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5 Best Zion National Park Day Trips from Las Vegas

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A  day trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park is one of the best  things to do outside Vegas . This majestic and scenic area is where the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert meet. The 229 mi² park is home to some of the most impressive geology in the country, so it’s a must-see!

Over millions of years, the Virgin River eroded the Navajo sandstone walls of Zion Canyon, creating the region’s cliffs, buttes, and slot canyons. Today, the area is still a pristine sight, even after more than a century as a national park.

Zion National Park, las vegas day trip to zion national park

Best of all, Zion’s location in Utah makes it a convenient  day trip from Las Vegas .  If you’re already in Sin City, a great way to experience this natural wonder is by taking a  Las Vegas tour to Zion National Park . These tours can last for a few hours or several days, so there is something for everyone.

We almost skipped Zion National Park during our West Coast USA road trip , but I’m so glad we decided to visit. Seeing the multi-colored rocks, natural arches, and gorgeous overlooks was an experience we’ll never forget!

In this guide, I’ll share the best  day trips to Zion National Park from Las Vegas . After hiking through narrow slot canyons and standing next to massive sandstone cliffs, you’ll see why Zion is one of the most popular National Park near Las Vegas.

5 best day trips to Zion National Park from Las Vegas

I’ve reviewed the top-rated  Las Vegas tours to Zion National Park , looking at factors like price, duration, and highlights. In a nutshell, these are the 5 best  day trips to Zion National Park from Las Vegas :

  • Zion National Park small-group tour
  • Zion & Bryce Canyon bus tour
  • Zion & Bryce Canyon small-group tour
  • Zion & Bryce Canyon overnight tour
  • Antelope, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, & Monument Valley tour

1. Zion National Park small-group tour , the best Las Vegas day trip to Zion National Park

If you have the time, I highly recommend a full-day  tour of Zion National Park from Las Vegas .  This small-group tour  lasts 10-11 hours and includes breakfast, lunch, and transportation from  Las Vegas to Zion National Park .

The Narrows, day tour to zion national park from las vegas

A guide will take you through the park to some of the most beautiful landmarks. See the 800-meter-deep Zion Canyon, the peaks of Horse Ranch Mountain, and the pretty Emerald Pools. While you marvel at the gorgeous landscape, keep an eye out for bats, bighorn sheep, mule deer, eagles, and other critters.

  • Highlights : Zion Canyon, Emerald Pools, Virgin River, natural arches, mesas, wildlife spotting
  • Duration : 10-11 hours
  • Number of participants : 12
  • Price : $252+
  • Description : This  day trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas  starts with hotel pick-up from the Strip and downtown district. You’ll have a full day to explore million-year-old formations, like the Virgin River Narrows, The Three Patriarchs, Kolob Arch, and Checkerboard Mesa .

2. Zion & Bryce Canyon bus tour , a cheap day tour to Zion National Park from Las Vegas

If you’re taking a  road trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park , it makes sense to visit Bryce Canyon, too. This tour of Zion and Bryce Canyon will make the most of your time. Begin your day with a  tour from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, where a knowledgeable guide will take you through majestic canyons and valleys. You’ll see notable sights like the Checkerboard Mesa and other stunning photo opportunities.

Bryce Canyon, day trip to zion from las vegas

Then, visit Bryce Canyon National Park and see the famous hoodoos, red rocks, and sandstone cliffs. Your guide will share information about the region’s geology while pointing out popular lookout points. This tour goes from  Las Vegas to Zion  to Bryce Canyon, so bring snacks and money for food.

  • Highlights : Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, natural landscapes, photo opportunities
  • Duration : 13 hours
  • Number of participants : 50
  • Price : $129+
  • Description : Take a  day trip to Zion from Las Vegas and see the scenic mountain peaks and canyons of this national park. Then, stop by Bryce Canyon National Park, where you’ll find more wonderful views and photo ops .

3. Full-day Zion & Bryce Canyon tour , an exciting Zion National Park tour from Las Vegas

To make the most of your day, consider this full-day tour . You’ll get an early morning pick-up from the Strip, then  travel from Las Vegas to Zion National Park . An expert guide will lead your small group through the slot canyons, sandstone cliffs, and even some hidden gems.

Zion National Park, zion national park from las vegas tour

Spend about 1.5 hours in Zion, then stop for lunch before heading to Bryce Canyon. There, you’ll witness the multi-colored landscape with pink sands, red rocks, and green pine trees. Hike for about 1.5 hours through the hoodoos and natural structures like Bryce Amphitheater while taking memorable photos. Finally, you’ll grab dinner (not included), then make your way back to Vegas.

  • Highlights : Hiking through Zion National Park, natural structures, and hoodoos in Bryce Canyon
  • Duration : 14 hours
  • Number of participants : 14
  • Price : $239+
  • Description : Make the most of your  day trip from Vegas to Zion National Park  by adding a stop at Bryce Canyon. Spend a few hours hiking through the ancient structures in these two parks, including natural arches, narrow canyons, and majestic lookout points .

4. Zion & Bryce Canyon overnight tour , the best 2-day tour from Las Vegas to Zion

The best way to experience the beauty of Utah is with a  day tour to Zion National Park from Las Vegas .  This overnight tour  first goes to Bryce Canyon, where you’ll have a full afternoon to see the famous hoodoos and sandstone cliffs. Choose to stay at the campsite or Ruby’s Historic Inn and enjoy a soak in the hot tub to prepare for the next day.

Angel's Landing, day trip to zion from las vegas

Then, go to Zion National Park and spend the day hiking to Angels Landing or The Narrows. You’ll see some of the most intriguing spots like the Emerald Pools and the white, pink, and red-streaked rocks. You’ll get back to Vegas around 7 pm.

  • Highlights : Full afternoon in Bryce Canyon, overnight stay at a campsite or historic inn, full day in Zion National Park
  • Duration : 2 days
  • Price : $330+
  • Description : This  day trip from Vegas to Zion National Park  makes an initial stop at Bryce Canyon. Choose from hikes of all difficulty levels and explore the hoodoos and Bryce Amphitheater. Rest up at the campsite or inn, then spend the next day amidst the mesas, cliffs, and arches of Zion .

5. Far, Wild West , the ultimate Zion National Park tour from Las Vegas

If you’re interested in traveling from  Las Vegas to Zion , consider seeing other parks in the area while you’re at it.  This 3-day package  includes a  Las Vegas tour to Zion National Park , Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon.

The non-stop adventure begins with a visit to the streaked sandstone cliffs and slot canyons at Zion and Bryce National Parks. Guides are available for all hiking levels to the Emerald Pools, Great White Throne, Weeping Rock, and other spots. See the hoodoos, amphitheater, and plateaus at Bryce Canyon and stay at a full-service campsite. You can also upgrade to a hotel or add a Death Valley tour to your day.

Grand Canyon, zion national park las vegas

The next day, your group will journey past Lake Powell and have the option to upgrade to an Antelope Canyon tour (~$60). Then, take a 4×4 through Monument Valley while a Navajo guide shares stories about the history of the land. Camp overnight or stay at the Historic Gouldings Lodge. This day also has an optional upgrade to the area’s wild west ghost towns.

Day 3 begins with a brief stop at a traditional Navajo Trading Post before continuing to the Grand Canyon. You can choose the heli-tour upgrade ($220+) or take the standard hike around the canyon rim. After some time at Grand Canyon National Park, you’ll head back to Vegas.

Alternatively, you could substitute Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon for a cruise on Lake Powell with this  3-day national park tour .

  • Highlights : Zion, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon
  • Duration : 3 days
  • Price : $695+
  • Description : This 3-day trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon includes transportation, camping gear, breakfast, and lunch. You’ll hike the trails and see one-of-a-kind geological formations by day, then stargaze by night in some of the most beautiful places in the West. Upgrades and add-on tours are available.

How much does a Zion National Park tour from Las Vegas cost?

The price of a  Zion National Park tour from Las Vegas  will vary depending on the total duration, the number of travelers, and any extra stops. I’ve tried to include a variety of day trips, and you can compare the costs and highlights of each one below.

FAQs – Las Vegas to Zion National Park

If you want to travel from  Las Vegas to Zion National Park , these FAQs may help you plan your perfect itinerary.

How far is Zion National Park from Las Vegas?

The  distance between Zion National Park and Las Vegas  is about 160 miles.

How to get to Zion National Park from Las Vegas?

If you want to  drive from Las Vegas to Zion National Park , the easiest way to get there is by taking I-15 North to St. George, Utah. Take Exit 16 and merge onto UT-9 E/W, which leads to the park’s Visitor Center.

What is the driving time from Las Vegas to Zion National Park?

The driving time from Las Vegas to Zion is 2.5 to 3 hours.

What must-see places can you visit on a road trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park?

Yes! If you’re  traveling from Las Vegas to Zion National Park , consider adding a few stops to your itinerary:

  • Valley of Fire State Park
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
  • Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
  • Red Cliffs National Scenic Area
  • Snow Canyon State Park
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Antelope Canyon
  • Monument Valley
  • Lake Powell

A  Las Vegas tour to Zion National Park  can range in price from $130 to $700 or more. It depends on the duration, group size, and amenities like transportation, meals, guides, etc. You can find  one-day trips to Zion National Park from Las Vegas  for under $200.

What is the cheapest Zion National Park day trip from Las Vegas?

The cheapest  day trip to Zion from Las Vegas  is around $130. Even so, you’ll want to budget more for tips and food.

Whichever you choose, I know you’ll enjoy your  Las Vegas day trip to Zion National Park ! We had a blast exploring this natural masterpiece and highly recommend it to everyone. In case you prefer to visit it on your own, check out our guide to visiting Zion National Park . If you have any questions about these  tours from Las Vegas to Zion National Park , leave me a comment below. Safe travels!

national park day trips from las vegas

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national park day trips from las vegas

She Saves She Travels

22 Incredible Day Trips from Las Vegas You’ll Absolutely Love

Posted on Published: December 15, 2022  - Last updated: April 4, 2024

Looking to escape the busy city of Las Vegas? Of course you are! There’s so many amazing adventures just minutes away. If you’re looking for the best day trips from Las Vegas, here’s your list!

day trips from Las Vegas view of massive multi colored canyon

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my  disclosures .

Las Vegas has a reputation for shopping, dining and casinos – and it lives up to the hype! But if you’re craving adventure – or some nature – taking a day trip from Las Vegas is a great way to do just that.

Leave the crowded strip and hit the road!

Some of the best day trips are just 20 minutes away, while others will take you away the entire day from sunrise to sunset (or beyond). Whether you’re traveling solo , celebrating a birthday in Vegas with friends, as a couple or with your family, there’s something on this epic list of day trips from Las Vegas to fit every travel style .

Let’s dive in!

Map of the best day trips from Las Vegas

If you’re a visual person like I am, this map of the best places to visit near Las Vegas will help you plan your perfect adventure.

By the way, as someone who’s actively checking places off my travel bucket list , I haven’t been everywhere (yet). So I’ve asked some of my fellow travel writers to help with these things to do near Las Vegas. Enjoy!

Day trips from Las Vegas

Located in the Mojave Desert, there’s so much to see and do in the area. Here are some of the best ideas for things to do outside of Vegas!

1. Red Rock Canyon (one of the best things to do near Las Vegas)

Las Vegas day trips view of red rock canyon drive with road through valley of red rocky cliffs

Distance from Las Vegas: 16 miles / 20 minutes

Perhaps one of the shortest day trips from Las Vegas is the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. It’s perfect for a full day of adventure away from the busy city, yet close enough for a quick drive.

One of the most popular things to do is the Red Rock Canyon scenic drive . This one-way, 13 mile drive takes you through the entire conservation area. Stop at Calico II to see the vibrant red sandstone rocks.

Bring grippy hiking shoes for the 2.2 mile hike on the Calico Tanks Trail . This fun, interactive hike requires a bit of scrambling to get to the viewpoint of the Las Vegas strip. So cool!

You’ll actually need a timed entry reservation to see the conservation area from October through May, so be sure to reserve your spot in advance! If you can’t grab a spot, consider booking a Red Rock Canyon hiking tour which includes park entry.

Of course, come prepared with enough water and high protein snacks. If you’re hiking be sure to bring the 10 essentials and a satellite communicator in case of emergency.

Recommended by Nikki of Inspired Routes

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2. Valley of Fire State Park

vegas day trips red swirled rock view of valley of fire state park

Distance from Las Vegas: 56 miles / 48 minutes

Valley of Fire is a famous Nevada State Park, and a nature preserve area known for its breathtaking red sandstone and rock formations. It consists of 40,000 acres of Aztec sandstone.

Prehistoric remnants and unparalleled vistas are intertwined among the valley’s red rocks. There are also ancient petroglyphs that were carved into the Aztec Sandstone rock formations. These spectacular rock formations are best viewed on a sunny day, and every sunset, they illuminate the valley, making it appear they’re on fire.

There are several outdoor activities that you can do in the Valley of Fire. The park offers a short hike for you to survey the area’s scenic views.

As you explore the site, take advantage of these fascinating rock formations like the Valley of Fire Beehives, Atlatl Rock, Elephant Rock and the Fire Wave. They will surely leave you speechless in their beauty.

You can stay overnight in the Valley of Fire; various campgrounds located near this famous spot for camping enthusiasts. And reservations in advance are required, check the  park’s website  for more details.

Valley of Fire is approximately 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas; it would take you about 1 hour to get there by car. Take the I-15 north for about 35 to 40 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Head east toward the Valley of Fire/Lake Mead from Exit 75. The West Entrance Station is located in the Valley of Fire, about 17 miles away.

The best time to visit the park is in October and April. The temperatures are mild and pleasant during this period, while they are extremely hot during the summer. The park is open from sunrise until sunset.

Recommended by Christine of Guide To Daytrips

3. Kanarra Falls

view of log with steps leading up to Kanarra falls in rocky slot canyon

Distance from Las Vegas: 159 miles / 2 hours, 33 minutes

At just 2.5 hours from Las Vegas, Kanarra Falls is the perfect day trip for adventure lovers. Grab your hiking boots and trekking poles and head off to this amazing slot canyon.

After arriving at the trailhead you’ll see a small restroom and ticket counter. They only allow 150 hikers a day, so it’s strongly recommended that you reserve your tickets online before arriving as no more tickets are sold on-site once the limit is reached. 

The hike itself is a moderate 3.8-mile hike directly through an epic slot canyon. Be prepared to get wet as the majority of the hike will have you walking through ankle-deep water (sometimes higher).

After about 1.6 miles you’ll see your first waterfall. If you choose to continue up the ladder, you’ll find the second waterfall about 0.3 miles later.

It will surely be a hike you won’t soon forget. Kanarra Falls is one of the best things to do near Las Vegas!

Recommended by Jordan of The Homebody Tourist

4. Lake Mead

view of Lake Mead blue lake with brown rocks

Distance from Las Vegas: 31 miles / 36 minutes

Lake Mead is a wonderful afternoon or a day escape from the bustling city of Las Vegas! Located less than an hour outside of Las Vegas in Boulder, Nevada, visitors to Lake Mead are greeted with a surplus of outdoor activities sure to provide an outdoor recharge. 

For Lake Mead day trips Las Vegas, it’s recommended to drive so that visitors have flexibility to explore different parts of this natural preserve throughout the afternoon.  

Enjoy hiking, navigating slot canyons, swimming and boating at Lake Mead.  Keep in mind that there is no lifeguard on duty, and that swimming and boating beaches are separated. 

More of a relaxed afternoon can be spent driving to one of the many pull out parking spots to enjoy some views with a picnic lunch. Most of the pull out parking spots include a bathroom house.  

Visiting outside of summer months is most recommended as the Mojave Desert can heat up to 120 degrees fahrenheit during this time of year.  

A huge plus is that the natural preserve accepts the Annual National Parks Pass . Without the pass, entrance is $30 per vehicle. 

Recommended by Alyssa of An Apple a Plane

5. Zion National Park (a favorite on this list of day trips from Las Vegas)

view of canyon red rock walls green base

Distance from Las Vegas: 159 miles / 2 hours, 41 minutes

One of the best day trips from Las Vegas is visiting Zion National Park in Utah. Just over 2.5 hours from Vegas, Zion offers incredible views and adventures you’ll love.

The perfect Zion itinerary for one day is to take the shuttle into the Zion Scenic Drive to see the impressive canyon. If you’re up for adventure, hike The Narrows.

The Narrows is the popular hike where the canyon narrows and you can walk through the Virgin River (up to 10 miles round trip) to see the massive canyon up close as it closes in. Be sure to bring water shoes and hiking sticks for The Narrows.

Alternatively, you could get crazy awesome views on the Canyon Overlook Trail . It’s just one mile round trip, offering wide open views of the canyon with less effort.

Grab lunch or ice cream at the Zion Lodge or in Springdale, just outside the park. Or, pack a picnic and enjoy the views of the canyon! Regardless of if you’re solo, as a couple, with friends or visiting Zion with kids , it’s a fabulous adventure and perfect day trip from Las Vegas.

Just be sure to take the right hiking essentials when visiting in Zion, like good hiking shoes and plenty of water!

Note: if you’re based in or near Vegas and have or rent an RV, check out this RV road trip guide that details the road trip from Vegas to Zion then the Grand Canyon. What a fun adventure!

6. Hoover Dam

hoover dam tour from Las Vegas view of large concrete dam with rocky mountains and river

Distance from Las Vegas: 37 miles / 39 minutes

Hoover Dam from Las Vegas is a short drive, and one of the best ways to spend a day away from the city. You can rent a car and drive yourself or take a tour from Vegas . See the historic Hoover Dam, which was completed in 1936.

As a visitor to the Hoover Dam, you can park for free and walk to the viewpoint on both the Nevada and Arizona Sides. The Nevada side you can see the front of the dam. On the Arizona side, you’ll see the Colorado River and the back side of the dam.

The visitor center has information on the history and architecture of the dam. If you rent a car and drive yourself, the parking lot closest to the entrance is $10 to park, or you can walk the 0.7 miles from the free parking to get there.

One of the best ways to learn about the dam’s construction is through a Power Plant Tour. You’ll actually get to go down into the dam to see how it works!

At the time of publication, you can purchase a Guided Power Plant Tour online but not a Guided Dam Tour so if you want the most in-depth tour of the dam, you’ll need to get there early to get a tour, because it’s first come, first serve and sells out quickly.

Book it now: Hoover Dam tour from Vegas

Recommended by me – Nikki of She Saves She Travels

7. Grand Canyon from Las Vegas via helicopter

places to visit near Las Vegas view of Grand Canyon and river flowing through it

Distance from Las Vegas: 45 minutes (flight time)

Enjoy the beauty of the Grand Canyon without all the driving! Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas are a very efficient way to see the 4th most visited national park in the USA !

While driving to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas (see #14 below) allows you to hike and see the South Rim, a helicopter tour allows you to land inside the canyon, thousands of feet below the rim.

After a 45-minute helicopter ride from Las Vegas , feel extra bougie as you toast champagne on a bluff from within the canyon. Soak in the incredible views of the massive canyon you’re standing inside of! What a bucket list experience!

Book it now: helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon from Vegas

More things do do near Las Vegas

Outside of the city but comfortable enough to do in a day, here are more ideas for ya. There’s so much to see in the area!

8. Emerald Cave kayaking (one of the most fun things to do outside of Vegas)

lake mead day trips Las Vegas view of cave with green water and kayakers

Distance from Las Vegas: 55 miles / 58 minutes

Kayaking in the Emerald Cave is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the Vegas strip. The cave is located in the Lake Mead Recreation Area, along a calm section of the Colorado River.

Your journey to the caves will include a relaxing kayak ride along the Colorado River. The surrounding hills and cliff walls are awe-inspiring as they tower above you. 

Along the way, you can also go ashore and take a number of short hikes for a better view of the river and rock walls. These hikes will also give you a chance to see the unique flora and fauna of the area. 

The Emerald Cave itself will often get crowded, and only a few kayaks can enter at a time. The cave is shallow, giving you a chance to enter, take pictures, and then exit again within a few minutes time. 

Within the cave, you’ll see a green glowing light reflecting off of the water and onto the cave walls. This green glow is where the Emerald Cave gets its name. The best time of year to see the full emerald effect is to go in summer on a sunny day. 

To reach the caves, you can drive to Lake Mead Recreation Area and rent a kayak there, or book a half-day tour , which includes hotel pickup and drop-off services from Las Vegas. For your trip, it helps to bring the right gear , including a good backpack and water shoes . 

The tour will provide you with guidance and instruction along the way, so it’s a great option if you’re newer to kayaking or unfamiliar with the area. 

Kayaking the Emerald Cave is one of the best Lake Mead Day Trips from Las Vegas!

Book it now: Emerald Cave kayaking

Recommended by Merry of Virginia Vacation Guide

9. Mojave National Preserve

vegas day trips view of road through scenic drive tan and brown rocky scene

Distance from Las Vegas: 68 miles / 1 hour, 9 minutes

If you’re looking for a way to get away from Las Vegas but want somewhere with few crowds, then consider making a visit to Mojave National Preserve. In just an hour’s drive on Interstate 15 from the big city, you’ll find hiking trails, caves, and much more to explore.

First, head to Cima Road, which is home to more Joshua Trees than you’ll even be able to find within the namesake national park. These are rare trees, only growing within certain parts of the southwest.

Another one of the best things to do is to visit the Kelso Dunes. These beautiful sand dunes offer viewpoints of the surrounding mountains and the opportunity to stand on top of the tallest dune.

The Lava Tubes Trail offers a short hike and a unique experience in a cave. There aren’t many places where you’re able to climb directly into the tube, so this one shouldn’t be missed!

Other fun activities include seeing the cinder cones along Aiken Mine Road, hiking the Teutonia Peak Trail, and visiting the Mojave Desert Mailbox. Because you’ll be in the desert, be sure to dress comfortably to stay cool while you’re out exploring.

It’s also nice to have a high-clearance vehicle for the visit, as some roads can be pretty rough. Also, be sure to check the status of the roads, because wintertime may bring snow and poor weather conditions.

Recommended by Kassidy of The Hiking Helper

10. UTV adventure at the McCullough Mountains

things to do outside of vegas view of utv in desert on sunny day

Distance from Las Vegas: 25 miles / 49 minutes

Get ready for an epic adventure in Prime Valley and Hidden Valley at the McCullough Mountain Range, Nevada . This is one of the most fun day trips from Las Vegas if you’e looking for an adrenaline-filled time!

This half day UTV excursion takes you through fun, rugged desert terrain just outside of Las Vegas. You’ll get to see Hidden Valley National Monument during your excursion.

An excursion like this was one of the most fun things to do in Aruba , and I think you’ll agree it’s an awesome day trip from Vegas , too. Drivers must be 16 or older, and each UTV is fit for 2 people. Kids as young as 12 can ride with an adult, so it’s great for families with older kids, too.

Pro tip: wear clothes you can get dirty and closed toes shoes.

Pack anything you don’t want to get dirty in a dry bag with a strap and tie it down. That prevents dirt from penetrating a backpack for other cloth bag. This is the dry bag I used while UTVing and it worked great! Don’t forget to take extra water in reusable water bottles , too.

Book it now: UTV adventure near Vegas

11. Death Valley National Park (one of the best places to visit near Las Vegas for scenery)

things to do near Las Vegas Death Valley deep brown rocky ridges at sunset

Distance from Las Vegas: 110 miles / 1 hour, 55 minutes

Death Valley is one of the best national parks in California and a perfect day trips from Las Vegas if you are looking to escape the crowds and explore the stunning landscapes of the Mojave Desert. 

Although summers bring triple-digit temperatures to Death Valley, winter has a mild sunny weather with no snow, except for high altitudes. 

You can get to Death Valley by taking a guided tour from Las Vegas that includes major highlights of the national park or renting a car in Las Vegas . If you rent a car, you will have more freedom exploring this vast area and also enjoy stargazing at night since Death Valley boasts incredible dark skies free of light pollution.

The park has many hikes like Golden Canyon, overlooks and is also home to the lowest point in North America, Bad Water Basin, that sits at 282 feet below sea level. Since Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states, prepare to drive longer distances, as some points of the interest are as far as 50 minutes away from one another.

Book it now: Death Valley tours from Las Vegas

Recommended by Daria of The Discovery Nut

12. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Spring Mountain State Park view of mountains with trees and ranch in foreground

Distance from Las Vegas: 24 miles / 27 minutes

Some of the oldest buildings in Nevada lie right next to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. This historic ranch is a fun little day trip from Las Vegas , where you can tour old buildings like a blacksmith shop and sandstone cabin.

Nestled in a picturesque setting, it’s a lesser-known attraction in the Las Vegas area , so you’ll really be able to escape the crowds. Pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors. The best time to visit this state park is October through May.

The Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is a great spot for beginner hikers or families and pets, too. Hike the Spring Mountain Ranch Loop trial, at just 1.5 miles and flat, it’s an easy trail for nearly any skill level.

Hours change seasonally so check before you go at the Spring Mountain Ranch website .

13. Seven Magic Mountains

large stacked multicolored painted rocks

Distance from Las Vegas: 26 miles / 27 minutes

A fun experience close to Las Vegas is the Seven Magic Mountains . These colorful stacked boulders are an art instillation that took social media by storm in 2016, thousands of visitors come to the Seven Magic Mountains annually.

It’s a free, short day trip from Las Vegas, and one worth visiting if you’re looking for something low-key to do in the area. And bonus – no extra hiking gear or picnic supplies required.😊 It’s perfect for when you’re visiting Las Vegas with kids !

Created by artist Ugo Rondinone and supported by the Nevada Museum of Art  and  Art Production Fund , this is a free attraction although donations are always welcome! Take as many photos as you desire, but please don’t damage the boulders.

Pro tip: If you want great photos with fewer people, come early in the day – just after sunrise – to avoid crowds. Also check out this guide for more free things to do in Las Vegas .

Seven Magic Mountains is one of the best things to do outside of Vegas that doesn’t take a lot of time, either.

Full day trips from Las Vegas

With 3+ hours of driving each way, these are the best day trips from Las Vegas that make a long day, but totally worth the effort! Of course if you have more time, these destinations would make great weekend trips from Las Vegas, too.

14. South Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

Distance from Las Vegas: 279 miles / 4 hours, 22 minutes

If you’re looking to escape the intenseness of Las Vegas for a day and want to spend some time surrounded by incredible scenery you’ll never forget, head to  the Grand Canyon South Rim .

The Grand Canyon is one of the most extraordinary natural wonders of the world and offers absolutely stunning views. The South Rim in particular is considered to be the best part with its really expansive views and is truly a sight to see.

There are many unique hikes and viewpoints such as Mather Point that you can visit at The South Rim – but note that the weather and temperature can change suddenly here so make sure to bring plenty of layers and be prepared for any weather. Woolx Merino wool layers work perfect for any season and are perfect for the Grand Canyon.

Drive time to Grand Canyon South Rim is just over 4 hours each way from Las Vegas so it’s a long day but it is definitely worth it! You can rent a car and drive yourself, or if you’d prefer someone else to do the driving you can book a Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas on a bus.

The day trips are usually around 15 hours long, starting at around 6 or 7am, and cost under $100 so good value for money! It’s best to book a Grand Canyon tour in advance as it is a popular day trip from Vegas!

Not only is The Grand Canyon one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, but the route to get there is really interesting too as you’ll get to drive along the famous Route 66!

Book it now: Grand Canyon bus tour from Vegas

Recommended by Catrina of 24 Hours Layover

15. Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas

horseshoe bend tour from Las Vegas view of river in shape of u and rocky cliffs

Distance from Las Vegas: 274 miles / 4 hours, 23 minutes

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed sites along the Colorado River and a fantastic excursion for those traveling from Las Vegas.

While on the far end for a day trip, Horseshoe Bend is about 4.5 hours from Las Vegas. Located in Page Arizona, the iconic feature is a must-do for those traveling through the southwest. 

Horseshoe Bend, part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, is one  top things to do in Page Arizona .  It can be done as a stop along with other activities in the area.

The trail and parking for Horseshoe Bend is managed by the city of Page, and doesn’t take any National Park or other park passes for entrance to the site. Parking for Horseshoe Bend is $10 and the site is open from sunrise to sunset daily.

For those visiting the site, the hike requires about 1.5 miles (out and back) to reach the viewpoint for the bend. There’s a small platform located at the end of the trail.

However, be sure to continue on past the viewpoint along the slick stones and you’ll be treated to some great other views of the bend without as many tourists around. You can even climb the small hill to get a better overlook of the site. 

Beyond Horseshoe Bend, there’s plenty of other things around Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Visit to the nearby Glen Canyon Bridge and Dam is worth a quick excursion. Visitors can view the amazing engineering feats of creating both the bridge and dam in this part of the river.

There’s also great hiking nearby such as the Hanging Gardens Hike, the Chains, and The “New Wave” which is a lovely banded sandstone area close to the glen canyon dam. 

Recommended by Anwar of Beyond My Door

16. Bryce Canyon National Park (one of the most epic day trips from Las Vegas)

weekend getaway from Las Vegas view of orange rocky spires at Bryce Canyon National Park

Distance from Las Vegas: 259 miles / 4 hours, 3 minutes

You’ll want to get up early for this one! As a day trip, this is doable but a pretty long day. It would make a great weekend trip from Las Vegas, too.

Anyway, Bryce Canyon National Park is home to the famous hoodoos, which are irregularly shaped rock spires. Witness the unique beauty of this landscape from Bryce Point or Inspiration Point.

If you’re up for hiking, try the Queens Garden Trail and Navajo Loop , which is a fun, interactive trail. It’s 3.1 miles and rated as moderate, you’ll weave through hoodoos and witness the bright orange and red rocks up close.

Have a picnic at Sunset Point or enjoy the views at Sunrise Point, too. You can see all the Bryce Canyon National Park highlights in just one day!

17. Joshua Tree National Park

weekend getaway from Las Vegas view of Joshua tree with desert landscape smooth rocks sunny day

Distance from Las Vegas: 186 miles / 3 hours, 8 minutes

One of the best day trips from Las Vegas is a day in Joshua Tree . It takes about 3 hours to drive from Las Vegas to Joshua Tree National Park, but it is worth the drive and a great way to escape the city.

Joshua Tree is best during the spring or fall when temperatures are more moderate. In the summer, the park gets very hot, and in the winter it’s cold. However, if you’re taking a day trip in the winter, you will still experience the warmest part of the day in winter.

While in Joshua Tree, take the quick hike to Arch Rock, drive down Queen Valley Road, visit the Cholla Cactus Garden, and, of course, see all the Joshua Trees. One of the best places to find a high concentration of Joshua Trees is along Queen Valley Road or on Park Boulevard from the West Entrance Station.

Recommended by Christine of Live Love Run Travel

18. Antelope Canyon (a popular tour from Las Vegas)

view of antelope canyon deep red and orange sandstone canyon walkway

Distance from Las Vegas: 278 miles / 4 hours, 32 minutes

Las Vegas is such a fun city to explore but many people don’t realize there are amazing places to visit outside of Las Vegas. Antelope Canyon is a popular slot canyon in Page, Arizona.

The canyon is full of beautiful Navajo Sandstone that makes for some of the most stunning views you’ll find. Getting to escape from the concrete jungle of Las Vegas is a great way to refresh and enjoy some time away from the city.

If you’re planning on visiting Antelope Canyon, there are a few things you must know.

The canyon is on Navajo land and is restricted to tours by Navajo tour guides and tours are required to visit. You’ll want to book in advance to ensure you can get a tour. If you find that Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon are booked, look into tours of Antelope Canyon X .

May to October get really busy, the earlier you book your tour , the better.

To do Antelope Canyon as a day trip from Las Vegas, follow I-15 North through Saint George, Utah. Then take UT-9 to Hwy 59 towards Kanab, UT, where you’ll get on the US-89 East to Lake Powell and Page, Arizona. The drive is a little long, but it makes for a great adventure to one of the most beautiful slot canyons you can find!

Book it now: Antelope Canyon tour from Las Vegas

Recommended by Candice of CS Ginger

19. Palm Springs

rocky canyon with mountains in distance at Tahquitz Canyon Palm Springs weekend trips from Las Vegas

Distance from Las Vegas: 231 miles / 4 hours, 9 minutes

If you’re up for a slightly longer drive, taking a day trip from Las Vegas to Palm Springs is an ideal way to add some fun and adventure to your travels. Though it’s situated about 4 hours away, there are so many ways to spend one day in Palm Springs !

You can explore the iconic downtown area, which features boutique shops, hip galleries, and tasty restaurants. Or, check out the original retro architecture on residential homes and hotels.

Outdoor lovers can venture out for a day hike at one of the many trails, such as Tahquitz Canyon. One can’t-miss activity for any first time visitor is the famous Palm Springs aerial tramway, which takes you up the nearby San Jacinto Mountains for panoramic views of the surrounding valley.

With so much natural beauty to explore, it’s no wonder why Palm Springs has become such a popular getaway spot for travelers from Las Vegas.

Be aware that summer is a tough time for hiking and strenuous activity in the California desert. If visiting in the summer months, I would recommend visiting one of the many pool and mineral springresorts. 

Recommended by Monica of This Rare Earth 

20. Red Rock Canyon State Park

day trips from Las Vegas view of red rock canyon state park orange and tan rocky landscape

Distance from Las Vegas: 240 miles / 3 hours, 41 minutes

Did you know there are actually 2 Red Rock Canyons to escape to as a day trip from Las Vegas?

Not to be confused with the National Conservation Area just a few minutes outside of Vegas,  Red Rock Canyon State Park  is a 3.5 hour drive from Las Vegas. While it’s a long drive for a day trip, it’s doable starting before sunrise and driving back at sunset.

Located in Cantil, California, Red Rock Canyon State Park is part of the Mojave Desert. Once you’re there, you’ll be surrounded by stunning Joshua Trees and get a breathtaking view of sandstone cliffs as far as the eye can see.

Enjoy activities such as rock climbing, picnicking, easy nature walks, as well as beginner canyoneering. Best of all, you won’t find huge crowds here, so enjoy the peaceful escape from the city.

Recommended by Cassie of Cassie’s Compass

21. Grand Staircase Escalante (another favorite on this list of day trips from Las Vegas)

zebra slot canyon striped wavy canyon

Distance from Las Vegas: 213 miles / 3 hours, 26 minutes

Grand Staircase Escalante is a fun and unique day trip from Las Vegas. If you’re looking to hike some really cool slot canyons, Grand Staircase is the place to do it.

A 3.5 hour drive from Vegas, there are a  few different slot canyons  located within Grand Staircase Escalante to visit. One of the most famous is Zebra Slot Canyon, a canyon that has stripes along the wall making it look like the stripes on a zebra!

Besides hiking the slot canyons in the area, there are plenty of other amazing trails to hike in this area. To get to Grand Staircase Escalante, head northeast on I-15 towards St. George, once in St. George depending on where you want to go in Grand Staircase either head towards Kanab or head towards Bryce Canyon.

The roads inside of Grand Staircase aren’t paved and a lot of the roads require you to have a 4×4 vehicle. Make sure to always check with the visitor centers nearby in Kanab and Escalante before heading out to make sure the weather and roads are safe for exploring.

Recommended by Jessica of Unearth the Voyage

22. Alabama Hills (one of the most scenic things to do near Las Vegas)

alabama hills with snow capped mountains and road

Distance from Las Vegas: 246 miles / 4 hours, 13 minutes

Alabama Hills, California is an underrated destination that’s gained in popularity over the last decade or so. A long day trip from Las Vegas, it can be done in a single day with an early morning and late night, or better yet, as a weekend getaway from Las Vegas!

With expansive views of these smooth rocky formations, there’s quite a bit to see and do in Alabama Hills. Movie Road is aptly named based on the volume of films that have been shot here. Drive down it and recognize scenes from Iron Man and Gladiator, just to name a few.

There’s plenty of hiking opportunities in Alabama Hills , too. Grab your hiking shoes and head to the famous Mobius Arch, coming in at less than one mile. Or explore views of the snow-capped mountains on the Upper Alabama Hills Trail to Cyclops Skull Arch .

Best day trips from Las Vegas

things to do outside of vegas car driving down winding road with mountains in distance

Well, that’s a wrap! The area surrounding Las Vegas is full of fun and activities for all ages. Whether you’ve got just one day trip from Vegas or have a few days to explore the area, you’ll find something amazing to do with your time!

Let’s take a look at those adventures again, in a quick list…

Places to visit near Las Vegas

  • Red Rock Canyon
  • Valley of Fire State Park
  • Kanarra Falls
  • Zion National Park
  • Grand Canyon from Las Vegas via helicopter
  • Emerald Cave kayaking
  • Mojave National Preserve
  • UTV adventure at the McCullough Mountains
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
  • Seven Magic Mountains
  • South Rim of the Grand Canyon
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Antelope Canyon
  • Palm Springs
  • Red Rock Canyon State Park
  • Grand Staircase Escalante
  • Alabama Hills

Related content you might like: 20 BIG Adventure Vacations in the US Not to Miss 28 Absolutely Best National Parks to Visit in Summer 100 Most Romantic Vacations in the United States You’ll Love

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22 incredible day. trips from Las Vegas with photos of canyons Zion Grand Canyon grand staircase Escalante

wanderwithbelle

Sunday 29th of January 2023

I love Vegas and have been there a numerous of times!! Thanks for sharing these great tips.

Wednesday 1st of February 2023

Welcome Belle. Thanks for your comment and visiting the blog! :)

Monday 23rd of January 2023

Vegas itself isn't really on my list of places to visit, but I'd love to do all of these daytrips!

Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Agreed! Every time I go to Vegas, I leave Vegas 🤣

Saturday 17th of December 2022

I am not a big fan of Las Vegas so I love the idea of trying some of these road trips on the next time I attend a conference in Nevada. I love the rugged landscape.

Monday 19th of December 2022

Same, same Terri! Each time I visit Vegas I have to get out 🤣 Have fun on your next non-Vegas adventure!

Interesting read. Emerald cave kayaking looks so relaxing.

Totally agree, Anukrati! I hope you get to try it sometime.

Friday 16th of December 2022

Some great ideas here, and some wonderful photos too!

Glad you found this helpful :)

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8 National Park Tours from Las Vegas

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Las Vegas has been coined the entertainment capital of the world, but with all the splendor within the city limits, the area surrounding Las Vegas is among the most beautiful in the American Southwest. Several major national parks are within a reasonable drive from Las Vegas, and there are great national parks tours from Vegas that offer a welcome reprieve from the city life. 

All you need to enjoy these tours to world-famous destinations is an adventurous spirit and some free time during your stay in Vegas. Whether you’re looking for a half-day getaway with lots of sightseeing stops or overnight stays in a painted desert, there’s a national parks tour from Las Vegas that’s perfect for you. 

National Parks and Natural Wonders Near Las Vegas

Las Vegas is one of those rare destinations that appeal to both people who love the crazy city life and nightlife scene, along with other travelers who like the idea of being so close to many of the most famous parks on the national register. Whether you’re just visiting Las Vegas or are proud to call yourself a local, there’s a world of wonder and national parks right outside the door. 

Of course, we’re speaking relatively here when we talk about these parks being close to Las Vegas. Certainly, they’re not a mere half-mile outside the city limits, but if you have a day (or even two) to explore, there are lots of national parks and nature areas that are a reasonable one to five-hour drive from Las Vegas. 

Some of the most famous national parks and natural scenic areas within a half days drive from Las Vegas include: 

  • Grand Canyon & the Colorado River 
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Zion National Park 
  • Hoover Dam & Lake Mead
  • Valley of Fire 
  • Death Valley 
  • Joshua Tree 
  • Red Rock Canyon 
  • Lake Powell 
  • Monument Valley
  • Antelope Canyon 

If you have a little more time on your hands and are interested in an adventure that spans several days, there are tours from Las Vegas that will also take you to Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. These adventures may include a helicopter tour, airplane transportation, or motorcoach with an experienced bus driver and tour director who will narrate the journey as you travel through many scenic areas. 

For now, we’ve selected eight top national parks tours from Las Vegas. In full disclosure, not all of these are true national parks, but they are national scenic areas, which we think are worthy of any travel bucket list. 

Bryce Canyon National Park Tours

Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks Small-Group Tour from Las Vegas by Coexist West Coast Tours

bryce canyon and zion national parks small group tour from las vegas by coexist west coast tours

Located about four hours outside of Las Vegas in southern Utah is one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. If you make your way to Bryce Canyon City, you’ll find yourself at the entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park. 

Bryce Canyon is known for the hoodoos, which are tall irregular columns of rock. Hoodoos are found all over the world, but the largest collection of them on earth can be found at Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon is open and filled with spectacular sights year-round. 

Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are close enough that you’ll often find “twofers” when it comes to day trips to either of these parks. This small-group tour to Bryce Canyon National Park that also includes a trip to Zion is one of our favorites. 

Bryce Canyon National Park is the first stop on this tour. After departing from your hotel in Las Vegas, you’ll arrive at Bryce Canyon at about 11 am. You’ll spend some time exploring the multi-hued hoodoos and learn about the history and unique geological formations from an experienced tour guide. 

You’ll have the chance to explore and hike through parts of Bryce Canyon. Then after a couple of hours, you’ll stop for lunch to refuel. Then, it’s off to Zion National Park. You’ll arrive at Zion Canyon around 4 pm, where you’ll hike along paths and see the massive sandstone formations up close. You’ll enjoy the canyon’s evening colors before heading back to Las Vegas. 

Las Vegas hotel pick-up and drop-off are included. Admission into both national parks, bottled water, and lunch is also included in the price of this tour. 

Zion National Park Tours

Private Day Tour to Zion National Park From Las Vegas by Detours American West

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in southern Utah and is about 2.5 hours from Las Vegas. Zion National Park is a beautiful nature preserve with steep cliffs, beautifully colored rocks, and endless scenic routes. 

Zion is Utah’s first national park. Sandstone cliffs, slot canyons, and lots of hiking opportunities, There are several types of tours to Zion Canyon from Las Vegas, with many including at least a minimal amount of hiking. 

Are you ready to escape the Vegas scene and head out into the sanctuary of Zion National Park? With this tour, you’ll be picked up from your Las Vegas hotel nice and early, then venture off to Zion, where a day of exploration, hiking, and sightseeing awaits you. 

Along the way, you’ll travel through the Mojave Desert, historic places that include native lands, the Colorado Plateau, and the Virgin River, before entering Zion National Park with breathtaking views. After lunch, you’ll do a little hiking that includes visiting the emerald pools and beaches of the Virgin River. This is an entire day of raw beauty that’s a must if visiting Zion National Park is on your bucket list. 

Grand Canyon National Park Tours

Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour by Canyon Tours

Grand Canyon National Park Tours 

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most famous parks in the United States. Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is about five hours or so outside of Las Vegas. The Grand Canyon is a geological treasure trove, with millions of years of history contained within the canyon walls. 

The Grand Canyon has many points that offer a spectacular view, and by joining one of the tours from Las Vegas, you’ll have the chance to experience much of it. Since the Grand Canyon is a decent day’s drive from Las Vegas, plan on spending an entire day or even two (or more) for a thorough tour of the canyon. 

Las Vegas Grand Canyon National Park tours offer an amazing escape and a chance to witness the unparalleled beauty of the Grand Canyon. Canyon Tours offers an adventure that takes you from the concrete jungle of Las Vegas to the sheer magnificence of the Grand Canyon, all in a single day. 

You’ll be escorted from your hotel to Grand Canyon National Park in a comfortable motorcoach that includes a guided, narrated tour. This journey takes you to the Grand Canyon West Rim. You’ll spend four hours exploring the Grand Canyon West Rim and also have the opportunity to visit the Hualapai Indian Lands. This tour also includes the memorable experience of enjoying lunch at the Grand Canyon West Rim, and you can also add on the open-air skywalk experience. 

Canyon Tours also offers a similar tour of the Grand Canyon South Rim, which includes a guided tour of the South Rim, a stop at the Grand Canyon National Geographic Visitor Center with IMAX Theater, and lunch at the Grand Canyon Village. West Rim and South Rim tours aren’t combined, but there’s no reason you can’t book two-day tours and see them both!

Valley of Fire National Park Tours

Valley of Fire Hiking and Nature Tour From Las Vegas by Love Hikes

valley of fire state park in a sunny day, nevada, usa

The Valley of Fire State Park is located in Overton, Nevada, and is located about 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas. Named for warmly hued sandstone, the Valley of Fire lights up with brilliant reds and oranges when the sun hits just right. 

The Valley of Fire is one of the closest parks to Las Vegas, which makes it a top destination for a day trip away from city life. You can plan a trip to the Valley of Fire during the day and be back on the Strip to experience the bright lights and nightlife of Vegas after dark. 

Love Hikes offers a number of Valley of Fire hiking tours from Las Vegas that are far from your ordinary trail experience. These hikes are tailored to your fitness level and ability, with a variety of friendly, moderate, and intense hikes available. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip just can’t compare with the spectacular scenery of the Valley of Fire, especially right before sunset. 

This small-group hiking tour offers an interactive experience with a knowledgeable tour guide who will take you off the beaten path so that you can experience some of the hidden gems of the Valley of Fire in person. This tour is a great value and well suited for families and hikers of all abilities. Since this is a hiking tour , the weather conditions may affect tour availability. Transportation to and from your hotel is included, as are bottled water and snacks. 

Hoover Dam & Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Hoover Dam Small Group VIP Tour from Las Vegas by Adventure Photo Tours

Hoover Dam & Lake Mead

The Hoover Dam stands on the Colorado River in the Black Canyon. Constructed in the 1930s, Hoover Dam still remains a monument of wonder. Nearly a hundred years later, the concrete in the dam is said to still be curing, and tales of its construction are still told today. 

At the base of the Hoover Dam is Lake Mead. The lake is the reservoir created by the Hoover Dam. In terms of water capacity, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam are located just a little over a half-hour from Las Vegas, making for a fun half-day or full-day excursion. 

Buckle up for a road trip to the Hoover Dam that doubles as an educational experience and an opportunity to take tons of great photos. On this tour, you’ll journey to the top of the Hoover Dam with breathtaking views. From the famous overlook, you have the opportunity for an unparalleled view of the Colorado River and Lake Mead. 

There is a moderate amount of walking on this tour, but you’re not doing a ton of hiking or strenuous activity, which makes this one of the most popular tours for sightseeing. In addition to visiting the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, you’ll also stop at a nearby park on the way back to Las Vegas. Here, you’ll see native wildlife, including Big Horn Sheep and possibly a bald eagle or two! This tour includes luxury transportation, entrance fees, bottled water, and snacks. 

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Day Tour From Las Vegas by Bindlestiff Tours

death valley national park

Death Valley has an ominous name, but it’s one of the most gorgeous sights in the southwest. Situated on the border of Nevada and California, Death Valley is about 130 miles from Las Vegas, which equals out to about a two-hour drive. 

Death Valley is the hottest and driest national park. It’s also the lowest, sitting below sea level. The Titus Canyon is one of the most famous spots in Death Valley, but no matter where you are, the landscape is nothing short of breathtaking. 

Death Valley National Park is one of the most isolated places on earth. It’s also one of the most beautiful. Known for its harsh and extreme climate, Death Valley, with its striking landscape, is a sightseeing lover’s dream. Many people who experience this tour are taken aback by the sheer expansiveness of Death Valley, especially with stops at some of the valley’s most scenic viewpoints. 

You’ll travel to the heart of Death Valley, which includes stops at Dante’s View, Zabriskie Point, Artist’s Palled, and the Bad Water Basin, which is the lowest land point below sea level in the western hemisphere. Of course, there’s also a stop at the Death Valley gift shop. You can enjoy all of this and still be back in Las Vegas in time to enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Air-conditioned luxury transportation takes you to and from Death Valley, which means this tour is able to operate year-round. 

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon West Rim w/Optional Skywalk Tour by Desert Wonder Tours 

Joshua Tree National Park 

Joshua Tree National Park, located in southern California, is a protected natural area that’s characterized by a gorgeous landscape filled with Joshua trees, rugged rocks, and the vast desert. Located a little over three hours from Las Vegas, Joshua Tree National Park borders the Mojave Desert, and if you happen to visit at night, it is one of the most spectacular spots in the United States for viewing a starry sky. 

Unlike other tours on our list, Desert Wonder Tours doesn’t operate out of Las Vegas, but they do offer a Las Vegas pick-up option for this incredible tour that takes you not only to Joshua Tree but also the Grand Canyon National Park West Rim. Talk about doubling down on the scenic views!

This tour that takes you through the Joshua Tree forest is perfect for small groups. You’ll have the chance to not only see the famous Joshua Trees but also the amazing wildlife that fills the national park. This adventure includes a guided tour of the Grand Canyon West Rim, with optional activities available, including experiencing the Grand Canyon Skywalk. 

The departure date and time for this tour may vary by location of pickup, and group size is limited to eight people. 

Red Rock Canyon Tours

Hiking Red Rock Canyon Guided Tour by Escape Adventures

Red Rock Canyon Tours 

Red Rock Canyon is Nevada’s first national conservation area. Located about 17 miles from Las Vegas, this is one of the most popular destinations for tours from Sin City. Red Rock Canyon offers a day full of hiking, horseback riding, or taking it easy and driving along the 13 miles of the scenic road. 

Grab your hiking boots and leave your nightclub attire at the hotel because you’re about to head out for one of the best hiking adventure tours from Las Vegas. This half-day hiking tour of the Red Rock Canyon is offered in multiple skill and experience levels and is the perfect way to spend some free time on a sunny afternoon in Nevada. 

An experienced tour guide leads you along paths, foothills, and even some scrambles if you’re up for it. A half-day tour is available for two people, but if you’re feeling really adventurous and have a group of at least four people, you can also sign up for the full-day hiking adventure. 

How far are national parks from Las Vegas?

The closest natural area to Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon, which is only about 17 miles from the city. Many other national parks are within one hundred to three hundred miles of Las Vegas, including the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, and Zion National Park.

How many national parks are near Las Vegas?

There are a total of thirteen national parks that are within a reasonable drive from Las vegas. These include Death Valley, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, the Great Basin National Park, Arches National Park, and several others.

How far is Zion and Bryce Canyon from Las Vegas?

Zion National Park is about a 2.5-hour drive from Las Vegas, while it takes about four hours to drive to Bryce Canyon. Many Las Vegas tours combine both of these parks into a single full-day adventure.

Are you ready to escape city life and spend some time enjoying the beauty and scenery of the national parks and national scenic areas of the southwest? Las Vegas makes a great starting point, with tours operating daily – many offering transportation to and from your Las Vegas hotel. 

Whether you’re looking for a quick day trip or want to spend a night or two exploring the scenic wonders of the southwest, there’s a national parks tour from Las Vegas for everyone! 

Considering flying to Las Vegas for a few days and taking some day tours of the National Parks, especially Death Valley and Joshua State Park. I am interested in the month of March 2024. I will be working through a travel agent after I find what I wanted. What can you offer me?

Hi Linda, Each tour company offers unique pricing for different tours during different times of the year. We do not book tours directly, but you or your travel agent can connect with tour companies you’re interested in to compare pricing.

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15 Best Day Trips From Las Vegas — From National Parks to the Extraterrestrial Highway

Need a break from Sin City? Here are 15 great day trips from Las Vegas.

national park day trips from las vegas

RB/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor/Getty Images

Las Vegas is already a fantastic destination that people travel from far and wide to experience. But, after a day or two of playing at the blackjack tables, sitting by the rooftop pools , and digging into a few world-class meals, you may have a hankering for a little escape. Luckily, there are plenty of places within driving distance from Las Vegas that will make you feel like you’re a whole world away.

"Our destination is surrounded by state and national parks for day trips, sightseeing, and great hikes, or if you’re short on time, you can always take a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, in under an hour." H. Fletch Brunelle, the vice president of marketing at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told Travel + Leisure .

Brunelle told T+L the greater Vegas area has a plethora of water-related activities that are great for summer months. "A great way to cool off in the summer is to take advantage of the many watersport activities," he said. "Lake Las Vegas provides family fun with a 40,000-square-foot floating Aqua Park. Watersport activities are also available at Lake Mead or you can venture to Laughlin for water fun on the river."

Here are 15 of the best day trips from Las Vegas.

Grand Canyon

Peter Unger/Getty Images

The Grand Canyon is one of America’s greatest treasures, and it happens to be located within driving distance of Las Vegas. However, the drive can take about five hours, so instead, we suggest splurging on a helicopter tour instead. Companies like Maverick can get you to the Grand Canyon for a flyover and even bring you back for a little aerial sightseeing over the Las Vegas Strip all in one glorious trip.

Westend61/Getty Images

Check out one of man’s most impressive engineering marvels by driving just 45 minutes outside the city to see the Hoover Dam . Visitors can tour the whopping 726-foot tall dam that spans the Colorado River and learn all about how it generates power for thousands of people.

Lightguard/Getty Images

Want more man-made fun? Drive just 40 minutes from Vegas to see Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the United States. Guests here can explore the perimeter by bike or take to the water on a boat tour to cool off (but be sure to check the water levels before you go).

Mount Charleston

lyndsikathleen/Getty Images

Sure, for the most part, Las Vegas is a pretty hot place all year round, but in the winter months, skiers and snowboarders can make the one-hour drive to Mount Charleston for a little snow-filled adventure. According to Vegas.com , it even sees an impressive 240 inches of average snowfall a year, making it a prime place to visit if you’re a powder hound. "Higher elevation means lower temps through the trails and hikes at Mount Charleston, which offer great outdoor exercise and breathtaking views," said Brunelle.

Valley of Fire

Thomas Roche/Getty Images

Seek out one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful scenes at the Valley of Fire , a state park just one hour outside Vegas. The landscape looks more like a watercolor painting made with neutral tones thanks to the ever-shifting sandstone that gives the area its distinct swirls. Visitors can also spot a few petroglyphs left over from several millennia ago if they look hard enough.

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Mike Lyvers/Getty Images

Those seeking more towering stones can find them at Cathedral Gorge State Park, about a 2.5-hour drive from the Strip. The state park offers visitors more chances to explore, including its plentiful hiking trails and expansive caves. Get the best view by walking The Millers Point Trail , a short trail that ends with a spectacular view.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Michael Lee/Getty Images

Red Rock Canyon is perhaps the most classic and popular day trip from Vegas, and with good reason. The national conservation area is just a quick 20-minute drive from the city and offers visitors gorgeous hiking trails and vistas galore. And, if you come in spring, you could be treated to a wildflower bloom unlike any other.

Magic Mountains

Those seeking a little outdoor art and culture can find it about 30 minutes away at Seven  Magic Mountains . "[For those driving in] from California, a perfect stop on the way into Las Vegas is capturing a photo at Seven Magic Mountains: the bright neon boulders stacked in the middle of the desert make for a great social media photo opp," said Brunelle.

The colorful art installation made out of boulders was created and opened to the public in 2016 by artist Ugo Rondinone. The structures, according to the website , are meant to symbolize the space “mid-way between the natural and the artificial.”

The Extraterrestrial Highway

Bernard Friel/Getty Images

UFOs and aliens are getting a lot of attention at the moment, so what better time to make a quick day trip to Area 51 than now? Lean into the subculture fun by visiting the kitschy cafes and shops like the famed The Little A Le Inn Bar and Motel and taking a drive down the Extraterrestrial Highway .

Bryce Canyon National Park

Nick Rains/Getty Images

Driving to Bryce Canyon and back can be a bit of a haul at four hours each way. But, those who are dedicated will be rewarded by getting to spend time in one of the most beautiful national parks in America. Come for a hike or camp overnight so you can look up at the dazzling stars blanketing Utah’s night sky.

Mojave National Preserve

Lauren Breedlove/Travel + Leisure

Make the one-hour drive from Vegas and cross over the California border to visit the Mojave National Preserve . A visit here feels like you’re being transported to another planet, filled with massive sand dunes, towering Joshua trees, and plenty of hiking trails for exploration. Don’t miss Kelso Depot Visitor Center, a one-time railway station dating back to the early 20th century. 

Horseshoe Bend

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If you’ve spent any time on Instagram, odds are you’ve come across a photo of Horseshoe Bend . It’s a lengthy drive from Las Vegas at about 4.5 hours, making it a prime place for an overnight trip. Located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the Colorado River literally bends around a massive rock formation, creating a gorgeous horseshoe-shaped curve in the river. Get your photos, but remain cautious and respectful of boundaries put in place by the National Park Service.

Death Valley National Park

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Make your way back to California once more for a visit to Death Valley National Park , located  2.5 hours from the city. The massive park boasts some of the hottest recorded temperatures on Earth , so make sure to plan your trip accordingly. While there, check out the salt flats and the racing rocks for two fantastic scenes. And, if you can, stay until the sun goes down and look up at the stars, as Death Valley is well known for its delightfully dark skies and brighter-than-bright stars.

Willow Beach

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Who says the desert can’t have a beach? Willow Beach , located an hour from Las Vegas, offers visitors a watery respite from the heat. Come dive into the waters, take a paddle boat ride, or just enjoy a day on the shore.

Zion National Park

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Head out for one more exploration to Zion National Park , another 2.5-hour drive from Vegas. The park is known for its deep canyons and jagged cliff sides, which you can climb down to wade through Virgin River on a hike along The Narrows. Find more water at the Emerald Pools, where you’ll be rewarded with lush landscapes on all sides.

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8 Incredible Must-Do Day Trips From Las Vegas (2024 Guide)

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  • Last Updated: February 4, 2024

Check out the best day trips from Las Vegas, including world-famous national parks and intriguing forests, hikes, canyons and more!

Known across the globe as the “Sin City,” Las Vegas is an internationally touted resort city brimming with entertainment, gambling, and shopping. Fine dining restaurants, name-brand stores, and buzzing nightlife are around every corner in Sin City.

People travel from all over the world to Las Vegas to gamble, to celebrate bachelor’s and bachelorette parties, birthdays – you name it! There’s something for everyone in Las Vegas, smoothly transforming it into a hotspot travel destination.

And that’s not all! This famous city is near other top attractions, which makes weekend trips from Las Vegas or day trips from Las Vegas extremely popular to enrich vacations. 

Our article touts the best day trips from Las Vegas so you can make the most out of your trip.

Las Vegas is conveniently located near some of the western USA’s most incredible parks, so make sure you save some time to squeeze in a day trip to one of these epic locations!

Read Next: For fun activities in the city, check out our list of the 21 best things to do in Las Vegas !

Table of Contents

What Is There To See and Do?

Getting there and away, best time of year to visit, the 8 best day trips from las vegas.

Any weekend getaway to Las Vegas will surely include some of the city’s top attractions like the Las Vegas Strip. But if you’re a nature lover, save a day for one of these day trips!

On these day trips from Las Vegas, you’ll get to visit some iconic landmarks, hiking trails, biking trails, national forests, and just a whole lot of stunning scenery.

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars , which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

1. Grand Canyon National Park

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 130 miles/210 km to the West Rim (the shortest route of three rims to visit)
  • How Long it Takes : 2½ hours

Located in Northern Arizona , the world-famous Grand Canyon is one of the most visited natural landmarks in the nation. It stretches 278 miles along the Colorado River and is the ancestral homeland of 11 Associated Tribes.

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the finest examples of erosion known on the planet. Thanks to its prominent features, including fossil records, archeological history, and geologic attributes like the Grand Canyon Caverns, it has quickly become one of the most studied and researched landscapes. 

Carved by erosion more than six million years ago, the Grand Canyon is believed to have more than 1,000 caves, though only 335 have been recorded. Out of these caves, only one is open to the public. It is called the Cave of the Domes, located on Horseshoe Mesa. 

Most popularly, hiking and backpacking are common activities at Grand Canyon National Park to visit its numerous famous landmarks.

But, of course, there are plenty of other things to do in the park, including white water rafting on the Colorado River, helicopter flights , mountain biking, horseback riding, and mule riding. 

The Grand Canyon Railway is a popular attraction, perfect for sightseeing and learning about the park’s history as you travel to the Grand Canyon South Rim from Williams, Arizona. The railway is an excellent way to easily reach the park while savoring the breathtaking sights along the way! 

The Grand Canyon West Rim is another popular spot to visit. Here you can walk on the famous Skywalk , an aerial walkway that offers stunning views of the deep valleys of the Grand Canyon West Rim.

Highlights of the Grand Canyon include:

  • The Desert View Watchtower
  • Tusayan Ruins
  • Hermit’s Rest
  • Grand Canyon Skywalk
  • Navajo Bridge
  • Mather Point Overlook
  • Colorado River Gorge

Popular hiking trails:

  • Bright Angel Trail
  • Trail of Time
  • Ooh Aah Point Hike (South Kaibab Trail)

Read Next: Find more incredible things to do in Arizona !

As the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular attractions in the United States, there are plenty of transportation methods for getting to and from the park. Selections of trains, taxis, shuttles, and charter services will take visitors to the park and back to Las Vegas. 

This Las Vegas day trip to Grand Canyon’s South Rim takes you on an adventure of three of America’s marvels, including the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and Route 66. The tour includes complimentary pick-up, drop-off, lunch, drinks, and snacks. 

The best time of year to visit the Grand Canyon begins in the spring, from March to early June, and in the fall, from September to November. During these times, the temperatures are more bearable and cooler for adventuring through the park.

However, in the summer, the heat is intense and can be insufferable when outdoors exploring the park. 

Grand Canyon

2. Zion National Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 160 miles/245 km.
  • How Long it Takes: 2½ hours

Part of southwest Utah, Zion National Park is notorious for its towering red cliffs and expansive canyon that averages 2,000 feet deep.

Some of the most famous hikes in the United States are at this park, including the Angels Landing and Observation Point hikes. This is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas for those who love hiking!

Zion is the first national park in Utah, a treasure in the state and the nation. It is home to one of the largest natural arches in the world and the largest flying bird on the continent, the California Condor.

Carved millions of years ago, the Zion Canyon was home to the ancient Anasazi civilization, which thrived around 1500 BC. 

Read Next: Use this guide to plan an epic Utah National Park Road Trip !

Famous for offering the best hikes in the world, Zion National Park is the ideal location for journeying the expansive canyon. Other fun activities to participate in while visiting Zion National Park include canyoneering, camping, horseback riding, birding, and biking. 

Check out the iconic Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive for a scenic detour without getting out of the car.

Plus, if you visit in the summer, this is a great way to sightsee the canyon’s beauty without suffering through the suffocating heat outside the car. 

Examples of popular things to see include:

  • The Narrows
  • Angel’s Landing
  • Canyon Junction Bridge

Popular trails to hike include:

  • Angel’s Landing Trail
  • Emerald Pools Trail
  • Observation Point
  • Riverside Walk Trail
  • Zion Canyon Overlook Trail

The most convenient method of getting to Zion from Las Vegas is by renting a car. Unfortunately, few public transportation options are available, and if there are, there are long layover times for stops at different locations. 

If you don’t want to rent a car, your next best option is to book a tour . Tours are convenient and fun ways to enjoy some of the best day trips from Las Vegas!

Ideally, the best time of year to visit Zion National Park is in the spring and fall months.

However, in the summer, temperatures can spike up to 100°F and higher, making it miserable to explore the park. The winter can be frigid, too. Its lowest record temperature at the park reached -20°F. 

Choosing the spring and fall months is a gentle in-between of these extreme temperatures, perfect for adventuring the glorious outdoors of Zion National Park!

Zion National Park

3. Death Valley National Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 126 miles/203 km
  • How Long it Takes: 2 hours

The lowest, hottest, and driest place in America, Death Valley National Park is well-known for its many extremes and natural wonders. Death Valley is the lowest point in the country.

The park’s landmark feature Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level and covered in salt along its valley floor. 

The roadrunner, featured in the Looney Tunes TV series, can be seen at this park. Its naturally high body temperature is designed to withstand the immense heat of Death Valley. 

And one of the most fascinating qualities of Death Valley National Park is the singing sand. Though the reason behind this is unknown, only a few places on the planet can tout this intricate feature!

Read next: The Perfect 3 Days In Las Vegas Itinerary

Most commonly, hiking is the go-to activity in Death Valley, though other fun activities exist. There are scenic drives like the Artists Drive to see the Artist’s Palette. On this drive are scenes used as a filming location for Star Wars IV: A New Hope . 

Explore the extensive past of the park at Harmony Borax Works, a part of the National Register of Historic Places, located near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

Check out the moving rocks, an intriguing phenomenon that occurs as the ice melts and the wind pushes them, making them seem like they’re traveling across the playa. 

The most popular sights here include:

  • Dante’s View
  • Badwater Basin
  • Devil’s Golf Course
  • Darwin Falls
  • Eureka Dunes

The best hiking trails include:

  • Golden Canyon & Gower Gulch
  • Grotto Canyon
  • Ibex Dunes 
  • Natural Bridge Canyon Trail
  • Mosaic Canyon

The Bundu Buss is frequently used to get to Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas. The one-way trip costs $89 and includes a guided park tour.

Hiring a rental car is recommended for those who don’t have a vehicle and who want to explore and make stops on their way to the park. 

Continuing to break records, Death Valley National Park is also the hottest place on Earth. On average, the summer temperatures hit above 113°F. Unsurprisingly, we highly recommend avoiding visiting the park during the summer. 

Spring is the best time to visit the park as the wildflowers bloom after the winter, spreading across the landscapes for breathtaking scenery. 

Badwater Basin

4. Cathedral Gorge State Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 166 miles/267 km

Another one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, Cathedral Gorge State Park is a geologic preserve and public recreation area. It is named after its cathedral-like spires formed through geologic processes tens of millions of years ago. 

Initially referred to as Cathedral Gulch, Cathedral Gorge was once a well-known picnic spot in the 19th century. And in 1935, the site became one of the first state parks in Nevada. 

The park itself is small and somewhat underrated, becoming more well-known recently. Cathedral Gorge is teeming with intricate and unique formations and landscapes, making it a worthwhile trip full of hiking and sightseeing. 

Hiking and sightseeing are the more common activities at Cathedral Gorge State Park. However, within the park are three slot canyon sites, sometimes called caves, that make for fun exploration.

And because the park is less well-known, the chance of experiencing crowds is less likely, making for a peaceful opportunity to savor the scenic landscapes! 

  • CCC Water Tower
  • Cathedral Caves
  • Canyon Caves

Popular trails to hike:

  • Hawk’s Ridge Trail
  • Millers Point Trail
  • Cathedral Gorge Natural Loop
  • Juniper Draw Loop 

Read next: 21 Best Things To Do In Phoenix, Arizona

Renting a car is the only convenient way to get to Cathedral Gorge State Park. There is no direct public transport and there aren’t many tour options. So on this particular day trip from Las Vegas, you’re best off renting your own vehicle!

Avoid visiting Cathedral Gorge State Park in the summer as the heat is harsh, and not safe to wander around the park outdoors as there is limited shade. 

The best time of year to take a day trip to the park would be the spring or fall. These periods of the year have the most favorable weather conditions, ideal for spending long periods outdoors while journeying Cathedral Gorge State Park. 

Cathedral Gorge State Park

5. Bryce Canyon National Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 260 miles/418 km
  • How Long it Takes: 4 hours

Reputed for having the largest collection of hoodoos in the world, Bryce Canyon National Park is a rewarding day trip from Las Vegas.

This is a pretty long drive, so if you have time you may want to dedicate a weekend trip here. But it can be done as a day trip from Las Vegas if you wake up early and explore efficiently!

The park is located in Southwestern Utah, teeming with awe-inspiring natural beauty, including the hoodoos, which are tall spire rock formations. 

Three groups of natives called the area home, some temporarily and some permanently. They included the Paiute, Fremon, and the Anasazi.

The area was called “Angakakuwassawits,” meaning “red-painted faces.” Superstitions say that if you look too closely at the hoodoos, you will find faces that have been turned into stone. 

If you’re an outdoor adventurer, history buff, or nature enthusiast or simply enjoy sightseeing, then Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas!

Sightseeing is the best way to soak in all the unique natural formations in the park. Join an ATV sightseeing tour to feel the wind in your hair and cover more ground! Or you can take on the hiking and biking trails if you’re feeling active!

There is horseback riding and the Bryce Canyon Road and Highway 63 scenic drive, one of the top things to do at the park. This scenic route is one of the highest drives in the national park system. 

Stargazing is a unique activity at Bryce Canyon National Park, which was labeled an International Dark Sky Park for its unpolluted light. This transforms the park into the perfect place to gaze upon thousands of stars to host the Annual Astronomy Festival and other star programs and night sky activities to consider participating in. 

  • Bryce Canyon Lodge
  • Sunset Point
  • Bryce Amphitheater
  • Bryce Canyon Road & Highway 63 Scenic Drive
  • Rainbow Point
  • Tower Bridge
  • Peekaboo Canyon
  • Bristlecone Loop Trail
  • Bryce Rim Trail

To get to Bryce Canyon National Park, the St. George Shuttle travels from Las Vegas to the park. Tours are available through this shuttle service, which can also take tours to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. 

Besides the shuttle service, the only other way to travel directly to Bryce Canyon National Park is by car. 

If you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend avoiding this day trip in the summer. Instead, spring and fall is the best time to consider traveling to the park to avoid crowds while savoring the cooler temperatures while adventuring through the park.

Bryce Canyon

6. Antelope Canyon 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 280 miles/448 km
  • How Long it Takes: 4½ hours

Antelope Canyon is a famous landmark and sacred site protected by the Navajo Parks and Recreation. It is a fascinating site that makes one of the most memorable day trips from Las Vegas.

The only way for visitors to access the site is by reservation or an authorized tour company . Due to vandalism and safety concerns, Antelope Canyon became unavailable in 1997 to the public. 

Inspiring more than a few eye-catching iconic photographs, Antelope Canyon is beloved for its beautiful swirling rock formations that are rich in color. The canyon was named after the antelopes that grazed the area long ago. 

In the summer, natural lighting shifts through the Upper Antelope section of the canyon.

This part of the canyon has become more world-famous because of its intricate and eye-catching displays as the light shifts and shines through the canyon’s walls. This feature is also what has made it such a highly photographed location.

Antelope Canyon is split between two canyons – Upper and Lower. The Upper Antelope Canyon is most popular with photographers and sightseeing because it attracts more light, creating renowned images seen across the web.

The Lower Antelope Canyon is just as popular, though few sunbeams enter the canyon. You can even kayak to Antelope Canyon if you are interested!

Horseshoe Bend is another natural attraction that is just 5 miles from Antelope Canyon. This incredible canyon formed by the Colorado River is shaped in a curve, hence the name Horseshoe Bend. It’s well worth visiting the two epic places in one visit!

Exploring more of Arizona? Here is our list of the best things to do in Tucson !

Without a car or renting a car, the best way to get to Antelope Canyon is by bus. This trip by bus takes about 5½ hours, so expect to cover lots of ground on this day trip.

This day trip and tour take guests on a wonderland of adventure from Las Vegas. Throughout the tour, passengers see miraculous sights, including Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, and Horseshoe Bend. 

Round-trip transportation is included so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery on this day trip.

The busiest time of the year for Antelope Canyon is summer, though crowds seem to form no matter what because of the landmark’s popularity.

This is more so during the weekends and peak hours in the early afternoon and late morning when the sun shines just right through the canyon’s walls to create the coveted images that spread across the internet and magazines. 

Antelope Canyon

7. Snow Canyon State Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 129 miles/207 km
  • How Long it Takes: 2 Hours

Part of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve in Utah, Snow Canyon State Park presents some of the most scenic hikes in the United States!

From towering sandstone cliffs to sand dunes, Snow Canyon State Park is worth a visit. The park is touted for being family-friendly and full of easy and rewarding hiking trails for all skill levels.

On these hikes, the lava tubes, petrified sand dunes, and the impressive canyon formation can be seen up close and photographed for a memorable and rewarding trip. 

Fun Fact – Snow Canyon State Park was used for the set of a few filming locations, including The Sundance Kid and The King and Four Queens . 

While visiting Snow Canyon State Park, hiking and sightseeing is a must. There are so many fascinating natural wonders to peer and ponder over. The park is also known for its Mojave Desert tortoises so be on the lookout while exploring!

Rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, golf, stargazing, camping, boating, and visiting the local museums are also fun ways to pass the time in the beautiful area.

The best sights to see include:

  • Pioneer Names
  • Petrified Dunes
  • White Rocks Amphitheater

The best trails to hike include:

  • Jenny’s Canyon Trail
  • Lava Flow Trail
  • Johnson Canyon Arch Trail

Exploring more of Utah? Here is our list of the best things to do in Salt Lake City !

If you don’t have a car and don’t plan on renting one, the bus is a great way to get back and forth between Las Vegas and Snow Canyon State Park. Or you can rent a car!

The best time of year to visit Snow Canyon State Park is spring and fall. This is to avoid the crowds and heat of the summer months! But no matter what time of year you visit, this is one of the best Las Vegas day trips, and it’s not a super far journey either.

Snow Canyon State Park

8. Joshua Tree National Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 187 miles/300 km
  • How Long it Takes : 3 Hours

Another one of the best day trips from Las Vegas is this spectacular park in California. Named after the endangered trees sprawling across its landscape, Joshua Tree National Park is famous for these trees and its spectacular rock formations.

The most sought-out of these rock formations is the Arch Rock, found in the White Tank Campground. 

Part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, the park presents a diverse and unique sightseeing opportunity to see the prosperous habitat filled with intriguing species, such as the black-tailed jackrabbit, kangaroo rats, and desert bighorn sheep. 

The best way to sightsee in the park is by hiking. But remember that this is the desert, so it’s important to pack all the water, nutrition, and safety gear necessary for adventuring through the desert!

But it’s fascinating to witness how the desert ecosystem of Joshua Tree National Park functions while glimpsing the unique species that thrive there. 

Stargazing is also popular at Joshua Tree National Park, labeled an International Dark Sky Park. It boasts out-of-this-world viewpoints of the Milky Way and the thousands upon thousands of stars littering the night sky. 

Read next: The 25 best things to do in California !

Popular things to see include:

  • Ocotillo Patch

The top trails include:

  • Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Skull Rock Trail
  • Cholla Cactus Garden Trail

Taking a car to Joshua Tree is the easiest and best way to reach this stunning place. Without a car, the bus or train is another mode of transportation from Las Vegas to the park.

However, these methods take much longer, at nearly nine hours of travel time. If you want to complete this journey in one day, renting a car is your best bet.

Read Next: Stop at Joshua Tree National Park during an epic Las Vegas to Los Angeles road trip !

Like the other parks, the best time of year to visit Joshua Tree National Park is in the spring and fall to avoid the crowds and the heat during the summer. Basically, all the national parks in this area of the western USA are much more enjoyable in the shoulder season!

Joshua Tree National Park

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Three Days In Vegas

Explore America’s Top National Park Tours from Las Vegas

Las Vegas may be known for its nonstop action and exhilarating nightlife, but did you know it’s also the perfect starting point to explore some of America’s most stunning national parks?

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the top national parks near Las Vegas, discuss various types of tours available, and share helpful planning tips to make your adventure unforgettable.

Key Takeaways

Las Vegas serves as a perfect starting point for exploring some of America’s most stunning national parks, including Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite and Joshua Tree.

Various types of national park tours are available from Las Vegas such as bus tours, hiking tours, helicopter tours and combination tours that cater to different budgets and preferences.

It’s important to select a reputable tour company based on your budget and tour preferences before setting out on your adventure. Proper preparation such as packing appropriate gear is also key to ensuring an unforgettable experience.

Top National Park Tours From Las Vegas

When most people think of Las Vegas, they think of the endless casinos, top notch entertainment and amazing nightlife. However, Las Vegas is also a great starting point for a day trip or a guided tour of some of the best national parks in the Southwest.

Here are our picks for the best national park tours from Las Vega s!

Grand Canyon National Park Tours

As a traveler visiting Las Vegas, you’re in for an incredible treat with the opportunity to visit one of America’s natural wonders, Grand Canyon National Park . Located just a few hours away from Sin City, it’s a popular and must-see destination on your national park itinerary.

Grand Canyon National Park attracts over six million visitors annually, each wanting to catch sight of those picturesque views and explore hidden gems like secret trails and vistas nestled within its walls.

Grand Canyon National Park has breathtaking guided hikes like Bright Angel Trail or South Kaibab Trail that offer stunning views of the canyon. For something a little more exhilarating, flying over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter is an awe-inspiring sight that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Zion National Park Tours

Perhaps the closest park to Las Vegas, Zion National Park is just under three hours away by car or bus. This awe-inspiring park is known for its towering red cliffs, unforgettable hiking, and picturesque landscapes that create memories of a lifetime.

Numerous national park tours to Zion are available from Las Vegas which offer expert guides who are ready to lead you through serene hikes while sharing their extensive knowledge about the landscape and unique history found in this region.

The guided Zion Narrows hike at Zion National Park offers unique scenery as you walk along the Virgin River through towering canyon walls. Most tours also provide access to the park shuttles for sightseeing opportunities.

Bryce Canyon National Park Tours

Bryce Canyon National Park is a must-visit destination on any national park tour from Las Vegas. Located just under four hours away, this astonishing natural wonder covers 35,835 acres of vibrant red rock formations and boasts rich forests and mesmerizing desert landscapes.

During your visit to Bryce Canyon National Park, you’ll have the chance to hike among the fascinating hoodoos – tall, thin spires of rock that are sure to take your breath away.

Some popular trails in the park include Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop Trail, Peek-a-Boo Loop Trail, and Rim Trail. These trails offer unforgettable weekend experiences for anyone seeking adventure during their time in Las Vegas.

Death Valley National Park Tours

One of the top national parks near Las Vegas is Death Valley National Park . Located about 130 miles away, it’s a perfect destination for a day trip or an extended tour.

While visiting Death Valley National Park, you can explore unique locations such as Badwater Basin – which at 282 feet below sea level is the lowest point in North America – or take scenic drives along Artist’s Palette where you’ll be surrounded by vibrant colors created by volcanic activity.

Yosemite National Park Tours

As someone planning a national park tour from Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park should definitely be on your itinerary. Located in California and surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite is home to spectacular natural features that will leave you in awe.

One of the best ways to experience Yosemite is through a guided hiking tour with a knowledgeable guide who can show you hidden trails and share fascinating insights about the history and ecology of this amazing place.

You’ll have the opportunity to see breathtaking vistas up close while getting some exercise at the same time.

Joshua Tree National Park Tours

Joshua Tree National Park is a must-visit destination near Las Vegas. The park is known for its stunning desert landscapes, which offer a unique and otherworldly experience for visitors.

As one of the iconic southwestern desert parks, Joshua tree has something to offer everyone from hiking enthusiasts to rock climbers. Visitors can explore the park’s vast expanse of trails ranging in difficulty level or indulge in stargazing at night under the clear skies.

Combination Tours

For those looking for a little bit of everything, combination tours are the perfect option. These tours typically include a mix of transportation methods such as bus, helicopter or even horseback rides, along with different activities like hiking and sightseeing.

Combination tours often allow visitors to see multiple national parks in one trip – which is ideal for travelers who have limited time but want to experience as much as possible.

A typical combo tour might combine Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park over two or three days. During such tours, you’ll get expert guidance on where to go and what trails are best suited for your abilities.

Planning Your National Park Tour From Las Vegas

Determine your budget and tour preferences to choose the ideal national park tour, select a reputable tour company, and pack appropriately for your adventure.

Determine Your Budget And Tour Preferences

As you begin to plan your national park tour from Las Vegas, it’s essential to determine your budget and tour preferences. Knowing how much you’re willing to spend can help narrow down the types of tours available and ensure that you find one that fits within your financial constraints.

Additionally, consider what type of experience you want to have at the national parks. Do you prefer hiking and exploring nature on foot? Or would you rather take in the breathtaking views from above with an airplane or helicopter ride? Depending on your interests, there are different types of tours available to cater to specific preferences.

Choose The Ideal Time Of Year To Visit

My personal recommendation is to plan your national park tour from Las Vegas during the spring or autumn seasons. During these times, you can avoid the extreme temperatures that often occur in summer and winter months, allowing for more comfortable hiking experiences.

In addition to avoiding uncomfortable weather conditions, visiting during off-peak season also means fewer crowds. Zion National Park typically sees high tourist traffic in June and July; however, visitors who choose to explore Zion during other times of the year can enjoy its natural beauty without feeling overcrowded.

Select A Reputable Tour Company

I highly recommend choosing a reputable tour company when planning your national park adventure from Las Vegas. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you.

One great place to start is by checking out reviews and recommendations online. Viator, for example, offers a wide range of tours with detailed information about each excursion along with photos and reviews from previous customers.

Selecting a reputable tour company ensures that you have an enjoyable experience without any unexpected hiccups or disappointments during your trip.

Benefits Of Taking National Park Tours From Las Vegas

Taking a national park tour from Las Vegas offers educational and expert guides, hassle-free travel, access to hidden destinations, and unique experiences you won’t find anywhere else- read on to learn more!

Educational And Expert Guides

As someone who has taken multiple national park tours from Las Vegas, I can attest to the importance of having knowledgeable and experienced guides. It’s amazing how much more you can learn about a place when someone is there to explain its history, geology, and wildlife.

On a recent tour of Zion National Park, our guide pointed out some ancient petroglyphs that we might have missed on our own.

Guides also enhance safety by providing helpful tips for navigating trails and avoiding hazards like flash floods or rattlesnakes. Plus, they can customize tours to suit your interests or abilities; whether you want an easy stroll or a challenging hike with dramatic views.

Convenience And Hassle-free Travel

I know from experience that planning a vacation can be stressful, especially when dealing with transportation and navigating unfamiliar areas. That’s why taking a national park tour from Las Vegas provides convenience and hassle-free travel.

Tour companies offer comfortable transportation, so you won’t have to worry about renting a car or figuring out how to get there on your own.

One thing I love about taking tours is having expert guides who provide valuable information about the destinations. They know all the best spots for sightseeing and photo opportunities, as well as interesting facts about each park’s history and geology.

Access To Hidden Destinations

As someone who loves to explore beyond the typical tourist attractions, I highly recommend taking a national park tour from Las Vegas that includes access to hidden destinations.

These locations are often tucked away and not easily accessible without an experienced guide.

One of my favorite experiences on a national park tour was visiting the lesser-known Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park. This hidden gem is actually the lowest point in North America, and it’s only accessible via unpaved roads with steep grades.

Overall, choosing a tour that includes access to hidden destinations can provide an opportunity for you to see parts of these national parks that many others miss out on.

Conclusion: Best National Park Tours From Las Vegas

In conclusion, national park tours from Las Vegas are a fantastic way to explore some of the most beautiful and breathtaking natural destinations in the United States. With popular parks like Grand Canyon and Zion just a short drive away, visitors to Las Vegas can take advantage of guided tours that offer convenience, expert knowledge and unique experiences.

From hiking through rugged landscapes to exploring hidden gems accessible only by helicopter, there are tour options available for every preference and budget.

Arizona Hot Springs Hike: Discover This Hidden Gem 30 Miles From Las Vegas

Fire wave trail at valley of fire: ultimate hiking guide.

Southerner Says

7 Epic Road Trips From Las Vegas to National Parks

Las Vegas might just be the most perfect fly and drive road trip city. Let’s face it – U.S. employers aren’t known for having the most generous vacation plans in the world. This causes serious time issues if you enjoy road tripping and visiting national parks west of the 100th Meridien.

However, if you fly into Vegas and road trip from there, in less than seven hours, there are seven national parks – not to mention a whole bunch of other public lands – you can visit pretty easily. Here’s how to do it.

This article contains affiliate links . That means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you if you book or buy something from a link I share. This keeps Southerner Says online and on the road .  Thank you for your support .

Best Road Trips From Las Vegas to National Parks

With seven national parks in close proximity to Vegas, what’s the closest national park to Las Vegas? Death Valley National Park is the closest national park to Las Vegas. It’s approximately 125 miles from Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park.

Followed by Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Great Basin National Park and Yosemite National Park. All are the parks are around five hours or less, with the exception of Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite is a bit further than the others but it is doable and I wanted to cover it in this road trips from Las Vegas to national parks list since the route via Highway 395 North and across the Tioga Pass into the park is one of the most underappreciated drives in the United States. If you know, you know.

For convenience, I’ve included a map of the road trip routes as well. In the cases where several route options are available, I’ve highlighted my preferred route on the map. Note: You could also visit Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park from Las Vegas. It’s not included on this list because I have not personally road tripped it from Vegas. I have only visited from Los Angeles.

To use this map, click on the icon on the left hand side of the title to see the map layers. Check or uncheck whichever layer you want to see or don’t want to see. You can also add the map to you own Google account by highlighting the faint star to the right of the title. .

Why Plan Road Trips From Las Vegas

There are several reasons why planning road trips from Las Vegas to national parks is ideal. First, getting to Vegas’s Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) is easy.

Most cities in the United States are no more than a three hour flight away. And if you fly from the east coast, you even get a couple of extra hours of time difference at the beginning of your trip. An early flight from the east coast and you can begin your road trip the same day.

Next, the airport is in an excellent location. If you are someone that’s not really a fan of Vegas, you could fly for your road trip and never even go to the strip if you didn’t want to. Or if you enjoy Las Vegas then spend a few days enjoying the Vegas sights and then head out.

Overnighting near the airport, or in nearby Henderson, Boulder City or even Mesquite, depending which direction your are headed, is a good way to start your road trips from Las Vegas to National Parks. I like the Hyatt Place at Silverton , the Courtyard by Marriott at Green Valley Ranch (great area) and the Fairfield Inn right by the airport.

Third, although it can be hot, the weather is Vegas is just about always perfect. That means no snow and very little rain or thunderstorms which equals fewer weather delays. I’ve been traveling to Vegas at least once a year since 2007 and I’ve only ever experienced one weather delay. (Two now after 2023’s El Niño year)

Finally, rental cars are generally always available in Las Vegas and they are pretty affordable. Prices are usually a fraction of the cost in other cities. DiscoverCars.com provides 24/7 customer service and no hidden fees. You can use them to compare prices and the right vehicle for you.

Now that you know all the advantages of planning road trips from Las Vegas to national parks: which park will you choose to visit first?

What Are the Best Road Trips From Las Vegas to National Parks?

There aren’t too many places in the United States with access to so many public lands, national parks, state parks, Forest Service Land and Bureau of Land Management property, Nevada really comes through. In fact, it’s estimated that almost 88% of Nevada is federal or public land.

Besides what’s mentioned in this article, there are other park sites close to Las Vegas like Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, just a few miles from the Vegas strip and Lake Mead National Recreation Area located in nearby Boulder City . Plus, conservation areas and don’t miss state parks like Valley of Fire .

For simplicity, this article is about parks that have been given national park designation and these road trips from Las Vegas to national parks are the easiest to execute. Note: you could also visit Sequoia Kings Canyon fairly easily from Las Vegas and even though I have visited those parks, I have not visited from Las Vegas.

Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park

Park Alert: Death Valley National Park suffered major damage in August of 2023 when they received a year’s worth of rainfall in several hours. Secondary roads were washed away and Hwy 190, the major route through the park from California to Nevada, was damaged. The park is open but check nps.gov/deva for updates or any road closures.

Located on the border of Nevada and California, Death Valley National Park is one of those parks that everyone should visit at least once. Not only because it’s the lowest and hottest place in North America but because it’s stunning and stark and is full of otherworldly features you can’t see anywhere else in the United States.

Planning a road trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park is easy and as long as you are well prepared you can go just about anytime. It’s a good itinerary for families and solo travelers too. If you happen to be in Las Vegas on business or for a conference, it also can be done as a day trip or with an organized tour.

The entrance sign at Death Valley National Park

Best Road Trip Route From Las Vegas to Death Valley

There are several ways to get to Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas. One of the best ways is through Beatty , Nevada, which in itself is a fun little road trip stop. Beatty prides itself on being the the gateway to Death Valley and is only seven miles from the entrance.

Additionally, from Las Vegas, you could drive through Pahrump, Nevada to Death Valley Junction before entering the park. This scenic route from Las Vegas crosses through the Spring Mountain Recreation Area with opportunities for additional stops along the way. Pahrump even has a few wineries you could add to the itinerary.

Things To Do in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is full of amazing experiences. Everywhere you look is something unique. Some of the most impressive features include Dante’s View, Badwater Basin and my favorite, Ubehebe Crater.

Since Death Valley is a large park, many of the roads are unpaved and require high clearance vehicles and, at times, four-wheel drive. But don’t let that discourage you. There are still plenty of things to do to keep you busy even in a passenger car.

Where to Stay in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park has three hotels in the park. The swanky Inn at Death Valley and the more moderately priced Ranch at Death Valley are both part of the Oasis at Death Valley, a planned resort offering amenities like restaurants, swimming pools and even a golf course in the desert.

And Stovepipe Wells offers hotel rooms in a more laid back, historic village setting with a restaurant, gas station and a general store.

For those who prefer to sleep under the stars, Death Valley National Park has twelve campgrounds in the park. Furnace Creek Campground is the best bet because it’s open year round. Just keep in mind that if you are tent camping, it takes a while for the desert to cool down at night.

For lodging outside the park, the small town of Beatty , just 7 miles from the eastern entrance has a few lodging options , good barbeque and friendly wild burros roaming around town.

How Much Time Do You Need in Death Valley National Park?

To see the top things in Death Valley National Par, you’ll need at least a couple of days to hit the highlights and more if you plan on driving some of the unpaved roads and canyons.

If you have a week, then combine a Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park road trip with a visit to Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave Preserve for a fun desert loop. There are so many options for extending your road trips from Las Vegas to National Parks itineraries.

When’s the Best Time to Road Trip to Death Valley National Park?

Death Valley National Park is open year round. Peak season is December through April and a typical wildflower season in late March, April and May.

Even though it’s hot in the summer, with careful and thorough planning, you can still visit. Just keep in mind that late summer months are also monsoon and that means rains.

Autumn in Death Valley can still mean high temperatures. My first visit was in the middle of October and temps hovered around 116F during the three days I was there.

For the least amount of crowds and lower temps, November is one of the best times of the year to visit Death Valley National Park.

Las Vegas to Zion National Park

  • 2 hours 45 minutes

As you approach Zion National Park , Utah’s first national park, it doesn’t take long to realize why it’s one of the most popular parks in the national park system. The introduction to this park is like no other. The drive in is full of towering red, pink and creamy colored sandstone cliffs all around and the renowned emerald colored Virgin River runs along side the main road into the park.

It’s also unique that instead of being above the canyon looking down. Like at the Grand Canyon and many other parks, you are actually inside the canyon or Zion Canyon, and surrounded by the cliffs and peaks.

the view of the road and pink mountains in Zion National Park

Best Road Trip Route From Las Vegas to Zion National Park

One of the things that makes Zion a good road trip option from Las Vegas is the ease of getting there. Most of drive is roomy interstate driving and only secondary roads for the last 30 or so miles unto you reach Springdale, Utah, the gateway city to Zion.

Of course, you could drive secondary roads once you get to Utah, but the I-15 route carved through the mountains is the only direct into Utah route coming from southern Nevada.

The drive from Las Vegas to Zion is so easy that once you exit the interstate in Utah, you’ll feel like you’re practically there. The drive takes no time as the last 25 miles or so passes thorough several cute small towns and some of prettiest vibrant colored landscapes that approach a national park.

Things To Do in Zion National Park

Zion National Park is the only park on this list where visitors are required to ride a shuttle into the main section of the park called Zion Canyon. The most popular hikes like Angel’s Landing (permit required) and the Narrows are located in the canyon.

I do want to mention that even though I fully believe everyone needs to see Zion Canyon via the shuttle, it’s not absolutely necessary to enjoy the park. You still get awesome views from just about anywhere.

Plus, there are several really fun hikes – that are way less crowded – outside Zion Canyon. The Pa’rus Trail, the East Rim trail and the Many Pools Trail are just a few good hikes that don’t require a shuttle ride.

If you are visiting Zion in the busiest months of spring and summer, then use these tips to avoid the crowds in Zion National Park.

Where to Stay in Zion National Park

Because it’s so close to Springdale, Zion National Park has plenty of options for places to stay. The surrounding area, as well as the east side of Zion, has an abundance of hotels, ranches, private campgrounds and BLM land offering dispersed camping.

Inside the park, there’s a lodge and three campgrounds run by the park service. Lava Point is another campground located in the more obscure Kolob Terrace.

Watchman Campground, inside the Zion Canyon is open all year and South Campground, also inside the park, is closed in winter. Reservations for all park campgrounds can be made at recreation.gov.

For a glamping experience, one of my favorite properties near Zion is Zion Wildflower Resort , located in Virgin, just a few miles from the park.

The resort takes advantage of its perfect setting and views near Zion, offering cozy cabins and covered wagons, complete with outdoor community spaces for campfires and relaxing hammocks around the property.

How Much Time Do You Need in Zion National Park?

If you don’t have much time or are headed to another park or public land in southern Utah, it’s possible to drive through Zion on a day trip. To really see all the park and the most popular sights, at least two days is necessary and three days would be best.

Especially if you visit in the warmer spring and summer months when the park is crowded. That way you can take your time and not feel rushed.

When’s the Best Time to Road Trip to Zion National Park?

Zion National Park is open year round. April through October are considered peak season. So late fall is a good time even though at the higher elevation, Zion can get quite cold and even have snow.

One other benefit besides less people in winter is that there’s no shuttle. Typically, the end of November and December, excluding holidays, there’s no shuttle service in the park. That means you can drive your own vehicle into Zion Canyon.

Every year, the National Park Service makes seasonal adjustments to the shuttle schedule so that date could change from year to year. Always check nps.gov for the latest info.

Las Vegas to Joshua Tree National Park

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park on a road trip from Las Vegas is a timeless Nevada to California road trip. Located in southern California, both families and solo travelers alike will enjoy Joshua Tree’s peaceful desert beauty and starry dark skies.

The park is full of protected Joshua trees, interesting rock formations and unique landscapes. Plus, there’s tons of opportunity to see wildlife, including the endangered desert tortoise.

Joshua tree and boulders in Joshua Tree National Park

Best Road Trip Route From Las Vegas to Joshua Tree National Park

From Las Vegas there’s a variety of ways to get to Joshua Tree National Park but the most scenic one is the 183 mile drive down Highway 95 south through Searchlight, Nevada and across Mojave National Preserve.

This drive takes you through thousands of Joshua trees before you even get to the park and includes places like historic places Goffs and Amboy , California and even a little of piece of the “mother road” – Route 66.

Things To Do in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a fairly large park but the way it’s organized makes it compact enough to see a lot in a day. With preparation and caution , plenty of easy hikes makes it doable even in summer months when temperatures are the highest. Skull Rock and Keys View are year round must see’s no matter how little time you might have or how high the temps are.

For a fun visitor center experience, the National Park Service has recently collaborated with the nearby town of 29 Palms, local Native American groups and the Bureau of Land Management to construct a new visitor center. The Joshua Tree Cultural Center Information is located downtown 29 Palms and includes a bookstore, a museum with rotating exhibits and the Joshua Tree National Park store.

This area of the California desert is jampacked with outdoorsy activities. Nearby Pioneertown is a crowd pleaser for its distinctive western vibe and Palm Springs and the Salton Sea are less than two hours away.

Also, don’t miss Mojave Trails National Monument for interesting hiking and out of this world topography like lava and volcanic craters.

Where to Stay in Joshua Tree National Park

While there’s no National Park Service lodge or hotel, the high desert around Joshua Tree is full of unique and quirky properties. The Joshua Tree Ranch House and the Joshua Tree Inn are two wonderful properties. Casa de Frank is a stunner too.

For campers, Joshua Tree National Park has no shortage of places to pitch your tent. There are more than 500 campsites inside the park. My favorite campgrounds are the Jumbo Rocks campground and Hidden Valley Campground. Most of those sites can be reserved up to six months in advance via recreation.gov in high season.

How Much Time Do You Need in Joshua Tree National Park?

A Las Vegas to Joshua Tree National Park road trip requires at minimum an overnight stay and preferably, at least, two to three days.

Although, you could combine this road trip stop with a Las Vegas to San Diego road trip, a Las Vegas to Las Angeles road trip or a Las Vegas to Phoenix road trip. The road trip possibilities are endless and you could easily spend a week in the area.

When’s the Best Time to Road Trip to Joshua Tree National Park?

Except for late summer, Joshua Tree National Park is busy pretty all year round. Peak season is March and April and spring in general for wildflower season.

To mitigate that, the National Park Service recommends mid-week trips instead of weekends and holidays. Also try going on Monday through Thursday for less crowds.

With good planning, you can visit in the less crowded, much hotter late summer months. However, it’s imperative that you are prepared.

Have a plan, take plenty of water and limit hiking to early morning. I have been once in August and it was very hot but still enjoyable and I felt like I had the entire park to myself.

Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park

One of Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks, Bryce Canyon National Park is another good option for a road tripping from Las Vegas. If you aren’t familiar with it, Bryce is full of hoodoos or irregular columns of rock.

The bright orange landscape feature looks similar to Cheetos if that crunchy orange snack appeared in nature.

Hoodoos can be found around the world but Bryce Canyon National Park has the largest concentration found anywhere on earth. Long known for its special Native American connections, Bryce Canyon is a spectacular national park road trip from Las Vegas and shouldn’t be missed.

a view of the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park

Best Road Trip Route From Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park

The best route from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park is I-15 through Springdale and Zion National Park. From Zion, Bryce is only 72 miles.

This drive takes you east of Zion to Mount Caramel Junction via Highway 89 to Bryce. In places, this route runs alongside the Little Virgin River and continues onto Utah’s Scenic Byway 12, which is one of my favorite drives in the United States.

If you don’t want to spend time in Zion National Park, then an alternative to go straight to Bryce Canyon, is continuing north on to I-15 to Cedar City, Utah and exiting the interstate there.

This route takes you through the Dixie National Park and near Cedar Breaks National Monument that could also be added to a Las Vegas to national parks road trip.

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

Of course, Bryce Canyon National Park in known for its stunning views from the amphitheater and various viewpoints throughout the park, but there’s also hiking, horseback riding, ATV tours to the rim of the canyon and amazing fly fishing.

Offering an 18 mile scenic drive that’s perfect for families with children and for those that don’t get around so well anymore, Bryce is ideal. One of my favorite stops on the scenic drive is Natural Bridge.

Bryce Canyon is also close to Red Canyon , a U.S. Forest Service managed site inside the Dixie National Forest. It has its own visitor center, plenty of hiking trails, a couple of campgrounds and just absolutely stunning trails and views.

Where to Stay in Bryce Canyon National Park

The Lodge at Bryce Canyon, located inside the park, is open from April through November and there are two park service campgrounds to accommodate campers.

Reservations for the North Campground can be made through recreation.gov, seasonally, and Sunset Campground is first-come first-served April 15th through October.

The small village of Bryce Canyon City boasts several private campgrounds and hotels but for me Ruby’s Inn is the place to stay. The Syrett Family that owns Ruby’s has an interesting history in the Bryce Canon area and has been taking care of guests for over 100 years.

Ruby’s has hotel rooms at the Best Western brand but also offers lodge stays, campgrounds with RV sites, two restaurants, a general store and tours in the round-up.

How Much Time Do You Need at Bryce Canyon National Park?

You can actually do a lot in a day at Bryce but to see it at its best – sunrise and sunset in my opinion – and really get to know the surrounding area, then I recommend at least two days and three would be even better to include hikes and a ranger led program.

When’s the Best Time to Road Trip to Bryce Canyon National Park?

Bryce is open year round but the peak time is March thorough October. Just remember if you are visiting in winter or passing through, it’s possible to encounter snow in the area.

Check nps.gov and local weather for alerts and closures. Just for context, I visited in the middle of November and it was 18F at night. Too cold to camp for me.

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park

  • 4 hours 15 minutes

Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is probably one of the most road tripped places from Las Vegas. It’s a classic and one of the Wonders of the World.

Besides the proximity to Las Vegas, one of the things that makes it easy to visit is that the park has three easily accessible national park entrances and one viewpoint area on the western side. Which one you choose to visit will depend on how much time you have and what your objective is.

Grand Canyon West is closest viewpoint from Vegas to see the canyon. This section of the canyon is owned and managed by the Hualapai people and isn’t part of Grand Canyon National Park.

Although, it does have its own unique views and is home to the famed glass Grand Canyon Skywalk that is positioned out over the canyon.

Grand canyon views at the south rim Grand Canyon National Park

Best Road Trip Route From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park

The easiest way to get to the Grand Canyon National Park’s south entrance from Las Vegas is via Highway 93 through Kingman, Arizona to Interstate 40 and then enter the park at the small town of Tusayan, just 7 miles from the south entrance.

This route takes you near Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Boulder City, the Hoover Dam. The road trip stops are endless.

Things To Do in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is a classic road trip destination all on its own. Mainly because I mean, it’s the Grand Canyon! This western part of the U.S. was made for vacations and road trips.

Also, there’s a variety of things to do. From the simplest things – like visiting all the viewpoints on the South Rim to more vigorous activities like hiking or riding horses down into the canyon.

Nearby, Williams and Kingman, Arizona both are on the famous Route 66. Road trippers will find an assortment of museum options, kitschy souvenir shops and historic diners dedicated to this classic cross county route.

This region of northern Arizona is also home to some of the finest national forests in the country and even other national park sites such as Walnut Canyon National Monument with its cliff dwellings, the amazing volcano at Sunset Crater National Monument and a glimpse into past civilizations at Wupatki National Monument .

Where to Stay in Grand Canyon National Park

Out of all the road trips from Las Vegas to national parks, the Grand Canyon probably has the most hotel and camping options. The park’s Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim is known for its popular and difficult to get a room in lodges.

This is also where the world famous Bright Angel Lodge is located. If you are a advance planner, then a overnight at one of these lodges would be the ultimate national park stay. For a more spontaneous trip, there’s an abundance of properties in nearby Tusayan .

The National Park Service has three campgrounds at the South Rim with the closest one being Mather Campground near the Tusayan entrance.

Additionally, there is a campground at the Desert View Campground (closed in winter) and a Trailer Village RV park run by a park concessioner. The surrounding area also has many other private campgrounds, like the family friendly, open year round KOA at Williams .

How Much Time do You Need in Grand Canyon National Park?

You could easily spend a week visiting Grand Canyon National Park and few other places in the area. Three days dedicated to the park itself should be sufficient for the casual visitor but other activities like hiking rim to rim or whitewater rafting would require more time.

When’s the Best Time to Road Trip to Grand Canyon National Park?

Grand Canyon National Park is open year round, weather permitting. Peak season is between Memorial Day and Labor Day but spring break, weekends and holidays during fall and winter are also crowded.

Because of its higher elevation, it’s not uncommon to receive some snowfall in the winter. If you happen to visit when there is snow – enjoy it. It’s unimaginably beautiful in the snow.

Las Vegas to Great Basin National Park

If you’ve only traveled around southern Nevada you might imagine the rest of state looks like the desert scenes you’re used to around Las Vegas. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, in some central and northern areas, Nevada is actually a very green, mountainous state.

Great Basin National Park, located in eastern central Nevada near the Utah border – is a good example of both. One of the lesser visited national parks Great Basin National Park takes some effort there but it’s so worth it to see something completely different from Las Vegas scenery.

An alpine lake in Great Basin National Park, one of the best road trips from Las Vegas to national parks

Best Time Road Trip Route From Las Vegas to Great Basin National Park

The best scenic drive to Great Basin National Park from Las Vegas is Highway 93 north through ghost towns like Crystal Springs and historic places like Caliente.

This route passes through the actual great basin of Nevada – yes, there is an actual great basin – with farms, green pastures with plenty ponds and water sources. Quite different from southern Nevada.

Things To Do in Great Basin National Park

One of the most popular things to do at Great Basin National Park is the Lehman Cave Tours. This tour is a ranger lead tour through the caves in the park that goes into the geology and the history of the park. Weather permitting, tours are offered year round but might be limited in winter due to colder temperatures. Recreation.gov has tickets that can be reserved in advance.

The 12-mile Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is another don’t miss activity in Great Basin National Park. This auto touring route is full stops and turnouts with gorgeous views of the mountains. The road is generally open June through October. At the top are alpine lakes to hike and ancient bristlecones to see.

Great Basin National Park is also an International Dark Sky park so make sure you check at the visitor center for any ranger led programs or special nighttime events.

Where to Stay in Great Basin National Park

There’s no park lodge inside Great Basin but nearby Baker offers a few options and Ely , jsut 66 miles away, has even more to choose from.

Inside Great Basin National Park, there are developed five campgrounds. The only one open year round is Lower Lehman Creek. Other campgrounds are usually open May through October, weather permitting.

The Upper Lehman Creek Campground is one of my favorite national park campgrounds I’ve ever stayed in. It’s quiet, wooded and has a small stream that runs through it. If you can snag a site near the water it makes for a wonderful night’s sleep.

How Much Time Do You Need in Great Basin National Park?

Since it is pretty remote, plan on spending at least two days in Great Basin National Park. Realistically, that gives you enough time to see a few things on your travel day from Las Vegas, spend the night and have the next day before continuing on.

Three or four days would definitely be better since there are some a few other things to do in the area. When road tripping from Las Vegas to Great Basin save some time for Cathedral Gorge State Park and Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge on the way.

When is the Best Time to Road Trip to Great Basin National Park?

Great Basin National Park is open year round with exception of major holidays. Even though it’s a lesser visited park, less than 200,000 people visited in 2023, summer is peak season and when it’s most crowded.

However, to see all the park features and visit the caves, summer and early fall are definitely the best times to visit.

Las Vegas to Yosemite National Park

  • 6 hours 20 minutes

A Las Vegas to Yosemite National Park road trip has just about everything imaginable that you could want from a road trip. Deserts, lava fields, alpine forests, mountains, waterfalls, hot springs, rivers – and that’s just getting there.

Once you finally make it to Yosemite, you’ll probably never want to leave because Yosemite National Park is in a word: magical. It’s one of those national parks that everyone needs to visit at least once.

The granite mountains and green trees at the Tunnel View lookout Yosemite National Park

Best Road Trip Route From Las Vegas to Yosemite National Park

From Las Vegas you could drive the interstate route to Yosemite but the best route, in my opinion, is via Highway 395. This gives you the chance to enter the park from the eastern side and see a few things you might not see if you go in on the west side.

Even though it might be slower than driving the interstate and entering at the more popular western entrances, the towns and sights along Highway 395 are unparalleled.

There are plenty of ways to access Highway 395 from Las Vegas. You could even drive Highway 190 through Death Valley National Park to 395 but I’ve included my favorite way in my Google Map above.

That route takes you north on Highway 95 to Nevada Highway 266/California 168 and passes near the Ancient Bristlecone Forest. I strongly recommend adding this stop to your trip. The road out to the national forest visitor center has some of the most amazing views of the Sierra Nevada.

Unfortunately, this route into Yosemite National Park across the Tioga Pass – California’s highest vehicle crossing – is only accessible part of the year. The pass is generally closed from November through late May or early June.

So, if you are visiting Yosemite from Las Vegas in the spring, late fall or winter, you’ll need to use one of the western entrances to Yosemite National Park. Any other time of the year, consider the eastern entrance.

Things To Do in Yosemite National Park

The better question is what can’t you do in Yosemite National Park. As one of this country’s first national parks, Yosemite has been a natural playground since President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant in1864.

Besides all the normal national park activities like hiking and chasing waterfalls, a couple of my favorite things to do in Yosemite are biking and swimming.

Yosemite has a bike rental program in the park that allows you to download the app and grab a bike at various locations in the park. Turns out that pedaling is one of the best ways to get around around the park and avoid traffic.

For swimming, the Merced River flows right through the park and it’s the perfect opportunity to find your own personal swimming hole. Cathedral Beach Picnic Area is an awesome spot to start looking. This waterside area has great views and easy access to the water.

Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park

Like Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, Yosemite has a plethora of accommodations in the area.

With a multitude of lodges, hotels and cabins in the park and around the perimeter, it’s really just your preference for where to stay. Yosemite hotels are managed by Travel Yosemite. Check their website for reservations.

There’s also tons of campgrounds in the park, however, just like in many popular parks, it can be hard to secure a site. Consider staying in a private campground or a nearby national forest campground.

How Much Time Do You Need in Yosemite National Park?

My answer to this is as much time as you can spare. Yosemite is so gorgeous and so much fun, you may not want to leave. The more time you have the better.

I’m sure there are some people that do it as a daytrip but I would not unless I had been several times. I personally feel like you need at least three days to see the bare minimum.

When is the Best Time to Road Trip to Yosemite National Park?

According the the National Park Service, even though the park is open all year, nearly 75% of visitors come during May through October.

Because of this, the park service implemented a permitted entry to help mitigate the busiest time of the year. You can get a reservation on recreation.gov.

I’ve only visited Yosemite in August and I’ll admit, Yosemite Village felt more like an amusement park than national park. But once you got out of the village it was much better. I hope to visit in winter some time to see the park in the snow.

Tips for Planning Road Trips From Las Vegas to National Parks

See you on the road!

national park day trips from las vegas

Author: Lori Blalock

A girl raised in the south, Lori is the founder of Southerner Says and has over 100k miles of solo road trip experience. A lover of public lands, sunsets and good barbeque, Lori spends her time in Georgia and Nevada when she isn’t on the road.

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45 Fabulous Free Things To Do in Las Vegas

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First Come First Served Camping: Finding the Perfect Spot

First Come First Served Camping: Finding the Perfect Spot

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16 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas (Ultimate Guide & Map)

national park day trips from las vegas

(This article may contain affiliate links, which means we might earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase. Thank you!)

While Las Vegas is where the party’s at, you may find yourself wanting to get away from the glitz and crowds of Vegas for a day, or even just part of a day. Well then, we’ve got some excellent Vegas day trips to recommend!

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These locations can all be experienced from Las Vegas in a single day. Some of the road trips will take just a couple of hours, while others will be longer, full-day excursions. These trips will require access to a car, either your own or a rental (I’ve also indicated if the destination has any guided tours available where you won’t need a car).

Keep reading and make sure to bookmark this page so you can quickly refer to it when looking for new Las Vegas day trip ideas, as this guide will be continuously updated and added to. So, let’s get started with the best day trips from Las Vegas!

Need a Vegas rental car? Find the  best deals on car rentals in Las Vegas  (Discover Cars )

Inside this article:

Top Day Trips From Las Vegas, Nevada

To make things easier, I’ve marked them as either half-day or full-day trips, given approximate one-way mileage, and noted if the destinations require any off-road driving.

That’s a lot of day trips from Las Vegas! The linked locations are the ones where we’ve written a detailed visitor guide about the destination. So click through and find out everything you need to know about visiting each one of these areas.

We’ve also included both the popular, as well as some more “off-the-beaten-path” recommendations. I’ve marked the most popular day trips with an asterisk. These are the ones to hit first!

Las Vegas Day Trips Map (Popular Destinations)

The map below shows where all the day trips are located relative to Las Vegas. Once you find a destination you want to visit, be sure to take a look at the map to see if there are any other day trip suggestions nearby or on the way. You can often combine multiple Las Vegas day trip destinations!

Blue = Destinations of Interest Red = National Parks

Vegas Day Trip Descriptions (Alphabetical Order)

Below you’ll find a brief description of each of the Las Vegas day trip destinations, including what you’ll get to see and do while you’re there, plus directions to the location.

Area 51 near Las Vegas, Nevada

Area 51 is well-known as the site of a top-secret United States Air Force base that is found at the center of many UFO and alien-related conspiracy theories. While you can’t access the base (for obvious reasons), you can drive down the Extraterrestrial Highway (Hwy 375) to Rachel, Nevada. Rachel is the closest town to the military base and the site of many UFO sightings. See our complete Area 51 Travel Guide here .

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 151 miles
  • Directions: Google maps
  • Guided Tour: Yes. See tour available here at Viator.

Death Valley National Park

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

If its surreal landscapes you’re looking for, head out to Death Valley National Park . Death Valley is one of the hottest and driest places on earth. There’s so much to see here, from the hills and peaks of Zabriskie Point (pictured above), to the below-sea-level salt flats of Badwater Basin. Other areas of interest include Furnace Creek, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Artist’s Palette, and Stovepipe Wells. A Death Valley day trip will take a full day, but it’s one you will really enjoy if you have the time.

Warning : This is not a trip to take in the middle of summer as the daytime temperatures can regularly reach up to 120 degrees °F and beyond!

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 106 miles
  • Guided Tours: Yes. See available tour options here at Viator.

Grand Canyon West (Not Grand Canyon National Park)

The Skywalk at Grand Canyon West

Just a 2.5 hour drive from the Las Vegas Strip and you’ll be at Grand Canyon West . This is one of the best day trips you can take from Vegas!

The west rim of the Grand Canyon is where you will find the infamous Skywalk. It’s a horseshoe-shaped bridge that juts out over the edge of the Grand Canyon and has a clear glass bottom walkway so you can look straight down to the canyon floor. Yikes!

In Grand Canyon West, you’ll also find several lookout points offering spectacular views of the Grand Canyon , a Native American village featuring arts, crafts, and performances, plus an old western-styled ranch full of authentic cowboy entertainment.

Note: Grand Canyon West is part of the Grand Canyon, but it is on native American land and isn’t officially part of Grand Canyon National Park.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 128 miles
  • Guided Tours Available: Yes. See tour options here at Viator.

Hoover Dam at Night, Las Vegas

A trip to Las Vegas would hardly be complete without taking a short side trip out to see Hoover Dam. An easy 45-minute drive from Vegas, Hoover Dam is one of the man-made wonders of the world! This feat of engineering was built in 1931 and is one of the big reasons Las Vegas exists today. While you’re here, you’ll want to walk across the dam, check out the visitor center, and possibly take the official Hoover Dam tour to see the dam’s inner workings.

Just before your reach Hoover Dam, stop off at the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. The concrete bridge spanning Black Canyon and the Colorado River below is another miracle of modern engineering. You can walk out on the bridge and get the most amazing aerial view of the Hoover Dam you could ever imagine!

Check out our complete guide to visiting Hoover Dam here.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 39 miles

Jean/Roach Dry Lake Beds

An SUV driving at Jean Dry Lake Bed.

If driving around a huge, dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert sounds like your kind of fun then you’ll want to visit Jean/Roach Dry Lake Beds . You’ll find Jean Dry Lake Bed just a short way out of town, and not far off of Interstate 15 heading south. This is a popular spot for riding ATV’s and driving off-road vehicles, and it’s recommended to have a 4×4 in order to get out to the lake bed.

Jean Dry Lake is home to the annual Rise Festival, and is regularly used in movies and television commercials, but on any average day you’re likely to have the place all to yourself. See our full travel guide to visiting Jean Dry Lake Bed here.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 25 miles
  • Guided Tours Available: No

Kolob Canyons (Zion National Park)

Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park

Kolob Canyons is a spectacularly scenic area in nearby Utah that is suitable for a long but great day trip from Las Vegas. Technically part of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyons is a separate area from the main part of Zion NP, and has its own entrance because it doesn’t connect to the rest of the park by road.

The area consists of a 5 mile scenic drive through some narrow box canyons surrounded by 2,000 foot tall cliffs made of red Navajo sandstone. While there are plenty of hikes and back country areas to explore, the scenic drive and viewpoints will allow you to see the best of the canyons from the comfort of your car.

Note: The scenic drive may be closed in the winter due to snow and ice. You’ll need to check before you go.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 156 miles
  • Guided Tours Available: No, but tours to other parts of Zion NP exist.

Lake Mead

A visit to Lake Mead is another day trip option located just a short way from the Las Vegas Strip. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area was created when the area was flooded after the Hoover Dam was built. Full of beautiful landscapes, you can explore the lake by car, or by renting a boat or a kayak. You can even take a dinner cruise on an authentic Mississippi paddle-wheeler.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 34 miles

Mount Charleston

Snow on the slopes of Mount Charleston above Las Vegas.

While standing in the arid desert of Las Vegas, it might be hard to believe that Mount Charleston’s aspens and pine trees are just a short drive away. This mountain town is found at 7,510 feet above sea level, and offers a host of year-round activities.

Due to the elevation, this quaint community is about 20 degrees cooler in the summer than down on the valley floor, making it a great escape from the heat. Activities in the warmer months include hiking, camping, golf, and horseback riding . While the winter months bring snow, skiing, and hot chocolate by the fire in the Mt. Charleston Lodge.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 41 miles
  • Guided Tours Available: No.

Nelson Ghost Town & Techatticup Mine

Antique car rusts in Nelson Ghost Town near Las Vegas

Nevada is home to more ghost towns than any other state in the country, and one of them can be found just a few miles outside of Las Vegas. Nelson Ghost Town in Eldorado Canyon was home to the largest gold strike in the state back in 1858. The town and the mines were also legendary for the lawlessness and land disputes that led to its reputation as one of the most violent towns in the west.

Today, Nelson Ghost Town is a popular and relatively short trip from Las Vegas. The town consists of many old buildings, rusting antique cars, and a whole collection of historic memorabilia. History buffs and photographers will be in heaven here and can easily spend hours exploring the remains. There is also a store full of interesting sights and souvenirs.

Also available is a mine tour of the Techatticup Mine, which was mined from 1858 until 1945. It’s a fascinating look into the lives and working conditions of the miners.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 46 miles

You can see our full guide to visiting Nelson Ghost Town here.

Nelson’s Landing (Beach & Cliff Jumping)

Man jumping off cliff into Colorado River at Nelson's Landing cliff jumping area.

Ready for some excitement and a day at the beach? About 45 minutes from Vegas, you’ll find Nelson’s Landing. It’s a pretty little cove and beach along the shore of the Colorado River. You can back your car right up to the water’s edge and set up a picnic, or bring a cooler full of drinks and relax as you gaze across the river into nearby Arizona.

The highlight of the trip for many is the cliff jumping at Nelson’s Landing. For thrill-seekers, there is a cliff where you can jump off into the deep waters of the river! Even if you’re not daring enough to jump, you can yell and encourage those who are jumping along with the rest of the spectators on the beach.

If swimming is more of your thing, you can let the sparkling clear water of the Colorado cool you off. Check out our complete guide to visiting Nelson’s Landing here.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 54 miles (the last 1.4 miles is off-road)

Red Rock Canyon

red rock canyon

Without a doubt, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is the most popular day trip outside of Las Vegas! The amazing red rock landscapes and proximity to Vegas make Red Rock Canyon a must-see when visiting southern Nevada. The first stop you’ll want to make is at the impressive visitor’s center. The exhibits will tell you all about the history and geography of the area.

Next, you’ll want to drive the 13-mile scenic road that loops through the park showing you all the scenery and giving you some amazing views of the red rock. There are pull-outs and parking areas along the way where you can stretch your legs with a short walk or find a trailhead for a longer hike. Take a look at our Red Rock Canyon visitor’s guide for all the details of visiting this beautiful area.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 17 miles

Red Spring Picnic Area & Boardwalk

Red Spring boardwalk near Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas.

Red Spring is a cool little spot just outside the fee-pay area of Red Rock Canyon. Red Spring is a natural spring that feeds a meadow of grasses and trees, which is unusual to find in the Mojave desert. It’s a very scenic location with a picnic area that has several covered picnic tables, each with its own barbecue grill.

You’ll also find a raised boardwalk (1/2 mile loop trail) that will take you up through the meadows and eventually to Red Spring itself, which honestly is just a little wet, muddy area on the ground. The scenery, however, is quite amazing as the spring is surrounded by cliffs of towering rocks. You can see our complete guide to visiting Red Spring here, plus more pictures.

Rhyolite Ghost Town

Concrete building in Rhyolite ghost town.

If you’re looking for a truly authentic and uninhabited ghost town, then you’ll want to consider taking a day to visit Rhyolite. Rhyolite Ghost Town is a mining town that failed in the early 1900s due to the financial crisis of 1907. One of the most unusual things about this ghost town is that several of the buildings were constructed from concrete, so their skeletons are still partially standing today.

Included in the remnants of the town is the famous Bottle House. It’s a house constructed using over 50 thousand beer, whiskey, and medicine bottles. Also, next to the town, you can find the Goldwell Open Air Museum . The museum is an outdoor sculpture garden containing several fascinating, large-scale sculptures.

Rhyolite sits up in the mountains very near to one of the entrances to Death Valley National Park in the valley below and will make for a good full-day trip if you combine the two.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 127 miles

Seven Magic Mountains

The Seven Magic Mountains art installation near Las Vegas

One of the more popular day trips from Vegas is to take a short drive out into the desert to see the Seven Magic Mountains . This colorful and surreal, free-standing sculpture is a temporary art installation by artist Ugo Rondinone.

The exhibit consists of seven towers of brightly colored boulders that reach over 30 feet into the air. It’s one of the top selfie spots in Las Vegas!

The artwork is located on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land and was only supposed to be here until 2018, but it proved so popular that the land permit was extended for a few more years. No one knows exactly when or if it will disappear, so don’t wait too long to see it!

Find out everything you need to know about visiting Seven Magic Mountains in our guide here .

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 21 miles

Valley of Fire State Park

The Fire Wave in Valley of Fire State Park.

The American Southwest is known for its scenic landscapes filled with fantastic rock formations, and if you’re hoping to see some of these landscapes on you next trip to Las Vegas you’re in luck! About a hours drive from the Las Vegas Strip will get you to Valley of Fire State Park .

The Valley of Fire consists of over 40,000 acres of incredible vistas, and rock formations made up of red Aztec sandstone. Among the rock formations you’ll want to look for are Elephant Rock, The Beehives, and the Fire Wave. Activities within the park include hiking, rock climbing, viewing Native American petroglyphs, and a scenic loop drive.

While the Valley of Fire makes for a perfect day trip, there is also camping available if you’d like to spend more time.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 52 miles

Zion National Park

The valley and cliffs of Zion National Park.

If visiting national parks is your passion, you should seriously consider making a visit to Zion National Park . I’m not going to kid you, a day trip from Las Vegas to Zion will make for a very long day, and you won’t get to see and do everything in Zion, but if it’s your only chance to see the park, then it will be well worth it!

The Virgin River began carving out Zion National Park millions of years ago, which has resulted in a deep canyon with huge majestic sandstone cliffs on either side. Zion is a truly grand display of Mother Nature’s artistry. It’s so magnificent it’s hard to believe it’s even real!

A day trip to Zion from Las Vegas will include a stop at the visitors center, followed by a drive down the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (spring through fall, you will need to take the park’s shuttle bus). You’ll find plenty of stops along the way to marvel at the natural beauty surrounding you.

  • Distance From Las Vegas: 164 miles

Things to Bring on a Day Trip From Las Vegas

The desert areas around and outside of Las Vegas can be some of the planet’s driest, hottest, and harshest environments (especially during the summer months). In addition, some of the destinations are very remote, so you’ll want to make sure to always have the following items on hand for your day’s adventure:

  • Hat / Sunglasses – It is usually quite bright in and around Las Vegas, so sunglasses and a hat are a must.
  • UV Travel Umbrella – Wendy and I just recently found a travel sun umbrella (Amazon) that has a metallic surface that reflects the sun, and wow, this thing really works! It instantly makes the temperature feel 15 degrees cooler.
  • Sunscreen – The sun in the desert is harsh, even in the winter months, so be sure to bring some sunscreen along.
  • Water – A small water bottle is not enough. Bring at least 2 liters of water per person. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can get dried out in the desert.
  • Food / Snacks – Depending on where you’re heading, there may be no food anywhere close by, so pack some snacks or meals.
  • Map – A traditional folding map of Nevada is always a good idea. While we all have our phones, there are some remote areas where there is no mobile signal.

Click here to find the Best Car Rental Deals for Your Las Vegas Adventure!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a Las Vegas day trip that’s sure to be of interest when you’re ready to get out of town for a day, or even part of a day. A full-day trip will give you a great sense of the natural landscapes surrounding the city, while a shorter half-day trip will get you out and about for some fun, and still have you back on the Strip in time for dinner and an exciting night on the town!

national park day trips from las vegas

Bryan is a Las Vegas local who has spent years exploring the city's vibrant culture and entertainment scene. With his extensive knowledge of the best attractions and hidden gems, he has become an expert on all things Las Vegas. He regularly shares his insider tips with people looking to visit Las Vegas and make the most of their trip. More about Bryan.

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national park day trips from las vegas

Home > Road Trip Itineraries > West Coast > Nevada Road Trip Itineraries > Las Vegas Travel Guide > The Best Tours from Las Vegas to the Parks

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The Best Tours from Las Vegas to the Parks

This site may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Las Vegas is not just a gambler’s haven or the city of excess and over-the-top tackiness. Las Vegas is also the best base to visit the famous SouthWest national parks , the most coveted and amazing natural wonders of all the United States.

Grand Canyon , Zion National Park , Bryce Canyon , Monument Valley , Death Valley , and Antelope Canyon … All of these incredible wonders surround Las Vegas , as if to counter the vice and excess of Sin City with their majestic beauty.

Distances Between Las Vegas and the Main Parks

One-day tour to the grand canyon and hoover dam from las vegas with the optional visit to the skywalk, hoover dam tour with lunch, grand canyon south rim tour from las vegas, zion national park tour from las vegas, death valley day trip from las vegas, valley of fire and red rock canyon tours, all parks in 3 days with a return trip to las vegas (camping or hotel), 7-day tour: for an unforgettable experience, are you looking for something unique, how do you reach the parks from las vegas.

The typical way to visit the parks is to hop in the car and to take a road trip , which, if you have time, energy, and a spirit of adventure, is definitely worth it. But if you’re looking for something less tiring, there are alternatives…

Visiting these parks from Las Vegas may not be so easy: the distances are long, so driving there on your own can be quite challenging. Take a look at the distance list below and you’ll soon realize that if you decide to visit all these parks, you’ll have to organize yourself well and drive for many hours; if you don’t have much time, you’ll have to give up something in order not to exhaust yourself completely!

  • Las Vegas – Grand Canyon: 4 hours
  • Las Vegas – Antelope Canyon: 4 hours
  • Las Vegas – Monument Valley: 7 hours
  • Las Vegas – Zion National Park: 2.30 hours
  • Las Vegas – Bryce National Park: 4 hours
  • Las Vegas – Death Valley: 2.20 hours
  • Las Vegas – Yellowstone : 11-12 hours

For example, have you read our article on how to get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon ? If you have, you will realize that visiting the park and then returning to Las Vegas in a single day on your own can be an extremely difficult and tiring adventure. You risk having little time to visit the Grand Canyon and to see all the beauty you have so longed to see in a hurry. Likewise, in the article on how to go from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon , we made it clear that you must prepare well if you plan on going on this trip. So what should you do?

So if you want to avoid planning a demanding trip or you need to optimize your time, today we are talking about some very interesting packages, a good alternative to the usual “do-it-yourself” trip by car . These are guided tours from Las Vegas to the national parks . Let’s take a look at them together!

National Park Tours from Las Vegas

Here is a list of packages that includes all the major national parks in the area.

National Park tours from las vegas

One of the most popular tours from Las Vegas includes a visit to the Grand Canyon ( West Rim ), which is famous for the suspended platform over the canyon (the so-called Skywalk , available among the additional options) and the impressive Hoover Dam . This tour begins at the hotel where you will be picked up and consists of these two main stops. In total, this tour lasts 10 hours. Look carefully and see if there are any optional activities of interest to you besides the Skywalk, such as a helicopter tour so that you can enjoy breathtaking views of the canyon.

Click on the link below and you may find substantial discounts on this package!

Including the tour:

  • Transportation from and back to Las Vegas on an air-conditioned bus
  • Stop for taking pictures at the Hoover Dam
  • Grand Canyon West Admission
  • Grand Canyon Skywalk (with optional supplement)
  • Helicopter tour (optional)
  • Pick-up and drop-off at the hotel

INFORMATION ABOUT THIS TOUR

Speaking of the Hoover Dam , if you’d like to explore the dam without going all the way to the Grand Canyon Rim, here’s a cheaper tour for you. The package includes an in-depth guided tour of the dam’s power plants and generators, a lunch and a ticket for the Mac King Comedy Magic Show.

Click on the link below where you will often find substantial discounts on this package!

Included in the tour:

  • Pick-up at the hotel and drop-off
  • Guided tour of the Hoover Dam
  • Ticket to the Mac King Comedy Magic Show ($45 Value)

A day trip dedicated to exploring the southern side of the Grand Canyon , with sightseeing stops, picnics, pick-up and drop-off at the hotel included. All of this is included at a very reasonable price. Additional options are available, such as a helicopter tour and a riverboat ride.

Click on the link below where you can often find substantial discounts on this package, over 50%!

Grand Canyon South Rim Tour from Las Vegas

  • Professional guide and driver
  • Admission to Grand Canyon National Park
  • Picnic lunch and water
  • Extra activities and purchases

Zion National Park Tour from Las Vegas

The excursion to Zion National Park from Las Vegas is quite popular, given its (relative) proximity to Sin City, but visiting this park independently – while also getting the most of the experience – may be more complex than you might expect, especially if you have to return to Las Vegas in the evening. This day tour from Las Vegas is perfect for those who want to admire the best attractions of Zion , get to know the beauty of this scenic park and learn from a professional guide. Lunch is included in the price.

  • Guided tour
  • Snacks and bottled water
  • Transportation service to and from the hotel/meeting point
  • All taxes, fees, and administrative costs

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Death Valley Day Trip from Las Vegas

A one-day tour dedicated to exploring Death Valley , one of the most beautiful and pristine valleys on Earth, where you will be accompanied by an expert guide to admire the unusual mountains at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, Ubehebe Crater, Rhyolite, and many other wonders of the park. Two meals are included in the offer.

Included in the tour :

  • Transportation service to and from the hotel
  • Breakfast and packed lunch

valley of fire tour las vegas

Las Vegas is a very lucky city, because not only is it relatively close to Death Valley, but also in its surroundings, there are some red rock desert parks to visit. We, who love to discover hidden gems, have told you about them before. The parks we are referring to are the Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon . Both parks can be visited independently, but there are two organized tours that give you the chance to discover them in detail. On these tours, there will be an expert guide and the possibility to have lunch at the parks.

The Valley of Fire Tour includes:

  • Tours with hiking (tips not included)
  • Professional guide
  • Bottled water
  • Transportation to and from the hotel

INFORMATION ABOUT THE TOUR A VALLEY OF FIRE

The Red Rock Canyon Tour can be 4 hours and includes:

  • Professional guide (tips not included)

Click on the link below where you can often find substantial discounts on this package!

INFORMATION ABOUT THE RED ROCK CANYON TOUR

This is a more complete package, which will allow you to explore the main parks in the surrounding area in 3 days: The Grand Canyon , Lake Powell , Monument Valley , Bryce Canyon , and Zion National Park , with the possibility to include a number of optional extras such as the guided tour to Antelope Canyon , helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon , special excursions to Zion and the daily guided tour to Death Valley.

You can also choose to stay overnight in a hotel (at extra charge) or to camp (with equipment included) in a tent under the stars and admire the sky above Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley .

INFORMATION ABOUT THE CAMPING TOUR

Option 2 with overnight stays in a hotel

There is a second option , which is a 3-day tour to Bryce Canyon, Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Lake Powell (i.e. without Monument Valley ), but with overnight stays in hotels only.

  • Tour guide, transportation, breakfast, and lunch
  • Camping (equipment included) or stay in a hotel
  • Park entrances and guided jeep tours (where applicable)

Not included

  • Optional tours
  • Evening meals
  • Visit Monument Valley (not included in option 2)

INFORMATION ABOUT THE OPTION WITH ACCOMMODATIONS IN HOTELS ONLY

There are also other 7-day tours , which will give you a definitive experience visiting the parks. Some tours take you as far as the natural masterpieces of states like Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. You’ll find the 7-day tour options below:

  • 7-day camping tour: Bryce Canyon, Salt Lake City, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountains, and Snow Canyon from Las Vegas
  • 7-day national park tours: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, and Grand Canyon South Rim

grand canyon las vegas helicopter tour

If you are looking for a tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon that you will remember forever, then I suggest you take a look at this Grand Canyon helicopter tour .

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

lorenzo puliti

lorenzo puliti

I am fascinated by the wonders of the world I never tire of going in search of them.

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Death Valley National Park Day Trip from Las Vegas

Discover the eerie beauty of this unique landscape on a small group tour with an expert local guide.

Want to swap the Vegas lights for something more rugged? Then escape the city and discover one of America’s most extreme and beautiful environments. With comfortable air-conditioned transport and a knowledgeable local guide, this small group day tour travels through the Mojave Desert to the infamous Death Valley. See truly unique landmarks like Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, Dante's View, Devil’s Golf Course, Artists Palette, and Artist Drive, and explore a part of the US like no other.

Death Valley National Park Day Trip from Las Vegas

  • Small group Death Valley tour
  • Las Vegas hotel pickup
  • All entry fees included
  • Badwater Basin
  • Travel 282 feet below sea level
  • Vast salt flats
  • Dante's View
  • Stunning Views of the Valley

Zabriskie Point

  • A photographer's dream
  • Sweeping sand dunes
  • Furnace Creek Vistor Center

The hottest and driest place in the Western Hemisphere, Death Valley may not sound inviting but this eerily beautiful place is one of the most rewarding day trips you can take from Las Vegas, and it's a photographer's dream too! This small group tour makes it easy, with Vegas hotel pickup, a climate-controlled vehicle to keep you cool, and a friendly local guide to make sure you know the secrets behind this extreme environment.

You'll drive through the desert to visit Death Valley's most famous natural landmarks, including Dante's View, Artist Drive, and Badwater Basin—the lowest point in North America. Entry fees and a sandwich lunch are included, and you'll be back in Las Vegas in time for an evening on the Strip!

Death Valley National Park Day Tour Description

Your 10-hour tour from Las Vegas includes:

Morning pick-up at most Vegas hotels

Round-trip travel by air-conditioned mini-bus

Death Valley National Park entry fees

Dante's View, Zabriskie Point, and Devil's Golf Course

Artists Pallet and Artist Drive

Furnace Creek Visitor Center & Borax Museum

Sandwich lunch and bottled water

A fun and knowledgeable local guide

Maximum group size of 14

Las Vegas Hotel Pickup

Your Death Valley adventure starts with the convenience of a morning hotel pick-up. With a maximum group size of 14 people and an experienced local driver, we'll get you out of the city and touring in no time.

As you travel through the rugged Mojave Desert landscape, your guide will explain some of the natural phenomena that contribute to the extreme environment you'll see today.

Please contact us after booking with your hotel name for pick-up and we'll reach out to confirm your pick-up time. If your hotel isn't on the Strip or the pick-up list, we'll suggest a convenient nearby location for you to join the tour from.

Badwater Basin and the Salt Springs

Your first stop is Badwater Basin, which is perhaps the most famous part of Death Valley National Park. At 282 feet below sea level, the basin is the lowest point in North America. This giant salt flat is formed over millions of years is one of the valley's most otherworldly locations, and you'll also visit the salt springs where the basin likely got its name after someone tried to drink from them!

Dante's View

Named after Dante Alighieri, the author of the Divine Comedy, this stunning viewpoint in the Black Mountains overlooks Death Valley. At 5,476 ft it provides a stunning panoramic view of the southern basin. On particularly clear days, you can see the highest point in the contiguous 48 states—Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft, and the lowest point, Badwater Basin at -282 ft from this incredible vantage point.

A truly iconic feature of Death Valley, the views from Zabriskie Point are some of the most beautiful and photographed in the entire park, formed over millennia from a unique erosional landscape. The place is named after Christian Zabriskie, who was a prominent figure during the height of the Pacific Coast Borax Company, and is part of the Amargosa Range. You guide will explain the fascinating geography of the area as you admire the breathtaking valley views.

Devils Golf Course

You'll continue to the humorously-named Devil's Golf Course—a vast area in the park with many spiked spires made of eroded rock and salt formed by the wind and rain. It gets its name as only the Devil could play golf in a place like this. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of little pops and pings. This is the salt billions of salt crystals bursting as they expand and contract in the infamous heat.

Artist Drive and Artists Pallet

This nine-mile scenic drive is the most popular in the park, and chance for you to sit back and admire the bizarre landscapes passing by your window. The paved road will take you through vibrant hills shaped by years of erosion and colored by varying deposits of volcanic compositions. Hidden behind an unexpected yellow landscape is Artists Pallet, a highlight of the scenic drive. Here you'll wonder at the wide array of colors (red, orange, yellow, blue, pink, and green) and discover why this location got its name.

Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Borax Museum

After borax was found in Death Valley in 1881, Harmony Borax Works was created. William T. Coleman was the founder and began processing the ore in 1883. You'll pay a quick visit to its interesting little visitor center, and can take some time to browse the bookstore or browse the exhibits for a short visit.

Sandwich Lunch and Bottled Water

There aren't too many shops in Death Valley, for obvious reasons, so a sandwich lunch and bottled water are included. Just let us know your lunch options from beef, turkey, or vegetarian after making your booking.

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2 total reviews

There's nothing like death valley - it's so cool! I highly recommend this detour from the Las Vegas strip. So cool.

Breathtaking

If you hate gambling as much as I do, this is a great way to spend your day in Las Vegas. They picked my up from my hotel and the scenery was like being on the moon - once in a lifetime. The sandwich was pretty good too. Recommend this tour - just don't do it in the summertime!

Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

Please bring layered clothing, a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes.

Is lunch included on this tour?

Yes, a sandwich lunch is included. Please let us know your preference between beef, turkey, or vegetarian when booking.

Can my dietary restrictions be accommodated?

Please contact us after booking to let us know your requirements. We’ll work with our partners to accommodate your needs.

Do I need to bring water?

Bottled water will be provided, but feel free to bring your own re-usable bottle if you like.

Is this tour run by The Tour Guy?

No, it's run by one of our trusted and vetted partners in Las Vegas. They're a specialist local tour company who we know uphold our high standards.

Free 24-hr cancellation on group tours! Learn more

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The Ultimate 10-Day National Park Itinerary From Las Vegas

The Ultimate 10-Day National Park Itinerary From Las Vegas

Introduction

Welcome to the ultimate 10-day national park itinerary from Las Vegas! If you’re looking to embark on an adventurous journey and explore some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the United States, this itinerary has got you covered. From the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas to the awe-inspiring wonders of Death Valley National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and more, this itinerary promises an unforgettable experience.

Las Vegas serves as the perfect starting point for this epic adventure. Known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas offers a vibrant nightlife, world-class entertainment, and luxurious resorts. Once you’ve had your fill of the city’s excitement, get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Over the course of 10 days, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the most iconic national parks in the Southwest. Each park offers its own unique landscapes and experiences, from towering cliffs and slot canyons to breathtaking arches and mesmerizing rock formations.

It’s important to note that this itinerary can be customized to suit your preferences and time constraints. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, this 10-day national park itinerary will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds Las Vegas.

So, throw on your hiking boots, grab your camera, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. Let’s dive into the details of each day’s exploration as we uncover the wonders that await!

Day 1: Las Vegas

Your incredible 10-day national park itinerary begins in the dazzling city of Las Vegas. Spend your first day exploring the vibrant energy and entertainment options that this city has to offer.

Start the day by taking a stroll down the famous Las Vegas Strip. Marvel at the iconic resorts and casinos that line the street, including the Bellagio with its stunning fountain show, the Venetian with its picturesque canals, and the Luxor with its Egyptian-themed architecture. Immerse yourself in the captivating atmosphere as you take in the sights and sounds of this one-of-a-kind city.

For those interested in art and culture, be sure to visit the Neon Museum. This outdoor museum showcases vintage neon signs from the city’s rich history and provides a unique insight into the evolution of Las Vegas’ iconic signage.

In the evening, indulge in a world-class dining experience at one of the city’s renowned restaurants. Las Vegas is home to a plethora of fine dining options, with celebrity chefs and award-winning cuisines at every turn. Treat yourself to a memorable meal before venturing into the city’s famous nightlife scene.

Las Vegas truly comes alive at night, and there is no shortage of entertainment options to choose from. Catch a spectacular live show, enjoy a thrilling performance by world-class artists, or try your luck at one of the many casinos. Las Vegas offers something for everyone, ensuring that your first day in this vibrant city will be nothing short of unforgettable.

After a day of excitement and exploration, return to your hotel and recharge for the adventures that lie ahead. Tomorrow, you’ll be heading out of the city and venturing into the natural wonders of Death Valley National Park.

Day 2: Death Valley National Park

On day 2 of your national park itinerary, it’s time to leave the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas behind and embark on a journey to the captivating Death Valley National Park. Known for its extreme temperatures and breathtaking landscapes, Death Valley is a surreal destination that will leave you in awe.

Start your day early and make the scenic drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley. As you enter the park, you’ll immediately be greeted by vast expanses of desert, towering mountains, and unique geological formations.

Begin your exploration of Death Valley at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. These massive sand dunes create a picturesque scene and offer the perfect opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture stunning images of the desert landscape. Don’t forget to bring water and sunscreen, as the sun can be intense here.

Next, make your way to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. Walk along the salt flats and marvel at the vast expanse of salt crystals glittering under the sun. It’s a surreal experience that reminds you of the immense beauty and diversity found in our natural world.

For a change of scenery, head to Zabriskie Point. This stunning viewpoint offers panoramic vistas of the Badlands’ eroded and multi-colored formations, creating a truly striking landscape. It’s a great spot to capture breathtaking photos or simply sit back and soak in the awe-inspiring views.

To round out your day in Death Valley, visit the Artist’s Palette. This geological wonder displays a vibrant array of colors due to the different minerals present in the rock formations. Take a short walk or drive through the scenic loop and admire the mesmerizing hues that adorn the hills.

As the day winds down, bid farewell to Death Valley and make your way to your accommodation for a well-deserved rest. Reflect on the stunning landscapes you’ve witnessed and get ready for another day of adventure tomorrow as you venture to Zion National Park.

Day 3: Zion National Park

Day 3 of your national park itinerary takes you to the enchanting Zion National Park. Known for its dramatic red cliffs, deep canyons, and breathtaking hikes, Zion is a hiker’s paradise and a true natural wonder.

Begin your day by entering Zion National Park and take a shuttle to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. Here, you can gather information about the park, trail conditions, and obtain any necessary permits or backcountry permits for your planned hikes.

One of the most iconic hikes in Zion is the Angel’s Landing Trail. This challenging trail offers breathtaking views of the Zion Canyon and rewards those who persevere with panoramic vistas at the summit. The trail involves some narrow sections with steep drop-offs, so ensure you are prepared and have proper hiking gear.

If you prefer a less strenuous hike, the Riverside Walk is a great option. This easy, paved trail follows the Virgin River and offers picturesque views of the towering cliffs and hanging gardens. It’s a tranquil and scenic walk that immerses you in the beauty of the park without the need for strenuous physical exertion.

For a unique experience, consider exploring the Narrows. This hike takes you through the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, where you’ll wade through the Virgin River amidst towering canyon walls. It’s an exhilarating adventure and a fantastic way to beat the heat during the summer months.

After a day of exploration and hiking, unwind and relax by visiting the charming town of Springdale, situated just outside the park’s entrance. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the local restaurants or browse through the quaint shops that offer a variety of souvenirs and artisanal products.

As you end your day in Zion National Park, take a moment to witness the stunning golden hues of the sunset illuminating the canyon walls. It’s a magical sight that serves as a reminder of the natural beauty that surrounds you. Rest up for another adventurous day tomorrow as you make your way to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

As you continue your 10-day national park itinerary, day 4 brings you to the awe-inspiring Bryce Canyon National Park. Famous for its unique geological formations called hoodoos, Bryce Canyon offers a surreal and otherworldly landscape that will leave you speechless.

Start your day by driving into the park and making your way to the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center. Here, you can gather information about the park’s trails, viewpoints, and weather conditions to plan your day’s activities.

For panoramic views of the park, head to Bryce Point. This popular viewpoint offers a breathtaking vista of the amphitheater, showcasing a stunning display of orange, red, and white hoodoos. Take your time to marvel at the intricate formations and the vastness of the canyon.

Next, embark on a hike along the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail. This moderate hike takes you down into the canyon, allowing you to walk among the towering hoodoos. Witness the unique formations up close and marvel at their intricate details. As you hike, keep an eye out for Thor’s Hammer, a hoodoo resembling the hammer of the mighty Norse god.

For a different perspective, explore the park’s scenic drive and make a stop at Rainbow Point. This viewpoint offers sweeping vistas of the surrounding area and showcases the stunning color variations in the hoodoos. It’s a great spot to capture beautiful photos and appreciate the enchanting beauty of Bryce Canyon.

As the day winds down, consider staying in the park for a mesmerizing experience. Bryce Canyon is known for its dark skies, perfect for stargazing. If you visit during a moonless night, you’ll be treated to a dazzling display of stars that truly showcases the beauty of the universe.

Reflect on the natural wonders you’ve witnessed throughout the day and get a good night’s rest. Tomorrow, you’ll continue your national park adventure as you make your way to Capitol Reef National Park.

Day 5: Capitol Reef National Park

On day 5 of your national park itinerary, you’ll be exploring the hidden gem of Capitol Reef National Park. Located in Utah, this lesser-known park offers stunning landscapes and ancient rock formations that rival those of its more famous counterparts.

Begin your day by driving to Capitol Reef National Park and stop by the Visitor Center to gather information about the park’s attractions and check current trail conditions.

One of the must-see features of Capitol Reef is the Waterpocket Fold, a unique geologic formation that stretches for nearly 100 miles. Take a scenic drive along the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive to witness the captivating cliffs and rock layers created by the fold. Be sure to stop at the Panorama Point and Goosenecks Overlook for panoramic views of the park.

For a more immersive experience, embark on a hike through the Grand Wash. This moderate trail takes you through a narrow winding canyon, providing a peaceful retreat surrounded by towering cliffs. The trail is especially beautiful during the fall when the leaves change color, creating a picturesque display.

Another highlight of Capitol Reef is the Hickman Bridge. This natural arch spans 133 feet and offers a fascinating geological formation to explore. Take the Hickman Bridge Trail, a short and relatively easy hike that leads you to this impressive natural wonder.

If you’re craving a taste of history, take a detour to the Fruita Historic District. This preserved settlement is dotted with orchards and historic buildings, offering a glimpse into the lives of the early pioneers who once inhabited the area. Grab a fresh fruit pie from the Gifford House for a delicious and authentic treat.

As the day draws to a close, enjoy a peaceful sunset at Sunset Point. Take in the warm hues that wash over the landscape and marvel at the beauty of Capitol Reef National Park.

Rest up and get ready for another day of exploration tomorrow as you journey to the red rock wonderland of Arches National Park.

Day 6: Arches National Park

Welcome to day 6 of your national park itinerary! Today, you’ll be venturing into the mesmerizing red rock wonderland of Arches National Park. Known for its iconic natural arches and stunning geological formations, Arches National Park is a photographer’s dream and a true testament to the power of erosion.

Start your day early and make your way to the park entrance. Once inside, stop by the Visitor Center to gather information and get oriented with the park’s trails and points of interest.

One of the highlights of Arches National Park is Delicate Arch, the iconic symbol of Utah. Embark on the Delicate Arch Trail, a moderate hike that takes you up close to this magnificent natural arch. As you witness Delicate Arch against the backdrop of the majestic red rocks, you’ll understand why it’s a must-see attraction in the park.

For a unique and unforgettable experience, explore the Fiery Furnace. This maze-like area requires a permit or guided tour, but it’s well worth the effort. As you navigate through narrow passages and towering walls, you’ll be immersed in a surreal landscape that feels like another world.

Continue your adventure with a visit to the Devil’s Garden. This area is home to many of the park’s arches, including Landscape Arch, one of the longest natural arches in the world. Take the Devil’s Garden Trail and marvel at the diverse collection of arches, rock formations, and stunning vistas that surround you.

If you’re up for more exploration, consider hiking to the Double O Arch. This strenuous trail will take you past other impressive arches, such as the Dark Angel and the Private Arch. The Double O Arch itself is a masterpiece of nature, formed by two arches stacked on top of each other.

As the day comes to a close, head to the Windows Section of the park, where you can witness the beauty of the sunset casting an ethereal glow on the massive arches. Bask in the peaceful ambience and take in the splendor of Arches National Park.

Rest up and prepare for the next leg of your journey tomorrow as you make your way to Canyonlands National Park, a land of grand canyons and dramatic vistas.

Day 7: Canyonlands National Park

Welcome to day 7 of your national park itinerary, where you’ll be exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Canyonlands National Park. Known for its expansive canyons, towering mesas, and rugged beauty, Canyonlands offers a true wilderness experience that will leave you in awe.

Start your day by driving to the park and making your way to the Island in the Sky district. This area is known for its awe-inspiring viewpoints and stunning panoramas.

Begin your exploration at the Mesa Arch, a famous landmark in Canyonlands. Take a short hike to this natural arch and witness the spectacular sunrise as it illuminates the expansive canyon below. The dramatic colors and breathtaking views make it a favorite spot for photographers.

For a more adventurous experience, venture along the Grand View Point Trail. This moderately challenging hike takes you to a viewpoint that offers a jaw-dropping panorama of the canyons stretching as far as the eye can see. Stand at the edge and feel the immensity of the landscape surround you.

As you continue your journey, make your way to the iconic Upheaval Dome. This unique geological feature is believed to have been caused by either a meteorite impact or salt dome uplift. Hike to the viewpoints and witness the fascinating rock layers and the contrasting colors that make Upheaval Dome a truly mystical place.

Experience the grandeur of the Green River and Colorado River as they converge at the confluence overlook. Marvel at the sheer power of the rivers as they have sculpted the magnificent canyons over millions of years.

For a change of scenery, venture into the Needles District. This section of Canyonlands National Park offers a more remote and rugged landscape with stunning rock formations and hidden arches. Embark on a hike along the Chesler Park Loop Trail to experience the unique beauty of this area.

As the day comes to a close, find a quiet spot to witness the incredible colors of the sunset casting a warm glow over the canyons. It’s a moment of tranquility and reflection, reminding you of the immense natural beauty that surrounds you in Canyonlands National Park.

Rest up and get ready for another day of adventure tomorrow as you make your way to the stunning Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Day 8: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Welcome to day 8 of your national park itinerary, where you’ll be exploring the vast and awe-inspiring landscapes of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This remote and rugged wilderness is known for its stunning slot canyons, towering cliffs, and pristine natural beauty.

Begin your day by driving to the visitor center at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Here, you can gather information about the park’s trails, current conditions, and any permits required for your planned activities.

One of the highlights of the monument is the famous slot canyon known as Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Gulches. These narrow and twisting canyons offer a thrilling and unique hiking experience. Be prepared for tight squeezes, scrambling, and maneuvering through the narrow passages as you immerse yourself in the striking beauty of the slot canyons.

After exploring the slot canyons, continue your adventure by visiting the scenic Devils Garden. Hike along the trail and marvel at the unique rock formations, including intriguing hoodoos and natural arches amidst the desert landscape. Keep an eye out for the impressive Metate Arch, a massive stone arch that stands as a testament to the power of erosion.

If you’re up for a longer hike, consider trekking to the famous and picturesque Calf Creek Falls. This trail takes you through a scenic desert canyon and rewards you with a refreshing oasis, complete with a beautiful cascading waterfall. Take a dip in the pool or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

As you explore Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, don’t forget to take in the vastness and solitude of this remote wilderness. Sit back, breathe in the fresh air, and appreciate the untouched beauty that surrounds you.

As the day winds down, find a quiet spot to witness the incredible colors of the sunset casting a warm glow on the rugged cliffs and mesas. It’s a moment of tranquility and appreciation for the beauty of nature in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Rest up and prepare for another day of adventure tomorrow as you make your way to the stunning Lake Mead National Recreation Area for some water-based activities.

Day 9: Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Welcome to day 9 of your national park itinerary, where you’ll be exploring the refreshing waters and stunning landscapes of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Located near Las Vegas, this recreational paradise offers a perfect combination of water-based activities and natural beauty.

Start your day by driving to Lake Mead National Recreation Area and make your way to the visitor center. Here, you can gather information about the various recreational opportunities available, including boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking.

For a day on the water, rent a kayak, paddleboard, or powerboat and explore the expansive lake. Glide through the clear turquoise waters, soak in the sun, and take in the stunning backdrop of the rugged desert landscape. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a meal on one of the secluded beaches.

If you prefer to explore on foot, there are several scenic hiking trails in the recreation area. The Historic Railroad Trail offers a unique opportunity to walk along the path of the historic Hoover Dam railroad. Enjoy panoramic views of the lake and learn about the fascinating history of the area as you traverse through tunnels and enjoy the scenic vistas.

Another popular hiking option is the Valley of Fire Overlook Trail. This trail takes you to an elevated viewpoint that offers breathtaking vistas of the vibrant red rock formations of the Valley of Fire State Park and the sparkling waters of Lake Mead. It’s a fantastic spot to capture stunning photographs and immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings.

After a day of adventure and exploration, take some time to relax and unwind at one of the designated swimming areas in the park. Find a sandy beach, plunge into the cool waters, and enjoy a refreshing swim, or simply lounge under the sun and soak up the peaceful ambiance.

As the day comes to a close, find a quiet spot to witness the sunset painting the sky with vibrant hues over Lake Mead. It’s a serene and picturesque moment that showcases the beauty of nature at its finest.

Rest up and prepare for the final day of your national park itinerary as you venture to the stunning Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Day 10: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Welcome to the final day of your national park itinerary! On day 10, you’ll be exploring the captivating beauty of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, located just outside of Las Vegas. This stunning desert landscape is renowned for its vibrant red rock formations, scenic drives, and ample outdoor recreational opportunities.

Start your day by driving to Red Rock Canyon and make your way to the visitor center. Here, you can gather information about the various trails, viewpoints, and attractions within the conservation area.

Begin your exploration with a scenic drive along the 13-mile Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop. This one-way loop provides panoramic views of the towering sandstone cliffs, unique rock formations, and desert flora. Don’t forget to make stops at the designated viewpoints to fully appreciate the breathtaking vistas.

After the drive, embark on a hike along one of the many trails in the conservation area. The Calico Tanks Trail is a popular choice, offering a moderate hike that leads to elevated pools with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon.

If you’re seeking more adventure, try your hand at rock climbing on the majestic sandstone cliffs. Red Rock Canyon is a renowned destination for climbers of all skill levels, with a variety of routes to choose from. Remember to bring proper climbing gear and follow safety guidelines.

For a more relaxed experience, consider having a picnic lunch at the Willow Springs Picnic Area. Enjoy your meal surrounded by the serene desert landscape and watch for wildlife that may make an appearance.

Complete your visit to Red Rock Canyon with a visit to the Red Rock Canyon Overlook. This viewpoint offers a stunning panoramic vista of the entire conservation area, allowing you to truly grasp the grandeur and beauty of the red rock landscape.

As your national park journey comes to an end, take a moment to reflect on the incredible landscapes and memorable experiences you’ve had throughout the past 10 days. The natural wonders, the breathtaking vistas, and the sense of adventure will stay with you long after you leave.

Make your way back to Las Vegas, carrying with you memories of this incredible national park itinerary. Cherish the moments and savor the beauty of the natural world as you complete your journey.

Safe travels and until your next national park adventure!

As you wrap up your 10-day national park itinerary from Las Vegas, you can reflect on the incredible journey you’ve embarked upon. From the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas to the awe-inspiring wonders of Death Valley National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and beyond, this itinerary has taken you on a remarkable adventure through some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the United States.

Throughout the itinerary, you’ve witnessed the power of nature, from towering red cliffs and mesmerizing arches to deep canyons and picturesque sand dunes. You’ve experienced the thrill of hiking through slot canyons, basking in the beauty of vibrant sunsets, and exploring the vibrant underwater world of Lake Mead.

Not only have you discovered the magnificence of these national parks, but you’ve also immersed yourself in their unique histories and cultural elements, whether it’s the neon signs of Las Vegas, the ancient settlements of the Fruita Historic District, or the pioneer heritage of the Hoover Dam railroad.

Each day offered a new adventure and a chance to connect with the natural world. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a photographer, or simply seeking a break from the bustle of city life, this itinerary has provided a diverse range of activities and experiences to suit your preferences.

As you return to Las Vegas, let the memories of the stunning landscapes, the camaraderie of fellow adventurers, and the sense of awe experienced at each national park stay with you. The national park system of the United States is a treasure to be cherished, and through your exploration, you’ve gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for these remarkable ecosystems.

Remember to leave no trace, preserving the beauty and integrity of these natural wonders for future generations. Whether you’re planning your next national park adventure or reminiscing about the incredible journey you’ve just completed, the memories you’ve made will forever hold a special place in your heart.

Until your next national park adventure, embrace the experiences, embrace the beauty, and embrace the wonder of the natural world.

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

23 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas in 2024

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

United States

Updated On: February 8, 2024

Las Vegas day trips are among the best ways to spend time in Sin City. If you have more than a day in Vegas, tear yourself away from the bright lights, grab some road trip snacks, and hit the road. Downtown Las Vegas might be incredible, but all too many people get distracted by bright lights and partying and fail to see the surrounding attractions. If you want the Vegas visit of a lifetime, you must prioritize some day trips from Las Vegas.

Table of Contents

Fun Day Trips from Las Vegas

Fun Day Trips From Las Vegas

This guide will cover the best day trips from Las Vegas. If you feel ambitious, Vegas is perfectly positioned to visit sights like Bryce Canyon National Park, Seven Magic Mountains, and even the Grand Canyon. So check out these top day trips and prepare to be seriously inspired.

Planning Your Trip To Las Vegas Right Now?

Below are some of the top day trip tours in Las Vegas. Don’t forget to plan ahead when  visiting Las Vegas!

Top Day Trip Activities and Tours in Las Vegas:

  • Grand Canyon West, Hoover Dam Photo Stop, Lunch, Optional Skywalk (Most Popular Day Trip from Las Vegas)
  • Half-Day Emerald Cove Kayak Tour (Our Favorite Day Trip)
  • Valley of Fire Hiking Tour from Las Vegas (Likely to Sell Out)
  • Small-Group Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Tour from Las Vegas (Best Deal)

1. Hoover Dam

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas A power plant tour in the Hoover Dam Tour

The Hoover Dam is a spectacular engineering feat that straddles the iconic Colorado River. The Hoover Dam stands at around 221 meters in height and is positioned parallel to a massive bridge. The Hoover Dam and the Dam Bridge attract as many as 7 million tourists a year, many participating in adrenaline experiences like sky diving or bungee jumps.

These activities are subject to availability and often run at ad hoc times. However, if you fancy a flutter, check if any adrenaline events are running while you are visiting. Even just touring the dam, it is easy to see how its dramatic architecture inspires people to push themselves.

A Hoover Dam day trip is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas if you are pushed for time. The Hoover Dam is a 40-minute drive away, easily squeezed into half a day. And while there are no public transport options, you can also easily book a guided tour or shuttle experience.

We’ve added the Hoover Dam to this list because of how impressive this manmade construction is and how convenient it is to reach. With minimal effort and maximal reward, the Hoover Dam is a fabulous day trip within easy distance from Las Vegas.

2. Grand Canyon

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is among the most popular yet ambitious Las Vegas day trips. The Grand Canyon is a staggering 4 hours and 20 minutes away from Las Vegas. And if it wasn’t  the  Grand Canyon, we wouldn’t recommend trying to squeeze it in. But because the Grand Canyon is such a bucket list attraction, it is worth the extra effort.

To reach it, you’ll need to either hire a car (preferably with multiple drivers insured so you can split the driving) or book a guided tour. The benefit of a guided tour is that they include round-trip transportation, meaning you don’t have to face nearly 9 hours at the wheel. Weigh up both options and see which most suits you and your trip.

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Grand Canyon South Rim

Of course, when you actually get to the Grand Canyon, you’ll have  plenty to do  to reward your efforts. You can take a  helicopter tour , hike the Canyon Overlook Trail, and explore both the West Rim and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The part which makes the Grand Canyon famous is the Great Unconformity – a missing gap in geological history where a layer of rock has wholly disappeared. It is an ongoing mystery that attracts millions of visitors a year, also lured in by the stunning canyon views.

3. Dixie National Forest

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Dixie National Forest

Dixie National Forest is a beautiful day trip from Las Vegas. When it comes to day trips from Las Vegas, there are so many desert-style areas of natural beauty that a forest is a welcome change of scenery. The national forest sprawls over 2 million acres, full of hiking trails, canyons, and lakes.

It is the perfect place to go if you want to spend a whole day hiking or biking from Las Vegas – or even go rock climbing if you can rent the necessary equipment. Dixie National Forest is a breath of fresh air after being around the bright lights and blaring music.

Dixie National Forest is a 3-hour drive from Las Vegas, so it is a long day trip. You should set off early in the morning to maximize your journey and aim to get multiple drivers on your insurance to split driving time. It is well combined with a scenic drive through Zion National Park, though, so if you fancy a road trip vibe, Dixie National Forest was practically made for you.

4. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Fancy a bit of historical immersion? Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is an old ranch now treated as a state park with regular historical re-enactments. It is an interesting hybrid between a natural destination and a cultural attraction – perfect if you are stuck between them.

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is within the Red Canyon National Conservation Area and is just 30 minutes driving distance from Las Vegas. It is an effortless attraction to squeeze into a packed Vegas itinerary (which, let’s be honest, is definitely the norm).

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is ideal if you want one of the more cultural day trips from Las Vegas. If you time things correctly, you can catch one of the live Broadway musicals at the Super Summer Theatre at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. This outdoor theatre is a beautiful place to sit and be entertained, with a backdrop of mountains and endless green fields. You should also stop by the state park’s old Main Ranch House. The former ranch house is now an immersive museum offering videos and guided tours.

5. Death Valley National Park

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is one of the most popular Las Vegas day trips. The 3.4 million acres of the national park is a gorgeous mixture of desert and mountains – a total dream for hiking and sightseeing. It is also the largest national park in the US outside of Alaska. There are almost 1,000 miles of roads to explore and reach different attractions. Luckily, considering the Death Valley National Park is so large, it is just a 2-hour drive from Las Vegas.

Even though you should choose some things to do in Death Valley National Park before you set off, you’ll need to have a bit of an itinerary to squeeze it into a day trip effectively. The top attractions in Death Valley are Ubehebe Crater, Mesquite Sand Dunes, and Wildrose Charcoal Kiln.

As one of the most iconic and popular day trips from Las Vegas, it’s easy to add Death Valley National Park to this list. Treat Death Valley National Park as a given when choosing day trips – the only question is what you will do when you visit. Check out our guide on the  best things to do in Death Valley  for extra inspiration or take a look at guided tours .

6. Antelope Canyon

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is stunning. There are no two ways about it. The sandstone canyon swirls in photogenic formations and gets so narrow in sections that it transforms into a slot canyon. Antelope Canyon is well worth visiting if you like hiking (or even just tolerate hiking if it means reaching very scenic places) .

The canyon sits on Navajo Nation lands, and you can arrange a tour with a Navajo guide – to learn about its beauty, geography, and cultural significance. There are even  photo tours  where you are accompanied by experienced photographers. It is easily one of the most memorable day trips from Las Vegas.

When deciding to visit Antelope Canyon, your two main choices are Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope is the most popular and much easier to walk through. Lower Antelope Canyon is a little more tricky and less frequented because of this. Full disclosure, Antelope Canyon – whichever section you choose – is one of our most ambitious Las Vegas day trips.

Antelope Canyon is a 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas, so definitely no mean feat. In an ideal world, you’d break down a trip to Antelope Canyon across a couple of days as a detour from Las Vegas. But if you need to squeeze it into a day trip, insure multiple drivers to split driving or invest in a guided tour  that provides round-trip transportation.

7. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a beautiful day trip option from Las Vegas. It only takes a little guesswork to figure out that Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area gets its name from the amount of bright red rocks. It is full of sandstone that is particularly stunning at sunrise or sunset when golden hours set the whole Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on fire.

The red colors are almost blinding at these times. And angle your visit to coincide with these hours. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is most famous for its scenic drive – a 13 miles stretch of road that cuts through some of the most dramatic scenery.

Aside from the famed scenic drive, there are petroglyphs, seasonal waterfalls, and hiking trails galore. If you can, plan to visit some of the attractions and finish with a sunset scenic drive. Distance-wise, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one of the shortest day trips from Las Vegas.

You can reach the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s Visitor’s Center in 30 minutes, a convenient addition to your itinerary. For us, the photogenic red rocks are the main draw. It is somewhere that you can quickly tick off  that  Vegas desert experience.

8. Kaibab National Forest

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Kaibab National Forest

Kaibab National Forest is a total of 1.6 million acres of stunning plateaus, peaks, and prairies. This is the sort of place to bring binoculars, as wildlife like grazing bison are just common sightings. The national forest sits on the Colorado Plateau and is a hotspot for wildlife sightings, flora, and fauna.

And between prairies and mountain peaks is a dense blanket of pinyon-juniper and ponderosa pines. You can fully embrace the national forest with over 300 miles of hiking trails. Or, for the whole ‘summer camp’ throwback, head out boating or fishing. Kaibab National Forest is one of the most wholesome day trips from Las Vegas. You’ll love it.

Admittedly, Kaibab National Forest is a long day trip from Las Vegas. Allow a 3-hour drive to reach the forest from Sin City, and consider allowing extra time to detour to Flagstaff for skiing or the Grand Canyon, which is located just north of Kaibab National Forest. Extend Kaibab National Forest from a day trip to an overnight stay if you can. This way, you can combine it with a visit to other famous nearby attractions. Kaibab National Forest has a lot of potential – day trip or otherwise – so we had to include it.

9. Zion National Park

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Zion-National-Park

Zion National Park is a beautiful day trip and a greener version of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. It has the same red sandstone rock formations and a stunning Zion Canyon. Still, it also has the Virgin River cutting through the national park. Greenery and forests have popped up along its banks – creating a stunning hybrid between the desert and abundant green space.

Less than 150,000 acres in size, Zion National Park is a very feasible day trip from Las Vegas and full of excellent hiking trails where you can embrace contrasting landscapes. You can hike to the Emerald Pools for some scenic water scenery. It is also notably home to Angels Landing, renowned as one of the  best hiking trails in Zion , if not the US.

It is a 2.5-hour drive to Zion National Park, just over the Utah border near St. George. It is super easy to visit if you hire a car and set off early enough to allow a full day in the park. You can always stop for a break in St George, which has the impressive Bloomington Petroglyph Park and the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. It is a fantastic halfway point.

10. Valley of Fire State Park

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park is another red rock attraction feasible as a Las Vegas day trip. It is a fabulous place to tick off that red rock experience, and the sandstone is incredibly stunning at sunrise and sunset. What makes Valley of Fire State Park different from the other red rock options, though, you may rightly ask?

Primarily its more challenging hikes and the fact it is home to petrified logs. Silica Done is an awe-inspiring hiking attraction to tackle. While the Petrified Logs Loop is perfect for getting up close to fossilized trees. Valley of Fire State Park is approximately 46,000 acres and is full of activities. The petrified logs and unique hiking make it worthwhile for us – they are some fantastic  things to do in Valley of Fire State Park.

Valley of Fire State Park is just an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, so a very feasible day trip. It is also excellently combined with a trip to Lake Mead since one driving route takes you directly past the north shore of the lake. You could go hiking and then dip in Lake Mead to cool down.

11. Seven Magic Mountains

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains is one of the most bizarre day trips from Las Vegas. Apart from the word ‘magic’, the name Seven Magic Mountains may sound unassuming, but this attraction is anything but ordinary. The striking structures consist of a line of brightly colored rocks stacked on each other with a dramatic backdrop of mountains behind them. The ‘mountains’ are essentially a giant art display. And millions of tourists flock to snap photos and gaze at this beautiful display.

Admittedly, Seven Magic Mountains is a 15-minute attraction to visit. If you don’t time your visit right, it can be heaving with camera-happy tourists and dust. But the main selling points are that Seven Magic Mountains is free to enter, alluring to creative enthusiasts, and just a 20-minute drive from Las Vegas. For us, these pros won the day and snuck Seven Magic Mountains onto our list of the best day trips from Las Vegas.

12. Cathedral Gorge State Park

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Cathedral Gorge State Park

Cathedral Gorge State Park is a brilliant addition to your day trips from Las Vegas if you like outdoor activities. The nearly 2,000-acre park is most famous for its Cathedral Gorge canyons, which get their bright colors and unique erosion from ancient lakebeds. Cathedral Gorge State Park is full of bizarre spires and fascinating rock formations. If you want somewhere to hike, snap photos, and are interested in geology, you are on to a winner.

Cathedral Gorge State Park is a medium distance from Las Vegas – approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes by car one way. It is our northernmost attraction in this guide and provides a brilliant insight into local geology. You’ll drive through the Desert National Wildlife Range, pass the Stonehenge replica, and even the Alien Research Center. There is a ton to stop off and see on the way, which also convinced us to add Cathedral Gorge State Park to our guide.

13. Lake Mead

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Lake Mead

Lake Mead is a huge reservoir created by the Hoover Dam and fed by the Colorado River. While it is primarily a water source (supplying over 25 million people), it is also a place for recreation. And in some designated areas, even swimming is perfect in summer months to escape the Las Vegas heat. The best swimming spots are Willow Beach and Boulder Swim Beach, which have shallow waters and rocky beaches.

Lake Mead is a fantastic place to visit from Las Vegas and one of the most popular day trips from Las Vegas in summer. With its staggering water capacity, Lake Mead is also the largest reservoir the US has – a lofty title. So, it is apparent why Lake Mead is an iconic day trip from Las Vegas.

Lake Mead is just a 40-minute drive from Las Vegas, depending on the whereabouts of the lake that you visit. The most tempting part of this day trip is undoubtedly the swimming opportunities. However, Lake Mead also has some stunning desert scenery; what more dramatic backdrop could you want? And if swimming isn’t your forte, then there is boating and fishing to enjoy. Lake Mead is scenic, fun, and refreshing.

14. Bryce Canyon National Park

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is very cool. We are talking rock spires, overlooks, and a natural amphitheater. As far as day trips from Las Vegas go, this 35,000-acre park is a worthy candidate. Its rock formations are striking and photogenic enough to justify its grand collection of  hiking trails . Natural Bridge, Bryce Point, and Fairyland Point are all fantastic attractions in Bryce Canyon National Park.

As a destination in its own right, Bryce Canyon National Park is well worth a 4-hour drive into Utah. Bryce Canyon National Park has all the gusto to rival larger, more popular national parks. So we’ve added it as an ambitious day trip from Las Vegas, ideal for those wanting to branch out from Nevada into neighboring Utah.

Logistics-wise, hiring a car that multiple people are insured to drive is obviously better. If you can split the driving between two people, Bryce Canyon National Park will be feasible as one of your day trips from Las Vegas. It is fantastic to combine with Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Zion National Park, and Dixie National Forest – all of which you drive directly past. Otherwise, you could extend your driving time to head south and incorporate the Grand Canyon. Driving to Bryce Canyon National Park from Las Vegas is as intense as a day trip. Still, it has one of the best road trip itineraries in the US.

15. Extraterrestrial Highway

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Extraterrestrial Highway

Extraterrestrial Highway is one of the most exciting day trips from Las Vegas – whether you are a believer or not. The Extraterrestrial Highway is a 98-mile stretch of road encompassing some of the US’s most incredible alien-themed attractions. Starting from Las Vegas, you head up the Nevada 375, aka the sight of the most UFO sighting in the US. There have been so many UFO sightings along this highway that the Nevada state renamed it.

And true to its namesake, it makes for one of the best alien-themed road trips with a mixture of natural and manmade attractions, even if you don’t see a real-life UFO. You can see the sailing stones at Death Valley Inn, peer from the top of Tikaboo Peak at Area 51, stop by the Alien Research Center (more on that later), or go UFO gazing at Lower Pahranagat Lake.

The whole drive should take approximately 3 hours one way, so pick out the highlights that most stand out to you. Extraterrestrial Highway is easily a full-day activity if you drive the whole length. If you don’t drive, it is worth looking into guided tours that provide round-trip transportation to specific attractions. Extraterrestrial Highway is one of the wackiest day trips from Las Vegas, but definitely a fan favorite simply for its outlandish novelty.

16. Snow Canyon State Park

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park is tiny at just 7,400 acres. But for such a small area, it sure packs a punch. At Snow Canyon State Park, you can ride horseback between sandstone canyons, hike past lava tubes, and check out the extinct Santa Clara volcano. There are around 16 miles of shared-use trails for riders and hikers – more than enough to keep you entertained for a day on one of your day trips from Las Vegas.

Snow Canyon State Park really stands out for its volcanic element. Between lava tubes and extinct volcanoes, you’ll indeed have a lot of geological history and unique landmarks to learn about and sightsee. Its smaller size also makes it a super feasible day trip.

Snow Canyon State Park is a 2-hour drive from Las Vegas. It is easily combined with the other attractions in southwest Utah, like Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and Zion National Park. Or you can just treat it as a half-day adventure.

17. Emerald Cave Kayaking

Emerald Cave is a stunning cave with depths of up to 24 feet and a striking green color. The mixture of sunlight and algae lights up the cave in translucent green. This attraction really is natural beauty at its best. Emerald Cave is a beautiful reason to escape the big city. Its good looks guarantee it a spot on our guide.

Emerald Cave is just an hour’s drive from Las Vegas. It is located just outside of Willow Beach and on the Colorado River. This section of the Colorado River is serene and peaceful, and heading through the cave and bright green waters is a beautiful day trip from Las Vegas. You can kayak from Willow Beach to Emerald Cave in as little as 1.5 hours – booking a guided tour or renting a kayak independently.

18. Climb Mount Charleston Peak

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Mount Charleston Peak

Hiking Mount Charleston is a challenging feat. The Charleston Peak South Trail takes nearly 11 hours to complete and is considered a challenging route. As far as day trips from Las Vegas go, Mount Charleston is the most tricky. You’ll tackle an elevation gain of 1,541 meters, traversing switchbacks up Echo Cliffs and the South Rim Plateau. Mount Charleston stands at 3,632 meters in height and is one of Nevada’s highest peaks.

Luckily, Charleston Peak is just a 45-minute drive west of Las Vegas. So you won’t have far to go after walking for 11 hours. The drive is pretty scenic, too, taking you through Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. For fitness enthusiasts and experienced hikers, climbing Charleseak is a must.

19. Mojave National Preserve

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Mojave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve is one of the most convenient day trips from Las Vegas. At approximately 1.5 million acres in size, it spans a vast area. It is home to a massive population of Joshua trees – perfect if you still need to venture as far as Joshua Tree National Park. The varied landscape rolls from lava tubes to a more classic sand dune-style desert wilderness. Mojave National Preserve is great fun to explore. And you can choose horseback riding, 4WD, or enjoy the hiking trails.

Mojave National Preserve is 2.5 hours from Las Vegas by car. However, if you take the scenic route, which loops you through the national preserve, it takes 2 hours and 40 minutes to reach the Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center. It is a brilliant road trip with plenty of fun driving, diverse scenery, and many stop-off points.

20. Go Whitewater Rafting on the Colorado River

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Whitewater Rafting Colorado River

Going whitewater rafting is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas for adrenaline junkies. And for the ultimate rafting experience, you just have to book a day trip to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is sliced in half by the infamous Colorado River and is the ideal place to jump your heart into your mouth.

The rapids on the Grand Canyon’s section of the Colorado River are 1-10 scale, with some super sketchy areas and more beginner-suitable rapids if you want to dip your toes in. Most white water rafting tours in the Grand Canyon tackle up to Phantom Ranch – a point right in the heart of the canyon. You’ll be in for a treat if you haven’t white water rafted before. While if you have, the novelty of rafting through the Grand Canyon is the real deal.

Regardless of which tour operator you choose, the Grand Canyon is around a 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas, so you can expect a full day out if you go whitewater rafting in the canyon. The exhilaration will make it all worthwhile, and the excitement makes it so popular.

21. Lake Havasu City

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City is hardly a tiny town. However, it is a much calmer alternative than staying in Las Vegas for another full day. If you need a break from the Vegas antics, Lake Havasu City is an ideal candidate and is just 2 hours and 20 minutes away. It has stunning lakeside beaches and a ridiculously scenic state park that hugs the Lake Havasu shoreline.

Another massive draw of Lake Havasu City is London Bridge which was transported from England in the 1970s and is one of the largest antiques ever sold. The London Bridge was dismantled and restructured in Lake Havasu City, now explorable independently or as a walking tour. So you’ll be well entertained for a day between London Bridge and the Lake Havasu State Park and beaches.

Lake Havasu City is famous for its iconic lakeside locale and the novelty of London Bridge. There isn’t anywhere you can enjoy a quiet beach apart from Lake Havasu City near Vegas, so that is the main reason we’ve added it to this guide. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is fantastic but extremely busy and mainstream in tourism, so Lake Havasu City is an excellent alternative destination. You can also stop at Boulder City or Willow Beach on the way.

22. Joshua Tree National Park

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a long day trip, approximately a 3-hour and 20-minute drive from Las Vegas. Its iconic Joshua trees sprout throughout the nearly 800,000 acres of the desert landscape. Joshua trees are spiny trees that just up branchless like cacti or palm trees and only have leaves at the very ends of their branches. People tend to see Joshua trees as symbols of strength and beauty, and the trees coined their names from Mormon settlers who felt guided by the trees during this 19th-century journey.

If you love hiking, Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas. You can check out the Hidden Valley Nature Trail, Cholla Cactus Garden Trail, or the Arch Rock Nature Trail. Even driving through Joshua Tree National Park is beautiful, though, so be prepared to bask in scenic drives.

Despite its distance from Las Vegas, Joshua Tree National Park is definitely worth a day trip – just because of its famous and fantastic scenery. Its good looks won our vote. And if you have a bit longer, you can always stop overnight in Palm Springs or camp to make the whole experience more relaxing on the driving front.

23. Nelson Ghost Town

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Nelson Ghost Town

Ready for a bit more of an unusual day trip from Las Vegas? Nelson Ghost Town is an atmospheric gold mine that was abandoned around the 1930s and is now like a time capsule to days gone by. It is like stepping into the past, with buildings restored to their former glory and retro signs and relics everywhere.

Many people liken it to a Disney-style experience because it is so well-maintained. However, it is an impressive historical attraction and fantastic for anyone wanting a more cultural day trip from Vegas. The ghost town element is just the cherry on top, adding a bit of novelty to the experience.

At just a 45-minute drive from Vegas, Nelson Ghost Town is hardly a lot of effort to incorporate into an itinerary. You can park alongside many old retro vehicles, which adds to the historical allure. Nelson Ghost Town really itches that historical and cultural spot that last Vegas can lack, so we just had to add it to our list. It’s also perfectly combined with an Eldorado Canyon tour, and there are tons of mine sightseeing hiking trails nearby if you want to extend your experience.

Day Trips from Las Vegas: FAQs

Zion National Park, one of the best day trips from Las Vegas

Day trips from Las Vegas are so exciting, whether you drive to Dixie National Forest or stop by the Alien Research Center. There is tons of variety and different landscapes. In summer months, the Colorado River might call your name. The Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park can be explored leisurely at lower temperatures in winter. But what else do you need to know? Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Is Zion a day trip from Las Vegas?

Yes, Zion is within driving distance from Las Vegas, so it is a feasible day trip. It takes approximately 2 hours to drive to Zion National Park, so set off nice and early to maximize your time for sightseeing and enjoying hiking trails.

What is within 2 hours of Las Vegas?

There are loads of things to do within 2 hours of Las Vegas. You can visit Zion National Park, Lake Mead, Mojave National Preserve, Death Valley National Park, and smaller cities like Boulder City.

Is Joshua Tree near Las Vegas?

Joshua Tree is just 3 hours away so within easy driving distance from Las Vegas. It might be a long day trip, but it is definitely feasible if it is your bucket list destination.

How many days in Vegas is enough?

3 days in Las Vegas is enough to squeeze in one day trip and see a bit of the Vegas Strip. However, ideally, you’d stay a minimum of 5 days to really make the most of the city and its day trips.

To Conclude

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas Nevada State Railway Museum

Day trips from Las Vegas are really worth drawing yourself away from Las Vegas Strip. Sin City is actually fantastically positioned to explore more natural destinations – the Virgin River, Magic Mountains, or one of the nearby national parks. You can rent a car and arrange day trips from Las Vegas independently; all of these best day trips are within driving distance from Las Vegas. Alternatively, book a guided tour that transfers you from Las Vegas. There are many tours, like a Grand Canyon West tour that includes transfers from Las Vegas, meaning you get to kick back and avoid driving.

Looking for more Vegas inspiration? Here is our guide on where to stay in  Las Vegas . Finding a good accommodation as a base is vital for getting the most out of your Vegas trip – so get the low down on neighborhoods and best hotels before booking.

Plan Your Next Trip to Las Vegas With These Resources

  • Where to Stay in Las Vegas: Best Places and Areas
  • Off the Strip – Things to do Outside Las Vegas
  • 19 Best Road Trips in The US
  • 30 Best Things to Do in Reno, NV
  • 27 Best National Parks in the USA To Visit

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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The 5 Best National Park Road Trips in the U.S.

From western landscapes to the Blue Ridge Parkway, our national park expert maps out five beautiful road trips—all doable in a week

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Heading out the door? Read this article on the Outside app available now on iOS devices for members! >","name":"in-content-cta","type":"link"}}'>Download the app .

Here’s the dream: Quit your job and hit all 64 national parks in one huge multi-month road trip where you live mostly in a van and finally see all of these iconic landscapes for yourself. To call that dream unrealistic is an understatement, at least for me, for a variety of reasons (see “quit job,” above), though it’s been accomplished by an Outside writer.

The closest I’ve ever come was in my 20s, spending a month driving around the Rocky Mountains and American Southwest in my VW Jetta during summer break from graduate school. A decade or so later, I re-created that trip with my wife and our then four-year-old twins. Both experiences were awesome. One of them had more tantrums.

You can plan a great park trip that captures the open-road spirit on a smaller scale. Below, I’ve outlined five itineraries that take in multiple parks, all within a week. I picked a variety of terrain—lonely desert basins, ice-cold swimming holes, perfect hikes, and cultural wonders. There are one or two classic routes.

But mostly, I chose these because they go to parks that don’t get the massive amount of attention some of their cousins receive. So gas or charge up and go.

1. Blue Ridge Parkway, from Shenandoah to Great Smoky Mountains

Virginia/north carolina, distance: 470 miles, duration: four-plus days.

Appalachian Trail Shenandoah National Park

This trip is in my backyard, so I’m biased, but it’s also awesome, because the entire 470-plus-mile route is within a national-park unit. The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches for 469 miles along the peaks and valleys of the Southern Appalachian mountain range, connecting two of the country’s most-visited national parks, Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina/Tennessee and Shenandoah in Virginia.

view from overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Driving the entire length of the parkway is slow (speed limit is between 25 and 45 miles per hour) and full of curves in the road, and also overlooks,  side hikes to swimming holes, and mountain hikes through a lush landscape with elevations that top 6,000 feet. And that’s just the road between the two great national parks.

bike rider on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Heading south on the parkway, you will find picnic areas, trailheads, and scenic views. Give yourself at least a couple of days to complete the road alone, making sure to hike the three-mile out-and-back Sharp Top Trail in the Peaks of Otter area near Bedford, Virginia, which leads to a panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley and the Allegheny Mountains. When you get to North Carolina, hit Grandfather Mountain State Park, where you can climb the 7.6-mile out-and-back Profile Trail , scrambling along outcroppings and climbing ladders to the summit of the 5,964-foot Callaway Peak.

Stony Man Summit at Shenandoah National Park

Adventures in Shenandoah: Located just 70 miles west of Washington, D.C, Shenandoah National Park is home to 200,000 acres of 4,000-foot peaks, dense hardwood forest, waterfalls, and historic farmland. The most popular hike is also one of the park’s toughest; Old Rag Circuit is a 9.2-mile loop that requires rock scrambling with some use of your hands to reach Old Rag Mountain, which offers 360-degree views of the park and surrounding farmland. You need a permit to hike the mountain between March 1 and November 30. It’s only $2, but permits are limited to 800 a day, so get them up to 30 days in advance .

Upper Whiteoak Falls Loop via Cedar Run Trail, Virginia

If you’re looking to cool off, hike the Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run Circuit , an 8.1-mile loop that gains 3,000 feet while traversing two tight gorges packed with waterfalls and swimming holes. Lower and Upper Whiteoak Canyon Falls are the highlights, as Upper Falls drops 86 feet between narrow canyon walls, and Lower Falls has a primo plunge pool.

Adventures in Great Smoky Mountains : The Smokies comprise a mix of rocky streams stacked with waterfalls and swimming holes, and steep slopes thick with vegetation. It’s hard to get across just how green this park is. On the northern end, you’ll find Midnight Hole, a deep, cold swimming hole at the base of a small waterfall. The pool is lined with 15-foot boulders, and locals like to jump from them into the deep part. Access is via the easy three-mile out-and-back Big Creek Trail . If you want to ditch the crowds (GSMNP gets 14 million visitors a year), hike deeper into the park. Ramsey Cascades Trail is an eight-mile round trip through stands of old-growth tulip poplars to the 100-foot Ramsey Cascade, the tallest waterfall inside the park.

A few historic fire lookout towers still stand inside the park, but the most scenic is Mount Cammerer, a circular wooden building perched on a rocky outcropping, nearly 5,000 feet in elevation, offering views of 5,000- and 6,000-foot peaks as well as the Pigeon River Gorge. Hike this 11.6-mile out and back from Big Creek Parking Area, and you will do a piece of the Appalachian Trail, enjoying scenic stretches along Big Creek before climbing to the ridgeline.

Glamping or camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Stay : In Shenandoah, Big Meadows is a historic stone-and-chestnut lodge in the middle of the park. Choose from lodge rooms or rustic cabins (from $251 a night ), and wander the mile to Big Meadow after dark for stargazing . Lodges and campgrounds are spaced all along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, so it’s easy to break the journey up into chunks if you’re not in a hurry. Julian Price Campground is one of the most popular overnights ($20 per night, reserve six months in advance). The 190-site facility sits next to Julian Price Lake, where you can rent canoes . Under Canvas has a glamping resort on 182 acres of hardwood forest near the Gatlinburg entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each fully furnished safari-style tent has a private bathroom, and the place features live music, campfires at night, and yoga in the morning, not to mention an on-site restaurant with seasonal dishes and craft beer.

2. Joshua Tree to Death Valley, California

Distance: 250 miles, duration: at least three days.

Joshua Tree entrance sign with wildflowers

This route will take you to an underappreciated gem.

Is it weird to spend several days in Southern California and not go to the beach? Well, this desert romp is packed with so much wild terrain you won’t miss the Pacific Ocean. Joshua Tree National Park is 800,000 acres of sandstone boulders, crusty desert floor, and stands of the eponymous trees, while 250 miles north, Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48, at 3.5 million acres. Inside are 14,000-foot peaks, expansive craters, dunes, and slot canyons.

Person hikes down a canyon in Death Valley National Park

Weather is a factor with this itinerary because both parks are in the desert and hot as hell in the middle of summer (temps can reach 120 degrees). So consider this a late-spring or early-fall trip. (If you ever go in summer, do all of your adventures at dawn, take a ton of water, and be back at your place or camp before lunch. Also tell someone exactly where you are going.)

The 250-mile drive is mostly two-lane highway that offers a mix of desolate beauty (you’ll drive between Leghorn Lakes Wilderness and Sheephole Valley Wilderness) and California weirdness (the World’s Largest Thermometer is on this route). Want more adventure? As you drive between these two standout parks, try a pitstop at Mojave National Preserve, which has the largest grove of Joshua Trees in the world, natural springs, and towering dunes.

You can fly into Las Vegas or Los Angeles. L.A. to Joshua Tree is about 150 miles and not terribly interesting, so let’s just go straight to the park.

Lost Horse Valley, Joshua Tree National Park

Adventures in Joshua Tree : J-Tree is a bucket-list rock-climbing destination, but the hiking is easily as good, and just being in the place is amazing. The 2.5-mile Split Rock Trail gives hikers a chance to see and scramble on some of the park’s signature boulders, including Split Rock, a 20-foot-tall formation with a fissure in the middle, and to explore a few small caves. If you want to see a lot of Joshua Trees (who doesn’t?), hike the Panorama Loop in Black Rock Canyon, a 6.5-mile lollipop that traverses one of the densest groves of Joshua Trees in the park, or sections of ridgeline trail, with long-range views of the 11,000-foot peaks inside the nearby Sand to Snow National Monument .

Panorama Loop, Joshua Tree

Adventures in Mojave National Preserve: Just 70 miles north of Joshua Tree, Mojave NP offers a convenient diversion on your way to Death Valley. Stretch your legs by hiking the three-mile out-and-back trail into Kelso Dunes , a 45-square-mile field with mounds of sand that rise 650 feet from the valley floor. The Kelso Dunes actually produce “booming,” which is a deep, rumbling vibration that you can hear and feel from the crest of one. Be aware that hiking in dunes is tough, as the sand shifts below your feet with every step.

Kelso Dunes Mojave National Preserve

Adventures in Death Valley : You hiked dunes in Mojave, so in Death Valley National Park, let’s focus on the canyons and peaks. Fall Canyon is a six-mile out and back through a slot canyon so narrow that at points you can touch both sides from the middle.

Fall Canyon

If it’s your first time to the park, you’re obligated to visit Badwater Salt Flats, the lowest and hottest point in the U.S. There’s no designated trail through the flats, so wander at will through the flat, crispy valley, flanked by the Panamint Mountains and Black Mountains.

Salt Flats in Death Valley National Park

Stay: The Inn at Death Valley is a historic lodge located inside the park, with five-star accommodations. Consider this an oasis in the desert, complete with a spring-fed swimming pool (from $359 a night). At Joshua Tree, try to reserve a spot at Indian Cove Campground , which has sites tucked between massive boulders. There are no hookups, but RVs are allowed ($25 a night). If you can’t score an advance reservation there, Hidden Valley Campground has first come/first serve sites ($15 a night). Also, Field Station is opening a new location outside of Joshua Tree in May, with campsites for van-lifers and private rooms, all of which have access to the property’s gear shop, coffee shop and communal spaces (rooms from $127 a night).

3. White Sands National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park

New mexico and texas, distance: 300 miles, duration: four to five days.

stagecoach station ruins at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Want variety? This trip has a trio of national parks that are close geographically, but a world apart in terms of terrain. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is all about the subterranean, protecting 119 caves, the biggest of which are open to exploration. Guadalupe Mountains National Park covers a swath of 8,000-foot peaks in West Texas, and those include eight of the 10 tallest in the entire state. White Sand Dunes National Park is home to a 275-square-mile gypsum dune field that rolls towards the horizon in a series of white tidal waves.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

All three parks are within a couple hundred miles of each other, and El Paso serves as an ideal starting point to fly into the area and rent a car. These parks don’t see the crowds that some of the big-ticket units draw in summer, so there’s a better chance for quiet and good campsites. The three also have totally different climates. White Sand Dunes is hot (but not like J-Tree or Death Valley), Carlsbad is underground, and Guadalupe is chilly.

Other than a brief period where you skirt around the edge of El Paso, you’re driving mostly two-lane highways with a real “middle of nowhere” vibe between the parks. Think sand and scrub brush for as far as the eye can see.

national park day trips from las vegas

Adventures in White Sand Dunes: Alkali Flat Trail is a five-mile loop through the heart of the sand dunes, following red trail markers. You’re climbing and descending 60-foot dunes the entire time, so pace yourself and expect your legs to be worked at the end. Bring a sled (sold at the visitors’ center if you don’t have your own), as you’re allowed to slide down the steepest slopes along the route.

Adventures in Guadalupe Mountains National Park : The signature adventure is hiking the 8,751-foot Guadalupe Peak , with a craggy, treeless summit, the tallest in the state of Texas. The views stretching east over the plains are endless, but to earn them you will climb 3,000 feet in just over four miles. Bring a jacket, as the summit is notoriously windy. But the real treat of Guadalupe Mountains is Devil’s Hall Trail , a four-mile out-and-back that’s rocky with mandatory scrambling to traverse a dry river wash. Towards the end, you’ll climb Hiker’s Staircase, an easy hand-over-hand natural rock ladder out of the wash and into a narrow slot canyon.

Natural entrance Carlsbad Caverns

Adventures in Carlsbad Caverns : Start with a self-guided tour of the Big Room, the largest single-cave chamber in the U.S., loaded with bizarre stalactites and stalagmites. An elevator could deliver you into the cave, but instead walk the switchbacks down via the Natural Entrance, and feel what it’s like to go from the surface into the cold, dark underground. The full hike down the Natural Entrance and into the Big Room is 2.5 miles and should take a few hours; without the walk in, the hike is 1.25 miles, with a .6-mile shortcut also possible, and parts of the Big Room are wheelchair accessible . If you want something spicier, sign up for a ranger-led tour of Lower Cave , which requires descending 60 feet of ladders and ropes to a series of smaller rooms with crazy rock features, like the skinny, tall “Texas Toothpick” or “cave pearls,” which look like clusters of eggs ($20, reservations required).

Sherwood Forest, Carlsbad Caverns

Where to Stay: Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns are close enough that one campground works as a base camp to explore both. Check out Pine Springs Campground in Guadalupe Mountains, which has 20 tent sites and 13 RV sites you can reserve in advance ($20 a night). A number of hiking trails (including Devil’s Hall) begin here. The closest campground to White Sands is in Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, which has private desert sites ($10 per night). The backcountry campsites in White Sands are closed indefinitely, but nearby Alamogordo has a variety of chain hotels.

4. Denali National Park to Kenai Fjords National Park

Distance: 400 miles, duration: five-plus days, but if you’re flying all the way to alaska, take your time.

Two people on bikes gaze at Denali

Alaska is an awe-inspiring collection of giant mountains, permanent ice fields, and jagged coast, and Denali and Kenai Fjords national parks encapsulate choice slices of that unique topography. Denali National Park covers more than 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior, including the 20,310-foot Denali, but also the tundra and spruce forest that surround it and attract big-time wildlife like caribou and brown bears. Kenai Fjords National Park couldn’t be more different; instead of forest and towering peaks, it’s home to 600,000 acres of glaciers, inlets, bays, and islands. More than half of the park is covered in snow and ice year round, and the majority is accessed by water. While much of Alaska isn’t conducive to road trips because of a lack of roads, these two parks are less than 400 miles apart and connected by highways.

Williwaw Lakes Trail, Chugach State Park, Anchorage, Alaska

The two-lane blacktop between the main destinations rolls out like a highlight reel of Alaska, offering views of Denali’s snow-capped peaks at one point and the Cook Inlet at another. Keep an eye out for Beluga whales, which live and breed in the inlet. Chugach State Park , with its 3,000-foot mountains, is also on the route.

A visitor can fly into Anchorage, halfway between the two parks. You’ll basically have to ditch the car at each destination, as car travel is limited in both parks. There are few roads in Kenai, and the main road through Denali is limited to shuttle traffic to minimize impact on the landscape. But that’s part of the charm here.

Denali National Park and Preserve

Adventures in Denali: Denali isn’t a “drive through” park. In fact, private vehicles aren’t allowed past mile 15 of the scenic Denali Park Road, though bikes get the green light. To ride in, start at the Savage River Visitor Center (mile 15) and bike to Sable Pass between miles 37 and 42, where the final 1,500-foot climb to the pass is rewarded by views that stretch all the way to Denali itself. But Sable Pass is best known for its wildlife. Mostly treeless and full of berry bushes, it attracts brown bears, caribou, and Dall sheep, which often graze in the tundra near the road. From the top of the pass, you can turn around and bike back, or, if you pre-arrange it, hop on the free Savage River Shuttle , which has bike racks. Bike Denali offers rentals (starting at $75 per day).

Or consider a guided rafting trip on the Nenana River, a glacier-fed stream that forms the eastern border of Denali. Book a mild or wild day trip with Denali Raft Adventures . The 11-mile canyon run is packed with class IV rapids with names like “Coffee Grinder,” and the full ride, for ages 12 and up, is a brisk two hours. A different short option, the two-hour-long Wilderness Run, is ideal for young families, as it contains mostly class I-II rapids and offers a good chance to see wildlife like moose and caribou. (From $130 a person, May through September).

Adventures in Kenai: Kenai is a coastal park with most of its goods accessed via boat, but land lovers have options, too. Hike on the edge of the Harding Ice Field , the largest permanent ice field in the U.S., stretching for 700 square miles and feeding Exit Glacier, which forms a half-mile-wide river of ice that melts into Exit Creek. Start at the Exit Glacier Nature Center and hike the 8.2-mile out-and-back Harding Icefield Trail , which climbs a total of 3,000 feet through the surrounding forest to gigantic views of the icefield. If you really want to throw yourself into the landscape, book an intro-to-ice climbing trip with Exit Glacier Guides , exploring crevasses and climbing pitches of vertical ice with use of rope, crampons, and axes ($249 per person).

Harding Glacier Trail Gaia

For a water-borne adventure, head to Bear Glacier Lagoon, 12 miles south of Seward, where a thin beach separates a glacier-fed lake from the Gulf of Alaska. The lake sits in a deep bowl rising to green ridges, and the water is littered with house-sized icebergs. Liquid Adventures offers fully outfitted day trips to the lagoon ($550 per person).

kayaking in Bear Lake Lagoon, Kenai Fjords National Park

Where to Stay : In Denali, book a spot at Savage River Campground , which has 32 sites tucked into a spruce forest ($49 a night). Located on mile 13 on the Denali Park Road, it’s easy to reach with a car (some campgrounds in Denali are only accessible by shuttle bus), but the real prize is access to Savage River and incredible views of Denali via a short gravel-road walk. Reservations are recommended, but not required. In Kenai, Exit Glacier Campground has 12 walk-in tent sites, first-come, first-served. They’re free, but fill up most nights during July and August. The Seward Adventure Lodge , in the middle of downtown Seward, is a seven-room mid-century-era motel with renovated rooms located just minutes from the edge of Kenai ($190 per night, two night minimum).

5. Mesa Verde and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parks

Distance: 160 miles, duration: three days.

Mesa Verde National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park gets most of the love in Colorado, and while it’s incredible, the Centennial State has other unforgettable national-park units. Mesa Verde National Park and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are nestled into the southwest corner of the state, proximal enough to make for an ideal weekend road trip. Mesa Verde is a cultural treasure, containing more than 5,000 archaeological sites, including the early cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is altogether different, enveloping a nearly 2,500-foot-deep gorge surrounding the Gunnison River. It’s a deep, dark chasm with sheer vertical walls, rugged hiking and climbing, boating, and world-class trout fishing.

iconic mountain town of Telluride

You can fly into Durango to kick the trip off, and Telluride is smack dab in the middle of the route between parks if you want to throw in a visit to a classic mountain town. The Jud Weibe Trail , a locals’ favorite and handy but fantastic afternoon outing, offers views of the ski area and entire valley on varied and forested terrain.

The majority of this road trip cruises through San Juan National Forest on a highway with views of some of Colorado’s tallest and most iconic peaks, including the 14,158-foot Mount Sneffels and 14,023-foot Wilson Peak. You’ll pass right through Telluride, but you can also make a 22-mile roundtrip detour to Ouray to soak in the hot springs.

Mount Sneffels from Yankee Boy Basin, Colorado

Adventures in Mesa Verde: Get your bearings by driving the six-mile Mesa Top Loop Road, which winds along past excavated mesa-top villages, with overlooks to see cliff dwellings, including the Cliff Palace, which archaeologists believe could house up to 100 people. There are 30 miles of hiking trails inside the park, so you can see a lot of the area in a day. If you’re limited on time, hike the 2.4-mile Petroglyph Point Trail , which will have you squeezing through boulder passages and traversing cliffside singletrack to a large petroglyph panel. To see the cliff dwellings up close, reserve a spot on a ranger-led Cliff Dwelling Tour ($8 per person, reservations possible 14 days in advance). The Balcony House Tour is the most adventurous: you ascend a cliff face into the 700-year-old dwelling via a series of ladders, then worm through a narrow tunnel that connects rooms.

Canyon Descent, Tomichi Route, Black Canyon National Pari

Adventures in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison : The BCOG is a tough canyon to navigate, as there are no bridges connecting the North Rim and South Rim, so it’s a circuitous two-hour drive between the two sides of the park. The South Rim is the more developed, with a dozen overlooks, a visitors’ center, and an 88-site campground. The North Rim is more primitive, with a gravel road providing access to a few developed trails and a handful of overlooks. Both sides are stunning, but I’m pointing you to the South Rim for its hiking and scrambling routes. If you want to stretch your legs and enjoy the view, stroll the two-mile Rim Rock Nature Trail for shots of the canyon and river below. But you’re here for the scramble to the bottom of the gorge via the unmarked Tomichi Route , which drops 1,960 feet in just one mile (the park allows use of the trail and offers a video about it). There’s a lot of down climbing and loose rock, but at the bottom you’ll have the Gunnison River all to yourself. Bring a fly rod; the Gunnison is a gold-medal trout stream. This is a full-day adventure, and you’ll need a permit (free) to descend into the canyon. Get one at the South Rim Visitor Center.

Gunnison River, Black Canyon

Where to Stay : Both parks have large campgrounds, if you want to keep it simple and budget friendly. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison’s South Rim Campground is convenient (only a mile from the visitors’ center), but don’t expect a ton of privacy ($20 a night, reservations recommended). The North Rim has a smaller campground , with 13 sites separated by piñon and juniper trees ($20 a night, first-come, first-served). Morefield Campground , in Mesa Verde, is large, with 267 sites within a broad, grassy canyon ($38 a night, reserve in advance).

If you want to spend a night in Telluride, check out The Bivvi , an upscale hostel with private or shared rooms that caters to road trippers (from $40 per night).

Graham Averill is Outside magazine’s national parks columnist. He’s currently trying to convince his 15-year-old twins to re-create the national parks road trip they undertook a decade ago. It’s not going well.

man in van Joshua Tree National Parl

For more by this writer:

The 9 Most Fun Adventure Lodges in North America
The 9 Best Gateway Towns to U.S. National Parks
The 8 Most Adventurous States in America. Number 1 Is …
11 Remote Destinations That Are Definitely Worth the Effort to Visit
  • Denali National Park and Preserve
  • Fly Fishing
  • Joshua Tree National Park

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Best National Park Day Tour out of Vegas? - Las Vegas Forum

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Best National Park Day Tour out of Vegas?

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' class=

Hello everyone,

1. Antelope Canyon and Big Bend

2. Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park

3. 7 Magic Mountains and Valley of Fire

4. South Grand Canyon

For anyone that has been on any of these, please offer some insight. I feel like I can’t go wrong with any of these. But I’m sure some valuable feedback will help in my ultimate decision.

I look forward to any responses.

13 replies to this topic

' class=

Horseshoe Bend.

An innocent mistake.

For a "day trip" just do Valley of Fire and call it a "day". You won't be disappointed. Any of your other choices you will not only be disappointed (at not staying longer) but totally exhausted.

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National Nurses Week 2024: Chipotle's free burrito giveaway, more deals and discounts

Nurses should be celebrated every day, but they do have a special week: national nurses week, which runs may 6-12. restaurants like chipotle and buffalo wild wings have specials during the week..

national park day trips from las vegas

Chipotle is giving away 100,000 burritos for National Nurses Week. And you don't necessarily have to be a nurse to get in on the deal.

From Monday, May 6, to Friday, May 10, healthcare workers can sign up for a chance to win a free burrito e-card on the Chipotle website . At the end of National Nurses Week, 100,000 healthcare workers will be randomly selected to get an email asking them to verify their employment status via ID.me. Those who successfully verify that within 48 hours will get a free burrito e-card.

Customers can get in on the action, too, by purchasing limited-edition Chipotle Healthcare Heroes E-Gift Cards online; 10% of the proceeds from the gift card purchases will be donated to the American Nurses Foundation. And throughout the month of May, you can round up your online or app orders to the nearest dollar amount. 100% of those proceeds will go to the foundation.

National Nurses Week 2024: A RN reflects on the state of the profession, calls for change

When is National Nurses Week?

National Nurses Week is observed annually May 6 through May 12.

What is National Nurses Week?

National Nurses Week grew out of a congressional resolution and proclamation signed by President Reagan in 1982 deeming May 6 as a National Recognition Day for Nurses.

The American Nurses Association board of directors expanded this to a National Nurses Week in 1990. The permanent dates for the week were designated in 1993 to be officially observed starting in 1994.

The week includes National School Nurses Day on May 8 and May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, which has been celebrated as International Nurse Day since 1974.

More ways to save: Visit USA TODAY's coupons page for deals from thousands of vendors

National Nurses Week 2024 freebies, deals and discounts

Here's a roundup of freebies, deals, discounts and other specials for National Nurses Week.

  • Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza: Nurses get a 20% discount on all orders with a valid ID from Monday, May 6, to Sunday, May 12.
  • BurgerFi: Nurses get a 20% discount on all orders with a valid ID from Monday, May 6, to Sunday, May 12.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: From Monday, May 6, to May 12, nurses get 20% off their orders with valid IDs on dine-in, call-in, and walk-in orders.
  • Buzz E-Bikes and Huffy Bicycles : Both United Wheels -owned companies give nurses 20% off online purchases year-round when verifying their ID.me at checkout.
  • Create Amor: Through June 7, get 25% off orders for scrubs (use the code NURSE25) and $1 per set (top and bottom) will be donated to the American Nurses Foundation. The scrubs brand will also donate 100% of proceeds from each Iris Five Pocket Top sold directly to the foundation.
  • Dunkin': Nurses can get a free medium hot or iced coffee, no purchase necessary, on Monday, May 6. (The deal excludes Frozen Coffee, Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew. Espresso shots, flavors, dairy alternatives & cold foam may be an additional charge.)
  • Firehouse Subs: The sandwich chain has a week of specials available starting Monday through its Firehouse Rewards loyalty program and app including (on Wednesday) BOGO Hook & Ladder Subs and (on Friday) two medium sandwiches for $12 or two large sandwiches for $18.
  • Free Rein Coffee Company: Nurses, first responders and medical providers get 20% off all year long from "Yellowstone" star Cole Hauser's brew brand by verifying with ID.me. Also eligible for the 20% discount: military members.
  • The Good Feet Store : The retailer, with more than 250 locations, will give nurses a complimentary pair of Architek Comfort Slip-Ons and three pairs of OS1st Comfort socks with the purchase of at least a Good Feet Store 3-Step Arch Support System. (Note: if Architeks are not available, a pair of Brooks running shoes will be provided. Valid nurse's ID is required.)
  • The Greene Turtle: All nurses and healthcare workers with a valid ID get a free meal (value of up to $15) on Monday, May 6.
  • Happy Joe’ s Pi zza & Ice Cream: Nurses get a 10% discount at participating locations from Monday to Friday, May 6-10.
  • honeygrow: Nominate a nursing team for $250 worth of catering from the fast-casual chain with 33 locations in the eastern U.S. Submit your nomination on the honeygrow website before Wednesday, May 8. Five winning teams will be announced on May 10 via honeygrow's social media platforms.
  • HTeaO: The iced tea chain will give healthcare personnel 50% off cups of tea from Monday, May 13, to Sunday, May 26, with a valid hospital, doctors office, and school nurse ID.
  • Insomnia C ookies: The Philadelphia-based late-night bakery chain with more than 240 locations is giving nurses a free Classic cookie in-store, no purchase necessary, all week beginning Monday, May 6. (Just show a valid ID; availability varies by location.)
  • KIND Snacks: Nurses get 15% off their purchases on the website all year long. Customers just verify with ID.me at checkout.
  • Landing: The flexible rental firm, with sites especially practical for travel nurses, is giving away prizes including three months' rent. Nurses can enter to win by submitting a 60-second video and others can nominate a nurse, too.
  • Logan's Roadhouse: Nurses get 20% off their entrée this week. Just show your badge.
  • McAlister’s Deli: Nurses can get free tea – either one big Sweet Tea, Unsweet Tea, ½ Sweet & ½ Unsweet Tea, or ½ Lemonade & ½ Sweet/Unsweet Tea (flavor shots excluded) – at McAlister's Deli from Monday, May 6, to Sunday, May 12, with their badge or ID. Offer valid in-store only; no purchase necessary.
  • Moe’s Southwest Grill: Cater a Moe's Southwest Grill meal for nurses from Monday, May 6, to Sunday, May 12, and when you spend $300 or more, get a $50 E-gift card (use code THANKYOU24). Good at participating locations; not valid with other offers or third-party delivery. Doesn't include tax, tip and fees.
  • Pancheros: Nurses can buy one entrée and get one free on Wednesday, May 8, at participating restaurants. (Offer good in-restaurant; just present a valid hospital badge at checkout.)
  • The Parking Spot: The parking company is giving healthcare workers 25% off parking during their trips; just signup with an associated healthcare email account .
  • Peter Piper Pizza : Nurses can get a free personal pizza every day Monday through Friday (May 6-10). Redemption is limited to once per day; valid nurse ID/credentials must be shown.
  • Postino: The restaurant chain, with more than 25 locations in five states , will give nurses its $25 Board and Bottle (bruschetta board, plus a bottle of wine) all day every day during the month of May with badge/ID. (The special is usually only available Monday and Tuesday 8 p.m. to closing.)
  • Potbelly Sandwich Works: Nurses get a free cookie or fountain drink with the purchase of an entrée by showing their ID Monday, May 6, to Sunday, May 12. Also, all customers can get free delivery on a catering order over $150.
  • Salata Salad Kitchen: On Monday, May 6, Healthcare workers get 20% off their order when they present their badge at checkout. Also from Monday to Friday, get 20% off catering orders of $200 or more, and get free delivery on orders through DoorDash.
  • Shipley Do-Nuts: Nurses who belong the chain's Do-Happy loyalty program can get a free half-dozen box of glazed do-nuts with any purchase on Monday, May 6.
  • Skechers: Nurses get a 10% discount on all styles during the month of May on the Skechers website (valid ID or form of employment required). Online shoppers can also round up the purchase price of May purchases to the nearest dollar with proceeds going to the American Nurses Foundation; donate $5 or more and get $10 off your next $100 purchase in June.
  • Smoothie King: Get $2 off your on Monday and Tuesday via Smoothie King’s Healthy Rewards App (use code THANKS2024). The promo code may be used multiple times. Also, Friday, May 3, to Friday, May 10, when you buy $25 or more in gift cards online, get a bonus of 2,000 Healthy Reward points.
  • Sockwell: Nurses get a free pair of socks when they buy three pairs at full price May 6-12 on the Sockwell website (excludes closeouts and 3-packs).
  • Yogurtland: Through May 14, the frozen yogurt chain is offering free delivery on orders of more than $15 made through the website or mobile app (use the code FREEDELIVERY).
  • Zaxby's : Nurses can buy one Boneless Wings Meal and get a second one free on May 7 at participating locations (redeemable through the Zaxby's app or website for Zax Rewardz members, while supplies last).
  • Zips Car Wash:  Nurses can get a $5 "Pro" Wash at any Zips Car Wash or Rocket Express location across the country through May 19 with wash code 3687.

Follow Mike Snider on X and Threads:  @mikesnider  & mikegsnider .

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national park day trips from las vegas

Las Vegas to Zion National Park: A One Week Road Trip

A re you looking for a great family road trip? We’ve got the perfect itinerary that is full of natural beauty! Let’s travel from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, and explore the amazing destinations along the way. 

Las Vegas to Zion National Park – Southwest Road Trip

It is possible to take a day trip from Las Vegas to Zion. The drive is 2.5-hours each way, but why rush? You don’t want to breeze past the natural wonders and incredible memories that await you in the American Southwest. And you’ll want at least a couple of days exploring Zion. So we created an 8-day itinerary that showcases some of America’s most unique beauty, even if it means taking a few detours. 

So pack your bags and come along as we create the ultimate Las Vegas to Zion National Park itinerary. 

When is the best time for a Las Vegas to Zion National Park road trip?

Fall is an amazing time for a southwest road trip. The weather is cooler and the crowds are thinner. Winter and even spring might include a rare snowfall, and summer can reach extremely high temperatures, especially in the desert. If you have the time, we choose fall, but spring is a good alternative.

Day 1: Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon

Begin your journey at the Las Vegas airport (LAS), where you will hire a rental car and head to stop #1 – Grand Canyon National Park. It’s about a four-hour drive to the main park, so we recommend skipping any Vegas sightseeing for now. 

The sooner you arrive at the Grand Canyon, the better. You’ll likely want to allow enough time to check out the visitors center at the park entrance and use the free shuttles to access different viewpoints. Plus, you can stretch your legs along part of the Canyon Rim Trail, which has fantastic views of the canyon and the Colorado River. 

For the best sunset views, head to Hopi Point. After that, you’ll likely be ready to rest up for another exciting day tomorrow. 

Where to Stay

El Tovar Hotel is a historic hotel right on the rim of the Grand Canyon. There’s an onsite restaurant, a nice little gift shop, and free parking. 

Under Canvas Grand Canyon offers a unique glamping experience less than 30 minutes from the National Park. Luxe tents feature private bathrooms and comfortable beds. Plus, there’s a restaurant and fire pits onsite. 

Clear Sky Resorts is about 25 minutes from Grand Canyon Village. Here, you can stay in unique glamping domes with fantastic star-gazing opportunities. 

Day 2: Grand Canyon to Page

On the second day of your adventures, you’ll take your time heading to Page, Arizona. There’s no huge rush to begin this two-hour drive, so finish up any Grand Canyon sightseeing in the morning to make it to Page by early afternoon.

Just south of Page, you’ll want to stop at Horseshoe Bend, which features a ¾-mile hike out to the scenic overlook. This is a great place to see the Colorado River in action, and stretch your legs for a bit. 

The next stop is Glen Canyon Dam, a massive dam set among the beautiful sandstone cliffs of Arizona. This is an easy and quick stop with lots of nice scenery. 

Glen Canyon Dam created Lake Powell, the final stop on today’s journey. It’s stunning to see, as the lake reflects the desert scenery. It’s a popular destination for all kinds of watersports. 

Where to Stay in Page

Hyatt Place Page/Lake Powell has a great location near Page’s best destinations, so you won’t have to drive far after seeing Glen Canyon Dam and Horseshoe Bend. There’s also onsite breakfast, a pool, and nice views. 

Shash Dine’ EcoRetreat is a unique opportunity for glamping in the Navajo Nation. The property features bell tents, covered wagons and a cabin, so families are sure to find an accommodation to suit their needs. Star gazing here is second to none and guests can enjoy cookouts and stories around the fire pit.

Day 3: Page, Upper Antelope Canyon, & Lake Powell

Get an early start on Day 3, as you’ve got a lot to see in and around Page, Arizona. One of the most memorable attractions nearby is Upper Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon located on Navajo land. You must book a tour to see the canyon – visit  the official Antelope Canyon site here  to see approved tour companies. Tours typically last about an hour and a half. 

Another great thing to do in the area is join a boat tour on Lake Powell . These guided journeys are the best ways to see the lake’s scenery without worrying about navigating the tricky waterscape. 

There are many great options, so consider choosing something that aligns with your tour of Upper Antelope Canyon. A Lake Powell day tour could include hiking stops, or you can opt for a simple (and scenic!) dinner cruise. 

You’ll stay put in Page tonight, so there’s no need to change hotels yet. 

Day 4: Page to Zion National Park

It will take a little under two hours to reach Zion National Park . We recommend leaving early, as there’s so much to do once you arrive. Begin your adventure at the Visitors Center, as it will help you get your bearings and allow you to learn about this unique place. 

After you get your bearings, hop back in the car and head to the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. This is a can’t-miss, and you may want to explore some of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive as well. 

Today is a great day for a couple of short hikes: Pa’rus Trail is 3.5 miles roundtrip and close to the Visitors Center. Or, for something even easier, consider the 1-mile Grotto Trail, which has excellent wildlife viewing. 

Plan to spend a little time exploring the nearby town of Springdale, Utah. It has a charming small downtown area and is close to Grafton Ghost Town, which kids of all ages will love to see. 

Where to Stay near Zion National Park

Zion Wildflower Resort has covered wagons that sleep up to six people – they’re a unique stay and are super Instagram-worthy. Or, opt for one of their private bungalows or glamping tents. 

Cliffrose Springdale is a riverfront hotel within walking distance of the Zion Visitor Center. There’s onsite breakfast, a seasonal pool, and a waterfall hot tub. 

Best Western Plus Zion Canyon Inn & Suites is in a quiet, scenic setting just outside the park. Enjoy free breakfast, a seasonal pool, and private balconies. 

Day 5: Zion National Park

Today is your full day in Zion National Park! You’ll get to see some of the best sights around the park and simply enjoy the breathtaking surroundings. 

The most popular hike in Zion is the Narrows, so if the weather is right, you should plan on including this. You’ll walk through the narrowest parts of the gorge, surrounded by thousand-foot walls.

It can be tricky since you have to wade through the river, but it’s a really fun adventure for kids who are old enough to enjoy it. Be sure to check in with a local outfitter to ensure you have the right gear.

If you’re lucky enough to get a permit to hike Angels Landing , it’s an incredible adventure. However, it is steep and strenuous, so make sure the entire family is up for it (or willing to sit it out while the rest of the group embarks). 

Have you ever heard of Zion’s Emerald Pools? Hiking the lower Emerald Pool will take you to a stunning waterfall. Upper and Middle Emerald Pool trails will take you to even more sweeping views. 

Beyond hiking, you can also swim in the Virgin River or bike along the Pa’rus Trail. Be sure to explore the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive if you didn’t get it in yesterday!

This will be your second night staying in Zion, so there’s no need to change hotels tonight.

Day 6: Zion to Las Vegas

It’s time to return to Vegas, but our adventure isn’t over yet! We’ll get to see Snow Canyon State Park , a true gem that’s just an hour west of Springdale. 

Here, you’ll be surrounded by sandstone cliffs, volcanic cinder cones, and petrified cliffs. There are 38 miles of hiking trails throughout the state park. We recommend Johnson’s Canyon and Lava Flow trails for their varied landscapes. 

To really get into the Western spirit, consider joining a horseback riding tour through Snow Canyon State Park – it’s a great way to enjoy the incredible scenery. 

If you have extra time, check out nearby St. George, Utah. Kids will love the Dinosaur Discovery Site, and its downtown area has cute shops and restaurants. 

St. George is less than two hours away from Las Vegas. You’ll spend the next day out on the town, so you can take your time getting there. 

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

Feel free to opt for a family-friendly Vegas hotel tonight. For family vacations, we recommend the  Bellagio Hotel & Casino ,  Wynn Las Vegas , or  The Venetian Resort Las Vegas .

Day 7: Las Vegas

You’ve seen some of the best scenery in the American Southwest. Now it’s time to enjoy a short visit to Sin City. 

For family-friendly fun near the Las Vegas Strip, we recommend checking out Stratosphere Adventures, TopGolf, the Pinball Hall of Fame, and the Bellagio Fountains Nighttime Show.  If you need more ideas, you’ll want this list of the best family-friendly activities in Las Vegas or the best things to do in Las Vegas with teens .

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, consider checking out Red Rock Canyon or taking an off-roading tour of the desert . 

This will be your second night in your Las Vegas hotel. 

Day 8 – Las Vegas to Home

Your Las Vegas to Zion National Park road trip has come to an end. Now it’s time to return to the airport and fly back home. Some families plan for a later flight to pack in a little more Vegas excitement. Or, you might be ready to catch an early flight and rest up at home. 

What was your favorite day of your road trip? From the noisy streets of Las Vegas to the echoing walls of Zion, you’ve seen some of the best scenery in the United States. Now it’s time to plan for your next family road trip!

The post Las Vegas to Zion National Park: A One Week Road Trip appeared first on Kids Are A Trip™ .

Thinking about a Las Vegas to Zion National Park road trip? Here is a one-week itinerary that will help you plan your stops and where to stay.

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  2. Day Trips from Las Vegas and Longer Excursions

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  5. Top 5 National Parks Near Las Vegas (Best Day Trips from Las Vegas!)

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  6. 25 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas You Can't Miss » Local Adventurer

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COMMENTS

  1. The Ultimate 10-Day National Park Itinerary From Las Vegas

    To get a feel for all the attractions you're going to be visiting, here's a quick breakdown of your 10-day Las Vegas national park itinerary: Day 1: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park to Page, AZ. Day 2: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley. Day 3: Canyonlands National Park.

  2. 5 Best Zion National Park Day Trips from Las Vegas

    5. Far, Wild West, the ultimate Zion National Park tour from Las Vegas. The next day, your group will journey past Lake Powell and have the option to upgrade to an Antelope Canyon tour (~$60). Then, take a 4×4 through Monument Valley while a Navajo guide shares stories about the history of the land.

  3. 3-Day National Parks Tour: Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon

    Explore the Western United States' stunning desert landscapes on this 3-day tour from Las Vegas. With an expert guide, visit Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and the Grand Canyon. See Lake Powell and other land and water formations as you travel through the beautiful deserts of Arizona and Utah. All ground transportation, two nights of accommodation, entrance fees, and daily ...

  4. 22 Incredible Day Trips from Las Vegas You'll Absolutely Love

    One of the best day trips from Las Vegas is visiting Zion National Park in Utah. Just over 2.5 hours from Vegas, Zion offers incredible views and adventures you'll love. The perfect Zion itinerary for one day is to take the shuttle into the Zion Scenic Drive to see the impressive canyon. If you're up for adventure, hike The Narrows.

  5. 8 National Park Tours From Las Vegas In 2024

    Private Day Tour to Zion National Park From Las Vegas by Detours American West. Zion National Park is located in southern Utah and is about 2.5 hours from Las Vegas. Zion National Park is a beautiful nature preserve with steep cliffs, beautifully colored rocks, and endless scenic routes. Zion is Utah's first national park.

  6. Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park Day Tour from Las Vegas

    What to expect. Departure and return. Start: Treasure Island - TI Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, a Radisson Hotel, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA. Tour Bus pick-up Area is on Sirens Cove Blvd, West of Valet and Starbucks, and will meet at the yellow curbed sidewalk. End: This activity ends back at the meeting point.

  7. 21 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas (By a Local)

    Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the top day trips from Las Vegas by car. But it's a longer drive, so consider places to stay in St. George, Utah, located nearby. Snow Canyon State Park. Journey through unique sand dunes and lava tubes at this unique day trip spot.

  8. 15 Best Day Trips From Las Vegas

    Here are 15 great day trips from Las Vegas including national parks and the Extraterrestrial Highway. ... another 2.5-hour drive from Vegas. The park is known for its deep canyons and jagged cliff ...

  9. Escape to Zion: A Must-Do day trip to Zion National Park from Las Vegas

    Driving to Zion National Park. One of the best ways to embark on a Las Vegas to Zion National Park day trip is by driving a car. This approximately 160-mile journey takes around 2-3 hours and offers an incredible scenic route through three different states - Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.

  10. Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park Day Tour from Las Vegas

    Visit two of Utah's national parks, Zion and Bryce Canyon, in just one day with this full-day tour from Las Vegas. Discover a surreal desert landscape of sandstone cliffs, canyons, mesas, and unusual hoodoo rock formations. Stop at the Visitor Center and Checkerboard Mesa at Zion, and explore different scenic viewpoints at Bryce Canyon. the way, pass by the Virgin River Gorge and St. George.

  11. 20 Incredible National Parks Near Las Vegas

    Distance from Las Vegas: 2 hours, 40 minutes (160 miles). Zion is one of our country's most visited national parks, in part because it is within a day's drive of several metropolitan areas ...

  12. 17 Fun Day Trips from Las Vegas

    6. Zion National Park. At a glance: one of most popular national parks in the nation with jaw-dropping landscapes and enormous red rock formations. Distance from Las Vegas: 159.6 miles, 2 hours and 40 minutes. In just over two hours from Las Vegas you can leave the entire state of Nevada behind.

  13. 8 Incredible Must-Do Day Trips From Las Vegas (2024 Guide)

    1. Grand Canyon National Park. Distance from Las Vegas: 130 miles/210 km to the West Rim (the shortest route of three rims to visit) How Long it Takes: 2½ hours; Located in Northern Arizona, the world-famous Grand Canyon is one of the most visited natural landmarks in the nation.It stretches 278 miles along the Colorado River and is the ancestral homeland of 11 Associated Tribes.

  14. 18 Exciting Day Trips from Las Vegas (+ Map and Tips)!

    Day Trip from Las Vegas to Zion National Park. Utah's first national park makes for one of the most fabulous day trips from Las Vegas you can do. Humans have lived in and around Zion for 10,000 years! With its stunning red and pink sandstone cliffs, and its wealth of flora and fauna, Zion National Park offers a variety of activities for the ...

  15. Explore America's Top National Park Tours from Las Vegas

    Key Takeaways. Las Vegas serves as a perfect starting point for exploring some of America's most stunning national parks, including Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite and Joshua Tree. Various types of national park tours are available from Las Vegas such as bus tours, hiking tours, helicopter tours and combination tours ...

  16. 7 Epic Road Trips From Las Vegas to National Parks

    Las Vegas to Joshua Tree National Park. 215 miles. 3.5 hours. Visiting Joshua Tree National Park on a road trip from Las Vegas is a timeless Nevada to California road trip. Located in southern California, both families and solo travelers alike will enjoy Joshua Tree's peaceful desert beauty and starry dark skies.

  17. 16 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas (Ultimate Guide & Map)

    52 miles (49 min) half-day. Zion National Park (South Entrance) 164 miles (2 hr 40min) full-day. Most popular day trips from Las Vegas are marked with an *. That's a lot of day trips from Las Vegas! The linked locations are the ones where we've written a detailed visitor guide about the destination.

  18. Small-Group Death Valley National Park Day Tour from Las Vegas

    Special Offer. Las Vegas, Nevada. Death Valley National Park&Rhyolite Ghost Town 1-Day Tour from LV. 1. from $238.05. $264.50 $26.45 savings. Las Vegas, Nevada. Private tour for up to 7 to Antelope Canyon X and Horseshoe Bend. 2.

  19. National Park Tours From Las Vegas: Grand Canyon, Zion, Death Valley

    Distances Between Las Vegas and the Main Parks. Las Vegas - Grand Canyon: 4 hours. Las Vegas - Antelope Canyon: 4 hours. Las Vegas - Monument Valley: 7 hours. Las Vegas - Zion National Park: 2.30 hours. Las Vegas - Bryce National Park: 4 hours. Las Vegas - Death Valley: 2.20 hours. Las Vegas - Yellowstone: 11-12 hours.

  20. Death Valley National Park Day Trip from Las Vegas

    Please bring layered clothing, a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes. show more frequently asked questions. Reserve Now $259.00 / per person. Escape the city and discover the extreme landscapes of Death Valley. Small group day tour from Las Vegas with air-conditioned transport and local guide.

  21. Day Trips from Las Vegas to The Narrows, Zion National Park

    2 Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. 3 Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 4 V Theater. 5 The Mob Museum. 6 A Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. 7 Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. 8 Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. 9 Fremont Street Experience. 10 Fremont Street.

  22. 10 Best Grand Canyon Tours From Las Vegas That Are Worth Taking

    Tour: Extreme RZR Tour of Hidden Valley and Primm from Las Vegas. Cost: From $195.00/person. Duration: 4 to 5 hours. Book this tour. RELATED: 10 Best Hotels In Las Vegas. Horseback Riding At Red ...

  23. The Ultimate 10-Day National Park Itinerary From Las Vegas

    Whether you're an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, this 10-day national park itinerary will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds Las Vegas. So, throw on your hiking boots, grab your camera, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.

  24. 7 Road Trip Itineraries From Las Vegas To The Grand Canyon

    10 hours to 7 days. Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Lake Powell. Year-round. Hop in the car and take one of these 7 routes from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon to make your western road ...

  25. 23 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas in 2024

    5. Death Valley National Park. Death Valley National Park is one of the most popular Las Vegas day trips. The 3.4 million acres of the national park is a gorgeous mixture of desert and mountains - a total dream for hiking and sightseeing. It is also the largest national park in the US outside of Alaska.

  26. The Best National Park Road Trips in the U.S.

    Joshua Tree National Park is 800,000 acres of sandstone boulders, crusty desert floor, and stands of the eponymous trees, while 250 miles north, Death Valley is the largest national park in the ...

  27. See 9 National Parks on This Picturesque Road Trip Through the ...

    Day 1 and 2: Las Vegas to Zion National Park. After picking up a car in Las Vegas and making the three-hour journey to Zion National Park in Utah, the fun begins. The first park on the Grand ...

  28. Best National Park Day Tour out of Vegas?

    I've narrowed my options down to the tours of: 1. Antelope Canyon and Big Bend. 2. Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. 3. 7 Magic Mountains and Valley of Fire. 4. South Grand Canyon. For anyone that has been on any of these, please offer some insight.

  29. National Nurses Week 2024: Freebies, deals and discounts for nurses

    Here's a roundup of freebies, deals, discounts and other specials for National Nurses Week. Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza: Nurses get a 20% discount on all orders with a valid ID from Monday, May 6 ...

  30. Las Vegas to Zion National Park: A One Week Road Trip

    Las Vegas to Zion National Park - Southwest Road Trip. It is possible to take a day trip from Las Vegas to Zion. The drive is 2.5-hours each way, but why rush?