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 covering 16 of the best.
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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 six hours away, with average traffic).
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. Boulder City, Lake Mead & the Hoover Dam, NV: hiking and boating galore
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. It's amid a veritable desert oasis, as well, where 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.
If you’re looking for cozy accommodations in the area, charming Boulder City hosts a few down-to-earth options.
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2. Red Rock Canyon & Emerald Cove, NV: horseback riding and kayaking
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 (perfect for laid-back Vegas bachelorette party ideas or the ultimate Vegas girls trip) and biking through 13 miles of 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, NV: catch a glimpse of America’s Pre-Columbian past
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.
4. Nelson Ghost Town, NV: a classic western town, now (mostly) abandoned
Need a break from Vegas’ high-key crowds and lights? Nelson Ghost Town is a great option. 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 best 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, NV: earn that 5-star dinner by hiking to Charleston Peak
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? Connect with Fora to customize and book your trip today.
6. Seven Magic Mountains, NV: where vibrant colors clash with a bleak desert
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). The sudden inclusion of vibrant colors provides an interesting contrast with the muted tans, browns and greens of the Mojave Desert.
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 (with access to Lake Mohave)
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? Connect with Fora. We'll help you decide which places to visit, and which to skip.
8. Death Valley National Park, CA: a poorly-named park, rich with wildlife
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 shrimp. 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, AZ: one of the seven natural wonders of the world
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 in the USA.
10. Zion National Park, UT: camping, backpacking & stargazing
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.
11. Los Angeles, CA: endless activities and a foodie’s dream
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.
(Read about the coolest places to visit in Los Angeles if you’re curious.)
12. The Extraterrestrial Highway (but not Area 51): whacky, bizarre & fun
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 worth considering.
13. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT: ‘hoodoos’ and canyon hiking
A bit further from Las Vegas than Zion National Park, but certainly just as worthy of consideration, Bryce Canyon National Park is another scenic destination sure to impress hikers and wildlife observers. The park sits at a much higher elevation and is famous for its unusual rock formations, known as “hoodoos.”
14. Lake Havasu, AZ: a casino-free alternative to Laughlin & Bullhead City
If the lakes and rivers of Laughlin and Bullhead City sound appealing, but you’re not overly interested in the old-school-casino atmosphere, Lake Havasu State Park is another cool place to visit near Las Vegas by car. Boating, fishing, swimming and hiking are all accessible at various points along the lake, which is part of the Colorado River.
15. Sedona, AZ: an artful destination with a totally different vibe from Vegas
One of the most unique places to visit in Arizona — and perhaps the American Southwest — Sedona feels like an antithesis to Las Vegas in some ways. An emphasis on wellness and art, along with an overall indie vibe, make Sedona a relaxing destination to visit after the glitz, glamor and intensity of Vegas.
Interested in visiting Sedona on a road trip from Vegas? Plan your trip with Fora for A+ suggestions and tips.
16. Palm Springs & Joshua Tree National Park, CA: a chic desert town & less-extreme alternative to Death Valley
Both among the top places to visit in California, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park offer an interesting contrast of experiences. The former features a semi-ritzy strip filled with boutiques, fun bars and clubs — along with a few casinos and spa retreats (see our Palm Springs weekend itinerary) — while the latter samples Southern California’s picturesque desertscape.
At around four hours away from Las Vegas, Joshua Tree National Park is notably further out than Death Valley, but the average temperature is a bit more reasonable. Plus the prospect of visiting Palm Springs to refresh and unwind is a nice bonus.
Places to visit near Las Vegas by car: FAQs & tips
Have more questions about places to visit near Las Vegas by car? We have answers.
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What cities are within (reasonable) driving distance of Las Vegas? What states can you drive to from Las Vegas?
Los Angeles and San Diego (five hours) make for an excellent Vegas-to-California tour.
Arizona cities within driving distance of Las Vegas include Sedona, Flagstaff, Phoenix and Scottsdale — and even Tucson near the Mexican border (this trip takes roughly seven to eight hours).
Reno, Nevada is about seven hours northwest of Las Vegas.
Finally, St. George, Provo (five hours), Salt Lake City and Park City in Utah are more or less within driving distance — the latter two of which are between six and eight hours away depending on the route.
(Sidenote: the most determined road trippers could also travel to New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming within 10–11 hours.)
Is the drive from Las Vegas to Zion National Park pretty?
Historic towns, serene deserts, exotic rock formations and surprisingly vivid landscapes do indeed make for a lovely drive from Las Vegas to Zion National Park (and much of the American Southwest).
(BTW: check out more unique places to stay in Utah.)
What destinations can I combine on a road trip to Las Vegas? Are there any other places near Vegas worth checking out?
Destinations in California, Nevada, Arizona and beyond are all within reach of Vegas. And yes, there are plenty more places to visit near Las Vegas by car.
Don’t be shy: connect with Fora for ideas.
Should I be worried about fuel during road trips from Las Vegas?
Many of the cities and towns in the American Southwest are separated by swathes of desert, mountains and canyons. So yes, you should generally be aware of potential places to refuel (and grab some food and water) on road trips from Las Vegas. That’s not to say this area is totally devoid of development — that’s hardly true — but compared to other parts of the United States, like the west and east coasts, there are fewer gas stations and EV ports.
Undoubtedly, a Fora Advisor can hook you up with all the intel you need to travel safely.
Find more Las Vegas road trips and nearby attractions with Fora’s help
Eager to explore more of Las Vegas’ nearby attractions? Looking for the very best places to visit near Vegas by car? Our advisors know all the top spots and can help you personalize your trip (with complimentary hotel upgrades and perks, too).
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