8 Incredible Must-Do Day Trips From Las Vegas (2024 Guide)

Check out the best day trips from Las Vegas, including world-famous national parks and intriguing forests, hikes, canyons and more!

Known across the globe as the “Sin City,” Las Vegas is an internationally touted resort city brimming with entertainment, gambling, and shopping. Fine dining restaurants, name-brand stores, and buzzing nightlife are around every corner in Sin City.

People travel from all over the world to Las Vegas to gamble, to celebrate bachelor’s and bachelorette parties, birthdays – you name it! There’s something for everyone in Las Vegas, smoothly transforming it into a hotspot travel destination.

And that’s not all! This famous city is near other top attractions, which makes weekend trips from Las Vegas or day trips from Las Vegas extremely popular to enrich vacations. 

Our article touts the best day trips from Las Vegas so you can make the most out of your trip.

Las Vegas is conveniently located near some of the western USA’s most incredible parks, so make sure you save some time to squeeze in a day trip to one of these epic locations!

Read Next: For fun activities in the city, check out our list of the 21 best things to do in Las Vegas!

The 8 Best Day Trips From Las Vegas

Any weekend getaway to Las Vegas will surely include some of the city’s top attractions like the Las Vegas Strip. But if you’re a nature lover, save a day for one of these day trips!

On these day trips from Las Vegas, you’ll get to visit some iconic landmarks, hiking trails, biking trails, national forests, and just a whole lot of stunning scenery.

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

1. Grand Canyon National Park

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 130 miles/210 km to the West Rim (the shortest route of three rims to visit)
  • How Long it Takes: 2½ hours

Located in Northern Arizona, the world-famous Grand Canyon is one of the most visited natural landmarks in the nation. It stretches 278 miles along the Colorado River and is the ancestral homeland of 11 Associated Tribes.

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the finest examples of erosion known on the planet. Thanks to its prominent features, including fossil records, archeological history, and geologic attributes like the Grand Canyon Caverns, it has quickly become one of the most studied and researched landscapes. 

Carved by erosion more than six million years ago, the Grand Canyon is believed to have more than 1,000 caves, though only 335 have been recorded. Out of these caves, only one is open to the public. It is called the Cave of the Domes, located on Horseshoe Mesa. 

What Is There To See and Do?

Most popularly, hiking and backpacking are common activities at Grand Canyon National Park to visit its numerous famous landmarks.

But, of course, there are plenty of other things to do in the park, including white water rafting on the Colorado River, helicopter flights, mountain biking, horseback riding, and mule riding. 

The Grand Canyon Railway is a popular attraction, perfect for sightseeing and learning about the park’s history as you travel to the Grand Canyon South Rim from Williams, Arizona. The railway is an excellent way to easily reach the park while savoring the breathtaking sights along the way! 

The Grand Canyon West Rim is another popular spot to visit. Here you can walk on the famous Skywalk, an aerial walkway that offers stunning views of the deep valleys of the Grand Canyon West Rim.

Highlights of the Grand Canyon include:

  • The Desert View Watchtower
  • Tusayan Ruins
  • Hermit’s Rest
  • Grand Canyon Skywalk
  • Navajo Bridge
  • Mather Point Overlook
  • Colorado River Gorge

Popular hiking trails:

  • Bright Angel Trail
  • Trail of Time
  • Rim Trail
  • Ooh Aah Point Hike (South Kaibab Trail)

Read Next: Find more incredible things to do in Arizona!

Getting There and Away

As the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular attractions in the United States, there are plenty of transportation methods for getting to and from the park. Selections of trains, taxis, shuttles, and charter services will take visitors to the park and back to Las Vegas. 

This Las Vegas day trip to Grand Canyon’s South Rim takes you on an adventure of three of America’s marvels, including the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and Route 66. The tour includes complimentary pick-up, drop-off, lunch, drinks, and snacks. 

Best Time Of Year To Visit

The best time of year to visit the Grand Canyon begins in the spring, from March to early June, and in the fall, from September to November. During these times, the temperatures are more bearable and cooler for adventuring through the park.

However, in the summer, the heat is intense and can be insufferable when outdoors exploring the park. 

Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of the USA’s most famous sights!

2. Zion National Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 160 miles/245 km.
  • How Long it Takes: 2½ hours

Part of southwest Utah, Zion National Park is notorious for its towering red cliffs and expansive canyon that averages 2,000 feet deep.

Some of the most famous hikes in the United States are at this park, including the Angels Landing and Observation Point hikes. This is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas for those who love hiking!

Zion is the first national park in Utah, a treasure in the state and the nation. It is home to one of the largest natural arches in the world and the largest flying bird on the continent, the California Condor.

Carved millions of years ago, the Zion Canyon was home to the ancient Anasazi civilization, which thrived around 1500 BC. 

Read Next: Use this guide to plan an epic Utah National Park Road Trip!

What Is There To See and Do?

Famous for offering the best hikes in the world, Zion National Park is the ideal location for journeying the expansive canyon. Other fun activities to participate in while visiting Zion National Park include canyoneering, camping, horseback riding, birding, and biking. 

Check out the iconic Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive for a scenic detour without getting out of the car.

Plus, if you visit in the summer, this is a great way to sightsee the canyon’s beauty without suffering through the suffocating heat outside the car. 

Examples of popular things to see include:

  • The Narrows
  • Angel’s Landing
  • The Subway
  • Canyon Junction Bridge

Popular trails to hike include:

  • Angel’s Landing Trail
  • Emerald Pools Trail
  • Observation Point
  • Riverside Walk Trail
  • Zion Canyon Overlook Trail

Getting There and Away

The most convenient method of getting to Zion from Las Vegas is by renting a car. Unfortunately, few public transportation options are available, and if there are, there are long layover times for stops at different locations. 

If you don’t want to rent a car, your next best option is to book a tour. Tours are convenient and fun ways to enjoy some of the best day trips from Las Vegas!

Best Time Of Year To Visit

Ideally, the best time of year to visit Zion National Park is in the spring and fall months.

However, in the summer, temperatures can spike up to 100°F and higher, making it miserable to explore the park. The winter can be frigid, too. Its lowest record temperature at the park reached -20°F. 

Choosing the spring and fall months is a gentle in-between of these extreme temperatures, perfect for adventuring the glorious outdoors of Zion National Park!

Zion National Park
Experience the beauty of the desert in Zion National Park.

3. Death Valley National Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 126 miles/203 km
  • How Long it Takes: 2 hours

The lowest, hottest, and driest place in America, Death Valley National Park is well-known for its many extremes and natural wonders. Death Valley is the lowest point in the country.

The park’s landmark feature Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level and covered in salt along its valley floor. 

The roadrunner, featured in the Looney Tunes TV series, can be seen at this park. Its naturally high body temperature is designed to withstand the immense heat of Death Valley. 

And one of the most fascinating qualities of Death Valley National Park is the singing sand. Though the reason behind this is unknown, only a few places on the planet can tout this intricate feature!

Read next: The Perfect 3 Days In Las Vegas Itinerary

What Is There To See and Do?

Most commonly, hiking is the go-to activity in Death Valley, though other fun activities exist. There are scenic drives like the Artists Drive to see the Artist’s Palette. On this drive are scenes used as a filming location for Star Wars IV: A New Hope

Explore the extensive past of the park at Harmony Borax Works, a part of the National Register of Historic Places, located near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

Check out the moving rocks, an intriguing phenomenon that occurs as the ice melts and the wind pushes them, making them seem like they’re traveling across the playa. 

The most popular sights here include:

  • Dante’s View
  • Badwater Basin
  • Devil’s Golf Course
  • Darwin Falls
  • Eureka Dunes

The best hiking trails include:

  • Golden Canyon & Gower Gulch
  • Grotto Canyon
  • Ibex Dunes 
  • Natural Bridge Canyon Trail
  • Mosaic Canyon

Getting There and Away

The Bundu Buss is frequently used to get to Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas. The one-way trip costs $89 and includes a guided park tour.

Hiring a rental car is recommended for those who don’t have a vehicle and who want to explore and make stops on their way to the park. 

Best Time Of Year To Visit

Continuing to break records, Death Valley National Park is also the hottest place on Earth. On average, the summer temperatures hit above 113°F. Unsurprisingly, we highly recommend avoiding visiting the park during the summer. 

Spring is the best time to visit the park as the wildflowers bloom after the winter, spreading across the landscapes for breathtaking scenery. 

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

Badwater Basin
The salt flats of Badwater Basin are otherworldly!

4. Cathedral Gorge State Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 166 miles/267 km
  • How Long it Takes: 2½ hours

Another one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, Cathedral Gorge State Park is a geologic preserve and public recreation area. It is named after its cathedral-like spires formed through geologic processes tens of millions of years ago. 

Initially referred to as Cathedral Gulch, Cathedral Gorge was once a well-known picnic spot in the 19th century. And in 1935, the site became one of the first state parks in Nevada. 

The park itself is small and somewhat underrated, becoming more well-known recently. Cathedral Gorge is teeming with intricate and unique formations and landscapes, making it a worthwhile trip full of hiking and sightseeing. 

What Is There To See and Do?

Hiking and sightseeing are the more common activities at Cathedral Gorge State Park. However, within the park are three slot canyon sites, sometimes called caves, that make for fun exploration.

And because the park is less well-known, the chance of experiencing crowds is less likely, making for a peaceful opportunity to savor the scenic landscapes! 

Examples of popular things to see include:

  • Moon Slots
  • CCC Water Tower
  • Cathedral Caves
  • Canyon Caves

Popular trails to hike:

  • Hawk’s Ridge Trail
  • Moon Caves
  • Millers Point Trail
  • Cathedral Gorge Natural Loop
  • Juniper Draw Loop 

Read next: 21 Best Things To Do In Phoenix, Arizona

Getting There and Away

Renting a car is the only convenient way to get to Cathedral Gorge State Park. There is no direct public transport and there aren’t many tour options. So on this particular day trip from Las Vegas, you’re best off renting your own vehicle!

Best Time Of Year To Visit

Avoid visiting Cathedral Gorge State Park in the summer as the heat is harsh, and not safe to wander around the park outdoors as there is limited shade. 

The best time of year to take a day trip to the park would be the spring or fall. These periods of the year have the most favorable weather conditions, ideal for spending long periods outdoors while journeying Cathedral Gorge State Park. 

Cathedral Gorge State Park
The Moon Slots are a super cool thing to see at Cathedral Gorge.

5. Bryce Canyon National Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 260 miles/418 km
  • How Long it Takes: 4 hours

Reputed for having the largest collection of hoodoos in the world, Bryce Canyon National Park is a rewarding day trip from Las Vegas.

This is a pretty long drive, so if you have time you may want to dedicate a weekend trip here. But it can be done as a day trip from Las Vegas if you wake up early and explore efficiently!

The park is located in Southwestern Utah, teeming with awe-inspiring natural beauty, including the hoodoos, which are tall spire rock formations. 

Three groups of natives called the area home, some temporarily and some permanently. They included the Paiute, Fremon, and the Anasazi.

The area was called “Angakakuwassawits,” meaning “red-painted faces.” Superstitions say that if you look too closely at the hoodoos, you will find faces that have been turned into stone. 

If you’re an outdoor adventurer, history buff, or nature enthusiast or simply enjoy sightseeing, then Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas!

What Is There To See and Do?

Sightseeing is the best way to soak in all the unique natural formations in the park. Join an ATV sightseeing tour to feel the wind in your hair and cover more ground! Or you can take on the hiking and biking trails if you’re feeling active!

There is horseback riding and the Bryce Canyon Road and Highway 63 scenic drive, one of the top things to do at the park. This scenic route is one of the highest drives in the national park system. 

Stargazing is a unique activity at Bryce Canyon National Park, which was labeled an International Dark Sky Park for its unpolluted light. This transforms the park into the perfect place to gaze upon thousands of stars to host the Annual Astronomy Festival and other star programs and night sky activities to consider participating in. 

Examples of popular things to see include:

  • Bryce Canyon Lodge
  • Sunset Point
  • Bryce Amphitheater
  • Bryce Canyon Road & Highway 63 Scenic Drive
  • Stargazing
  • Rainbow Point

The best hiking trails include:

  • Tower Bridge
  • Peekaboo Canyon
  • Bristlecone Loop Trail
  • Bryce Rim Trail

Getting There and Away

To get to Bryce Canyon National Park, the St. George Shuttle travels from Las Vegas to the park. Tours are available through this shuttle service, which can also take tours to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. 

Besides the shuttle service, the only other way to travel directly to Bryce Canyon National Park is by car. 

Best Time Of Year To Visit

If you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend avoiding this day trip in the summer. Instead, spring and fall is the best time to consider traveling to the park to avoid crowds while savoring the cooler temperatures while adventuring through the park.

Bryce Canyon
Get ready for some incredible hikes in Bryce Canyon!

6. Antelope Canyon 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 280 miles/448 km
  • How Long it Takes: 4½ hours

Antelope Canyon is a famous landmark and sacred site protected by the Navajo Parks and Recreation. It is a fascinating site that makes one of the most memorable day trips from Las Vegas.

The only way for visitors to access the site is by reservation or an authorized tour company. Due to vandalism and safety concerns, Antelope Canyon became unavailable in 1997 to the public. 

Inspiring more than a few eye-catching iconic photographs, Antelope Canyon is beloved for its beautiful swirling rock formations that are rich in color. The canyon was named after the antelopes that grazed the area long ago. 

What Is There To See and Do?

In the summer, natural lighting shifts through the Upper Antelope section of the canyon.

This part of the canyon has become more world-famous because of its intricate and eye-catching displays as the light shifts and shines through the canyon’s walls. This feature is also what has made it such a highly photographed location.

Antelope Canyon is split between two canyons – Upper and Lower. The Upper Antelope Canyon is most popular with photographers and sightseeing because it attracts more light, creating renowned images seen across the web.

The Lower Antelope Canyon is just as popular, though few sunbeams enter the canyon. You can even kayak to Antelope Canyon if you are interested!

Horseshoe Bend is another natural attraction that is just 5 miles from Antelope Canyon. This incredible canyon formed by the Colorado River is shaped in a curve, hence the name Horseshoe Bend. It’s well worth visiting the two epic places in one visit!

Exploring more of Arizona? Here is our list of the best things to do in Tucson!

Getting There and Away

Without a car or renting a car, the best way to get to Antelope Canyon is by bus. This trip by bus takes about 5½ hours, so expect to cover lots of ground on this day trip.

This day trip and tour take guests on a wonderland of adventure from Las Vegas. Throughout the tour, passengers see miraculous sights, including Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, and Horseshoe Bend. 

Round-trip transportation is included so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery on this day trip.

Best Time Of Year To Visit

The busiest time of the year for Antelope Canyon is summer, though crowds seem to form no matter what because of the landmark’s popularity.

This is more so during the weekends and peak hours in the early afternoon and late morning when the sun shines just right through the canyon’s walls to create the coveted images that spread across the internet and magazines. 

Antelope Canyon
You won’t regret visiting the magical Antelope Canyon!

7. Snow Canyon State Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 129 miles/207 km
  • How Long it Takes: 2 Hours

Part of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve in Utah, Snow Canyon State Park presents some of the most scenic hikes in the United States!

From towering sandstone cliffs to sand dunes, Snow Canyon State Park is worth a visit. The park is touted for being family-friendly and full of easy and rewarding hiking trails for all skill levels.

On these hikes, the lava tubes, petrified sand dunes, and the impressive canyon formation can be seen up close and photographed for a memorable and rewarding trip. 

Fun Fact – Snow Canyon State Park was used for the set of a few filming locations, including The Sundance Kid and The King and Four Queens

What Is There To See and Do?

While visiting Snow Canyon State Park, hiking and sightseeing is a must. There are so many fascinating natural wonders to peer and ponder over. The park is also known for its Mojave Desert tortoises so be on the lookout while exploring!

Rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, golf, stargazing, camping, boating, and visiting the local museums are also fun ways to pass the time in the beautiful area.

The best sights to see include:

  • Pioneer Names
  • Lava Tubes
  • Petrified Dunes
  • White Rocks Amphitheater

The best trails to hike include:

  • Jenny’s Canyon Trail
  • Lava Flow Trail
  • Johnson Canyon Arch Trail

Exploring more of Utah? Here is our list of the best things to do in Salt Lake City!

Getting There and Away

If you don’t have a car and don’t plan on renting one, the bus is a great way to get back and forth between Las Vegas and Snow Canyon State Park. Or you can rent a car!

Best Time Of Year To Visit

The best time of year to visit Snow Canyon State Park is spring and fall. This is to avoid the crowds and heat of the summer months! But no matter what time of year you visit, this is one of the best Las Vegas day trips, and it’s not a super far journey either.

Snow Canyon State Park
Dramatic views of the White Rocks Amphitheater

8. Joshua Tree National Park 

  • Distance from Las Vegas: 187 miles/300 km
  • How Long it Takes: 3 Hours

Another one of the best day trips from Las Vegas is this spectacular park in California. Named after the endangered trees sprawling across its landscape, Joshua Tree National Park is famous for these trees and its spectacular rock formations.

The most sought-out of these rock formations is the Arch Rock, found in the White Tank Campground. 

Part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, the park presents a diverse and unique sightseeing opportunity to see the prosperous habitat filled with intriguing species, such as the black-tailed jackrabbit, kangaroo rats, and desert bighorn sheep. 

What Is There To See and Do?

The best way to sightsee in the park is by hiking. But remember that this is the desert, so it’s important to pack all the water, nutrition, and safety gear necessary for adventuring through the desert!

But it’s fascinating to witness how the desert ecosystem of Joshua Tree National Park functions while glimpsing the unique species that thrive there. 

Stargazing is also popular at Joshua Tree National Park, labeled an International Dark Sky Park. It boasts out-of-this-world viewpoints of the Milky Way and the thousands upon thousands of stars littering the night sky. 

Read next: The 25 best things to do in California!

Popular things to see include:

  • Keys View
  • Barker Dam
  • Ocotillo Patch
  • Stargazing

The top trails include:

  • Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Skull Rock Trail
  • Cholla Cactus Garden Trail

Getting There and Away

Taking a car to Joshua Tree is the easiest and best way to reach this stunning place. Without a car, the bus or train is another mode of transportation from Las Vegas to the park.

However, these methods take much longer, at nearly nine hours of travel time. If you want to complete this journey in one day, renting a car is your best bet.

Read Next: Stop at Joshua Tree National Park during an epic Las Vegas to Los Angeles road trip!

Best Time Of Year To Visit

Like the other parks, the best time of year to visit Joshua Tree National Park is in the spring and fall to avoid the crowds and the heat during the summer. Basically, all the national parks in this area of the western USA are much more enjoyable in the shoulder season!

Joshua Tree National Park
The iconic Joshua Trees are all over the park!

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Alesha and Jarryd

Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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