Las Vegas is a city that’s known for its casinos, shows, and nightlife, but the popular destination in the deserts of Nevada is about more than just drinking and gambling.
When you’ve spent too much time inside the casinos and extravagant hotels, then there is a spectacular array of day trips from Las Vegas to enjoy.
Stare in awe at the depths of the Grand Canyon, or better yet fly a helicopter over it. Visit the incredible landscapes of the surrounding valleys, rivers and national parks.
Be amazed by Hoover Dam, or take a trip out west to California, and spend the day exploring Los Angeles.
To inspire your next American adventure, here are some of the best Las Vegas day trips!
Don’t leave home without: Fodor’s Las Vegas (Full-color Travel Guide)
15 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas
1. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is the most famous canyon in the world, and one of the most iconic natural attractions in the entirety of the United States of America.
This enormous canyon stretches for mile upon mile through the deserts of the Southwest, carving a huge cavernous space into the earth beneath it.
When you’re visiting Las Vegas, you’re only ever a day trip from this spectacular sight. You can join tours from the city that take you to landmark locations such as the western or southern rim.
It’s an epic attraction, and the Grand Canyon is easily one of the best day trips from Las Vegas!
Escape to the Grand Canyon on this amazing full-day sightseeing adventure. Enjoy a scenic flight from Las Vegas to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, flying over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River.
Then experience the breathtaking views from the overlooks at Eagle Point and Guano Point.
As added options, visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk for a photo opportunity. Or descend below the rim of the canyon in a helicopter to experience a one-of-a-kind view.
2. Helicopter Tours
Visiting Las Vegas is all about the lavish expenditures and splashing the cash, so why not spend your travel funds, or your casino winnings, on an experience of a lifetime?
One of those lifetime experiences, and one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, is a helicopter tour.
Take off from the airports or even the hotel landing pads in Las Vegas, and fly over the city for beautiful vistas of the desert metropolis.
Alternatively, take a flight out of the city and over the Grand Canyon, for utterly spectacular views of this world-famous natural attraction.
See the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip on this whirlwind helicopter flight.
Soar over this famous stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard for a bird’s-eye view of Sin City’s downtown skyline and beyond. You’ll be able to see the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the Fremont Street Experience.
3. Hot Air Balloon Ride
A helicopter flight isn’t the only way to get airborne in Las Vegas though, and one of the best tours you can enjoy here is a Hot Air Balloon Ride.
This is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, and it’s a great way to see the surrounding landscapes in all their glory.
Start early in the morning, and rise high above the desert as the sun rises on the horizon. Float over epic natural sights, fly above canyons and valleys and see Nevada outdoors in their best natural light.
Fly over Las Vegas in a colorful hot air balloon on this exciting tour. Get a bird’s-eye view of the desert and mountain scenery away from the Las Vegas Strip.
Soar as high as 10,000 feet. Upon landing, enjoy a Champagne toast to commemorate your scenic flight.
4. Hoover Dam
The deserts of Nevada aren’t just home to natural attractions, although there are plenty of them to visit in the great outdoors.
Close to Las Vegas, you can also find the spectacular man-made sight that is known as Hoover Dam.
This huge project was an incredible work of engineering when it was completed almost a century ago, and named for President Hoover.
Today, it’s equally as incredible a piece of engineering as it was when it was first constructed.
Take one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, and stand on the top of Hoover Dam, looking out over the water below.
Looking for a great guided tour option? Visit the Hoover Dam on this all-inclusive tour from Las Vegas.
Follow your knowledgeable guide, while you learn about the history and mechanics of the dam. Walkthrough the displays and exhibits at the Visitor Center, then take the Powerplant tour.
5. Horseshoe Canyon
Another incredible natural attraction that’s one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, is Horseshoe Canyon.
This beautiful canyon could easily rival the Grand Canyon for beauty but until very recently it was almost virtually unknown.
Instagram helped to popularise Horseshoe Canyon and these days the viewing areas can be busy. The trick is to get here early or stay until sunset. Not only do the crowds dissipate but the light is at its best, especially for photography.
Head to Arizona on this tour from Las Vegas to Horseshoe Bend, a favorite of the American Southwest.
At Horseshoe Bend, on the Colorado River, admire its rock formation and interesting markings. Along the way, a driver-guide provides information and answers questions.
6. Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is another of the region’s most epic canyons, and one of the most epic day trips from Las Vegas.
Antelope Canyon is on Navajo territory, and it’s a sacred place amongst the indigenous groups of Arizona.
You need a guide to access the beautiful slot canyons. There’s an upper and a lower part – and there are only limited spaces each day, so always book your tour in advance.
This small-group tour takes in the beauty of Antelope Canyon without the crowds.
Travel round-trip by minivan from your Las Vegas hotel to Arizona, and explore the canyon with a Navajo guide. Hike out to the sheer rock face at Horseshoe Bend and stop at a scenic overlook for views of Lake Powell.
7. Red Rock Canyon
A little closer to home, and just a short day trip from Las Vegas, is the equally beautiful Red Rock Canyon
This is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas, and not just because it’s only a half-hour drive from the city center, but because it will leave you in awe.
When you’re on the Strip or gambling in the casinos, it’s hard to imagine that a natural sight such as the Red Rock Canyon is literally just down the road.
But down the road it is, and make the short journey and you’ll be able to stare in awe at the natural, red rock formations that are found on the outskirts of Las Vegas.
Take a break from the casinos and work off those free drinks on a hike through Red Rock Canyon, a favorite local getaway from Las Vegas.
A guide helps you choose from three trail options to match your hiking level and interests. Enjoy sandstone scenery and desert vegetation as you explore the Nevada wilderness.
8. Valley of Fire
The Valley of Fire makes for another short yet spectacular day trip from Las Vegas, being just under two hours away to the east.
This beautiful natural valley is known for its unique and colorful red rock, which has been shaped and smoothed by the wind and rain over millions of years.
On this Valley of Fire hiking excursion, marvel at Native American petroglyphs that are believed to be 3,000 years old, and enjoy the multihued desert scenery in Nevada’s oldest state park.
9. Hidden Valley
Less than one hour to the south of central Las Vegas, you can find the not-so-hidden Hidden Valley
This desert landscape is an adventure playground for those looking to escape the city, as the endless expanse of open land, is perfect for off-roading.
Zip across the arid outdoors on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) in the Mojave Desert on this half-day tour from Las Vegas. Rumble through Hidden Valley National Monument past lava beds to viewpoint overlooks.
With all equipment and orientation provided, all you need is a thirst for heart-pounding adventure, and your tour guide supplies the rest.
10. Death Valley
The ominously named Death Valley is one of the most recognizable natural attractions in the USA, on a par with the Grand Canyon itself.
Located 2 hours from Las Vegas, in California, Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the planet
Part of the immense Mojave Desert, this is a place that at first glance is barren and devoid of life.
But the sheer aridness of the place is its own beauty, and what life there is here can thrive, despite the lack of water and the immense heat.
The scenery is incredible, and you’ll be amazed to know that Death Valley is not only the hottest place in America but the lowest too, as the national park lies mostly below sea level.
Discover the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at Death Valley National Park, the largest National Park in the US, on this guided full-day excursion from Las Vegas.
Learn about Death Valley’s history, landscape and wildlife along the way.
11. Bryce Canyon National Park
Also located in Utah, although not quite as well known as Zion National Park, is the beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park
This spectacular national park is home to incredible rock formations, canyons, and natural landscapes.
You can enjoy driving loops through the park or take to the hiking trails to explore the best of Bryce Canyon National Park.
Take a break from the chaos of Las Vegas on a day trip to two of Utah’s national parks, Bryce Canyon and Zion.
Explore landscapes of cliffs, gorges and otherworldly rock formations as you learn about the geology of the area, one of the most fascinating in the United States.
12. Lake Mead
It’s not all deserts though in this part of the United States, and in fact, after staring at dusty, rocky landscapes for so long the few water features that are here will seem even more spectacular.
If you’re craving some moisture, then take a day trip to Lake Mead, one of the largest lakes in the region.
This huge freshwater lake lies in stark contrast to the dusty hills that surround it, and the blue water literally shimmers and sparkles in the bright sunlight.
Feast on a sumptuous 3-course meal with a glass of bubbly during a dinner cruise on Lake Mead.
Hop aboard the Desert Princess, a Mississippi River–style paddle-wheel steamboat, and spend an enchanting evening viewing the sights of Hoover Dam.
13. Zion National Park
Just a two-hour drive away in Utah, you can find the incredible surroundings of Zion National Park.
This is one of the most exceptional national parks in the country because a few other destinations can compete for sheer natural beauty.
The highlight of Zion National Park is the long, wide valley that cuts through the protected area. There are panoramic vistas and challenging hikes through remote areas, leading to jaw-dropping natural sights.
Explore Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in one day on this ambitious small group tour.
This itinerary is limited to 14 people for a more intimate experience hiking through the desert landscapes and taking in the views.
14. Area 51
This could be the most unusual of the best day trips from Las Vegas, but it’s also one of the most intriguing.
The remote deserts close to Las Vegas are said to be home to Area 51, the supposed government facilities associated with alien landings, UFOs and conspiracy theories.
While you can’t get into Area 51, you can visit famous sights of interest and hear all the infamous stories.
Whether you believe the rumors and the stories, or whether you think they’re just nonsense, an Area 51 day trip from Vegas is still an amusing day out for everyone!
Discover Area 51 on this guided full-day adventure from Las Vegas. Travel through some of the most desolate, uninhabited and scenic desert landscapes in the world to witness this infamous location.
15. Los Angeles
One of the best trips from Las Vegas, and one of the longest, is a day out in Los Angeles.
LA is one of the most popular and well-known tourist destinations in the USA, and it makes for a great escape from Las Vegas.
Leave the desert and head to the coast of California, it’s a long drive but there are plenty of tour companies to take you there and back again.
Visit Hollywood, walk along the famous Boulevard and take a photo below the iconic sign.
Spend the day at the famous theme parks, explore the movie studios or take a trip to the beach. There’s so much to do in Los Angeles, and it’s never too far away from Las Vegas!
Visit Los Angeles on this small-group full-day tour from Las Vegas. You will be traveling with a driver-guide who provides commentary about the city. All while checking out the areas of Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills to see top attractions and take in views of the Pacific Ocean.
More on the Western USA:
- 12 Awesome Things to do in Las Vegas for Couples
- Is Horseshoe Bend in Arizona Worth It?
- Essential Monument Valley Guide: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!
- How to Visit Antelope Canyon: Essential Tips & Tricks
- LA to San Diego Drive: Best Stops for an Epic Road Trip
- Ultimate 3 Day Weekend in San Diego
- Ultimate 3 Day Weekend in Los Angeles