14 COOLEST Day Trips from Las Vegas [December 2019]

Last Updated on

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. No matter how much you over-indulge in the glitz and glamour of the casinos, or even if you marry someone you’ve only just met, trust us, we won’t tell anyone!

You may find that after a few days in Vegas, you want to escape the hustle and bustle, lights, and 24/7 lifestyle of this unique and iconic city. And it’d be a shame not to see some of the surrounding natural treasures. Beautiful red rock landscapes, alien encounters, and a number of cool outdoor activities can be found within just a few hours of Vegas.

But how do you choose the right day trip from Vegas for you? Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve put together this extensive list of places north, east, south, and west from Vegas. We’ve taken different budgets, interests, and travel styles into consideration. So, we’re sure there’ll be something for you.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at the best day trips from Vegas!

Where to stay in Vegas

In a city like Vegas, it can be a nightmare picking somewhere to stay. Some of the coolest themed hotels in the world are found here but waking up to a recreation of Venice can set you back quite a pretty penny. We’ve picked three of the best hotels in Vegas to show you, thinking about different budgets, travel styles, and tastes… which sometimes can go out of the window when it comes to places to stay in Vegas!

#1 – Skyline Hotel and Casino

Best Budget Hotel in Vegas

Skyline Hotel and Casino

Skyline Hotel and Casino

Skyline Hotel and Casino is our pick for the best budget hotel in Vegas

  • The best budget hotel in Vegas!

Around 10 miles from the famed Las Vegas Strip, Skyline Hotel and Casino offers reasonably priced accommodation and a casino. You get plenty of bang for your buck at this three star hotel, with a 24 hour reception desk and evening entertainment. When you want to relax on a warm Nevada evening, head out into the garden!

Avoid the crowds! Check out our Best Time to Visit Las Vegas Guide to have Las Vegas to yourself!

#2 – Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas City Center

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Vegas

Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas City Center

Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas City Center is our pick for the best mid-range hotel in Vegas

  • Take some time out for the swimming pool and hot tub!

The three star Hilton Garden Inn is right in downtown Las Vegas. So, it’s got great access to the strip and all the attractions that come with it. The hotel even offers a free shuttle service to a number of said attractions! Once you’ve got your complimentary journey back to the hotel, you can make use of a hot tub, swimming pool, and the gym. Perfect for leisure or business travellers!

Ready to book? Here are our favorite areas to stay in Las Vegas!

#3 – The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

Best Luxury Hotel in Vegas

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas is our pick for the best luxury hotel in Vegas

  • Be transported to Italy at this hotel, shopping, and entertainment complex

The Venetian in Vegas is so much more than just a hotel. After all, where else on earth can you take a gondola ride (apart from the real Venice, of course)?! Not only that, there are 80 shops on site where you can buy luxury designer goods. Restaurants and a killer casino are also part of the hotel. The Venetian also boasts the Palazzo, another luxury 5 star hotel on the same block.

 

Quick Answer

Best Day Trip from Vegas – Grand Canyon National Park
Best Day Trip from Vegas by Train – Los Angeles
Best Romantic Day Trip from Vegas for Couples – Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
Best Day Trip from Vegas with Kids – Bonnie Springs Ranch

#1 – Grand Canyon National Park

Best Day Trip from Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • See one of the world’s most famous natural wonders
  • Walk across the glass bottomed Grand Canyon Skywalk
  • Travel to the Grand Canyon by bus, helicopter, or airplane

Four hours sounds like a long distance for just a day, right? Well, how about if we told you that the best day trip from Vegas was that distance. Oh, and we could also throw it that it’s one of the most iconic natural attractions in the world!

The Grand Canyon is easily accessible from Vegas, and how you get there depends completely on your budget. Guided tours, buses, airplanes, and helicopters can all take you to this incredible natural monument in Northern Arizona. By the way, there goes another state from your bucket list!

If you have plenty of time at the canyon, check out the Grand Canyon Skywalk… If you’re afraid of heights just don’t look down through the glass floor! You could also try mule trekking to the base of the canyon. It’s really up to you!

 

Editor’s Note: One of the best ways to get to know Las Vegas is through its museums.

#2 – Los Angeles

Best Day Trip from Vegas by Train

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • One of the best day trips from Vegas by train – multiple connections daily
  • Spot celebrities walking around Beverley Hills
  • Have a day of sun, sea, and sand in the Beach Cities area

Again, it’s a slightly long one for a day trip but if you can tick off two iconic cities in one vacation, why wouldn’t you?! Los Angeles is reachable in under 5 hours, and if you can stand an early start and late finish, this is easily the best day trip from Vegas by train.

Once you arrive, you might feel tired from all that travelling. If that’s the case, head to the Beach Cities area. Swap the sand of the Vegas desert for the beaches of LA. Sun, sea, and sand will have you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and recuperated.

Of course, you might fancy something a little more active. Especially if you’ve travelled all that way. Spot celebrities in Beverley Hills or take a walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

Do you have an open schedule? Figure out the best things to do in Las Vegas before you visit!

#3 – Hoover Dam

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Took 5 years to build and needs to be constantly maintained
  • Take a guided tour of the Hoover Dam and Powerplant
  • One of the most impressive feats of engineering in the entire world

In our list of the best day trips from Vegas, we’re going to be showing you a lot of natural wonders. However, let’s explore one of the most amazing man-made feats of engineering in the world first: Hoover Dam! The Dam took 5 years to build and required the world’s biggest fridge to cool the concrete and keep the structure stable.

The structure still requires constant maintenance. After all, it would be a bit of a problem if it couldn’t hold back the largest reservoir in the United States! The views of the dam are incredibly impressive, but if you’ve come all this way you may as well find out more. Tours of the powerplant and dam are available on a daily basis!

 

Is your trip getting close? Jump over to our hotels in Las Vegas guide so you’re sure to get great accommodation!

#4 – Death Valley

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • One of the driest and hottest places in the entire world
  • Check out a ghost town that was left behind when the gold rush ended
  • Don’t be put off by the ominous name!

Later in the article, we’ll get to safety in Vegas. However, when it comes to Death Valley (and a few other places on this list) you’ll need to make sure you take lots of water and sun protection to stay hydrated. Now that we’ve got the boring stuff out the way, let’s take a closer look at this incredible part of Nevada.

One of the driest, hottest, and harshest places in the world, Death Valley will provide you with some stunning photo opportunities and panoramic shots. A really cool place to check out while visiting Death Valley is the ghost town of Rhyolite. It was abandoned after the gold rush ended! Although Death Valley may seem doom-laden and scary, don’t miss out on visiting one of the most beautiful places near Vegas!

 

#5 – Bryce Canyon

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Admire the incredible natural red rock formations of Bryce Canyon
  • Popular combination tour with Zion National Park
  • An ideal escape from the bright lights and city hustle and bustle

The first of a few red rock canyons and formations on our best day trips from Vegas list is this place: Bryce Canyon. If you squint and use your imagination, you’ll not see rock formations. Instead, it’ll be fairy tale castles, battlements, and the ruins of old cities. Probably. If you have an especially vivid imagination, you might even see faces in there!

What’s not up for discussion is that Bryce Canyon has some of the most stunning landscapes in the whole of Nevada. As this place is so close to Zion National Park, it’s quite common to find day trips that will combine the two places in one day.

 

#6 – Red Rock Canyon

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • One of the easiest day trips from Las Vegas for nature lovers
  • Just 20 minutes from Downtown Vegas!
  • Check out the views in Nevada’s first National Conservation Area

If you don’t want to travel far for but still want to feel far away from the city, then Red Rock Canyon is definitely one of the best day trips from Vegas. You have the chance to see the rock formations and red desert that Nevada is so famous for, while only travelling 20 minutes from downtown.

There are a number of cool ways that you can explore the canyon other than hiking. Electric bikes will challenge your fitness but help you when it matters on the uphill climbs! If you’d prefer to keep things all natural, take a horseback ride through the canyon. At just 17 miles south of Las Vegas, this is one day trip not to be missed!

 

Staying Safe in Vegas

Although it’s known as Sin City, there isn’t actually that much sinning. The casinos in Las Vegas are supposedly some of the safest places in the world for tourists, which may surprise a few people! In comparison with the crime rates of similar sized cities, Vegas’s are much lower! Perhaps the biggest danger in Vegas is self-inflicted. When gambling doesn’t feel fun anymore, it’s time to head back to your comfy hotel room, or out on a day trip.

 

#7 – Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Best Romantic Day Trip from Vegas for Couples

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Learn about the history and geology of this stunning part of the Colorado River
  • Get a couple’s photo and make a forever memory at Horseshoe Bend
  • Enjoy being part of a small and intimate tour group

One of the coolest day trips from Vegas incorporates two absolutely amazing natural wonders in one day. Antelope Canyon is the most famous slot canyon in the world, while the Horseshoe Bend you may not have heard of, but you’ll certainly recognise it!

It’s one of the best places to get a couple’s photo for your album. If you take the option of a guided tour, you’ll also have a friendly and knowledgeable guide who will inform you on the geology and history of the region.

A private and intimate tour sounds good right? Check out the link below for the chance to make unforgettable memories.

 

#8 – Zion National Park

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • One of the most scenic parts of the Western United States
  • Take on some of Utah’s most challenging hikes
  • Campsites throughout the park if you want to extend your day trip

Okay, so we’re sure that you’ve now got the point that there are several red rock canyons and stunning landscapes in Nevada and Arizona. Well, did you know that they’ve got them in Utah too? Here’s another chance to tick a state off your bucket list!

Zion National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the whole of the United States, partly for the scenery, and partly for the hiking. There are some challenging hikes here but the views and photos that you’ll get will reward all that exertion!

Some hikes can be multi-day, and if you do have the time to spare, then taking advantage of one of the many campsites throughout the park should definitely be under your consideration!

 

#9 – Area 51

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Arguably the most mysterious place in the world
  • Unleash your inner conspiracy theorist
  • Stop off at Little Al’e’inn on the Extraterrestrial Highway

Since a big part of visiting Area 51 involves the Extraterrestrial Highway, this is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas by car. Or even better, an RV, like in the Simon Pegg movie, Paul!

A large part of Area 51 is off limits to the public, as it’s one of the most secretive governmental/military facilities in the world (who knows, really?!) This allows conspiracy theories to run rife, and you’ll be able to hear about all of them when you stop off.

The Black Mailbox is a must-see, while the Little Al’e’inn is a great place to refuel for your journey back to Vegas!

 

#10 – Valley of Fire State Park

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Discover 3,000 year old ancient Indian petroglyphs
  • The oldest and biggest state park in Nevada
  • Take a guided hiking tour to safely see the best routes

The Valley of Fire State Park is another beautiful outdoor attraction within a hop, skip, and a jump of Vegas. However, there’s more than just natural wonder to this one. The Valley of Fire will give you a background into the history of the area and the native ancestors who lived here too.

In fact, there are Indian petroglyphs in the park that date to 3,000 years ago! To learn more about the historical aspect of the park, you can head to the Valley of Fire Visitors’ Centre or take a guided tour. A word of warning though, in summer this place can be unbearable. Even in spring and fall, the temperature can get right up to 120 degrees! So, bring plenty of water and sun protection.

 

#11 – Bonnie Springs Ranch

Best Day Trip from Vegas with Kids

Nevada 89161, USA

Nevada 89161, USA (Photo Credit – TripAdvisor)

  • Be amazed by a desert oasis
  • Take a vintage train ride or go pony trekking
  • Spot the local wildlife – but don’t get too close to the lynx and wolves!

Since the mid 19th century, Bonnie Springs Ranch was a popular stopover point for wagons travelling to and from California. The desert oasis became a tourist attraction around 100 years later and it’s just as popular today.

It’s one of the best tourist day trips from Vegas with kids as there are a multitude of things that will keep them entertained. As well as the whole family! Pony trekking is a great option to see the surrounding landscapes, and if you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of lynx or wolves. Just don’t let the kids get too close!

Another option here is taking a vintage train ride. If you want to make this longer than a day trip, there are a few cool options for overnight stays!

 

#12 – Mojave National Preserve

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo Credit – calstate.aaa.com)

  • Just over an hour away from Vegas
  • Range of outdoor activities available here
  • Visit in spring or fall because summer can be unbearably hot!

Yet another state you can tick off on your bucket list within easy reach of Vegas is California. The Mojave National Preserve is a mix of both incredible natural beauty and some unique man-made attractions. You also have an opportunity to see desert plant and animal life that is native to the area.

There are several ways to get around Mojave once you arrive, with adventure tours available on horseback and in off-road vehicles! And a just over an hour to get to the edge of the desert, it’s an easily doable day trip from Vegas.

If you’re doing a multi-day road trip that takes in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the Mojave Desert is a great stopping off point!

 

#13 – Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Lots of water-based activities to cool you from the hot Nevada sun!
  • Some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole state
  • A great place to observe desert plants and wildlife

Although we’ve checked off a number of natural attractions and gorgeous landscapes so long, we’ve not found anything to keep you cool in that desert sun. Well, all that has changed right now with Lake Mead National Recreation Area!

Kayaking, canoeing, and boating can all be added to your itinerary on this day trip. It’s a great budget option too, as there are some great spots for having a home-made picnic, rather than splashing out on a fancy restaurant or café.

Lake Mead is one of the most popular day trips from Vegas by car, and you can get there in under an hour.

 

#14 – Goodsprings

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Put your nerves to the test on a ghost hunt
  • Learn how to use real ghost hunting equipment
  • A 100 year old mining town located just half an hour from Vegas

As our final offering of the best day trips from Vegas, allow us to present you something a little unusual! Goodsprings is a mining town just an hour away from Vegas, and its most famous for paranormal and supernatural activity!

This four hour tour will see you not only search out the best place to find ghosts but also learn to use ghost hunting equipment. Electromagnetic field detectors and dowsing rods will all hopefully help you catch a glimpse of one of the ghouls and ghosts that stalk the area!

This is one of the coolest and most unusual day trips from Las Vegas, so if you want something unforgettable, consider hitting Goodsprings!

 

Final Thoughts on the Best Day Trips from Vegas

Do you think that’s enough now? We do. Any more, and you’d have real trouble making a decision on the best day trip from Vegas. As you can see, there’s a whole lot more to explore in the city’s surroundings than in the casinos and shows. Although, we definitely think you should spend some time experiencing those too!

No matter who you’re travelling with, we’re sure that the perfect day trip from Vegas is out there for you. There are several opportunities to get out into the great outdoors either solo, with your other half, or the whole family!  Just make sure that you keep our extensive list of the best day trips from Vegas close at hand during your travels.

We know there are a whole lot of great things to do in the vicinity of Las Vegas. If you think we’ve missed anything, let us know in the comments below!

*** Some of the links on Hotel Jules are affiliate links, which means if you do make a purchase, we may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you.) Thank you for using our links! Your support keeps the site going***

About the Author Aaron Hovanesian

Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.