3 Places Near Las Vegas to Visit By Car • Short Day Trips

Mountain and rocky layers at Valley of Fire State Park with the red rocks in front and the mountains in the background

Vegas is definitely known for gambling, The Strip, and other debauchery, but did you know it has some amazing natural beauty in its backyard? Because holy wow are there some gorgeous places near Las Vegas to visit by car. So if you want to get your drink on one night but heal your body the next by hiking through some incredible scenery, Vegas is a surprisingly good destination for that.

Quick Version of 3 Short Las Vegas Day Trips

Time to trade in your stilettos for your hiking boots for a day, and head out to one of these incredible short day trips from Las Vegas:

  • Valley of Fire State Park
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
  • Hoover Dam

Long Version of Places Near Las Vegas to Visit By Car

First thing’s first, you’re going to need a home base in Vegas and also a car to get to these three incredible spots. So make sure you have those booked before you go!

Where to Stay

I recommend staying close to the Strip but not directly on it, so that you get in and out easily with your car without dealing with Strip traffic. I stayed in a short term rental, and I would recommend the same for you!

Rent a Vehicle

You can totally join a group trip to explore any of these parks, but I rented a car and explored the parks that way which, if you’re comfortable doing so, I highly recommend!

Alright, let’s get on the road!

1 – Valley of Fire State Park

This INCREDIBLE state park is probably home to one of the most scenic drives near Las Vegas. I cannot recommend Valley of Fire State Park enough. It’s only a one hour drive and it’s got a little bit of everything. Whether you want to see the famous view from Mouse Tank Road or hike to see other gorgeous spots in the park, this park has you covered. If I had to just pick one short Las Vegas day trip, this would definitely be the one.

2 – Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

About 30 minutes away from The Strip, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is another gorgeous day trip from Las Vegas. Similar to Valley of Fire, it has a ton of different landscape variations that will keep you saying, “wow” at every turn. There are lots of hikes here as well, and another one of the best scenic drives near Las Vegas. There is also timed entry to get into that specific scenic drive, so make sure to snag your reservation before you go.

3 – Hoover Dam

Another one hour drive away from Vegas is the ever-famous Hoover Dam. This slice of American history is definitely worth a day trip, but if you could only choose one or two of these trips, I would skip this one. But I’m more of a natural beauty vs. architectural wonder type of girl. Anyway, the Hoover Dam is a great short day trip from Las Vegas, and you also get to see the beautiful Lake Powell while you’re there. I actually was able to squeeze the Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon into a single day, so if this is a must for you but you’re short on time, consider that as well! This could definitely be an easy half day trip from Las Vegas.

So there you go, some of my favorite short day trips from Las Vegas! I seriously had such a good time at each of these destinations. And to get to each you’re so lucky to experience some of the most scenic drives in Nevada. If you have any questions, definitely reach out and ask. And also feel free to follow me on Instagram and check out my Vegas story highlight for some on-the-ground views. Cheers, and enjoy your Vegas trip!


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3 thoughts on “3 Places Near Las Vegas to Visit By Car • Short Day Trips

  1. I’ve been thinking about visiting Vegas again this year. I’ve never been to Red Rock Canyon before, so this would be great place to add to the trip

  2. I love the natural areas just outside of Vegas – but I have always had such horrible luck with Valley of FIre – every time I try to go it RAINS (I know…rain…in the desert. Total bad luck!)

  3. These are all fabulous day trips just outside of Las Vegas! I feel like after being in the chaotic atmosphere of the city, it would be so so nice to escape into nature at Valley of Fire or Red Rock Canyon for a relaxing escape. Thanks for sharing this guide!

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