10 Unmissable Las Vegas Day Trips



10 Best Day Trips From Las Vegas DIY And Tours Where Are Those Morgans Empty Road Running Through Valley Of Fire Near Las Vegas In Nevada

You can choose between a wide range of truly wonderful day trips when you visit Las Vegas, including unique landmarks, underrated state parks and famous national parks. Vegas is surrounded by striking American southwest landscapes, so take a day off from the Strip and get out exploring nature at its most dramatic. We’ve spent a lot of time in the area, so we know which places are worth visiting.

In this guide we show you our 10 favorite Las Vegas day trip ideas with details on how you can do it yourself or book a tour, all based on our own experiences.

Our Experience

Mark and Kristen from Where Are Those Morgans standing together on a red and white striped rock formation called Fire Wave in Valley of Fire near Las Vegas Nevada before sunrise
Here we are at dawn in Fire Wave in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

We’ve spent the best part of 2 months exploring the US southwest across multiple road trips. And during our extensive time spent in the area we’ve been to all of the most popular places to visit near Las Vegas, including the national parks. The only place we cover in this guide that we haven’t personally seen is Grand Canyon West Rim, and that’s because we’ve been to South Rim (the iconic Rim) twice instead.

Las Vegas isn’t for everyone, but we love it. We don’t gamble but we do like pool parties, concerts, shows, a lively atmosphere and the whole over-the-top experience is just plain fun. But it’s only good for a few days, and then you need a break, which is when planning a day trip comes in handy! For us, Valley of Fire, Zion and Grand Canyon South Rim should be top of your list, but let’s see if you find a better fit for your itinerary. Read more about us.


Bellagio fountain display lit up against the dark night sky
Bellagio fountain display lit up against the dark night sky in Las Vegas

Here’s a summary of the Las Vegas day trips you’ll find in our guide, along with what makes each worth visiting. The list below is ranked in order from 1-10 based on which ones we think are most worth taking when you visit Vegas. We based our personal ranking on quality of the destination, things you can do once you arrive and how far away it is from Las Vegas.

  1. Grand Canyon South Rim – Best landscape
  2. Valley of Fire – Best for photos
  3. Zion National Park – Best for iconic hikes
  4. Red Rock Canyon – Best close option for hiking
  5. Death Valley – Best for underrated landscape
  6. Bryce Canyon – Best for unique topography
  7. Hoover Dam – Best for a quick family day trip
  8. Seven Magic Mountains – Best easy day trip
  9. Page, AZ – Best for specific attractions
  10. Grand Canyon West Rim – Best for tour options

1. Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim in late afternoon with deep shadows and soft yellow sunlight contrasting on a day trip from Las Vegas
Photo we took into South Rim near sunset
  • Distance: 560 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 9 hours roundtrip
  • Method: Tour or DIY
  • Our rating: 9/10

Grand Canyon South Rim is one of few places on Earth that will make you gasp for air the first time you see it. Even after multiple visits, we still get an overwhelming sense of awe when we stand on the edge of the Rim.

But it’s important to know the difference between South Rim and West Rim (which we cover later in #10). South Rim is the iconic and quintessential landscape you’ve seen in photos but it’s much further from Las Vegas, whereas West Rim is much closer to Vegas but it’s nowhere near as dramatic or striking.

Hiker descending into Grand Canyon South Rim at sunrise
Kristen hiking down South Kaibab Trail at sunrise in Grand Canyon South Rim

DIY: It’s a heck of a drive out and back to South Rim if you do it yourself. But it means you have complete freedom when you arrive, so you could hike part way into the canyon, take the shuttle to Hermits Rest and drive to Desert View Watchtower independently.

TOUR: You wouldn’t have to drive for 9 hours, but you’d be limited by the schedule. The good news is that South Rim is easy to see in a few hours, and the best bits to see are near the visitor center and along Hermits Rest via shuttle.

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Full Day Bus Tour – Most affordable, takes 15-16 hours, several pick up and drop off spots along the Strip. Entry to South Rim is included in the price, which makes it a bargain price.
  • 2. Route 66 Combo – 14 hours, combines South Rim with the Hoover Dam and a portion of Route 66. Hotel pickup and drop off included, and lunch provided.
  • 3. Helicopter Tour – Originates at South Rim, flies for 45 minutes over the best part of the Grand Canyon. It’s the only helicopter tour over South Rim, but it can only be booked if you drive to South Rim yourself.

READ: Visiting Grand Canyon South Rim for the first time

2. Valley Of Fire

Stunning sunrise with red colors swirling at the Fire Wave in Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas Nevada
Stunning sunrise photo we took at Fire Wave in Valley of Fire
  • Distance: 100 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 1h 50m roundtrip
  • Method: DIY
  • Our rating: 9/10

We think Valley of Fire is one of the most underrated natural landscapes in the US southwest. The national parks are amazing, but Valley of Fire is much closer to Las Vegas and it’s perfect if you’re interested in photography.

If you’re short on time or you don’t want to drive so far from Las Vegas, we’d say Valley of Fire is your best day trip option. But our biggest piece of advice (if you can manage it) is to wake up early, drive to the park and hike to Fire Wave in time for sunrise. Trust us, it’s worth it!

Woman in distance on rock with road and mountains surrounding
We had this photo of Kristen published in Gestalten’s Great American Road Trip.

DIY: If you have your own car or a hire car in Vegas, we recommend driving to Valley of Fire yourself. You can make it to Fire Wave for sunrise, then relax and spend half a day hiking other trails, before heading back to Vegas when you’re ready.

TOUR: No car, no worries! There’s plenty of tour options available (some even combine other places in this list).

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Hiking Tour – 5 hours hiking in Valley of Fire, includes hotel pickup and drop off, option to choose hiking level (easy-hard), plus full guided tour.
  • 2. Valley of Fire + Seven Magic Mountains – 8 hours guided tour combining Valley of Fire with Seven Magic Mountains, perfect for photography and social media.
  • 3. Valley of Fire + Zion – 14 hours full day guided tour, includes entry into Zion and Valley of Fire, newer tour offering perfect for hiking and photography.

READ: Things to do in Valley of Fire State Park

3. Zion National Park

Zion Canyon Overlook towering canyon walls to either side of a flat valley floor with soft light at dusk one of the most popular day trips from Las Vegas
Photo we took over Zion from Canyon Overlook at sunset
  • Distance: 330 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 5h 30m roundtrip
  • Method: Tour or DIY
  • Our rating: 9/10

Zion National Park is home to some of the best hikes in the US, including Angels Landing and The Narrows, and it’s within day trip distance from Las Vegas. But the downside is that you’ll need a super-early start if you want to hike some of the more famous trails because they’ll eat up time.

Realistically, you’d need 2 full days in Zion to tick off its iconic hikes. So with just one day in Zion, we recommend you pick 2 or 3 hikes and figure out how to make them work once you arrive.

Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park razor thin rock formation with sheer drops into the canyon below
Razor thin hiking trail leading to Angels Landing in Zion

DIY: It’s only 2 hours 45 minutes each way from Vegas to Zion, so if you get an early start and return late, you can enjoy a long day in the park. So it’s definitely doable by yourself. Our advice would be to hike Angels Landing (with permit) and a part of The Narrows.

TOUR: Zion is so popular, so it’s okay if you don’t have a car in Vegas because there’s plenty of tours available. We recommend you consider combining Zion with Bryce Canyon because they’re close and you’d already be heading up that way.

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Zion Only – Cheapest option, 11-13 hour bus tour, includes pickup and drop off in Las Vegas, entry into Zion and 6 hours exploring time in the park. Take the shuttle and hike some trails.
  • 2. Zion + Bryce Canyon – 14 hours, small group guided tour with entry to Zion and Bryce Canyon, hotel pickup and drop off included. Less time in each park, but you’d get to see both.

READ: The best hikes in Zion

4. Red Rock Canyon

Hiker stood on a summit in Red Rock Canyon one of the easiest day trips from Las Vegas desert landscape background
Kristen at the summit of Calico Tanks in Red Rock Canyon
  • Distance: 36 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 1 hour roundtrip
  • Method: DIY
  • Our rating: 8/10

Red Rock Canyon State Park is just 30 minutes drive from Las Vegas and it’s perfect if you’re a keen hiker because it’s filled with moderately challenging trails. We’d say Valley of Fire is better for easy hikes, whereas Red Rock Canyon is better for fun rock scrambling hikes like Ice Box Canyon and Calico Tanks.

So if you’re visiting Vegas and you want a really easy place to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and burn off the food or booze, Red Rock Canyon is for you.

Narrow rock formations creating a natural frame in Red Rock Canyon
You’ll find lots of interpretive trails with no designated paths

DIY: Definitely do Red Rock Canyon by yourself if you have access to a vehicle. It’s so easy to visit, and you’ll have control over where you park or which trails you hike.

TOUR: Because it’s so close to Vegas, there’s lots of unique tour options available for Red Rock Canyon.

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Sunset Horseback Ride – 5 hours horsesback ride and barbecue tour in Red Rock Canyon, extremely popular and highly rated. Includes 90 minutes guided horseback riding in a quieter area, all transport and entry included.
  • 2. Electric Bikes – 3 hours tour of Red Rock Canyon, including hotel pickup and drop off, electric bikes with safety gear and all entry costs included.
  • 3. Scooter Tour – 4 hours guided scooter tour through Red Rock Canyon with top ratings.
  • 4. Pink Jeep Adventure – 4 hours guided tour in a pink Jeep Wrangler, with bonus off roading adventure, includes hotel pickup, drop off and all entry costs.

READ: Unmissable hikes in Red Rock Canyon

5. Death Valley

Mesquite sand dunes in Death Valley one of the best day trips destinations from Las Vegas soft light at sunset silky sand with footprints
Photo we took at Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley during sunset
  • Distance: 236 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 4h 20m roundtrip
  • Method: Tour or DIY
  • Our rating: 8/10

Death Valley is the closest national park to Las Vegas. It’s an enormous park, but the good news is that you can easily visit the top attractions in a linear route by driving a loop.

So if you’re short on time and you really want to see a national park, Death Valley should be on your shortlist. One thing to note is that we don’t recommend this option if you’re visiting Las Vegas in summer because the park can be dangerously hot.

Colorful mounds in Death Valley at sunset smooth formations
Incredibly photogenic landscape in Death Valley

DIY: It’s easy to do by yourself and you’d have freedom over where to stop. We recommend entering via Death Valley Junction, and then leaving via Beatty so you can drive through the park efficiently. Start at Badwater Basin and end at Mesquite Sand Dunes.

TOUR: Death Valley tours are very popular from Las Vegas because it’s not too far away and you still get a full day, so it’s more time spent in the park rather than on the roads.

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Full Day – 10-12 hour coach tour, top rated and affordable. Includes top highlights, with hotel pickup and drop off, plus brunch and all entry fees included.
  • 2. Small Group – 10 hour small group guided tour in SUV or mini-bus, covers double the amount of attractions but is more expensive.
  • 3. Full Day – 10 hour tour, highly rated and your cheapest option. Includes top highlights, with hotel pickup and drop off, plus lunch and all entry fees included.

READ: How to see Death Valley in one day from Las Vegas

6. Bryce Canyon National Park

Switchbacks leading down into an orange sandstone canyon with hikers on trail
Switchbacks leading down to Queen’s Garden Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon
  • Distance: 532 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 8h 50m roundtrip
  • Method: Tour or DIY
  • Our rating: 7/10

Bryce Canyon is a spectacular landscape but it’s a long way from Las Vegas. If it was closer, we’d rank it higher because it’s unique and beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset. It’s small and easy to see in half a day, but it requires a lot of driving.

Whether you drive yourself or take a tour, it’s probably worth visiting both Zion and Bryce Canyon if you’ll be going all that way. The exception is if you’re not interested in hiking, because Zion is very much hiking oriented, so you’d have more time in Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon amphitheater at sunrise glowing red hoodoos needle like formations bursting into the purple sky worth the long day trip from Las Vegas
Photo we took of Bryce Canyon at sunrise

DIY: If you drive yourself and only visit Bryce Canyon, we recommend driving through Springdale and Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel so you can at least see Zion as you pass through. Then you could spend a good 4 hours hiking Queens Garden Navajo Loop and driving the Bryce Canyon scenic road.

TOUR: Because Bryce Canyon is slightly less popular than Zion, there are no tours that only go to Bryce Canyon originating in Las Vegas. And there’s just one tour option that goes to both parks.

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Zion + Bryce Canyon – 14 hours, small group guided tour with entry to Zion and Bryce Canyon, hotel pickup and drop off included.

READ: How to hike Queens Garden Navajo Loop Trail

7. Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam from behind with four towers and water foreground and memorial bridge in background one of the easiest and most popular Las Vegas day trips
Photo we took of the Hoover Dam from the Arizona side
  • Distance: 78 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 1h 30m roundtrip
  • Method: Tour or DIY
  • Our rating: 7/10

The Hoover Dam is regarded as one of America’s seven modern civil engineering wonders and it’s located just 35 miles from the Las Vegas strip. You can walk across the dam, learn about its fascinating history and hear the story of how it was built as part of an official guided tour (pre-book here).

For us, the Hoover Dam is a quintessential Las Vegas day trip because it’s easy, close by and it’s perfect for the whole family.

Hoover Dam Lake Mead and Colorado River from elevated position on nearbyMemorial Bridge
The Hoover Dam from Memorial Bridge vista

DIY: It’s just 45 minutes drive from the Las Vegas Strip to Hoover Dam. We parked in a paid multi-story lot on the Nevada side, but there’s plenty of free parking if you cross into Arizona and drive up the hill.

TOUR: There’s lots of tours to the Hoover Dam, and we like that there’s some fun options available in case you’re interested in doing something a bit different.

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Basic Hoover Dam Tour – 3 hours, cheap and quick, small tour with optional upgrades.
  • 2. Comedy Tour – 6.5 hours guided tour, unique tour led by stand up comedian, includes entry to Hoover Dam Power Plant.
  • 3. Hoover Dam + Magic Mountains – 5 hours guided tour to both Hoover Dam and Seven Magic Mountains.

READ: How to visit the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas

8. Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains one of the most popular day trips from Las Vegas stacks of colorful boulders lined up in an odd row of seven towers painted vibrant bright colors
Photo we took at Seven Magic Mountains
  • Distance: 44 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 1 hour roundtrip
  • Method: Tour or DIY
  • Our rating: 7/10

Seven Magic Mountains is a one of a kind art installation in the Nevada desert consisting of 7 boulder stacks all painted with vibrant colors. It’s popular for selfies and fun perspective photos, but it gets busy.

We’d say this is your easiest Las Vegas day trip option, but unless you’re going for a photo shoot, we recommend tying it in with various other attractions like the Hoover Dam because it won’t take you long to see the colorful boulders.

Seven Magic Mountains near Las Vegas drone photo from above with people walking around the installation
We quickly flew our drone to take a few aerial photos of the unique art installation

DIY: Honestly, by the time you walk from your room to your car in one of the Strip hotel parking lots and drive to Seven Magic Mountains, you’d be quicker doing it on a tour. If you do drive, it’s just straight down I-15 from the Strip.

TOUR: For the super cheap price you’d pay on a tour, we think it’s worth it so you don’t have to drive or move your car. You can also add optional extras to see other places.

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Seven Magic Mountains only – 2 hours guided tour of Seven Magic Mountains, also stops at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.
  • 2. 7 Magic Mountains + Hoover Dam – 3 hours small group guided tour includes both Seven Magic Mountains and Hoover Dam. Hotel pickup and drop off included.

READ: Guide to visiting Seven Magic Mountains

9. Page, AZ

Wide angle photo of Horseshoe Bend amazing natural U bend in the Colorado River near Page AZ at sunrise
Our sunrise photo over Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ
  • Distance: 552 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 9 hours roundtrip
  • Method: Tour
  • Our rating: 7/10

Page is a popular small town near the Utah and Arizona border thanks to striking natural formations including Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell.

We’ve photographed Horseshoe Bend at sunrise and sunset and it’s seriously impressive. But Antelope Canyon is the bigger draw, especially for avid social media users. It’s a heck of a day trip from Las Vegas, but it’s doable if you really can’t miss out.

Toadstool Hoodoos intriguing rock formations near Page AZ with orange and yellow mushroom shaped rocks
We hiked to Toadstool Hoodoos near Page and recommend it if you drive yourself

DIY: We personally wouldn’t drive 9 hours to see Antelope Canyon in one day. It’s too much driving for not enough return in our opinion.

TOUR: But we would be inclined to take a tour to Page because there’s a great option that also includes Grand Canyon South Rim. It’s still a long old day, but it ticks off 2 of the most popular places in the US southwest and you don’t have to drive.

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Bucket List Bus – Mammoth 18-19 hours full day tour taking in Grand Canyon South Rim and Page for both Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. All entry costs included and bonus Route 66 stop on the way back to Vegas.
  • 2. Another Bucket List Bus – Identical to the tour above but run by a different tour company. Check prices and reviews to see your best option.

10. Grand Canyon West Rim

Skywak at Grand Canyon West Rim protruding out into canyon
Skywalk at West Rim – Photo Courtesy of Grand Canyon West
  • Distance: 254 miles roundtrip
  • Time: 4h 15m roundtrip
  • Method: Tour
  • Our rating: 6/10

Grand Canyon West Rim has the highest volume of tour options from Las Vegas. If you go to Viator or Get Your Guide you’ll find lots of options, but you’ll also see tour operators on site along the Las Vegas Strip offering tours to West Rim.

Remember, West Rim isn’t the iconic Grand Canyon landscape you’ve seen in photos. That’s South Rim. The good news about West Rim is that it’s way closer to Vegas, so it makes a day trip more feasible. You can also pay optional extras to do things like Skywalk, white water rafting, helicopter tours and zip lining.

Rafting at Grand Canyon West Rim towering walls either side of Colorado River
Rafting at West Rim – Photo Courtesy of Grand Canyon West

DIY: Honestly, if you’ll be going to West Rim it’s probably because you don’t have a car, so we’d recommend only doing it as part of a tour.

TOUR: You can choose between lots of options and potential add-ons to include other attractions. This is where you’ll have the most control over exactly what you’d like to see. And the West Rim is still awesome, it’s just not as mighty as the South Rim!

Top rated tours:

  • 1. Deluxe Helicopter Tour – Top rated 4 hours helicopter tour, includes 45 minutes flying time each way over the Las Vegas Strip, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon West Rim, champagne toast, and hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • 2. Budget Bus Tour – Affordable 10 hours bus tour to West Rim (optional discounted Skywalk tickets), Hoover Dam and a Joshua Tree forest.
  • 3. Full Day Tour – 12 hours guided tour includes hotel pick up and drop off, lunch and a dinner break on the way back to Vegas. Includes West Rim, optional Skywalk and Hoover Dam.
  • 4. Triple Threat – 11 hours tour to West Rim, Hoover Dam and Seven Magic Mountains. Good price and lots of attractions in one go.

The Morgan Conclusion

Las Vegas is known for casinos, elaborate shows and partying. But if you’re willing to leave the Strip for a day, you can explore many amazing natural landscapes that are within reasonable driving distance.

Our favorite Las Vegas day trips are Valley of Fire, Zion and Grand Canyon South Rim because we think they offer the most bang for your buck. Which areas around Vegas would you like to visit the most?

More From Las Vegas

Want more Nevada content? Head over to our Nevada Travel Guides to explore State Parks, beautiful landscapes and the best things to do in Las Vegas.

We hope this Las Vegas day trips guide helps with planning your visit to Nevada!

Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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