Best Places to Visit near Las vegas by car

Last Updated on February 4, 2021

Vegas is great, but there is much to do and see outside the city. If you have a vehicle and some time on your hands, these are the must-see places to visit near Las Vegas by car – along with things to do once you arrive. 

Grand Canyon West Rim

The Grand Canyon West Rim is the closest point of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. The West Rim contains some of the top Grand Canyon destinations that are popular with tourists in the Las Vegas area looking for a great day trip. 

The Grand Canyon West Rim is where you’ll find attractions like the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is a giant horseshoe-shaped skywalk that overlooks the West Rim from 4,000 ft above the Canyon floor. The glass floor of the cantilever bridge makes for an incredible aerial view of the canyon. 

To explore more of the Grand Canyon West Rim, reserve a guided boat tour along the Colorado River, where you’ll learn about the Hualapai People and Visit the Hualapai Reservation. More adventurous types can try ziplining in the Grand Canyon

A general admission ticket to the Grand Canyon West Rim costs $45 and includes access to viewpoints and a shuttle. You can add the Skywalk experience, ziplining, and/or a meal ticket to your package for an additional fee. 

Getting to the Grand Canyon West Rim from Las Vegas 

From Las Vegas, it will take a little over an hour to reach the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. You’ll want to take I-515 S/US-93/US-95 S. Follow US-93 S to Pierce Ferry Rd in Mohave County. Stay on Pierce Ferry Road until you come to Diamond Bar Road. Take Diamond Bar Road to Eagle Point Head Road. 

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon is one of the shorter trips by car from Las Vegas. The Canyon was named as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area, and sits only 17 miles outside of Vegas. Red Rock Canyon is a favorite among hikers and rock climbers from around the world. 

If you’re looking for something less strenuous and more scenic, take the 13-mile drive through the Canyon and stop at any one of the many well-maintained resting places where you can stretch your legs, have a picnic, and indulge her photographer’s spirit. Reservations for the scenic drive are required from October through May. 

Current entrance fees are $15 but are subject to change. 

Getting to Red Rock Canyon from Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon is a short drive from Las Vegas. Take I-515 N/US-95 N from 4th Street in Las Vegas. From US-95 N, take NV-613/Summerlin Pkwy W and Co Rd 215 S/Bruce Woodbury Beltway S/Clark County 215 S to NV-159 W/W Charleston Blvd. You’ll take exit 26 and follow signs to Red Rock Canyon. 

Lake Mead and Hoover Dam 

Lake Mead

Located about 30 miles outside of Las Vegas are Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. Lake Mead is a reservoir of the Colorado River and has the distinction of being the largest reservoir in the US by volume when at its peak and second-largest by surface area. With an expanse the covers 65 miles and more than 550 miles of shoreline, Lake Mead is a picturesque spot to enjoy water activities like kayaking or canoeing. 

Horseback riding, biking, hiking, and scenic driving around the lake are also popular ways to take in the natural beauty. 

Lake Mead is man-made, formed by the Hoover Dam, which is considered one of the seven engineering wonders of the world. Hoover Dam is massive, rising 726 ft above the canyon floor and made from more than 6.5 million tons of concrete. Visiting a dam might not sound the most exciting but trust that you’ll be astounded by the majesticness of this structure. 

Getting to Lake Mead from Las Vegas 

Getting to Lake Mead from Las Vegas is a relatively short drive at just a bit more than a half-hour. Take I-515 S/US-93 S/US-95 S and follow I-515 S and I-11 S to Boulder City Pkwy. From I-11 S, take exit 15 B. Turn left onto Lakeshore Rd (toll rd), then right onto Hemenway Rd (toll rd). Turn right onto Horsepower Cover and then left onto Hemenway Harbor Rd. 

Cathedral Gorge

Many of the spots within a reasonable driving distance from Las Vegas have become tourist hotspots. These destinations are certainly beautiful and worthy of the trip, but they’re not exactly what you’re looking for if you want to get away from it all (and all the people). Cathedral Gorge is an exception. 

Cathedral Gorge is a state park that sits north of Las Vegas, just a few hours away by car. Cathedral Gorge does get plenty of visitors throughout the year, but it’s more off the beaten track and one that you can claim as your own little oasis away from Las Vegas. 

Located in a long, narrow valley, Cathedral Gorge State Park is smaller and more compact than many of the other state parks in the area. You can tour pretty much the entire park by foot along a 4-mile trail loop. The natural beauty of Cathedral Gorge comes from an explosion of volcanic activity that resulted in dramatically carved, bentonite creations. 

Cathedral Gorge is a perfect spot for hiking, camping, enjoying nature, and exploring a love for photography. The entrance fee into Cathedral Gorge is only $5. 

Getting to Cathedral Gorge from Las Vegas

A drive from Las Vegas to Cathedral Gorge takes about 2 ½ hours. From N 4th St, take I-515 N/US-95 N. Take exit 76B and merge onto I-15 N/US-93 N toward Salt Lake City. Take exit 64 to US-93 N and continue for 143 miles. Turn left on Cathedral Gorge State Park Road. 

Death Valley National Park 

Death Valley has the distinction of being the lowest national park in the United States. It’s also known for being the hottest and driest, so make sure to bring along lots of hydration on your day trip. The Death Valley basin actually sits below sea level, making it a bit of a marvel in the natural world. 

For as hot and dry as Death Valley National Park is, there are also some striking contrasts to be seen if you catch it at just the right time. The highest peaks have a light dusting of snow in the winter months. If you happen to visit after a rain, expect to see the valley covered in colorful wildflowers that are an artistic, stunning contrast to the more subtle hues of the rocky backdrop. 

If this is your first trip to Death Valley National Park, don’t miss visiting the Badwater Basin that sits 282 ft below sea level. A short ¼ mile hike will get you there, where you can also view the polygon salt formations. Other points of interest include Zabriskie Point, the Devil’s Golf Course (don’t bring your clubs), and the Artists Drive, which can be viewed from your car. 

The entrance fee into Death Valley National Park is $30 per vehicle and includes unlimited visits for 7 days. Individual passes can also be purchased for $15 per person. 

Getting to Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas 

It takes a bit more than 2 hours to reach Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas. Take 1-515/US-93 N.US-95 N from N 4th Street in VEgas. Follow US-95 N until you reach Amargosa Valley, where you’ll take NV-373 S. Continue into Inyo County. Turn right onto CA-190 W. 

Valley of Fire

 

The Valley of Fire is a beautiful 40,000 acres of Aztec sandstone and limestone formations. The Valley of Fire was established as a national park in 1935 and has been a treasured destination where visitors have the rare chance to view petrified trees, petroglyphs that are thousands of years old, and some of the most incredible panoramic views you’ll ever see. 

The Valley of Fire earns its name from the visually stunning colors that span the valley as the sun shines upon each of the rock formations. 

A trip to the Valley of Fire is one that can be enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels. If you’re physically able, hiking is the preferred way to explore the Valley of Fire, but the roads through the park are well maintained, and you can easily explore the area by car, getting out to explore the areas that really capture your attention. Either way, don’t forget to bring your camera!

Entrance into the park is only $10, making it a great deal, especially since you can easily spend the entire day here. If you choose to camp, a camping permit costs $20 per night, plus a little extra if you want a site with hookups. 

Getting to the Valley of Fire from Las Vegas 

The Valley of Fire is located about 50 miles northeast of Vegas. By car, plan on the trip taking approximately one hour each way. 

To get to the Valley of Fire take I-515 N/US-93 from N 4th Street. Follow I-15 N to your destination. Look for exit 75 off of I-15 N and then merge onto the Valley of Fire Highway. The State park will be a little over 10 miles down the road. Look for signs and directions to the park entrance along the way. 

Zion National Park 

Zion National Park is Utah’s first national park. Just a few hours away from the bright lights of Vegas is one of nature’s most spectacular sights. With the pink, rose, and sienna colored cliffs, Zion National Park is a favorite among hikers and photographers alike. 

The park is ideal for hikers of all levels. You’ll find both short hikes and more advanced, strenuous day hikes that take you into the steep cliffs. Angels Landing is a world-famous hike that offers some of the most spectacular views in Zion. 

It is said that a person of average fitness can complete this 5-mile hike that includes a nearly 1,500 ft change in elevation. However, it is also classified as strenuous, with steep switchbacks and dropoffs, so it’s not for the faint of heart. 

Zion National Park is also a great place for light hiking combined with birding, biking, horseback riding, or reserving a ranger-led activity that is ideal for families and groups of varying ages and fitness levels.

Entrance fees are $35 per vehicle and are good for 7 days. Individual, seasonal, and lifetime passes are also available. 

Getting to Zion National Park from Las Vegas

A trip to Zion National Park takes 2 ½ hours from Las Vegas. From N 4th St, take 1-515 N/US-93 N/US-95 N. Turn left onto Stewart Ave. You’ll then follow I-15 N for 127 miles until you reach State Hwy 9 E/W in Washington, UT. Take exit 16 from I-15 N. Take UT-9 E for 32 miles until you reach Zion National Park.

Area 51

Area 51 is a site that ignites curiosity in many. Area 51 is a detachment of the Edwards Airforce Base that has been the site of top-secret operations since the mid-twentieth century. Area 51’s main claim to fame is the alien/UFO sightings and activities that are rumored to have occurred there. 

One thing to remember is that Area 51 itself is a highly classified section belonging to the US Air Force. The actual Area 51 is not a tourist destination but there are plenty of spots to see near Area 51 that will indulge your curiosities, along with a bit of the paranormal. 

As you approach Area 51 on your road trip, you’ll notice that everything seems to become alien-themed. You’ll travel along Extraterrestrial Highway, where alien obsessions and the utterly unexplainable reign supreme. For the science types in your group, visit the National Atomic Testing Museum or the Atomic Nevada exhibit at the Nevada State Museum. 

Getting to Area 51 from Las Vegas

Area 51 is a top-secret Air Force base, so you’re not going to get too close to the actual site. Instead, you can travel to Rachel, Nevada, which is relatively close to Area 51. The drive is a little over 2 hours. 

Take I-515 N/US-95 N from N 4th St. Take exit 76B to merge onto I-15 N/US-93 N toward Salt Lake City. From there, take exit 64 for US-93 N toward Ely, and continue on US-93 N for 84 miles. Turn left onto NV-318 N and continue on NV-375 N/State Hwy 375 until you reach your destination. 

Lake Havasu, Arizona

Lake Havasu, Arizona is arguably one of the best road trip destinations from Las Vegas. Lake Havasu is a man-made lake formed by the completion of the Parker Dam in 1938 and is the southernmost reservoir of the Colorado River in the state of Arizona. Like much of this region, Lake Havasu is a mixture of natural beauty, quirky attractions, and secrets that are waiting to be discovered. 

A unique feature of Lake Havasu is the scaled-down replicas of historical lighthouses that grace the lake’s waterfront. There is also a complete brick-by-brick restoration of the London Bridge – yes, the real London Bridge that once crossed the River Thames. 

Fishing and boating are popular pastimes in Lake Havasu, but you’ll also find plenty of cultural activities, like museums, aquatic centers, and a great restaurant scene. 

Getting to Lake Havasu, Arizona from Las Vegas

A short 2 ½ hour drive, Lake Havasu is a great day trip when you’re in Las Vegas. Take I-515 S/US-93 S/US-95 S. Continue on US-95 S, taking exit I-40 E to AZ-95 S in Mohave County. From there, take exit 9 from I-40 E. Stay on AZ-95 S for about 25 minutes until you arrive in Lake Havasu City. 

Mount Charleston

The peak of Mount Charleston is the highest that you’ll ding near Las Vegas. At almost 12,000 ft tall, this natural wonder towers in the sky and offers a bit of respite from the Vegas summer heat for those who want to visit by car or hike along the trails. 

During the winter, Mount Charleston is a popular spot for skiing and snowboarding in the Las Vegas area. Mount Charleson is perfect for hikers and family outings every season of the year. The elevation makes the temperature more tolerable, even on scorching summer days—fields of wildflowers in the springtime and a spectacle of colors in the fall. 

Plan on spending the better part of the day exploring the natural scenery at Mount Charleston, or bring your tent and find the perfect camping spot. 

Getting to Mount Charleston from Las Vegas 

Mount Charleston is an escape that is only a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas. Take I-515 N/US-95 N. Keep left and stay on US-95 N. Merge to the right and take exit 96 toward NV-157 W Kyle Canyon Rd. Turn left onto NV-157 W. Take a slight left to stay on NV-157 W until you reach Mount Charleston. 

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is one of the most visually stunning and picturesque natural formations in the world. Located in Northern Arizona, Antelope Canyon’s sculpted sandstone walls look like something straight out of a museum or mythical paradise. 

If you have the time to visit Antelope Canyon while in Vegas, you definitely don’t want to pass up the opportunity. Due to the nature of the canyon formation, tour guides are required as a way to explore the area. The canyon is only accessible through a tour guide, so prices for entrance and the tour will vary depending on who is providing your tour service. 

Getting to Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas

The shortest route to Antelope Canyon is nearly 5 hours, not accounting for stops along the way. It’s a good idea to look into reserving a local campsite or hotel room when booking your tour. Take I-515 N/US-95 N from N 4th St. Take exit 76B to merge onto I-15 N/US-93 N toward Salt Lake City. From there, take exit 16 to merge onto UT-9 E/W State St toward Hurricane.

Next, turn right at the Wells Fargo Bank, and then turn left onto UT-59 S/E 100 S. Continue onto AZ-389 E and then turn right onto US-89 S/E 300 S. You will stay on this road for about 72 miles until you turn left on N Lake Powell Blvd. Follow until you reach your destination. 

Nelson Ghost Town & Techatticup Mine

If you’re a fan of ghost towns, Nevada is your personal paradise. With more than 600 ghost towns, Nevada is pure gold for those that like to see out and explore these abandoned relics of America’s past. One of the most famous ghost towns near Las Vegas is Nelson Ghost Town, located in the Nevada Desert, near Eldorado Canyon. 

Nelson was originally called Eldorado back in the day. Its history is filled with scandal, outlaws, and what can best be described as wanton killings. Despite all of this. Nelson was at one time a profitable mining town. The mines were active until the mid 20th century. Bring your camera to capture the unique blend of mid-century relics combined with remnants of the old wild west. 

Also, take this opportunity to visit the Techatticup Mine itself and take a 1-hour walking tour to explore all the neat little nuggets of history this mine left behind. 

Getting to Nelson Ghost Town from Las Vegas

Nelson Ghost town and Techatticup Mine are located about 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas. Take I-515 S/US-93 S/US-95 S. Continue on I-515 S and merge onto I-11 S. Take exit 14 and turn right onto US-95 S. Follow NV-165 E until you reach your destination. 

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona is a desert town that’s also a cultural hub of the area. Sedona is an especially nice road trip if you’re visiting during the fall and winter when the touristy season has slowed down, and you have more opportunity to enjoy the culture and natural beauty with fewer crowds. 

Sedona is popular with hikers and bikers, with more than 400 miles of trails in the city. Sedona is also a booming wine region, providing the perfect excuse to take a wine tour or spend a few hours sipping a glass of wine from the Verde Valley. Tour an art gallery, or indulge your curiosity with a spiritual reading in one of the city’s many metaphysical shops. There’s something for everyone in Sedona. 

Getting to Sedona, Arizona from Las Vegas

A trip to Sedona, Arizona from Las Vegas is about a 4 ½ hour drive one way. Take I-515 S/US-93 S/US-95 S. Follow I-515 S and I-11 S to US-93 S. Take this to I-40 E/US-93 S in Kingman. Stay on this for about an hour until you follow I-40 E to Flagstaff. Take exit 195 and merge onto AZ-89A/I-17 S toward AZ-89A/Pheonix. Take exit 337 toward AZ-89A S/Oak Creek Canyon/Sedona and follow this to your destination. 

Los Angeles

Travel to Los Angeles, from Las Vegas? If you’re looking to get away for a day or two (or longer), the drive is well worth it, especially with all the unique sights you’ll see along the way. 

Los Angeles itself is home to some of the biggest sightseeing destinations in California. We’re talking about Universal Studios, Disneyland, Rodeo Drive, Griffith Observatory, Venice Beach, and Hollywood Boulevard, along with so many others. 

It isn’t just what you’ll find inside of the LA city limits that are worthy of this trip by car. You’ll also see some crazy sights along this 4-hour drive. While driving, be on the lookout for signs that point you in the direction of roadside attractions like the world’s tallest thermometer, the Seven Magic Mountains, Bonnie & Clyde’s Death Car, and Lake Dolores Water Park (which isn’t a water park at all but an abandoned amusement park with a post-apocalyptic vibe).

Getting to Los Angeles from Las Vegas

The trip from LV to LA takes a little over 4 hours, not accounting for stops along the way. To get there, take I-515 N/US 94 N from N 4th Street in Las Vegas. Take I-15 S ad CA-210 W to El Monte Busway in Los Angeles. From there, take exit 2B from US-101 N. Take N Los Angeles St to E 1st St. *Note: Construction happens, so always check your route beforehand. 

Bottom Line 

The southwest region of the United States is nothing short of intriguing. With so many incredible places to visit near Las Vegas by car, they’re all worthy of being on your vacation bucket list. Before heading to any of these destinations, make sure to call or contact ahead of time to ensure hours of operations and current visitor policies are still in place.

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