While it’s true that Las Vegas, Nevada has some of the best things to do and entertainment options in the world to keep you occupied and having fun, sometimes you may want to do something different and get away for a while. Lucky for you, Sin City offers some of the best places to stay and has a number of safe neighborhoods. However, you can also opt for a fun Las Vegas road trip. Never been to the Grand Canyon or visited Page, Arizona? Now’s the time to go! Perhaps you’d rather drive out to Bryce Canyon to enjoy the unique scenery there, or cool off in the summer heat at Lake Powell. When you feel like you need a change of scenery, why not take a road trip for a few days. Be sure to check out these top road trips from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
1. See the wonderful sand dunes and rugged mountains of Mojave National Preserve
Driving south through I-15 from Las Vegas, you’ll eventually come across the Mojave National Preserve. This wonderful 1.6-million-acre (647,497-hectare) park showcases singing sand dunes, rugged mountains, wonderful woodland, and so much more.
There are also a couple of abandoned mines that you can find which gives you some insight into the Mojave’s history. The preserve is one of the best places to go on a road trip near Las Vegas and a wonderful place to rest while taking in the wonderful sights this preserve has to offer, from the landscape to the animals.
Mojave National Preserve
Address: 90942 Kelso Cima Rd, Essex, CA 92332, United States
Website: Mojave National Preserve
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
2. Go on a hiking trip at Zion National Park
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
If you’re on a hiking trip then Zion National Park is a great place to stop by. The park’s scenic hiking trails offer wonderful views of the woodland, sandstone cliffs, and the Virgin River. With so many different species of animals in the park, nature lovers and birdwatchers are in for a treat.
Visitors can also go camping in the park’s campgrounds and enjoy the natural beauty of nature while they sleep comfortably in their tents. Some of these campgrounds are also located in the desert portion of the park.
Zion National Park
Address: Utah, United States
Website: Zion National Park
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
3. Relax with Palm Springs' hospitality
From relaxing hot springs to festivals, Palm Springs, California, offers plenty of things to do. The city’s vast amount of hot springs and spas are sure to help soothe your weary body after a long day of driving and exploring.
For movie lovers, the Palm Springs International Film Festival is a great event to attend as it showcases the wonderful works of art made by famous filmmakers and has hosted world and US premieres. Nature lovers aren’t left behind as the city offers a plethora of places to visit like the Indian Canyons and Tahquitz Falls, with the latter being popular among visitors and the former having 60 mi (96 km) of hiking trails.
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4. Explore Salt Lake City's great lake and downtown
Salt Lake City, which is Utah’s capital and the most populous city in the state, offers a plethora of places to visit that is sure to be an unforgettable experience for your road trip. The Great Salt Lake is a must-visit not only because it’s the city’s namesake but also because it’s a great place to go swimming and fishing.
Those who love to listen to music are in for a treat at Salt Lake Tabernacle as it’s a regular venue for concerts. Tracy Aviary & Botanical Gardens offers a treat for birdwatchers, who will enjoy the sights and sounds of various species of birds.
5. Enjoy the wonderful beauty of nature at Mt. Charleston
Mt. Charleston, Nevada, is a quick road trip from Las Vegas. This town is named after Mount Charleston and offers a wide variety of nature trails that are sure to be enjoyable. Nature abounds in this town as the various hiking trails, campgrounds, and picnic sites offer wonderful nature views and experiences for all who visit.
Not to mention that those who love to go mountain climbing can try scaling up to Mount Charleston’s peak, which is 11,916 ft (3,631 m) and is considered as the highest point in Clark County.
6. Enjoy endless views of the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States and absolutely worthy of a road trip. Made up of almost 300 miles (483 km) of river-eroded rock formations, you can visit the South Rim, which is open to visitors year round, or the lesser visited North Rim, which is typically open to the public from May to October. For those looking for an added dose of adventure, make plans to hike or ride a mule to the bottom of the canyon, which is a mile below the canyon’s rim. Be prepared for harsher conditions at the bottom, though; summertime temperatures can reach 100°F (38°C) and higher.
7. Drive out west to Los Angeles
As one of the largest cities in the country, and one of the best driving trips from Las Vegas, Los Angeles is chock-full of reasons to visit. Check out the Santa Monica Pier, which houses Pacific Park, the famed amusement park that sits over the ocean, or visit Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, both of which have weekly events for you to enjoy. Hike the trail behind the Hollywood sign before visiting Hollywood Boulevard, where you will find the Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre.
8. Enjoy the scenery in Page, Arizona
While you may not be familiar with the town of Page, Arizona, it is likely that you’ve seen images from the area before. Iconic Horseshoe Bend is just west of town; hike to the edge of the cliffs and snap your own photo of the winding Colorado River. Antelope Canyon is another must-see location in Page. The beautiful canyons are sandstone formations that have been eroded over the years from flash flooding.
9. Visit the desert formations in Death Valley
Death Valley has some incredible geological sights that you’ll want to see at least once in your life. Badwater Basin, a vast salt flat, is a great place to start, as you could say you have visited the lowest area in North American at -282 feet (-86 meters) below sea level. You can experience an interesting phenomenon at Devils Golf Course, which is an area of rock salt that has been eroded by wind and rain. The formations themselves are fragile, so you shouldn’t venture beyond the parking lot, but if you listen closely, you can hear subtle pops; this is the sound of the salt crystals rupturing as they expand and contract in the desert heat.
10. Explore the sandstone creations in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Located in northern Arizona, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a large (294,000 acres / 119000 ha) section of land, home to sandstone formations including the Vermilion Cliffs, Paria Canyon, and Coyote Buttes. The landscape within the monument features both canyons and cliffs which have been formed by the elements with the passing of time. Camping and hiking are both available, including a backpacking excursion that is available in Paria Canyon.
11. Have a water adventure on Lake Powell
Lake Powell is nestled across the Utah and Arizona border and is actually a reservoir of Colorado River. After driving in from Las Vegas, you can enjoy a relaxing stay aboard a houseboat, even if you’ve never operated a boat before - just take a quick lesson provided by the marina staff. Other watercraft is available as well to explore the lake, which includes almost 2,000 miles (3219 km) of shoreline.
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12. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Sedona, Arizona
Sedona, Arizona can easily be characterized by its rugged beauty and unmistakable rust-colored rocky terrain. There are over 300 miles (483 km) of trails for you to explore by bike or on foot. Horseback riding and rafting are also great ways to experience the wilderness of Sedona. In town, you’ll find just as much fun awaiting you. There are art galleries and museums to visit and local wines and micro-brews worthy of a taste test.
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13. Explore the unseen wilds of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
For a bit of untouched country, you won’t want to miss Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This monument is largely unexplored and is, therefore, a large part of it is inaccessible by vehicle; to see the views here, you’ll have to hike. Some of the must-see sights within the monument include Grand Staircase, Hells Backbone, Kaiparowits Plateau, and Coyote Gulch.
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14. Check out the fantastical trees of Joshua Tree National Park
The most notable source of vegetation in this Californian national park is its namesake, the Joshua Tree, which is actually a member of the Agave family. Inside the park, you’ll find fantastic opportunities for hiking, rock climbing and camping; the lack of light pollution in the area allows you the opportunity to see the stars at night with a new found clarity. Also available to visitors is the Keys Ranch Tour, where you can learn the history of the Keys family and how they were able to make a living in the surrounding Mojave Desert.
15. Explore the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park notably has the largest collection of hoodoos (the pillars of rock shaped by erosion) in the world, and is definitely its identifying feature. The park is not a single canyon, but is made up of several canyons, the most famous of which is Bryce Amphitheater. There are four primary vantage points you’ll want to check out: Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point and Sunrise Point. For a closer look at the famous hoodoos, be sure to bring your hiking gear and explore the trails that are available throughout the park.
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16. Enjoy outdoor recreational activities at Mount Charleston
Take on a scenic road trip from Las Vegas to the beautiful Mount Charleston and explore all kinds of outdoor activities available to you. Only 40 mi (64 km) away, you will be able to get there in less than an hour, which means you will have plenty of time to explore the beautiful scenery of the town. See Clark County’s highest peak, Charleston Peak, from afar, and don’t forget to bring out a camera and snap some breathtaking shots. Love hiking? Explore popular hiking trails such as Bristlecone trail, and challenge yourself to a moderately difficult hike to witness lovely views of the mountain peaks as well as abundant Bristlecone pines. If you plan to stay for more than a day, there are also camping options for you to consider to complete your magnificent Mount Charleston experience.
17. See the wonders of Valley of Fire State Park
With a distance of 56 mi (90 km), driving from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park will only take about an hour. Go through the picturesque roads in this park. You will see the magnificent formations of red Aztec sandstone that will certainly take your breath away. Witness some ancient rock art present now for 2,000. Visitors like to go for a hike when they visit Valley of Fire, so if you are up for some outdoor fun, take a look at the numerous trail options like Fire Wave Trail, Mouse’s Tank, and other fascinating trails that will lead you to places that provide the best views.
18. Get lost in the beauty of Antelope Canyon
Take an exciting 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon and see the magnificent rock formation in all its glory. You will definitely want to plan ahead of time if you are to visit this beautiful structure, so book a tour to explore the beautiful canyon with a knowledgeable guide. Enjoy the view of twisty sandstones that will surround you as you enter and go around the canyon. Don’t forget to bring your cameras because you will definitely want to document your precious moments here.
19. Discover the history of Nelson Ghost Town & Eldorado Canyon Gold Mine
With a distance of only 44.6 mi (71.8 km), Nelson is one of the best places to visit near Las Vegas by car. Driving for this road trip will definitely be a breeze. See the popular tourist attraction, Nelson Ghost Town, and tour the wonders of the place, including Eldorado Canyon Gold Mine. For 15 USD, you will get the opportunity to join a guided tour that will allow you to discover the rich history of this landmark. Its beautiful vintage view is also perfect for taking photographs, so make sure you bring your cameras when you do visit.
20. Witness the unbelievable colors of Lake Mead
Lake Mead is 31.9 mi (51.3 km) away from Las Vegas. If you want to spend some time admiring the beautiful colors of nature, then you will surely enjoy the sights here. You will witness wonderful mountains, valleys, and waters all coming together to give you the magnificent scenery you will love. Explore some popular activities that tourists love to do when they visit such as kayaking and hiking. Stay for a few days and go outdoor camping for a truly splendid time off.
Hit the road for fun outside of Las Vegas
Sure, Las Vegas is fun and filled with so many attractions and things that make it famous, but sometimes nothing beats a great road trip: you see new places, make new memories, and possibly experience once in a lifetime adventures. So fill your car up with gas and get some clothes packed, it’s time to see where the roads take you. Embark on some of these best road trips from Las Vegas.
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