Las Vegas is a bustling city with a lot to offer, but sometimes you want to get away from the busy urban lifestyle and relax for a day. The areas surrounding Las Vegas are filled with some of the most stunning natural beauty in the country and fun attractions to enjoy. Our Crème de la Crème staff recommends these five day trips from Las Vegas for you to try.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is one of the most famous and beloved sites to explore near Vegas. Its coppery rocks are a stunning backdrop in this conservation area, making it a hiker’s dream, with 26 trails of all difficulty levels winding through the canyon. You can take a relaxing walk or a challenging uphill climb. You’ll see beautiful scenery no matter which route you take at Red Rock Canyon. You can spot desert wildflowers in bloom from late March to early May. You may also spot some native wildlife in the area.
Make sure you stop by and see the petroglyphs, with drawings estimated to have been created over 800 years ago, a short walk from the Willow Springs Picnic Area. Red Rock Canyon is only 23 miles from Las Vegas. The entry price is $15 per vehicle, so feel free to bring along friends or family. Take in the natural wonders of the canyon at 1000 Scenic Loop Drive in Las Vegas.
Valley of Fire State Park
The geological wonders at Valley of Fire State Park lie just under an hour away from Las Vegas by car. The incredible landscape in the park was formed by shifting dunes over 150 million years ago. Its name refers to the unique Aztec sandstone that appears to blaze in the sunlight. This land is dated as prehistoric and is home to 2,500-year-old petroglyphs as well as stunning geological features, and you may even spot some dinosaur bones.
There are many trails within the park, but some favorites of hikers are the petroglyph-covered Atlatl Rock, Elephant Rock, and the iconic Fire Wave Trail. Any of these trails is a great place to start your exploration. Also, along the way through the park, there are many spots for rock climbing. If you want to relax, you can drive through the scenic landscape of the park.
Entry to the park is $10 per in-state vehicle and $15 for cars with out-of-state plates. If you have more time and want to stay over and see the stars, it’s $20 for tent camping or $30 for a full campsite hook-up. No matter what you choose to do in the park, you’re sure to come away with incredible photos and cherished memories. Start your journey at 29450 Valley of Fire Highway in Overton.
The Hoover Dam
Less than 40 miles from Las Vegas, you can tour the Hoover Dam and Hoover Dam Visitor Center at 81 Hoover Dam Access Road in Boulder City. The Hoover Dam is one of the most ambitious projects in the country, a gigantic 726-foot-tall dam that crosses the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona.
It’s free to walk through and learn about the dam from information plaques, or you can take a tour. A self-guided tour is $10 and admits you to an observation deck where you’ll take a 360-degree view of the dam, Lake Mead, the Colorado River, and Hoover Bypass Bridge. You may opt for a guided power plant tour for $15, which takes you through the original construction tunnels. You’ll also be admitted to a viewing platform that gives you a view of the pipes and lets you feel the rumble of the water as it passes through.
Finally, for $30, you can visit the tunnels and catch a ride on an elevator, which takes you to the top of the dam. You’ll also tour the dam’s inspection tunnels, which offer a view of the Colorado river. There’s paid parking at the Visitor Center, or if you don’t mind a walk, you can park for free on the Arizona side of the dam.
Death Valley National Park
Just over two hours away from Las Vegas, you’ll find Death Valley National Park, the nation’s lowest, driest, and hottest national park. Death Valley is home to extreme weather, with the high mountain peaks covered in winter snow and the basin offering record summer temperatures. Tourist attractions include the Mesquite Sand Dunes, Badwater Basin — the lowest point in the United States that you can walk across, and many short scenic drives throughout the park.
A four-wheel-drive vehicle is optimal for the best Death Valley National Park experience, allowing you to conquer this national treasure’s various surfaces and road conditions. The park entrance fee is currently $30 per vehicle, payable at an automated pay station. You’ll need to leave the ticket or recipe on your dashboard for your visit. If you leave Vegas by 6 a.m., you’ll have plenty of time to check out all the best parts of Death Valley in the sunlight. Must-see attractions include:
- Dante’s View.
- Twenty-Mule Team Canyon.
- Zabriskie Point.
- Badwater Basin.
- Artist’s Drive.
- Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Another optional visit in Death Valley is the Devil’s Golf Course, lumpy salt flats beds on the way to Badwater Basin. If you walk the salt flats, use caution as they are sharper than they appear. If you’re visiting in the spring or summer months, you may have more daylight available to enjoy additional sites, such as:
- Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch Hike.
- Panamint Springs.
The best time to visit Death Valley is spring because the winter rainfall causes beautiful wildflowers to bloom in the park from the end of March into early April. The temperatures are also more bearable in the spring than in the summer. Winter temperatures make Death Valley a pleasant place to visit; however, you have less daylight in the winter months to enjoy the sites.
Our Crème de la Crème of Las Vegas team hopes this gives you some ideas for great day trips from Las Vegas to enjoy with your family. Getting away from your busy routine and enjoying a relaxing time with your children is essential.