If you’ve visiting Las Vegas and wondering what there is to do outside the city, then our guide to the best day trips from Las Vegas has you covered.
Whilst there’s no shortage of things to do in Las Vegas, there are also a number of excellent attractions that you can easily visit in a day from the city. These include a number of lovely natural attractions which make for the perfect balance to the hectic pace of Las Vegas.
If you are visiting Las Vegas for a few days, then we definitely recommend allocating at least one of those days to a day trip outside the city. Let’s take a look at the options so you can decide for yourself which day trips you’d prefer!
Table of Contents
Day Trips from Las Vegas
There are quite a few day trips you can do from Las Vegas. Some of these are shorter trips that you can do with half a day, others will take a whole day. There are also different options for how to do these day trips.
For each day trip, we’ve suggested the different options you have for doing them, from driving yourself to taking a tour. We’ve also listed public transport options where available, although as many of the day trips are to quite remote locations, public transport is often limited or non existent.
Also, if you plan on sightseeing in Las Vegas, check out the Go Las Vegas card. As well as including entry to many attractions in the city, the card also includes some day trips out of Las Vegas. So if you plan on picking one of those up, you might find it includes one of the tours you wanted to do anyway! Worth checking out.
Valley of Fire State Park
If you’d like to do some hiking and experience beautiful natural landscapes, then we highly recommend a visit to the Valley of Fire state park. This state park is so named because the red rocks that are found throughout the park give the impression that the valley is on fire, particularly at sunset.
We also recommend this park because it is less than an hour’s drive from Las Vegas and makes for an easy day trip or day tour that doesn’t include a lot of time driving. The main things to do here is to following the driving route to check out the various rock formations and scenic viewpoints and to hike on the many trails located within the park.
There are multiple observation points where you can get a stunning scenic view. If you visit in the cooler months outside of the heat of summer, there are also lots of hikes you can do, ranging from short easy walks through to longer half day and full day hikes.
If you visit the park in the summer, this can be a very hot part of the world and it may indeed feel like the world is on fire! We’d generally recommend limiting the length of any hiking expeditions in the peak heat of the summer months and bring lots of water and sun protection.
There are several picnic areas along the park’s driving route where you can stop for some shade, have a picnic, and use the restroom.
There’s an excellent visitor centre on site where you can learn all about the park, and this is also a good place to ask rangers for advice on hiking conditions and recommended hikes.
Getting to the Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas
Found 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, there are a few ways to get to the Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas. Here are some options.
Driving to the Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas
The 46,000 acre park is around a 50 minute drive northwest of Las Vegas.
So it is going to be around a 50 minute drive each way plus you’ll want to allow at least 2 to 3 hours exploring the park. If you plan on doing some of the trails, which range from a few hundred yards to 7 miles, then obviously you’ll need to spend longer.
Park entry is currently $10 for vehicles with Nevada plates, and $15 for other vehicles, and the park is open from sunset to sunrise. Parking is included with entry. You can see more on the official site here.
If you have your own car or choose to rent one, it can make for a good destination to visit with the Hoover Dam for a full day out. You can do this as a nice loop drive, taking in view of Lake Mead as well, with a total drive time of about 4 hours.
Public Transport to the Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas
Unfortunately the remote location of the Valley of Fire State Park means there aren’t currently any public transport options. The best option if you don’t have your own vehicle would be to either rent a vehicle or join a tour.
Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are not recommended as you need a way to get around the park, and you could end up stuck out here with no way to get back.
Tours of the Valley of Fire State Park from Las Vegas
If you don’t have your own vehicle and would prefer not to rent one, or would just like to let someone else handle the logistics of your trip to the Valley of Fire, then a guided tour is your best option.
Tours have a number of benefits, and they normally include a guide who can share information about what you are seeing to enhance your experience. They are also a good option if you want to do a hike, as an experienced guide can be invaluable to help you have a safe experience.
Most tours include a guide, water, and entrance fees to the park. However do always check the tour description to know what it includes and what to expect.
There are a number of Valley of Fire tours running from Las Vegas. Here are some to consider.
- This guided hiking tour of the Valley of Fire offers a guided hiking experience. You can choose a hike to suit your experience level and fitness, with the tour lasting for 4-6 hours depending on the hike.
- This small group 6 hour tour includes the main highlights of the park as well as a visit to the park visitor centre
- This full day 9 hour trip includes both the Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon, letting you experience two natural wonders in one day. This is a similar 8 hour tour.
- One popular thing to do in Las Vegas is get married. Well, if you want a different backdrop, how about booking a Valley of Fire wedding tour with a private limousine!
- This full day tour includes Hoover Dam, the Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon, letting you experience some of the best attractions outside Las Vegas in one day.
- This full day tour has you exploring the Valley of Fire in a two person buggy, perfect for the thrill seekers amongst you.
- If you’d prefer a private tour, this 5 hour private tour is a great option.
- Finally, if you’re interested in getting great photos and learning about the local wildlife, check out this full day wildlife viewing photo tour.
Found on the Arizona / Nevada border around a 40 minute drive from Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam makes for a popular half day trip from Las Vegas. This is probably the most popular day trip from Las Vegas and makes for a great half-day trip out of the city.
The dam sits at the southern end of Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the USA by capacity, and which was formed as a result of the dam being built across the Colorado River.
The dam was built in five years and opened in 1936, two years ahead of schedule, thanks to the mammoth efforts of thousands of workers who came seeking work during the Great Depression. It was a massive and sometimes dangerous project, and over 100 workers died in its construction.
The dam has a number of purposes. It was built to regulate and control the Colorado River, and therefore reduce the risk of flooding to downstream communities. The large reservoir formed by the dam provides drinking water as well as irrigation water, and is also a popular recreation site.
It was also built to generate power, and when opened became the largest hydroelectric power station in the world.
Today, over a million people a year visit the Hoover Dam. It is possible to just visit and admire the view, but there are also a number of tours which take you inside the dam to tour the powerplant and walk some its tunnels where you will also learn all about the construction and history of this mammoth engineering achievement. If you visit, we can highly recommend taking one of these tours.
The main tours available are as follows.
- A self-guided visitor centre tour. This costs $10 and lets you access the visitor centre where you can learn about the dam, as well as visit the observation deck
- A guided powerplant tour. This costs $15, and as well as including the self-guided visitor centre tour, it lets you see the powerplant and some of the construction tunnels
- A guided dam tour. This costs $30 and includes the previous two items, as well as seeing more of the inner workings of the dam.
We generally suggest that the guided powerplant tour is definitely worth it as it’s only a little bit more expensive than the self-guided tour but includes a lot more. Those with more of an interest, and more time on their hands, will want to take the full guided dam tour.
It’s also worth being aware that tours can be restricted or stopped at very short notice due to maintenance requirements or elevator issues. So it is always worth calling ahead before visiting to be sure that what you want to see is open before you visit. You can see contact details and lots more information on the official website here.
Getting to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas
There are a number of options for getting to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas, which we’ll go through now.
Driving to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas
First, if you have your own vehicle or if you’ve rented one, it’s easy to drive to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas. It’s around a 40 minute / 37 mile drive from the city.
Parking is available on site. There’s a large parking structure on the Nevada side which can accommodate standard sized cars. This is the closest structure to the dam visitor center, and there’s a $10 fee for parking here.
For larger vehicles like RVs, oversized vehicles and vehicles with trailers, parking is available on the Arizona side of the dam. The first parking lot, closest to the dam, has a $10 daily fee.
There are four additional parking lots further up the canyon which are free, but the walk is a bit longer (at least half a mile from the nearest one to the visitor center) and they don’t have as many spaces available. However, as you will likely want to walk across the dam anyway, if you can find a spot in the free parking zone, this will save you $10.
Public Transport to Hoover Dam from Las Vegas
There is currently no public transport that runs directly from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam that we aware of.
However, you can take a public bus from Las Vegas to Boulder City. The Henderson and Downtown Express (HDX) takes around an hour from the Las Vegas strip to downtown Boulder City.
From Boulder City, you can then take a taxi or ride share on to the Hoover Dam, which is around a 16 minute drive.
You can also take a rideshare, Uber or Lyft, all the way from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam, a journey that takes around 40 minutes by car. The only downside with this approach is that whilst it will be easy to find a vehicle to get you from Las Vegas out to the Hoover Dam, there will be fewer vehicles operating around the Hoover Dam. So do keep this in mind.
Tours of Hoover Dam from Las Vegas
If you don’t have your own vehicle, then we think the best option is to take a dedicated tour of Hoover Dam from Las Vegas.
There are a lot of tours from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam, so it’s important to pick the right one for you. Differences include the length of time at the dam, whether entry or a tour on site is included, and whether other attractions are also included. Group size also varies depending on the tour operator.
We’ve put together our picks of tours available, to give you some good options to choose from. Always be sure to check exactly what is included before booking a tour so you know what you are getting.
- If you’re short on time, this 3 hour express tour will get you good views of the damn as well as some time at Lake Mead, however there’s no time on this tour for going inside the dam
- This 5 hour tour includes a tour of the exterior of the dam as well as the interior, as well as a photo stop to see some bighorn sheep
- This 6.5 hour tour includes a guided walk across the top of Hoover Dam and a tour of the generator area inside the dam. It also includes lunch, time in Boulder City and a visit to the Boulder Dam museum amongst other stops.
- This full day 3 in 1 tour includes the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and some highlights of Route 66! This does only include a photo stop at the Hoover Dam rather than a full tour, but it’s a good option for taking in a few attractions in one package.
- If you’re looking for something a bit different, this helicopter tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon flies right over the Hoover Dam, for a unique perspective!
- If you pick up a Go Las Vegas card, one of the included experiences is a Hoover Dam tour. So if you plan on doing a few different activities in the city which this pass covers, this can be a great way to save money and still visit the Hoover Dam!
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Just 15 miles to the west of Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area is a popular destination for a full or half day trip from Las Vegas.
The main highlight of this nearly 200,000 acre park are the huge red sandstone rock formations which form a series of peaks and rock walls. These walls are up to 3,000 feet high, and the area is popular for both hikers and rock climbers, as well as visitors who just want to appreciate the natural beauty.
If you are interested in hiking, there are a number of trails to choose from across a range of difficulty levels. You can see a full list of trails and download a trail map here.
Main access to the area is via a one way 13 mile scenic loop road which is accessible off Las Vegas highway 159. The loop road has a a number of parking areas and trailheads for hiking, and there are some spur roads leading off it where you can access additional trailheads as well as a series of petroglyphs.
The road has a slow maximum speed limit and is also suitable for cycling, Some tour operators offer electric bicycle hire and transport from Las Vegas if you’re interested in experiencing the area on two wheels.
A good starting point for any visit to Red Rock Canyon is the Red Rock Canyon visitor centre, found just past the fee station. Fees for entry are currently $15 for a vehicle. You can see more at the official website here.
Getting to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from Las Vegas
It’s around a 17 mile / 30 minute drive from the Las Vegas strip to the Red Rock Canyon visitor centre. Here are your options for visiting.
Driving to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from Las Vegas
If you have your own car or choose to rent one, then getting to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area from Las Vegas is easy. It’s a 30 minute drive to the park entrance, and from there you can follow the 13 mile scenic loop road.
There are numerous parking areas as you drive the scenic loop road, many of which are at the start of the various hiking trailheads.
Public Transport to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from Las Vegas
There is no direct public transport to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from Las Vegas.
It is possible to take a rideshare, Uber or Lyft, out to Red Rock Canyon, however, be advised that there is very limited cell reception at the reserve, so there is a very real possibility of being stranded out there. You may also have a hard time finding a driver to take you back to Las Vegas. In addition, the first trail head is a mile from the entrance.
It would probably work out more cost effective to either book a tour or rent your own vehicle for the day than to do a rideshare option.
Tours of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from Las Vegas
As with other popular day trip destinations from Las Vegas, there are a number of tours you can take from Las Vegas to Red Rock Canyon. Some of these tours focus on Red Rock Canyon itself, whilst others include Red Rock Canyon with some of the other highlights in the area. Here’s a good selection to give you some options.
- This 4-5 hour tour covers many of the highlights of Red Rock Canyon, including the Native American petroglyphs
- Looking for something more thrilling? Check out this helicopter tour of Red Rock Canyon, which includes a landing above the valley and champagne.
- If you’d like to pedal your way round the scenic loop (with some assistance), check out this tour which includes round trip transport and electric cycle hire. There are also tours offering guided mountain biking on tougher trails.
- If you’d prefer to focus on some hiking, this guided hiking tour offers a choice of trails and a guided hike of between 2 and 2.5 hours in the canyon
- This really fun tour has you exploring Red Rock Canyon by Scooter Car, in a fully guided experience with the opportunity to do some short hikes.
- This 6-7 hour tour includes stops at a number of the Red Rock Canyon viewpoints, as well as a stop at Hoover Dam, Seven Magic Mountains and the Boulder City Art Guild area.
- This full day 9 hour trip includes both the Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon, letting you experience two natural wonders in one day. This is a similar 8 hour tour.
- This full day 10 hour trip visits the Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon, letting you experience a range of attractions in one full day of adventure
The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular and well known natural attractions in the world, and it makes for a popular destination as a day trip from Las Vegas.
The Grand Canyon was formed by the Colorado River over millions of years. This massive 277 mile long canyon is over a mile deep in places, and it’s popular for everything from casual sightseeing through to hiking and rafting.
One of the most popular activities from Las Vegas is to take a helicopter flight out to the Grand Canyon, like this. This gives you a stunning aerial view of the Canyon, and also saves you a lot of driving time!
Of course, there are other options for getting to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, which we’ll go over now.
Getting to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, so when planning a trip here from Las Vegas it’s important to decide which part of the canyon to visit.
Most visitors will want to visit the Grand Canyon National Park which is where the deepest and most impressive stretches of the canyon are to be found. It’s also here, on the south rim, that you’ll find the Grand Canyon Village, home to the park’s restaurants, shops, and the expansive visitor centre.
From the Grand Canyon village there are a number of trails and viewpoints you can access, as well as a shuttle bus that will take you along the rim for additional views. As this is a National Park there’s an entry fee, and you can read more about opening times and prices here.
A closer option to Las Vegas is Grand Canyon West. This area of the park belongs to the Hualapai people, and is outside the National Park Area. They have food service on site, as well as the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass bridge that allows you to walk right out above the canyon. Note that there’s a fee to enter this area, and you can book tickets in advance here.
Both of these options can be visited individually from Las Vegas, and I’ll include information on getting to both so you can decide which works for you.
Driving to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas
From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West, where you’ll find the Grand Canyon Skywalk, it’s around 130 miles, or 2.5 hours of driving. We think this is an achievable day trip for those wanting to visit part of the Grand Canyon.
However, if you are wanting to visit the Grand Canyon National Park and village, it is a much longer drive. By road, you’re looking at a 4.5 hour drive of almost 300 miles. So that would be nine hours driving in total.
Personally, we think this is stretching what we’d be happy to drive in a day, so if we were planning to visit from Las Vegas by car, we’d probably opt to spend the night. This would also let us enjoy a beautiful sunset in the Grand Canyon.
Alternatively, we’d consider taking a day tour rather than driving ourselves, so we can relax on the long trip there and back without the 9 hours of driving. Overnight tours are also available, like this one.
The other option would be to take a helicopter tour like this. Helicopter tours are a fantastic way to see different parts of the Grand Canyon without spending a lot time in the car. There are a number of operators offering helicopter tours, some of which include landing in the canyon and other features like champagne or snacks.
Public Transport to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas
Given the distances involved and the remote locations, you will likely not be surprised to hear that there’s no public transport available to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.
There is a train service that operates to the Grand Canyon Village from Williams, Arizona, but this would still require you to figure out how to get to Williams. There are Greyhound services, but these take much longer than is possible in a day.
Tours of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas
In our opinion, the best way to get to the Grand Canyon as a day trip from Las Vegas is to take a day tour. Whilst these do involve a lot of driving, you can rest on the tour vehicle and let someone else handle the driving.
You can also opt to take a helicopter tour, which will get you to and from the Grand Canyon a lot quicker, and thus save you a huge amount of travel time. Plus you’ll also get an amazing view of the canyon from the air, which is one of the best ways to experience its vast scale.
If you want to visit the Grand Canyon by vehicle but don’t want to spend too long in a vehicle, consider heading to the Grand Canyon West area rather than the Grand Canyon village, as this will significantly reduce your travel time.
Here are a number of tour options to consider for your trip.
- This full day 14 hour tour will take you all the way to the Grand Canyon village area, and you’ll get 3.5 hours free time on site to explore. It also includes a photo stop at the Hoover Dam and a lunch stop on Route 66.
- This is another full day 15 hour tour to the Grand Canyon village, which also includes a stop at the Grand Canyon caverns on the way, and around 3 hours in the park. Lunch and breakfast snacks are also included.
- This half day tour has you flying to the Grand Canyon in a helicopter, landing below the rim and enjoying champagne and snacks with gorgeous views
- This full day tour to Grand Canyon West includes a photo opportunity at the Hoover Dam, as well as time to explore Grand Canyon West. Food is included, and the tour can be upgraded to include the Skywalk.
- This full day 15 hour white water rafting trip from Las Vegas offers a unique viewpoint on the Grand Canyon as you ride a raft down the Colorado river.
- This helicopter tour offers you the chance to see sunset over the Grand Canyon, followed by the lights of the Las Vegas strip at night. A snack, champagne, and landing in the Grand Canyon is included.
- This 17 hour full day tour has you visiting three natural wonders, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon South Rim. A stop at Seligman, a Route 66 highlight, is also included, as is lunch.
- This full day private tour includes the trip out to the Grand Canyon south rim where you will be able to watch the sunset, as well as some of the highlights of Arizona’s Route 66 on the journey there and back.
- If you’d rather not drive so much in one day, you can also take a 2 day tour like this to the Grand Canyon. This tour includes accommodation and will give you lots more time to experience this natural wonder.
Zion National Park
Found just across the border in neighbouring Utah, Zion National Park is famous for its varied terrain and wildlife. The park has a unique geography due to its location on the edge of the Colorado Plateau, which has resulted in a diverse range of flora and fauna, as well as some stunning landscapes.
Naturally the park is a popular destination for hikers and lovers of nature, and it has everything from mountains to slot canyons to natural arches to tempt the visitor with.
Zion also has a rich cultural history, with evidence of human habitation in the area from at least 8,000 years ago. Zion was Utah’s first national park.
There’s a lot to see and do in the park. There’s an excellent visitor centre which is worth the visit, as well as a variety of trails which range from easy through to challenging. There’s also a shuttle bus to get you around the park.
As this is a National Park, there’s an entry fee, and you can see more about costs and opening times on the official website here.
Getting to Zion National Park from Las Vegas
Zion National Park is 160 miles north east of Las Vegas, so around a 2.5 hour drive. You have a few options for getting here from Las Vegas.
Driving to Zion National Park from Las Vegas
You can drive to Zion National Park from Las Vegas. It’s around a 2.5 hour drive. However, you should be aware that for much of the year the scenic road around the park is off limits to private vehicles, and you have to take a shuttle.
Most visitors who drive pay to park their vehicle in Springdale, from where there is a free shuttle to the visitor centre, following which you can take the Zion Canyon visitor shuttle to the main highlights and lookouts.
Public Transport to Zion National Park from Las Vegas
It is actually possible to visit Zion National Park by public transport from Las Vegas. A number of buses operated by Flixbus and Greyhound will get you to St. George in around 3 hours, and from here you can take a shuttle to Zion which takes around an hour.
We’d honestly prefer to take a tour or drive rather than do that, but it is at least an option!
Tours of Zion National Park from Las Vegas
There are a number of tours operating from Las Vegas to Zion National Park. Note that some of these tours also include other parks, such as Bryce Canyon. Whilst Bryce is very pretty, it’s an extra 2 hour drive each way from Zion, so if you visit both parks in one day you will have much less time to experience Zion.
Of course, it’s up to you which you would prefer, but we’ve primarily focused on tours that just go to Zion. If you want to include Bryce, consider a 2 day overnight tour like this instead.
- This full day tour focuses on Zion National Park, and gives you six hours to explore the park yourself.
- This small grouped guided walking tour of Zion National Park will take you to the highlights of the park in a fully guided experience, and includes park entry
- The Go Las Vegas card includes a full day trip to Zion National Park, and includes your entry fee, lunch, snacks and water
- This 14 hour small group tour visits both Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, and include entry fees, lunch, snacks and bottled water, with around 1.5 hours in each park.
- This 2 day small group tour includes both Zion and Bryce Parks, and gives you more time to experience and enjoy both parks.
- This full day private tour of Zion National Park includes four hours in the park with a guide, as well as your park entry fees
Arguably the world’s most famous road, Route 66 runs for over 2,400 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California.
Driving the whole route obviously takes more than a day, and if you are planning on doing it all, we recommend reading our guides to spending 1 week on Route 66, 2 weeks on Route 66, and planning a Route 66 road trip for inspiration.
The good news is that part of the original Route 66 highway passes relatively near to Las Vegas. Specifically, the stretch from Seligman, Arizona, down to Needles, California is within driving distance of Las Vegas, meaning you can definitely visit Route 66 as a day trip from Las Vegas.
Some of the highlights along this stretch of the Route include Oatman, Hackberry, Peach Springs, and Seligman. You can see more of the highlights on this stretch of the route in our guide here. There are lots of quirky roadside attractions and some stunning scenery, making this one of our favourite parts of the Route to drive.
Getting to Route 66 from Las Vegas
Let’s look at the options you have for visiting Route 66 as a day trip from Las Vegas.
Driving to Route 66 from Las Vegas
The closest stretch of Route 66 to Las Vegas is the section which passes through Kingman, Arizona. This is around 110 miles from Las Vegas, or just under two hours drive away.
From Kingman, you can follow the stretch of Route 66 to Seligman, which is an additional 87 miles, or a 90 minute drive. So you could easily do a nice long day trip from Las Vegas by car and see some of the highlights of this section of Route 66.
Public Transport to Route 66 from Las Vegas
You can take a bus from Las Vegas to Kingman. The service is operated by Flixbus, and the journey takes around 2 hours, depending on the time of day.
Of course, this only gets you to Kingman. Whilst this is home to a number of Route 66 attractions, including the Arizona Route 66 museum, it’s not quite the same as driving the route itself. Still, it is possible at least to visit Route 66 by public transport from Las Vegas.
Tours of Route 66 from Las Vegas
The majority of tours from Las Vegas which feature Route 66 do so primarily as an addon to another tour. It’s commonly found for example on tours to the Grand Canyon, like this one, because if you are travelling to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, the route naturally crosses some Route 66 attractions like Kingman and Seligman.
If you want a tour which specifically focuses on Route 66, these are harder to come by. One option might be to book a private tour like this, and see if it can be tailored to focus more on Route 66 attractions. Alternatively, if you can get yourself to Kingman, there are some more focused Route 66 tours like this and this.
Of course, you might be happy to just experience parts of Route 66 as part of a bigger day trip, and that’s fine too! Here are some suggested tours which we suggest you check out.
- This full day 14 hour tour will take you all the way to the Grand Canyon village area, and you’ll get 3.5 hours free time on site to explore. It also includes a photo stop at the Hoover Dam and a lunch stop on Route 66.
- This full day tour to the Grand Canyon includes a stop in Seligman which has lots of interesting Route 66 attractions
- This full day private tour includes a trip out to the Grand Canyon south rim where you will be able to watch the sunset, as well as some of the highlights of Arizona’s Route 66 on the journey there and back.
As you can see, there are not a great many day tours that include Route 66. If you want to see more of Route 66, then we would definitely suggest either using your own vehicle, or renting one for this particular adventure.
Death Valley National Park
Found in Eastern California, the rather terrifyingly named Death Valley is famous for a number of reasons.
First, it’s quite inhospitable. It got its name during the California Gold Rush, following the deaths of a number of prospectors who had to cross the valley to reach the gold fields. A combination of intense heat, difficult terrain and limited water supplies made the valley challenging to traverse, leading to the loss of life.
The Valley is regarded as being one of the hottest places on earth, with summer time temperatures regularly exceeding 100 F (39 C), and a recorded high of 134 F (57 C).
It’s also home to the lowest point in the USA. Badwater Basin in Death Valley is 282 feet (86 metres) below sea level.
Combine these extremes with the rugged landscapes, and you can see why a visit to Death Valley National Park is on the to-do list of many visitors to the area.
Our tip would be to visit outside of the hottest months if possible (June through August are usually very hot). In these months the temperatures can be deadly, and parts of the park and hiking routes are often closed. Visiting in the relatively cooler months will be a much more pleasant experience.
There’s lots to see and do in the park, from hikes to photo stops. You can also learn about the history of the park with a visit to the excellent Furnace Creek visitor centre. You can see more about the park opening house and admission fees at the official website here.
Let’s look at how to get to Death Valley as a day trip from Las Vegas.
Getting to Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas
There are a few options for visiting Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas. Here are the ones we recommend.
Driving to Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas
Death Valley is around 131 miles from Las Vegas, so around a 2 hour and 15 minute drive from the city. That makes it an achievable full day trip from Las Vegas.
If you have your own car, or rent one, driving is definitely a good option as the attractions in the park are spread out over an area, so you definitely want a car to get around.
Once inside the park, you’re probably looking at 3-6 hours of sightseeing depending on your interests and any hiking you want to do.
Public Transport to Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas
There is no public transport that will let you do a day trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley that we are aware of. In addition, even if there were, you would still need a way to get around inside the park.
So if you’re planning a visit to Death Valley from Las Vegas and don’t have your own vehicle, we’d suggest taking a tour as the best option.
Tours of Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas
A number of companies offers day trips from Las Vegas to Death Valley. Some of these tours focus on Death Valley itself, whilst others might include other stops. Here are some options to consider.
- This full day small group tour visits the highlights Death Valley, and includes a snack lunch and fees. It can also be purchased as a private tour.
- This is a private full day tour from Las Vegas which includes a morning snack and park fees
- This full day trip from Las Vegas includes the major highlights of Las Vegas, park fees and a packed lunch
- This full day photo oriented tour includes Death Valley National Park as well as time at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Hopefully that gives you plenty of options for taking a tour out to Death Valley from Las Vegas!
Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
The city of Page in northern Arizona, near the border with Utah, is known for two spectacular natural attractions. These are Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon formed by the erosion of sandstone by rainwater. The canyon, which is divided into two main parts, is narrow and remarkably photogenic, and can only be visited on a guided tour.
Horseshoe Bend is a famous U-shaped bend on the Colorado River. The river sweeps around a large rock outcrop, with the name coming from the fact that from above it forms a similar shape to that of a horseshoe.
Whilst Horseshoe Bend is technically free to visit, there is a $10 fee for car parking. To get to the viewpoint, there’s a 1.5 mile round trip hike. Be aware that this offers no shade, so in the summer this can be a very hot 1.5 miles. Bring plenty of water and a hat! The viewpoint is around 1000ft above the river, making for a truly spectacular vista which is well worth the visit.
Getting to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas
Let’s take a look at how to get to Antelope Canyon and Horseshow Bend from Las Vegas. It’s quite a distance, so expect to spend the whole day visiting these two locations.
Driving to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas
It’s around 270 miles from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon, so you are looking at a round trip of around 9 hours if you choose to drive.
This is a similar amount of driving as visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, and as with that trip, it’s an adventure we probably wouldn’t choose to drive ourselves. For this length of a day out, we’d be much more likely to take a tour and let someone else handle the driving so we could relax.
Still, it’s certainly an option if you have your own car and don’t mind a long stretch of driving. If you do decide to drive yourself, be sure to book your Antelope Canyon tour well in advance as they book out and it would be a disaster to drive all this way and then not be be able to visit! You can book the Lower Antelope Canyon here, and the Upper Antelope Canyon here.
Public Transport to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas
So you can actually take a bus from Las Vegas to Page (with a change in St. George, Utah). However, as the total trip takes 5 – 6 hours and buses are not exactly regular, this isn’t something you can realistically achieve as a day trip. Check Flixbus and Greyhound for routes and prices.
However, traveling by public transit may be possible if you overnight in Page, and then take a local taxi from Page to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon.
Tours of Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas
There are a number of companies offering tours from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. As these attractions are close to each other, all the companies usually include them both, as well as some other scenic locations.
Note that Antelope Canyon can only be visited as part of a guided tour, and these tours are run by local Navajo guides. Some tours include the entry fee to Antelope Canyon as part of the overall price, whereas for others it will be an additional fee to pay, so do check when comparing tours what is included.
- This good value large group tour includes Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend with admission, as well as a packed lunch and bottled water
- This packed 17 hour tour includes Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon South Rim and a stop at Seligman on Route 66. It’s a busy full day, and it includes your entry to all the attractions as well as lunch
- This small group tour from Las Vegas offers the choice of Lower Antelope Canyon or Antelope Canyon X, which is another part of the slot canyon system. The tour includes entry tickets and lunch, and also visits Horseshoe Bend.
- If you’d rather not drive so much in one day, you might consider this 2 day small group tour from Las Vegas. This includes Antelope Canyon, as well as Horseshoe Bend, the Grand canyon and Hoover Dam. All fees except Antelope Canyon are included.
That sums up our list of our favourite day trips from Las Vegas! Now let’s cover some tips on renting cars and where to stay in the city. For more planning information, see our guide to things to do in Las Vegas, which has lots of tips on visiting the city as well.
How to Rent a Car in Las Vegas
If you are visiting Las Vegas without a car, then you might be wondering if you should rent a car during your time here. Generally, for exploring the city and getting around, we’d suggest that a car is more hassle than it’s worth. Parking is expensive, traffic is bad, and there’s a decent enough combination of public transport and ride sharing services to make a car unnecessary for sightseeing in the city.
However, as you will have seen, most of the day trips from the city aren’t achievable unless you book a tour or have a car, due to limited public transport options.
Renting a car is definitely an option to consider. However, do keep a few things in mind when comparing renting a car to taking a tour. The main thing is the cost. Whilst car rental can be great value, don’t forget to add in any insurance and gas on top of the base price. In addition, most of the sights outside the city have some kind of fee, either for parking, or vehicle entry, or both.
We think that if you are just planning on doing one or two day trips from Las Vegas that a tour will probably be easier. Most tours pick you up from your hotel, include the majority of entry fees, and are fairly cost effective. You also don’t have to worry about the driving aspect.
Of course, the value of a car rental compared to a tour will depend on your group size and personal preference. If you’re travelling to Las Vegas as a family for example, the cost of a car rental might work out better value than booking a tour for all of you. Or, you might just prefer the flexibility that having a car offers.
Renting a car is easy to do, usually you just need to have a driving license and be aged 21 or over. You can see more in my guide guide to driving in the USA, which is worth reading if this will be your first time driving in the country. When it comes to actually renting a car, you have lots of options. There are rental agencies at the airport and in the city.
If you are looking to hire a vehicle, we recommend that you take a look at Rentalcars.com to compare car hire deals across a wide range of different providers, including the biggest names in the business, to get a great deal for your trip.
We have also often used and can recommend Enterprise, we generally find that they come up with the best deals when we’re looking to hire a car. We used them to rent a car on a recent trip to Las Vegas and it worked out great.
If you are considering an overnight or multi-day trip from Las Vegas, you might also consider an RV. There are campsites at or near most of the locations we’ve mentioned, and this would be a fun way to explore the area.
We can also recommend you check out RVShare, who offer peer to peer campervan rental – a bit like the AirBnB of RV rental.
Day Tours from Las Vegas
If you’ve decided on taking a day tour from Las Vegas, we have a few tips to share to help you decide between the.
First, check what’s included in the tour. Most tours include a guide (and a vehicle!), but then there are lots of other features to check for. Things to check for include any admission fees, water, snacks and other meals. If a tour seems much cheaper than alternatives, it’s usually because something like an admission fee isn’t included.
Next, check what sort of pickup the tour offers. Many tours offer hotel pick-ups, but this isn’t always the case, so if this is important to you make sure you pick a tour that will pick you up from your hotel.
Tour size is also something to consider. Whilst larger tours are usually cheaper due to the economies of scale, they are usually less efficient with time as organising a larger group takes longer. So a smaller group can usually see and do more in the same time span as a larger group.
When it comes to booking a tour, you have a few options. We usually prefer to use an online site which lists a variety of tours so we can compare prices and features. They usually allow for mobile ticketing as well so you can book the tour and then just show the ticket on your mobile.
For booking trips from and in Las Vegas, we recommend the following website:
- GetYourGuide. They have over 200 tours and activities in and outside the city, and a good review system so you can check what other travellers have to say. We’ve used them for tours and attraction entry around the world and have always had a positive experience.
- Viator. With over 800 tours and activities listed in and around Las Vegas, this TripAdvisor owned company has plenty of choice!
- Vegas.com – as well as offering hotels and show tickets, this Las Vegas focused site also offers a number of tours outside the city.
Also, before booking a tour don’t forget to check out the Go Las Vegas card. As well as giving you entry to many attractions in the city, the card also includes some day trips out of Las Vegas. So if you plan on picking one of those up, you might find it includes one of the tours you wanted to do anyway! Worth checking out as it can be a real money saver.
Finally, before heading out on any tour remember to bring along a reusable water bottle and sun protection with you on the tour, especially if visiting in summer. The heat and sun can be harsh and even deadly, especially for children and elderly.
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
If you’re doing day trips from the city, you’re going to need somewhere to stay in between those adventures. Well, Las Vegas has no shortage of accommodation to choose from. We’ve picked some of our favourites below.
Here are a few hotels in Las Vegas to choose from that we think you’ll enjoy. The majority of these are on The Strip, which we think offers the best Las Vegas experience. We have however also included some other options.
- El Cortez Hotel & Casino – found on historic Fremont Street in the downtown part of the city, this 3* hotel offers great value and well reviewed accommodation with free parking
- Sin City Hostel – if you’re looking for budget hostel style accommodation this hostel in the Arts District is a well reviewed option. Good value shared accommodation with private bathrooms for each room are available, and there’s a free breakfast every day as well as free parking.
- Flamingo Las Vegas – the oldest resort still in operation on the Strip, the Flamingo has been operating as a casino and hotel since 1946. As the name suggests, it includes a garden courtyard which is home to a number of actual flamingos. It’s obviously an older hotel, but it does offer great value and an excellent location. We’ve stayed here and enjoyed it.
- Paris, Las Vegas – this iconic Strip hotel features several replica Paris attractions, including the Eiffel Tower. There are 11 restaurants and 5 bars on site, as well as a casino, spa, gym, and hotel theater.
- Caesars Palace – home of arguably the most famous buffet in Las Vegas, this 4* hotel has a range of celebrity owned restaurants, a casino, large shopping complex, spa, and nightclub.
- New York New York – featuring a number of New York City highlights, including a 150 foot replica of the Statue of Liberty, this hotel and casino even has it’s own roller coaster. There are also 13 on-site restaurants and even an authentic Irish pub.
- Mandalay Bay – found near the southern end of the Strip, this hotel has its own 11 acre beach area replete with lazy river and splash pools. Naturally there are also many dining options as well as bars, a casino, nightlife and live entertainment venues.
- The Delano– if you’re looking for a more relaxing and quieter Las Vegas experience, this might be the hotel for you. With no casino and only one restaurant, the Delano offers an upscale, quiet experience with a private pool and beach area. If you’re looking for action, you can go next door to Mandalay Bay (the Delano’s sister hotel) to enjoy the large pool, numerous restaurants, theaters, and casino. We think this hotel offers the best of both worlds. Jess has stayed here and thinks it would make a great choice for for couples.
- The Venetian – part of the largest resort in Las Vegas, this 5* hotel offers the full Las Vegas experience. From Gondola rides down the Grand Canal through to replicas of iconic Venetian landmarks, this is huge resort hotel really does have everything. You’ll find over 40 restaurants, 160 shop, bars, clubs, 10 outdoor pools, spa facilities, a rock climbing wall, and of course, a casino!
- The Bellagio – found behind the famous fountains, this 5* luxury hotel offers fantastic rooms, a range of pools, bars and restaurants, botanical gardens, on-site shopping and of course, a casino. We stayed in a lovely room here with views of the Strip and the fountains, and had a wonderful time!
Of course, there are lots more options for places to stay in Las Vegas. You can see more options, including apartments, hostels and more on the booking.com listings for Las Vegas here. You can also see vacation rental listings for Las Vegas on Vrbo here.
That’s it for our guide to day trips from Las Vegas! To help you further plan your trip, we have a number of other resources we think you might find useful.
- Check out our detailed list of suggested things to do in Las Vegas, which has all the sights you’ll want to see in the city as well as tips on saving money, getting around and more!
- If you’re into hiking and stunning landscapes, you might consider planning a trip to the magical Havasu Falls from Las Vegas. This requires a bit of planning though, so check out my guide to the Havasu Falls hike, as well as what to pack for Havasu Falls for advice.
- Las Vegas is a great starting point for a road trip in the USA. We have a two week USA road trip itinerary starting from Las Vegas we think you might enjoy
- If you want some more USA road trip inspiration, see our itineraries for a USA Deep South road trip, California Road Trip, Route 66 Road Trip and Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
- To help you budget a trip in the USA, see our guide to how much it costs to travel in the USA
- If you’ll be driving, see our tips for driving in the USA if this is your first time
- We’ve visited a lot of other cities in the USA! See our guides to things to do in Huntsville, things to do in Savannah, things to do in Charleston, things to do in Albuquerque, visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras, things to do in Cambria, things to do in Houston, things to do in Dallas, and things to do in Santa Fe to get started!
- If you are wanting to take better vacation photos on your next trip, consider joining our online Travel Photography Course.
And we’re done! As always, we’re happy to hear your feedback and questions to help you plan your visit. Just pop them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.