Las Vegas is primely located for exploring a number of popular nearby Southwest attractions.
Whether you add time to your trip or fit an excursion beyond the city limits into your existing plan, no trip to Sin City is complete without a sojourn into the desert to view one (or all!) of these iconic locations.
Here are some of the most popular and breathtaking spots within driving distance of the Strip:
The Grand Canyon
Distance from Las Vegas: 125-280 miles
The Grand Canyon offers some of the most impressive vistas you can find in the nation. Explore the history and culture of the area in the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, enjoy unique experiences like rafting down the Colorado River, or even walk 70 feet straight out from the edge of the Canyon’s West Rim on the infamous Skywalk.
There are two main tourist areas to explore: the South Rim and Grand Canyon West. The Grand Canyon South Rim is roughly five hours away by car, while the west rim is about a three hour drive. Guided day trips are available to both locations, including bus, airplane, and helicopter tours, as well as combination tours including floor landings, champagne lunches, and cruises down the Colorado River. If you aren’t sure whether to drive yourself or take a guided tour, read our blog.
Can’t decide which Rim to visit? We can help you decide.
Distance from Las Vegas: 25 miles
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area follows the Colorado River corridor from the westernmost boundary of Grand Canyon National Park to just north of Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City in Arizona.
With over 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, and valleys, plus two vast, brilliant blue lakes, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a natural oasis in the heart of the desert. Megan and Mike Jerrard from Mapping Megan and Waking Up Wild recommend making the short journey from Las Vegas:
Lake Mead was created by the nearby Hoover Dam, while the smaller Lake Mojave, which is also located in the National Recreation Area, was created by the Davis Dam. Visitors can participate in watersports like boating, swimming, and fishing, as well as enjoy numerous hiking trails and views of the surrounding desert landscape.
Learn more about visiting Lake Mead.
Distance from Las Vegas: 35 miles
One of the world’s most spectacular engineering marvels is located a short drive away from the Las Vegas Strip. Deb from Aroundusty Roads recalls her trip to the Hoover Dam:
Guided tours are available, or you can drive yourself and purchase admission when you arrive. Descend into the dam to see the massive generators at work on the shorter Power Plant Tour, which drops you 530 feet into the Dam, or enjoy a more immersive tour on the official Hoover Dam Tour, which gives you an opportunity to explore the passageways within the Dam. You can also combine your Hoover Dam tour with a Lake Mead cruise or a leisurely float trip down the Colorado River.
Zion National Park
Distance from Las Vegas: 165 miles
Utah’s first national park is about a 2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas. The 229 square mile park includes Zion Canyon, a deep and narrow gorge carved by the north fork of the Virgin River, as well as mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches. Keep your eyes peeled for numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals, 19 species of bat, and 32 reptiles.
Learn more about visiting Zion National Park.
Red Rock Canyon
Distance from Las Vegas: 20 miles
You can actually see the Strip from Red Rock Canyon – it’s that close to Las Vegas.
Named after its characteristic sandstone formations (some of which reach 3,000 feet tall), Red Rock Canyon is the perfect half- or full-day excursion out of the city. The famous red rocks derive their color from the iron oxide, or hematite, in the sandstone. Exposure to the elements causes this iron oxide to rust over time, resulting in the bright red rocks we see today.
While you’re there, you can’t miss the the 13 mile scenic loop. This paved one-way road travels through Red Rock Canyon, offering views of Calico Hills and many more scenic viewpoints like Ice Box Canyon. Discover what else you can see at Red Rock Canyon.
Distance from Las Vegas: 45 miles
Diana from D Travels Round is a Las Vegas local. She recommends making the short trip to Nelson, Nevada:
Explore nearby Eldorado Canyon on our Eldorado Canyon ATV and Gold Mine tour.
Distance from Las Vegas: 120 miles
At 3,000 square miles, Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the lower 48 states. It’s also the lowest, hottest, and driest place in North America – in fact, Furnace Creek in Death Valley holds the highest reliably recorded air temperature in the world at a sweltering 134 degrees, recorded on July 10, 1913.
Death Valley contains an extreme range of elevations, from the lowest elevation in North America to mountain peaks, and is home to a variety of geological formations, including salt flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, and canyons, as well as many species of plants and animals.
Learn more about Death Valley.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Distance from Las Vegas: 265 miles
Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon – it’s a collection of natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.
Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its distinctive hoodoos, which are rock formations created by frost weathering and stream erosion of the sedimentary rocks on the river and lake bed. The red, orange, and white colors of the rock provide spectacular views for park visitors.
Learn more about Bryce Canyon.
Valley of Fire
Distance from Las Vegas: 55 miles
About an hour away from the Strip, the Valley of Fire’s characteristic bright red sandstone formations, called “Aztec Sandstone”, are a sight to behold. When the sun shines on these formations, the monuments and abutments appear as if they’re on fire – hence the name “Valley of Fire”.
The Valley of Fire is home to a number of breathtaking viewpoints and rock formations, including petroglyphs, Atlatl Rock, and Elephant Rock. Discover more things to see at the Valley of Fire
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