Get away from the bright lights and bustling casinos of Las Vegas with a day trip. Whether your family loves the great outdoors or an educational exploration of historical sights, a day trip can be the ideal way to take a welcome break from the hubbub of the city. Consider these seven family-friendly day trips that you need to try:
Grand Canyon National Park
Image via Flickr by Paul Fundenburg
The Grand Canyon in Arizona needs no introduction. It’s one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural formations, thanks to erosion caused by the Colorado River. At 277 miles long, up to 6,000 feet deep, and 18 miles wide, it’s both the longest and largest canyon on the globe.
Have your kids ever been in a helicopter? Arriving at the bottom of the Grand Canyon by chopper is an extraordinary way to make lasting memories for everyone in the family. On the way down, you’ll catch a glimpse of layered bands of red rock that reveal millions of years of geological history.
Pick your starting point from various viewpoints, like Yavapai Observation Station or the famous Lipan Point. They offer spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset. The Grand Canyon is about a four-hour drive from Vegas. Park entrance fees for your vehicle are $35. For your convenience, you can purchase a digital pass online before you arrive.
Death Valley National Park
Image via Flickr by Bob Dass
You can find the hottest, driest, and lowest national park in the United States at Death Valley National Park. It straddles eastern California and Nevada and is known as the land of extremes, each one a striking contrast to the other.
Although its name is a bit scary, Death Valley is home to many kinds of life, from fields of wildflowers to lush oases full of fish. Its towering peaks offer a refuge for many species of wildlife, such as coyotes, bobcats, and bighorn sheep.
Badwater Basin’s salt flats sit at minus 282 feet below sea level, while majestic pine trees line Telescope Peak Trail. Devil’s Golf Course features breathtaking salt mounds, and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes reach a height of 100 feet. It’s a prime spot for families that enjoy sand-boarding. From Las Vegas, Death Valley’s California entrance near Beatty Junction is a two-hour and 16-minute drive. Be prepared to pay the $30 entrance fee.
Los Angeles, California
Image via Flickr by RuggyBearLA
A family day trip to Los Angeles is a worthy excursion. With its wide variety of unique hotspots, it promises a fun and memorable experience for kids of all ages. Less than four hours away from Vegas, the City of Angels offers plenty of action you can pack into a single day.
The dinosaur exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will spellbind the kids. Stop by the hands-on Discovery Center and wander through the Butterfly Pavilion. Griffith Observatory and the California Science Center are also must-stops. If you’ve had your fill of life in the desert, you can stroll along the water at Santa Monica State Beach before heading home.
Lake Mead National Recreational Area
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If you’re looking for adventures in the great outdoors, take the family to Lake Mead. You can rent a boat or hike the picturesque Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail. It snakes 3.7 miles through five historic railroad tunnels as you work your way toward the Hoover Dam and offers beautiful, panoramic views of the lake.
Have your kiddos ever wondered what it’s like to be a park ranger? Find out at Lake Mead. Children can earn a Junior Ranger badge by completing several activities found in the free, downloadable booklet. All of these Lake Mead recreational adventures are a short 45-minute drive southeast of Las Vegas. Daily entrance fees are just $25 per vehicle.
The Hoover Dam
Image via Flickr by wwarby
Hoover Dam is only a 40-minute drive from Vegas. Take a fun and educational tour of this iconic engineering wonder. The whole family can learn about its unique history and all the challenges that befell its engineers almost a century ago.
Take the elevator ride to the generator room and hang on as you plunge 500 feet down. Step out onto 1930’s-style floors and be prepared to be awed by the 17 massive turbines inside the dam. This marvel provides power to residents in Nevada, Arizona, and California.
Before you head back home, stroll up the steps to the Memorial Bridge for marvelous views of the dam below. It’s the ideal place to snap some great family photographs. Guided tours of Hoover Dam are $30 per person, or take the self-guided exploration for just $10.
Zion National Park
Image via Flickr by John Dame
Located in Utah, just a two and half hour drive from Las Vegas, Zion National Park is one of the most popular spots in the country for outdoor lovers. It’s characterized by steep red cliffs, emerald green pools, and picturesque waterfalls. With hiking trails for all ages and fitness levels, it’s a terrific day trip destination for active families.
A trip to Zion offers many opportunities to explore, learn, and connect with nature, such as rock climbing, picnicking, and ranger-led programs. There’s something exciting for everyone in the family with their engaging and interactive presentations. Park fees are $35 per vehicle.
Rhyolite Ghost Town
The spooky ghost town of Rhyolite beckons brave explorers. You’ll find this haunting good time just two hours from Las Vegas. Once a thriving, turn-of-the-century gold mining town, it fell victim to the financial crisis of 1907 and is now a fascinating place to visit with the family. You can roam the abandoned streets, explore the bank, and learn all about the town’s former residents. The cost to visit is $30 per vehicle.
These memorable kid-friendly day trips from Las Vegas are some of our favorites at Crème de la Crème of Las Vegas. Escape the city and explore these mind-blowing areas around Nevada. If you didn’t see your favorite place to go on an excursion with the family, let us know. We’ll add it to our list.