Las Vegas Day Trips
Everyone agrees Las Vegas hosts only 4 types of people: industry conference attendees, bachelor / bachelorette party guests, degenerate gamblers, and – riskiest of all – disturbingly passionate Celine Dion fans.
Unfortunately, high rollers and the Celine Machine have long since abandoned all hope when they entered the Las Vegas inferno. For those facing serial conferences or bachelor(ette) parties, however, consider the absurd theory that taking a break from the standard Vegas itinerary of money squandering and buffet gorging is good for your health.
Day trips from Las Vegas offer a perfect palate cleanser by featuring destinations that showcase everything from America’s natural wonders to the enterprising and determined nature of its people.
Keep reading for the best day trips from Las Vegas, NV!
1. Grand Canyon, West Rim, and Hoover Dam
Grand Canyon day trips from Las Vegas are hard-pressed to beat this action-packed offering. Starting with a 3-hour drive through the Mojave Desert and its Joshua tree forests, this tour first stops for jaw-dropping photo opportunities along the Hoover Dam Bypass bridge.
Upon reaching the Grand Canyon West Rim, you’ll have 3 hours to independently explore an area that includes incredible views from both Eagle and Guano Point as well as a wild west show and lunch at Hualapai Ranch.
Unlike some day trips from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon landmarks, this tour also includes optional upgrades to experience the Canyon by boat, helicopter, or the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass enclosure located 4,000 feet above the Canyon floor.
2. Las Vegas to Death Valley
Sandwiched between two mountain ranges near the California-Nevada border, the Death Valley desert is infamous for rivaling parts of Africa and the Middle East as the hottest place anywhere on Earth.
In fact, Death Valley retains the world’s highest reliably recorded air temperature at a ridiculously scorching 134 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, Death Valley offers something more interesting and thought-provoking than superficial hotness (unlike David Beckham).
Tour highlights include visiting Ubehebe Crater, a volcano that imploded several thousand years ago, Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and Rhyolite, an early-20th century mining ghost town that’s among America’s most popular and well-preserved.
3. Hoover Dam
Today, the Hoover Dam harnesses the mighty Colorado River into America’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, that provides water to over 20 million people in California, Arizona, and Nevada.
Further cementing its importance to sustainability in the American Southwest, the Dam’s hydroelectric plant also provides power to over 1 million people. Visiting this behemoth – which was completed two years ahead of schedule despite its Great Depression-era construction and use of untested engineering methods –begins with a powerplant tour entirely within the Black Canyon walls.
The tour concludes with a walk along the top of the Hoover Dam that provides a rare opportunity to view the spillway unavailable on most day trips from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam locations.
4. Red Rock Canyon
Though I wholeheartedly endorse the previous day trips from Vegas, I appreciate that all three demand a choice between rigorous hiking and visiting literally the hottest place on Earth.
For those partial to day trips from Las Vegas by car, visiting the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area – the region’s uncommon density of water, plants, and animals has attracted Native American settlers for millennia – offers scenic exposure comparable to other tours without the physical exertion.
Enjoy an engaging yet deliberate 13-mile loop that showcases sandstone hills as well as Native American roasting pits and rock carvings (called petroglyphs) estimated at over 800 years old!
5. Los Angeles and Hollywood
Day trips from Las Vegas to California are long and intense, so I would only recommend considering this trip if you particularly enjoy fast-paced tours or, more probably, if you’ve never been to California and want to capitalize on the relative proximity of Las Vegas.
In a frenetic 6 hours, this tour visits the Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theater, Roosevelt Hotel, and – finally – the iconic Hollywood sign!
While exhausting, this tour perfectly suits those desperate to optimize vacation time – accessing this many L.A. landmarks on your own is simply impossible!
Which Las Vegas day trip will you do first?
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