Las Vegas has plenty of amazing things to see and do, but today, we share the best day trips from Las Vegas, perfect for those wanting to escape the strip for a bit.
There is certainly a lot to see and do on and around the strip, (and even some things NOT to do in Vegas) but for something a little different, why not take one of these day trips out and see the state of Nevada but also the impressive natural sights in the nearby states too.
Best Day Trips from Las Vegas
A visit to the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular day trips from Las Vegas. The magnificent Grand Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring a stunning view of valleys between arid-land erosions. If you’re in Las Vegas, you definitely have to make a trip to see this beauty.
The Grand Canyon is directly east of Las Vegas, although the way to get here is not quite straightforward. There are a few ways to get there; by driving on your own, booking a day tour with bus transport, or boarding a helicopter.
Renting a vehicle and getting there by yourself is definitely possible. It’s a 4-hour drive, so keep in mind that you can get really exhausted on your drive back to Las Vegas. With that, booking a tour with bus transport or a helicopter is best. In general, the tour will take you to the West Rim, Hoover Dam, and an optional Skywalk experience and sometimes includes snacks.
The bus tour will include transport to and from Las Vegas, breakfast, lunch, and a professional tour guide. You can also opt for the helicopter tour, which is faster. It will fly you over the canyon and land in a permitted area inside the canyon where you can enjoy a light snack and photo ops. The bus tour will be more affordable but will be more time-consuming, while the helicopter tour will be more costly but offers a unique approach to the Grand Canyon and will save you more time.
The Emerald Cove is closer to Las Vegas, around an hour’s drive east, and part of Arizona. In this desert region, finding an activity that includes water is such a thrilling experience. Emerald Cover is inside this canyon filled with water as green as an emerald, hence the name. The cover is connected to the Colorado River, which you must travel through to enter the cove.
You can rent a kayak, explore the cove, and learn about its history and why it’s such a must-do while in Las Vegas. You can rent a car and drive here, then rent a kayak at Willow Beach Marina. But you can also book a tour providing transport, kayak rental, snacks, and bottled water.
Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon
If you have been to the Grand Canyon before, perhaps you want to see something different this time you’re in Las Vegas. Both Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are located in the state of Utah, just a little over a 4-hour drive from Las Vegas.
Besides beautiful canyons, Zion National Park is also famous for its sandstone cliffs, narrow maze, waterfalls, and springs. At the same time, Bryce Canyon is known for having the largest collection of hoodoos. It is a unique rock formation you’ll see only in Bryce Canyon. There are also amphitheaters carved in horseshoe shapes and distinctive pink cliffs.
Since these places are not too far from one another, the day trips from Las Vegas cover both locations. Again, you can get there independently, but it will save you more time and make this trip more comfortable if you arrange a tour. The tours will include round-trip transport, a guide, bottled water, sandwiches and snacks, and all the activities at the locations.
If you’re only interested in seeing the Hoover Dam, there’s also a day trip from Las Vegas for that. The Hoover Dam is well-known as the world’s highest dam, standing at 726.4 feet high, and was built in 1935. It regulates water on the Colorado River and sits between Nevada and Arizona states.
Besides its essential job in preventing floods, Hoover Dam is also an awesome spot to take cool photos and enjoy a scenic view of the Seven Magic Mountains in the Mojave Desert. Depending on the tour you will book, you might have a chance to do a tour inside the dam and explore the passageways.
This is suitable for people looking to do something not too far from Las Vegas and won’t actually take up an entire day. The half-day tour will include transport to and from Hoover Dam, a guide to give you fascinating information and history, and multiple stops to see the dam from various angles.
Antelope Canyon and Horshoe Bend
The Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are both located in Arizona. It takes approximately 4 hours to drive there from Las Vegas. This means booking a day trip will be more convenient and relax your excursion.
If you want to see the magical sunbeams and take photos that look like you’re inside a perfectly molded pottery, visit the Antelope Canyon. This location is so special it’s actually one of the places with the most expensive admission fees. There are two areas in the canyon; lower and upper. The upper area is more magical and offers the best photo opportunities, so it’s vital that you book that one if you’re after good pictures.
The Horseshoe Bend has one of the most breathtaking views in the region. A rock ridge divides two valleys while its ground is encircled by the Colorado River flowing through the canals. The name comes from the shape of the rock formation, which forces the water to bend like a horseshoe showcasing a really particular view of the canyon.
Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are just a 10-minute drive from one another, it’s definitely a must-not-miss visit. If you book a guided tour, you will be provided with a vehicle with a driver, snacks, and drinks, including admission fees for both places.
Hidden Valley is 204 miles south of Las Vegas, taking around 3 hours and 30 minutes to drive. This area is known as an exciting nature trail for hikers, but if you want something more adventurous, you can also go on a day trip to the Hidden Valley from Las Vegas and enjoy a thrilling RZR ride through the desert. This trip takes around 4 to 5 hours, which is ideal if you have another activity lined up later that night.
You can either ride your own RZR 900s and follow an experienced guide or ride with the driver. This is safe, so much so that children at least 12 years old can join you – perfect as a family adventure. Maneuver through rough terrain and stop to admire the beautiful sights of the Seven Magic Mountains. The tour will include round-trip transport (but you can also drive yourself there and meet the guide at the location), bottled water, and all the equipment for the ride, including a safety helmet, gloves, and goggles.
Red Rock Canyon
The Red Rock Canyon is 16 miles east of Las Vegas. The area is visited for the stunning Calico Hills, Petroglyph Wall, and Keystone Thrust Fault, just to name a few. You can explore the Mojave Desert while riding a horse as you head to the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
You’ll also meet local cowboys who will give you tips on riding a horse if it’s your first time. Once the sun sets, there will be a campfire and preparation for a tasty barbeque dinner in the vast desert. To finish it off, live entertainment and poetry will be performed under the dazzling stars while you roast some yummy marshmallows.
This day trip from Las Vegas is ideal for those who want to relax, learn about the desert, meet locals, enjoy fun company, and do something romantic with their family and loved ones. This tour can’t be done on your own since lots of preparation will require, plus permits to set up a campfire. It’s best to book a tour and let the organizers prepare everything; all you have to do is show up.
Hollywood and Los Angeles
Never been to the famous city of Angels and shining Hollywood? You don’t need to spend multiple days to see the top attractions in Los Angeles. Instead, you can arrange a day trip from Las Vegas featuring must-see spots such as Beverly Hills, Santa Monica’s Pacific Ocean, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and take a classic photo of the Hollywood sign.
The drive to Los Angeles from Las Vegas is over 4 hours. Joining a guided tour will make your trip more convenient and informative. The tour features a comfortable transport vehicle (reclined seat and WiFi on board), live commentary as you drive through the famous spots in Los Angeles, snacks, and includes lunch.
Finally, if you’re interested in the controversial Area 51, you can definitely go on a tour and check out the area. You can drive through the Extraterrestrial Highway, see ancient petroglyphs, and check out the locations where UFOs were claimed to have been spotted. It doesn’t even stop there, you’ll also go to McCarren International Airport and see the plane that “doesn’t exist”, and other significant locations such as Black Mailbox, mutant Joshua Tree, and Little A’le’ Inn.
This tour will cover hotel pick up and drop off, luxury SUV transport, lunch, unlimited snacks and water, and a knowledgeable guide.
Things to know before you go to Las Vegas
What to pack for your Las Vegas Trip?
Vegas is hot, so pack light layers and breathable clothing. Make sure you bring plenty of comfortable footwear and we recommend bringing a cap or hat during the warmer months; no one wants to get burnt whilst walking up and down the strip.
For those that plan to head out to the nightclubs, make sure to check the dress codes of your chosen nightclubs; some are pretty strict on the rules. Pack universal plugs if you are traveling from outside of the US and don’t forget sunscreen; it is easy to get burnt not matter what time of the year you visit.
- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
- For a cheap, easy, and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs.
- We use this microphone for all our Youtube voiceovers.
- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
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What to pack
- No matter where we travel, I always take these trusty hand sanitizers and a mini first aid kit.
- We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage.
- We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips.
- I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport.