Day Trips from Las Vegas

Day Trips from Las Vegas

Las Vegas and Henderson are just two of the 25 cities that make up Clark County, Nevada. Covering 70 percent of the state, Clark County is more than 8,000 square miles! That means depending on where you live, a trip across the county can be a day trip. 

Red Rock Canyon to Lake Mead National Park, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park to Valley of Fire State Park … these are all driveable adventures for residents and that doesn’t even include Mt. Charleston or outlying towns like Mesquite, Laughlin, Searchlight, and Pahrump, in nearby Nye County. Southern Nevada is far more than a desert, and the opportunities for adventure and exploration are endless. What’s your favorite day trip from Las Vegas?

Day Trips from Las Vegas - The 10 Best

These day trips are best enjoyed between October – May to avoid extreme heat. 

Road Trip Tips: 
  • Your mileage may vary. Depending on where your starting point is the estimated times may vary for your trip. 
  • Pack plenty of water. It’s a desert out there, so make sure you are equipped with plenty of water for your entire family and any emergencies that may occur. Extra is always better in this case. 
  • Don’t rely on GPS. Even in 2024, service can be spotty when traveling so keep a printed copy of directions (think Mapquest) or screenshot your directions just in case you lose service during your travels. 
  • Snacks. There’s nothing better than road trip snacks. Plan ahead and make sure you have snacks for everyone before you hit the road. 
  • Know Before You Go. Call ahead and check that your destination is open and operating. Be prepared for temperatures and dress appropriately for the weather and any potential weather. 
  • Prep the Kids. Prepare fun facts, historical information, photos, and age-appropriate expectations for your children. 
  • Bring Extra. Clothing, towels, blankets, and bathing suits so you’re ready for any adventure that comes your way. 
  • Know the Time: Utah is on Mountain Time and Arizona doesn’t observe time changes, so check the time before you go and plan accordingly. 
oatman

Oatman, Arizona

Time: 2.5 hours (potential time change)
Map the Trip

If you like burros, kitschy gift shops, dollar bills, the Wild West, and unique history, Oatman is the place to go! Located off of Historic Route 66, this tiny town in Arizona is known for the herd of resident burros. 

Oatman hosts unique events throughout the year including a sidewalk egg fry on the 4th of July! The Great Oatman Bed Race is one for the bucket list and the town has special Halloween and Christmas events as well. 

Oatman Hotel: Don’t miss this stop for both the food and the ceiling and walls lined with dollar bills from decades of Oatman visitors. The restaurant and bar’s menu has something for everyone. Visit the museum for the Clark Gable – Carole Lombard Honeymoon Suite. 

Learn more about the Oatman Burros HERE.

Tip for visiting Oatman: 

  • Don’t miss (staged) shoot outs in the street daily at 130pm and 330pm. 
  • Leave your dog at home. Burros and dogs don’t mix. 
  • Listen to the locals. The shops in Oatman sell appropriate food and snacks that you can feed to the burros to keep them healthy and safe. Please do not bring food to feed the burros. 
  • Plan to buy some fun souvenirs. 
A unique structure at Rhyolite Ghost Town near Beatty, NV

Rhyolite Ghost Town 

Time: 2 hours
Map the Trip 

Rhyolite is 35 miles from the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center in Death Valley National Park, but not within the boundaries of the park. 

Rhyolite Ghost Town is 15 minutes outside the town of Beatty, Nevada, which is also home to famous herds of wild burros. 

Like most ghost towns in Nevada and Arizona, Rhyolite is rich in mining history. What currently remains of the town is part of the bank building and jail, and The Bottle House, restored in 1925 by Paramount Pictures. It’s a fun stop with plenty of photo opportunities. 

Drive through Beatty and stop at Eddie World for snacks and clean restrooms. Eddie World in Beatty also has a Subway, an ice cream shop, and a coffee shop. While in Beatty, you can often find wild burros roaming the streets. 

Note: Burros are wild animals and federally protected. While they are the cutest things ever, do not approach them and do not feed them. Feeding a wild animal is dangerous to the animal and its herd, plus it’s a federal offense. Many times the burros will approach you or come to your car window, they’re sweet and fun to pet, but never forget they have a mighty kick. Burros and dogs don’t mix, so protect your pets. 

Mojave National Preserve

Time: 1.5 hours
Map the Trip

A less-traveled national park, the Mojave National Preserve is just an hour outside of Las Vegas. 

Plan your visit using THESE MAPS provided by the preserve. It is suggested you not rely on outside maps or GPS services to guide you. 

Things to Do at Mojave National Preserve: 

  • Kelso Dunes are some of the largest dunes in the United States. There is a 3-mile hike across the dunes but it is a more difficult hike and likely not suitable for most families. 
  • Visit a lava tube. 
  • Hike the Hole-in-the-Wall 
  • Enjoy the Joshua Trees
  • Become a Junior Ranger

This day trip from Las Vegas takes you through Jean, NV where you can fill up at the largest Terrible’s complete with rides for the kids, a White Castle, a giant Yeti, and every snack imaginable. Seven Magic Mountains is across the highway and makes for another great stop to your day along I-15. 

The famous Yeti at the Terrible's off I-15 in Jean, Nevada

Death Valley National Park 

Time: 2 hours
Map the Trip

Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in America (Badwater Basin) and the largest national park in the contiguous United States, it’s also really hot with record-setting HIGH temperatures in Furnace Creek. 

Things to do at Death Valley National Park: 

  • Badwater Basin is a huge area of salt flats 282 feet below sea level. Winter 2024 Update: There is currently a lake on Badwater Basin, a rare occurrence. It’s a must-see if you have time to get out there. 
  • Zabriskie Point is a short hike that leads to magnificent views. 
  • Check the calendar for ranger-led programs and paleontology hikes.
  • Dark Sky Festival in March.
  • Take a hike. There are several short and easy hikes great for families. 
  • Become a Death Valley Junior Ranger

London Bridge and Lake Havasu City

Time: 2.5 hours
Map the Trip

London Bridge in Lake Havasu City has a rich history dating far back before it was purchased in 1967 and brought to Lake Havasu City. 
HISTORY OF THE LONDON BRIDGE

Get great views of the famous London Bridge while shopping in the waterside English Village

Lake Havasu City is home to beautiful sandy beaches that you can find in Lake Havasu State Park, London Bridge Beach, and the Rotary Community Park. 

The Nautical Beachfront Resort is a great place to stay if you want to turn your day trip into an overnight stay. 

 

Quail Creek State Park (Utah)

Time: 2 hours (Utah is on Mountain Time)
Map the Trip

Quail Creek State Park features a beautiful reservoir perfect for any water activities. Bring your own or rent boats, jet skis, paddleboards, and more from the resort shop. Camping, covered picnic areas, and restrooms are available. St. George Aqua Adventures Water Park is open in the summer and a very popular destination. 

Cathedral Gorge State Park 

Time: 3 hours (this is a longer trip with a lot of outdoor time)
Map the Trip

This is a day trip meant for hiking or at least a lot of outdoor exploration. Cathedral Gorge State Park is majestic, but you’ll want to go early before the sun starts to heat things up. The park is open 365 days a year to explore, but the visitor’s center is only open 9am – 430pm except during the winter and on holidays. Prepare to be amazed and don’t forget your camera. 

Not too far down the road, you can find Kershaw Ryan State Park with a very different landscape than Cathedral Gorge. Enjoy fruit trees, grapes vines, a flowing spring, and a children’s wading pond, plus a playground that kids will love. Kershaw-Ryan is open 8am – Sunset and has an entrance fee of $5 per vehicle. 

China Ranch Date Farm 

Time: 1.5 hours
Map the Trip

This family-owned farm is an oasis in the Mojave desert. The grounds are abundant with date trees and you’ll even find a stream and wildlife residents during your visit. A small museum is now open. No visit is complete without a stop at the gift shop and bakery to take home fresh dates and desserts. 

An iconic symbol of Nevada and the state animal, Bighorn Sheep.

Desert National Wildlife Refuge

Time: 1 hour
Map the Trip

The largest intact habitat for Bighorn Sheep in the Mojave desert is also the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska, and we get to enjoy it just an hour away. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this refuge has a lot to offer for any adventurer. 

One of the best times to take your family is during a Ranger-led program. You can find these events here. 

Follow their Facebook Page for event updates. 

Valley of Fire State Park 

Time: 1 hour
Map the Trip

The bright red Aztec sandstone and petroglyphs make Valley of Fire State Park one of Nevada’s best places to visit. The park includes a visitors center, covered picnic areas, plenty of hiking trails, regular ranger-led programs, and even WiFi (for a fee). Valley of Fire is open 365 days a year, sunrise to sunset The Visitor’s Center is open daily 9am – 430pm. 

Mouse’s Tank is one of the most popular trails at Valley of Fire State Park, at just under a mile, it is a great choice for families. Other short hikes include Balancing Rock, Petrified Logs Loop, Rainbow Vista, and White Domes Loop. You can find trails and trail maps HERE.

Valley of Fire State Park is definitely a “cool” place to visit, but the temperatures aren’t always. Please check ahead for weather conditions and current temperatures to be best prepared to enjoy this Nevada treasure. 

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada

More Unique Day Trips from Las Vegas

Goldfield, Nevada including The International Car Forest of the Last Church

Nelson’s Ghost Town and the Eldorado Mining Tour

Boulder City, NV including train rides Nevada Southern Railway, and the World Famous Coffee Cup Cafe

Hoover Dam and enjoy a rafting tour of the dam from Hoover Dam Rafting Tours.

Keepers of the Wild in Kingman, Arizona

Grand Canyon West Rim including the Grand Canyon Skywalk and Colorado River Rafting.

Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada. 

Armagosa Valley, including Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refugethe world’s largest firecracker, dunes for sand surfing, and the Area 51 Alien Center. 

 

 

RELATED POSTS