Las Vegas may sit in the middle of the southwest desert, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a smorgasbord of things to see and do outside the bustling entertainment capital. From the man-made to the naturally endowed, whether it be one of the beautiful national parks, or small town sanctuary, the many attractions outside Las Vegas are world class destinations, and they’re all within an easy drive away.
Grand Canyon South Rim
Enjoy the beautiful scenery in and around the Grand Canyon. The trip may be 4 to 5 hours each way, but on a motorcoach tour you can relax and enjoy the scenery on the pleasant drive. Once there, the beauty of the canyon makes the trip well worth the drive. The South Rim offers stunning views from many different vantage points. If you don’t have the whole day to devote to the trip, take a scenic flight or helicopter tour instead.
Grand Canyon Western Rim
While the western rim of the Grand Canyon isn’t as popular, there are still some fantastic views to take in. One of the best experiences is the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This unique glass-bottom skywalk extends nearly 21 metres over the canyon, giving visitors an unobstructed view of the canyon’s bottom, hundreds of metres below your feet. Even better, the west side of the canyon is hours’ closer to Las Vegas.
View the great engineering marvel and historic landmark, the Hoover Dam. Built on the Colorado River between 1931 and 1936, the dam provides hydroelectric power to three states. At 220 metres high, the dam is one of the largest in the U.S. Visitors can enjoy the excellent dam and river views hundreds of metres below. Hoover Dam is located 48km southeast of Las Vegas.
If the glitz and glam of Las Vegas isn’t enough, try a daytrip to Hollywood. While the trip is a full day if you decide to drive, you can still enjoy the Hollywood attractions for an afternoon and get back to Vegas in time for dinner. Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visit the famous Chinese Theatre or Madam Tussauds or go on a tour highlighting the homes of Hollywood stars past and present.
One of the most popular daytrips from Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park showcase the stunning topography and scenery of the American southwest. Climb the Navajo sandstone cliffs, marvel at the dramatic rock formations and rugged clifftops of Bryce Canyon, or explore the banks of slow moving rivers and streams. This is the ultimate daytrip destination for nature lovers.
Experience one of the hottest destinations for locals and tourists with a trip to Lake Mead, near Hoover Dam. Just 35 minutes away, visitors can choose from sunset lake cruises, or a more adventurous itinerary filled with water skiing, jetboats and tubing. The area is perfect for hiking too, with many scenic lookout points for photography.
See the dramatic landscapes at Death Valley National Park in California. Organised tours from Las Vegas depart early in the morning with return times around 5pm. Drive through the Mojave Desert before visiting iconic locations like Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. With its Martian like landscape, there are many selfie-worthy photo opportunities at Dante’s View and Zabriskie Point.
One of the most popular recreational destinations on the west coast, Palm Springs is a California oasis with plenty of style and culture. Enjoy art and film festivals, visit the Palm Springs Air Museum or take a ride on the world’s largest aerial tramway on your way to San Jacinto Peak. What Palm Springs is most known for though is its Mid-Century Modern architecture, and there are plenty of guided tours on which to enjoy the eclectic structures and sites. Be sure to depart Vegas early though, because the one-way trip is almost a four-hour drive.
Galleria at Sunset Mall
Who said daytrips have to be spent outdoors? If you’re looking for a place to shop and relax for a morning and afternoon, head to Galleria at Sunset Mall, in Henderson. Just 20 minutes away from the Vegas Strip, the mall features top department stores and name brand retail stores. From electronics to fashion, day spas and hair salons to restaurants and food vendors, Galleria at Sunset has something for every age group.
The ultimate attraction for UFO enthusiasts and extra-terrestrial conspiracy theorists, Area 51, and the small town of Rachel, are near what’s called the Extraterrestrial Highway. This state highway has been the location of many UFO sightings and other supposed alien activities. Situated about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas, the area is home to several alien related attractions and theme restaurants.