all the boxes. For a fun alternative, you can visit Lake Mead by ATV as well, and also see the Hoover Dam on this tour. This tour also takes you to both the Hoover Dan and Lake Mead.
Las Vegas Day Trip 5: Valley of Fire State Park
One of the easiest drives from Las Vegas is to see Valley of Fire State Park. In just 45 minutes, you can find yourself among the awe-inspiring red Aztec sandstone that the park derives its name from.
Drop by the visitor center first to get some information on the geology and history of the park. Then, hit one of the many hiking trails in search of ancient petroglyphs. Finish up with a picnic in a nice shaded area before heading back to the city lights.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset and costs $15 per vehicle. It only costs $10 if your ride has Nevada plates.
BONUS Las Vegas Day Trips: Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks
Technically, these are both pretty tough to pull off on just a day trip, but it’s still worth mentioning Zion and Bryce Canyon.
It’ll take you about 2.5 hours to get out to Zion National Park in Utah from Vegas. With an early start and a late return, you could go on a whirlwind tour of this natural wonder.
A much better strategy is to stay at least a night to hit more of the viewpoints and trails. This is one of the most beautiful national parks in the country, so it’s best to linger!
Bryce Canyon is a much more difficult 4.5-hour drive from the Strip. If you’re going to drive all the way out there, you might as well make it an overnight trip at the very least.
For those who have the time, here’s a highly recommended national park road trip:
- Leave Las Vegas and drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
- Camp for a night there, then head up to Zion for a night.
- Finish in Bryce Canyon and then circle back around to Vegas.
If you’re determined to see Zion and Bryce as a day trip, this tour will help you do it. We’ll warn you, though, you’ll want to return to spend more time! An amazing alternative is to take a tour to visit Zion, Antelope Canyon, and Monument Valley. It’s a 3-day tour and looks incredible!
How to Get to Las Vegas
Most travelers arrive in fabulous Las Vegas at McCarran International Airport (LAS). It’s actually located in the town of Paradise, Nevada, which is just south of the Las Vegas Strip.
A great thing about traveling to Las Vegas is that there are usually great deals on flights, especially during the week. You can fly there directly from most major airports in the US. There are also direct flights from Canada, Mexico, and even a few European cities.
There are also a few companies running bus routes in and out of Las Vegas. This is a good option if you’re coming from nearby places like Los Angeles or Phoenix. Check Greyhound, Megabus, and FlixBus to see their routes and prices.
Those who don’t live too far away may want to consider driving to Las Vegas. Having a car is more of a burden than a benefit if you just plan on doing it up on the Strip, but it’ll come in handy for day trips.
How to Get Around Las Vegas
From the airport, you’ve got several options for getting to your accommodations. Some of the bigger casinos offer free shuttles, so take advantage of that if it’s available.
You can also catch the RTC bus, although it’s not that convenient if you have a bunch of luggage and need to make a transfer. It is quite affordable, though. 2-hour pass is $6, a one-day pass is $8, and a 3-day pass is just $20.
You can easily rely on the bus and cabs to do the usual Vegas stuff like bouncing around the casinos, seeing shows, and bar-hopping. The Deuce bus line goes up the Strip to downtown Las Vegas and stops at all the big casinos.
There are tons of cabs around, and they’re easy to find at the airport, on the Strip, and downtown. Uber and Lyft are also available here, and there are plenty of drivers.
For going on these day trips from Las Vegas, you’ll need your own wheels, or you’ll need to sign up for a tour. There’s a whole hub of rental car companies near the airport. Try to book in advance to secure a good deal and to guarantee you get a car.
When to Visit Las Vegas
Deciding when to visit Las Vegas depends on a lot of factors, namely the cost. Prices skyrocket here on the weekends as well as during holidays and big events. You’ll definitely want to check the city’s event calendar to see what’s going on before booking a trip.
If you’re planning on taking a few road trips from Las Vegas, you’ll likely encounter less traffic and smaller crowds if you visit during the week. Couple that with the savings you’ll get in town, and it’s well worth trying to make it a mid-week trip.
As far as the weather goes, summer can be downright scorching in Vegas. Temperatures there approached 120 degrees Fahrenheit this summer, by June! Thankfully the A/C is on everywhere, and there are covered walkways all over the Strip.
In the winter months, it can get a bit chilly, which may throw a wrench in your plans to soak up the sun at a pool party. It’s not like you’re going to be buried in snow or anything, though. This is still the Nevada desert!
There’s definitely a case to be made for visiting Vegas in spring or fall. That’s when you’ll experience the most pleasant temperatures, which is important for planning excursions from Las Vegas.
Ready for Some Awesome Day Trips from Las Vegas?
Are you excited about your Vegas trip yet? Because you should be! As you can see, there are tons of options for adding some awesome outdoor adventures to your travel plan in Sin City.
Make sure you check out this massive 3-day Las Vegas itinerary while you’re at it. Add some of these Las Vegas day trips to that plan, and you’ve got the makings of an unforgettable trip.
There’s so much to do in and around Las Vegas that you’ll just have to keep coming back. It’s one of the most exciting cities in the country and makes for the perfect jumping-off point for exploring the great outdoors.
Do you have a favorite Las Vegas day trip? Leave a comment and let us know about it!
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