7 easy must-do weekend trips from Las Vegas

Published by: Bounce23 March, 2023
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Las Vegas is known around the world as a great place for weekend getaways. For generations, Sin City has been a place where people come to escape their ordinary lives, whether to enjoy spectacular shows, excellent restaurants, or blow a fortune at the hundreds of casinos that have made the city what it is today. You can easily spend a weekend trip, a week, or longer in Las Vegas and never run out of things to do.

Still, there's more to this part of the world than casinos. Take a look at a map of Las Vegas, and it may seem the city is surrounded by nothing. After all, Las Vegas was built out in the desert, and it's a long drive to any other substantial city. But the desert surroundings of the city are a big part of the appeal of this place. When you've had enough of the roulette wheel or the blackjack table, Las Vegas is absolutely surrounded by scenic wonders that are ideal for a weekend getaway.

Leave your bags behind at a luggage storage in Las Vegas and pack only the essentials so you can fully enjoy your trip. Far away from the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, these incredible destinations offer you a glimpse of a completely different world. Traveling light makes it much easier to enjoy the best weekend getaways from Las Vegas and see more of what Nevada has to offer.

Weekend getaway from Vegas to Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire State Park

One of the closest attractions to Las Vegas itself, this State Park is an excellent place to visit on a day trip as well as a weekend trip. If your time in the city is short, but you really want to get a glimpse of the more natural side of Nevada, this is the place to do it.

Distance from Las Vegas:

It's less than 50 miles from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park, so you can easily make the drive in around 45 minutes.

Our activity recommendations:

  • See the rock formations: Valley of Fire is famous for its red sandstone rock formations, sculpted by desert wind over millions of years. Exploring this otherworldly landscape will make you feel like you've traveled a very long way from the city on one of the best weekend trips from Las Vegas.
  • Camping: The state park is home to two campgrounds that offer a total of 72 campsites. The sites vary from simple tent camping to fully equipped RV spots. However, none of the sites are available for reservation and are handed out on a first-come-first-served basis. Since this park is so close to Las Vegas, it's a good idea to get there early to get a premium spot.
  • Hiking: Valley of Fire makes an ideal weekend getaway for those who love the outdoors, thanks to the many hiking trails in the State Park. Along the way, you may encounter ancient rock art and desert wildlife and are guaranteed to get some spectacular views of this barren but bleakly beautiful place.

Best season to visit:

As is the case with most of the outdoor attractions in this part of Nevada, summer can be brutally hot. Unless you're an experienced desert explorer, you may be better off visiting in the cooler spring or fall seasons.

Mojave National Preserve weekend trips

Mojave National Preserve

Another of the many great weekend trips from Las Vegas that will appeal to fans of the outdoors, Mohave National Preserve is only a short distance from the city but feels like a very long way away. Just over the border into California, Mohave National Preserve offers almost limitless options for outdoor adventure.

Distance from Las Vegas:

It's around 70 miles from Las Vegas to the National Preserve, so expect to drive around an hour without traffic.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Mountain biking: Mojave is an excellent place to explore on two wheels. The many roads through the preserve are ideal for road bikes, while the rocky trails are better suited for mountain biking. There are no bike rentals available in the park, so you'll need to bring your own, but you'll be glad you did when you see the terrain that awaits you.
  • Four-wheel driving: Bring your most rugged and capable vehicle to this desert park to really get to grips with the terrain. Hundreds of miles of unpaved roads await, and you can visit volcano fields, desert landscapes, and mountain ranges on an exciting weekend getaway from the city.
  • Visit a lava tube: This volcanically active region is full of caves formed by lava that flowed 27,000 years ago. Now, you can visit these caves for yourself and discover the unique atmosphere and ecosystem of this geologically active region.

Best season to visit:

Unless you're ready to deal with brutal heat, it's better to visit the preserve in spring, fall, or even winter.

Hoover Dam weekend trip from Vegas

Hoover Dam

One of the most classic trips for first-time visitors to Las Vegas is a visit to this marvel of engineering not far from the city itself. This mighty dam on the Colorado River is a great place to visit not only to see the natural environment but to appreciate the efforts people have gone to in order to live here.

Distance from Las Vegas:

The Hoover dam lies practically on the outskirts of Las Vegas, only 37 miles away. Therefore, you can reach the dam with a drive of around half an hour. It's also possible to take a bus tour from many of the city's hotels to see this popular attraction.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Tour the dam: Obviously, the dam itself is one of the most spectacular things to see in the area, and you can learn more about the history and construction of this magnificent piece of engineering with a tour provided by the Bureau of Reclamation. You'll be able to go inside the dam and hear the stories of the people who built it, plus the effects it had on the local ecology.
  • Kayak: As spectacular as the dam is when you're walking or driving over it, it's even more impressive from the water. Take a guided kayak tour along the Colorado River to see the dam up close and also learn more about the natural history of the area.

Best season to visit:

Hoover Dam is a year-round destination. However, in the summer, you'll need to be careful to avoid overheating. Bring lots of water.

Zion National Park weekend trip from Las Vegas

Zion National Park

Easily one of the most spectacular weekend getaways from Las Vegas, Zion National Park offers a seemingly endless wilderness to explore, and you can easily reach it from the city.

Distance from Las Vegas:

160 miles to the northeast of Las Vegas, it takes around two and a half hours by car to reach Zion National Park. That makes it a little too far for a day trip, but an ideal destination for weekend getaways from Las Vegas.

Our activity recommendations:

Hiking: If you're interested in a long walk, Zion National Park has you covered. The park is home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, ranging from short easy strolls to multi-day backpacking adventures. Along the way, you'll uncover the dramatic scenery and fascinating wildlife of this desert wilderness.

Biking: To cover more ground, consider bringing a bike to the park and exploring on two wheels. Check out the Pa'rus Trail or the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive for bike-accessible trails that let you see some of the most spectacular landscapes available on weekend getaways from Las Vegas.

Canyoneering: Zion National Park is known for its rocky canyons, and you can pick up a permit that will let you explore them up close with this exciting sport. You can even take a guided tour to see some of the best canyons in the park and learn new techniques for outdoor exploration.

Best season to visit:

Unless you like extreme heat, it's probably better to avoid Zion National Park in the summer and instead visit in spring or fall.

Lake Havasu

In the desert landscape that surrounds Las Vegas, large bodies of water are hard to come by. That makes Lake Havasu one of the top places in the area to come for water sports or just to relax on the beach.

Distance from Las Vegas:

Around 150 miles from Las Vegas, Lake Havasu requires a drive of around 2.5 hours to reach by car.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Hit the beach: There are few better ways to beat the Nevada heat than to spend some time on the beach. The waters of Lake Havasu are great for swimming, and the lake has many sandy beaches where you can spread out and enjoy the ample sunshine.
  • See London Bridge: Lake Havasu City is famously the location of London Bridge, which was bought by a local businessman in the 1960s and moved to Lake Havasu.
  • Aquatic Center: Another great option if you're looking to cool off or you have kids with you, Lake Havasu Aquatic Center offers swimming pools, water slides, and lots more water-based fun.

Best season to visit:

Unusually for weekend getaways from Las Vegas, Lake Havasu is one that is worth considering in the hot summer months. The lake and the aquatic center are ideal places to cool off and refresh yourself from the desert heat.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Don't let the name put you off. Death Valley can indeed be a deadly place, often recording the highest temperatures on the planet. But Death Valley National Park is also a place of incredible natural beauty.

Distance from Las Vegas:

It's just over a hundred miles from Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park, so expect the drive to take just under two hours.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Dante's View: One of the most spectacular viewpoints in the whole of the National Park, Dante's View overlooks Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the entire United States. Easily reached by road, this viewpoint lets you take in a stunning vista of this unique place.
  • Artists Drive: This nine-mile scenic drive takes you to some of the most stunning vistas in the National Park. It gets its name from the artists it has inspired over the years. Maybe, looking at these bleak but beautiful landscapes, you'll find some inspiration of your own.

Best season to visit:

Not summer. Did we mention that this is often the hottest place in the world?

Weekend trips from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park

Finally, we couldn't talk about the best weekend getaways from Las Vegas without mentioning a true wonder of the world. Grand Canyon National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime destination you simply have to see while you're in the area.

Distance from Las Vegas:

Grand Canyon National Park itself is around 275 miles from Las Vegas, meaning you'll need to drive more than four hours to get there. However, as the name suggests, the Grand Canyon is absolutely huge, and you can visit many sections of it without going so far. Grand Canyon West, for example, is only a two-hour drive east of Las Vegas.

Our activity recommendations:

South Rim: The Grand Canyon is big enough to have many different places to see it, and none of them show the entirety of this massive geological feature. However, the South Rim is one of the most popular places to get those all-important Grand Canyon photos and see the wonder of this canyon up close.

Colorado River rafting: For a truly unforgettable experience of the Grand Canyon, consider exploring this National Park by taking a raft down the Colorado River. Several tour companies can provide you with all the necessary safety equipment and a qualified guide so you can ride the rapids and experience the power of this river system for yourself.

Best season to visit:

As usual, summer is too hot to really be comfortable here. Better plan your visit for spring or fall.


You can get into a lot of trouble - of the best kind, of course - with only three days in Las Vegas. And if you're on a shorter trip, you'll want to spend all your time enjoying what the city has to offer. But, if you have longer in the area, these weekend trips are absolutely worth considering.

As you can see from this list, Las Vegas is surrounded by some exceptional natural areas. Whether you're looking for the best day trips from Las Vegas or memorable weekend breaks, these destinations will provide you with experiences you won't soon forget.

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