Las Vegas isn't the only place worth visiting in Nevada. This massive state is blessed with stunning landscapes and an incredible history, offering fantastic opportunities to explore and discover natural attractions within easy day-tripping distance of Las Vegas. You can even pop into neighboring California. Head west to the colorful Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area or northwest to the magnificent landscape of Death Valley National Park.
For more ideas of places to visit nearby, see our list of the best day trips from Las Vegas. Travel to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Valley of Fire State Park, and Zion National Park in Utah is an easy day trip from Las Vegas. See our list of the best day trips from Las Vegas for more ideas.
For more outdoor things to do in Las Vegas see our post - 5 Outdoors Places To Visit in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1. Grand Canyon
If you are only going to do one day trip from Las Vegas, a trip to the Grand Canyon is a must-do. If you have never seen this natural wonder, you'll want to start at the Grand Canyon Skywalk at Eagle Point, which is less than 2.5 hours from Las Vegas.
The more famous area is the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, a little over four hours away. Here, you'll find the main national park visitor center, a beautiful drive and walkway along the rim of the canyon, multiple lookouts, hiking trails, and several key attractions.
2. Hoover Dam
A marvel of modern engineering, Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression partly as a way to put unemployed men back to work. More than 100 of those men died during the construction of the 726-foot-high dam. A 45-minute drive from the center of Las Vegas, the dam contains Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States.
Today, the dam provides hydroelectric power to much of Nevada, Arizona, and California. Near the dam is a visitor center and parking. From here, you can walk out on the dam for fantastic views. More than one million tourists visit every year.
Many people visit this site on a Hoover Dam Tour from Las Vegas. This is a small-group, all-inclusive tour and includes transportation, a guided tour of the dam and the power plant, and lunch.
3. Death Valley National Park
Although Death Valley is in California, you can easily visit the park on a day trip from Las Vegas. Death Valley is the largest national park in the United States outside of Alaska, and 95 percent of it is designated as wilderness to preserve its wild character.
The park has also been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve. Below sea level yet surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Death Valley is far from dead. This wildly diverse landscape ranges from dunes and fields of wildflowers to lakes that come and go with the rain. In spring, the valley bursts with life.
The main sights in Death Valley are mostly along the roadside and don't require anything more than a short walk to see. Some of the highlights are Badwater Basin, the moving rocks at the Race Track (high-clearance vehicle or 4WD required), the rolling hills at Zabriskie Point, the vista over the valley from Dante's View, and many others.
4. Valley of Fire State Park
Hikers who want to explore some incredible scenery should put Valley of Fire on their itinerary. The hiking trails here are generally short, but land you in some exceptional scenery. If you aren't a hiker, you can still appreciate the views from a drive through the park.
The park covers more than 42,000 acres of haunting sandstone formations created from sand dunes that settled and solidified here during the time of the dinosaurs. Human occupation of the valley dates back to approximately 3,000 year ago. The park also offers camping, with campsites set at the base of the stone formations.
Highlights include the red rock formations, petroglyphs, canyons, and wildlife. The park also offers camping, with campsites set at the base of the stone formations. To reach Valley of Fire, take Interstate 15 north from Las Vegas. The drive time is about one hour.
5. Zion National Park
Visiting Zion National Park from Las Vegas is a long day, but it's well worth it if you've never been to this park. Zion is known for its incredible cliff walls, unique rock landscape, scenic lookouts, and outstanding hiking trails.
From March until November, a free shuttle bus transports visitors through the most popular area of the park, along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. This is perfect for day trippers. You can simply park your car and be shuttled to the stops, where you can see the sights or tackle some of the hiking trails.
Alternatively, you can drive along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which will take you high above the canyon floor and over to a different region of the park.