mather point

Las Vegas is primely located for exploring a number of popular nearby Southwest attractions.

When traveling to Vegas consider adding a few extra days to explore the national parks within a few hours drive from Vegas like: Grand Canyon, Zion, and Death Valley.Hannah and Adam, Getting Stamped

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.

grand canyon panorama

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.

Explore our most popular Grand Canyon tours

Grand Canyon South Rim Tour Overlook

Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour

Marvel at the South Rim’s breathtaking views on our most popular guided and narrated luxury bus tour to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim National Park! Your journey begins with pick up from the hotel before traveling through Las Vegas & Boulder City, Nevada.

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grand canyon west rim deluxe bus tour hoover dam stop optional skywalk

Grand Canyon West Rim Deluxe Bus Tour with Hoover Dam Stop and Optional Skywalk

Enjoy your trip to the Grand Canyon on a large luxury motorcoach, complete with a drive over the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge before arriving at the stunning West Rim! Skywalk available for an additional fee.

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grand canyon west rim helicopter tour floor landing limousine upgrade

Grand Canyon Helicopter Floor Landing with Limousine Upgrade

Travel to and from your helicopter in a luxury limousine before you land on the Canyon floor and at an exclusive private ramada overlooking the Colorado River. Your return flight includes a cruise over the Las Vegas strip.

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Lake Mead

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.

lake mead panorama

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 National Recreation Area is another amazing place. There is even a river nearby. The Colorado River is perfect for kayaking. The trails around it are designed for cycling and you can even go camping here.

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.

See Lake Mead on our leisurely Lake Mead cruise

lake mead cruise hoover dam tour

Lake Mead Cruise and Hoover Dam Tour

This combined tour begins with breathtaking sights as you travel by motorcoach through fabulous Las Vegas towards Boulder City, Nevada. As you leave Boulder City en route to the magnificent Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, see the spectacular shoreline of Lake Mead in the distance.

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Hoover Dam

Distance from Las Vegas: 35 miles

hoover dam panorama

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:

Off the strip I loved going to Hoover Dam. We took a tour so no rental car and we had the benefit of the tour guide’s stories about the area as we drove to the 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.

Explore our most popular Hoover Dam tours

complete hoover dam experience tour

Complete Hoover Dam Experience

Get the best of both worlds with this tour, a refreshing stop at the Colorado River and an in-depth tour of the mighty Hoover Dam.

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mini hoover dam tour

Mini Hoover Dam Tour

Catch breathtaking views of Lake Mead en route to the Hoover Dam! Descend 500 feet into the Dam and see it from two states!

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Zion National Park

Distance from Las Vegas: 165 miles

zion national park panorama

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.

If you have an itch to get off the Strip, I like to go to Red Rock. Only a 25 minute car ride from Sin City and you can witness some amazingly beautiful rock formations and colors.Turner, American Travel Blogger

red rock canyon panorama

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.

The Red Rock Canyon is a natural wonder. It deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime. There are different trails for children and adults. Along the way you may also encounter some wildlife and plants.Megan and Mike, Waking Up Wild

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.

Take a look at our our Red Rock Canyon tours

red rock canyon suv tour

Red Rock Canyon SUV Tour

See the dramatic scenery of Red Rock Canyon on this unique tour, including scenic drives and an exclusive off-road adventure.

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Nelson, Nevada

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:

This last trip home, I found yet another place to visit in Vegas that is off-the-beaten-path, the ghost town of Nelson, Nevada. While there are plenty of great things to do in Las Vegas that do leave your feet firmly planted in the artificial worlds of Venice, Paris, the pyramids and more, on your next visit, consider hitting up this hidden gem of a spot. Nelson isn’t far from Vegas, but I promise you this — it is the absolute opposite of the rest of the city.

Explore nearby Eldorado Canyon on our Eldorado Canyon ATV and Gold Mine tour.

Death Valley

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.

See Death Valley on our guided day tour

death valley bus tour

Death Valley Bus Tour

Join us on this wonderful tour Ubehebe Crater, Furnace Creek Ranch Museum, Badwater Mud Canyon and Rhyolite Ghost Town. As a special memento of your adventure, you will receive a Death Valley Explorer Certificate at the end of your tour!

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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 panorama

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”.

valley of fire panoramaThe 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

Check out our guided tours

Valley of Fire SUV Tour

Come with us to explore the Valley of Fire, one of Nevada’s most visually stunning sights, in our custom built Tour Trekker SUVs! Venture deep into the Valley of Fire, experience the magnificent backdrop of the Mojave Desert, and learn about many Native American cultures.

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The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Las Vegas

Find answers to all your questions about Las Vegas in our Ultimate Guide!

Special thanks to all the expert travelers who contributed their tips to the Ultimate Guide to Visiting Las Vegas!