Nov 11, 2022

Travel Inspiration

12 Awesome Places to Visit Near Las Vegas by Car

Fora Author Fora Travel

The Modern Travel Agency

Fora Travel

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A Las Vegas vacation isn’t just about slot machines, card tables and never-ending lights. There are many cool places to visit near Las Vegas by car, too. Here, we’re pulling 12 of the best. 

Eager to get your trip started? Chat with a Fora Advisor to start planning your Las Vegas trip with expert recommendations – not to mention VIP perks and hotel upgrades – all for the same price as booking direct.

Places to visit near Las Vegas by car: what to know

To make things easy, we’ve separated the destinations below into two categories.

  • Nearby attractions to Las Vegas: an hour or less away.

  • And longer road trips from Las Vegas: one to five hours away.

Part I: Las Vegas nearby attractions (under an hour away)

Want to reward that morning hike around Mount Charleston with a five-star buffet in the city? Many of the best places to visit near Las Vegas by car are less than an hour away.

1. Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam: hiking & boating galore

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The ultimate Las Vegas itinerary is incomplete without a trip to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, easily the most recognizable landmarks near Las Vegas. A veritable desert oasis: hiking, swimming, boating, camping and more are all less than 30 minutes away from the Vegas Strip.

The size and scope of the Hoover Dam are breathtaking, and a visit here offers a chance to see one of humanity’s most incredible feats of engineering. 

Ready to go? Connect with a Fora travel advisor for details on boat rentals, campgrounds and more.

Bonus: visiting the dam is one of the best things to do near Las Vegas with kids (and check out this kid-friendly Vegas itinerary for more ideas).

2. Red Rock Canyon: horseback riding under a desert sun

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Red Rock Canyon is a national conservation area about half an hour southwest of Las Vegas. Even compared to some of Vegas’ other nearby attractions, it’s breathtaking. 

Horseback riding (laid-back Vegas bachelorette party ideas or ultimate Vegas girls trip, anyone?) and biking through 13 miles of scorching hot, yet scenic desert trails are the top draw. Or, kayak through Emerald Cove to the south of the canyon for respite from the heat. 

3. Valley of Fire State Park: catch a glimpse of America’s Pre-Columbian past

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Looking for an adventure in the American Southwest

Valley of Fire State Park is 45–60 minutes from Las Vegas by car. The park’s red sandstone outcroppings are a unique sight, especially if you’re new to this corner of the US. 

Many of the stone outcroppings feature ancient (between 2,000 and 4,000 years old) Native American petroglyphs, the meanings of which are largely debated by anthropologists. 

Connect with a Fora Advisor to get the lowdown on the most interesting trails to explore during the day trip, before resting your head at your cool Vegas hotel.

4. Nelson Ghost Town: a classic western town, now (mostly) abandoned

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Need a break from Vegas’ high-key crowds and lights? Nelson Ghost Town is, well, a ghost town. When the Techatticup mine ran dry in the mid-1800s, the town was abandoned for the better part of a century. 

Now, Nelson Ghost Town starkly contrasts with the glitz and glamor of the big city. Checking it out is one of the great things to do in Vegas besides gambling — in addition to it being one of the best places to visit near Las Vegas by car.

5. Mount Charleston: earn that 5-star dinner by hiking to Charleston Peak

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If you’re athletically inclined, Mount Charleston is another scenic place to visit near Las Vegas by car, especially in winter when the ski trails are open. In the warmer months, you can hike, bike or go horseback riding through miles of rigorous terrain.

Ready to hit  the city’s coolest landmarks and trails? Book with a Las Vegas travel advisor to customize your trip today.

6. Seven Magic Mountains: where vibrant colors clash with a bleak desert

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Seven Magic Mountains is a colorful exhibit created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. The Instagram-worthy installation is about 30 minutes south of the Vegas Strip (and is featured on our Las Vegas travel itinerary). 

Part II: Longer road trips from Las Vegas: (2+ hours away)

Looking for a longer road trip from Las Vegas? Turn your Vegas sojourn into a full-on expedition of the Southwestern US with the nearby attractions below.

7. Laughlin, NV & Bullhead City, AZ: quieter casinos on the Colorado River (+ access to Lake Mohave)

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The party never stops in Vegas, but the casinos in Laughlin — about 1.5 hours away — cater to an older crowd. The Colorado River separates Laughlin from Bullhead City, and, as fun as the casinos can be, jet skiing or boating along the river is the real attraction. 

There aren’t many casinos on the Arizona side of the border, but the less developed setting means easy access to the river (so locals tend to flock here, versus the busier Nevada side).

Not sure if Laughlin and Bullhead City have the right vibe for your road trip from Las Vegas? A Fora Advisor can help you decide which places to visit, and which to skip.

8. Death Valley National Park: a poorly-named park, rich with wildlife

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About two hours west of Las Vegas you’ll find Death Valley National Park, famous for being the hottest, driest and lowest spot in North America. Despite its name, Death Valley is filled with life well-adapted to the extreme environment. 

On the rare occasion that the sun isn’t baking the valley to a crisp, rainstorms help produce fields of flowers and ponds that harbor small fish and shrimps. The park is gorgeous in its own way, but be sure to bring plenty of water and exercise caution while visiting.

9. The West Rim of the Grand Canyon: one of the seven natural wonders of the world 

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Speaking of world-famous landmarks, Las Vegas is only about two hours away from the West Rim of the Grand Canyon (or five hours away from Grand Canyon National Park). 

From helicopter tours to whitewater rafting, there’s a lot to do in the Grand Canyon besides taking in the stunning views. Check out our Grand Canyon itinerary for more. After all, visiting the Grand Canyon isn’t just one of the best places to visit near Las Vegas by car. It’s also one of the best places to visit,period.

10. Zion National Park: camping, backpacking & stargazing 

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Zion National Park is an enchanting place. One of the 10 best national parks in the US, Zion is roughly a three-hour road trip from Las Vegas. The distance is well worth it: Zion is very remote, making it one of the best places in the US for stargazing. 

Check out our guide to Zion for a full overview, or connect with a Fora Advisor to plan your trip. 

11. Los Angeles: endless activities and a foodie’s dream

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At a four- to six-hour road trip from Las Vegas (depending on traffic), Los Angeles pushes the definition of what a day trip from Vegas can be. But, exploring Los Angeles for the food alone makes the drive worth it. 

Few cities in the world offer as much gastronomical variety as Los Angeles: authentic Mexican, Japanese sushi and ramen, Vietnamese phō, Cambodian bahn mi, Honduran pupusas and so much more make LA a foodie’s paradise. 

12. The Extraterrestrial Highway (but not Area 51): whacky, bizarre & fun

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Is the truth really out there? The shopkeepers and museum purveyors on Nevada State Route 375 seem to think so. Ballooned by the cult fascination with Area 51, which is not open for visitors, the Extraterrestrial Highway is lined (in spurts) with museums, shops and more catering to the UFO-obsessed crowd.

The closest entry point to the highway, actually quite scenic, is two hours from Vegas, while the entire loop takes about five hours to complete. This is one of Las Vegas’ weirder nearby attractions, but if you’re looking for places to visit from Las Vegas by car, it’s definitely worth considering. 

Find more road trips from Las Vegas (and awesome nearby attractions) with the help of a Fora Advisor

Eager to explore more of Las Vegas’ nearby attractions? Looking for the very best places to visit near Vegas by car? Fora Advisors know all the top spots and can help you personalize your trip (with free upgrades and perks, too). What’s not to love?

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