Although Las Vegas is well-known for its beautiful strip and breathtaking scenery, its main adventure destination should definitely be recognised for something else. In Southern Nevada, Las Vegas is a handy base for weekend getaways visiting many parts of the American West.
Whether you’re looking for national parks or bustling Western towns, day trips from Las Vegas will take you to a variety of locations, making it the best place to go for a weekend vacation and get lost in nature. So, this weekend, take a vacation from everything and fill up your gas tank at one of America’s most interesting getaways.
Some of the most popular weekend getaways from Las Vegas are listed here!
Hoover Dam – A must visit for Weekend Getaways From Las Vegas
Distance From Las Vegas: 6 minutes drive (2 miles / 3.2 Kilometres)
Hoover Dam, formerly known as Boulder Dam, is a hydroelectric dam in Black Canyon on the Colorado River, near the Arizona-Nevada border in the United States. It is the highest concrete arch dam in the United States, having been built between 1930 and 1936.
It is a popular tourist attraction for weekend getaways from Las Vegas, with over seven million people every year, over one million of whom take tours of the dam.
It holds Lake Mead, which stretches for 115 miles (185 kilometres) upstream and is one of the world’s largest artificial lakes. Flood and silt management, hydroelectric generation, agricultural irrigation, and domestic water supply are all possible uses for the dam.
While there is plenty to see and do at the Hoover Dam, tourists may also marvel at the freshly built Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and even walk across it. It is the world’s tallest concrete arch bridge and the United States’ first concrete-steel arch composite bridge, towering 880 feet over the Hoover Dam.
The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, which spans 1,905 feet and connects Nevada and Arizona highways, is appropriately named after two heroes from each state.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Distance From Las Vegas: 19 mins drive (16.3 miles / 26.2 Kilometres )
Red Rock Canyon, one of the most gorgeous areas in southern Nevada, is as popular with visitors as it is with locals. Nearly 2 million visitors flock here to see red-banded canyons, towering sandstone peaks, and ancient petroglyphs, making it one of the most beautiful spots in the Silver State.
The magnificent desert environment of Las Vegas and the surrounding area is well worth the trip, whether you are travelling across Nevada or from another country.
Red Rock Canyon is Nevada’s first National Conservation Area, spanning over 195,000 acres and serving as a paradise that highlights the distinctive elements of the Mojave Desert. Despite being only 17 miles / 27 Kilometres west of the Las Vegas Strip — close enough that peak tops can be seen from the Las Vegas Valley – the recreation area has a very different ambiance.
Calico Tank Trail is a trail that runs through Calico Tank. Despite the fact that this trip is only 2.5 miles / 4 Kilometres long, there are a few sections that are difficult to manage. As you climb up some interestingly designed stone stairs, you’ll gain around 400 feet in height, and you’ll find yourself using both your feet and your hands at times during your journey.
The greatest time to visit the Ice Box is in the spring, when the Nevada wildflowers are in full bloom. This 2.2-mile climb shows spectacular, charred-looking canyon formations by enveloping visitors with sheer cliffs that ride up on three sides.
It goes without saying that the best sights require the most effort. Turtlehead Peak Trail offers a famous view of Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, and beyond.
Valley Of Fire State Park
Distance From Las Vegas: 46 minutes drive (45.7 miles / 73.5 Kilometres)
The Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, is home to a variety of ancient trees and flora. It also has a collection of 3,000-year-old Indian petroglyphs that have been meticulously preserved. Camping, hiking, picnicking, and photography are all popular activities in the park.
A huge visitors centre is located on site, where tourists can learn about the people who formerly lived in the Valley of Fire State Park area. In addition, the visitors centre has information on camping, hiking, and park laws. The park is open all year, but temperatures in the summer can exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so visitors should dress appropriately.
If you only have time for one hike in the park, make the Fire Wave Hike. The 1.2-mile walk provides the most breathtaking views and allows you to fully immerse yourself in the scenery. As you stand on striated stone fields, colourful rock hills and mounds extend out in every direction from your feet.
A movie set and a stunning but brief slot canyon are among the noteworthy sights along this lovely White Dome Hike. The track begins on soft sand and quickly descends to a basin by stone stairs that follow a massive rock wall. This location has been used for several film and television productions over the years.
Mouse’s Tank is a.75-mile out-and-back trip along a sandy track in a canyon that is both easy and entertaining. If you stay on the path, the trail is level with no elevation increase, and it leads to the Mouse’s Tank, a natural water catchment area that may or may not have water.
Hundreds of petroglyphs can be found during this trip and is a must visit destination for weekend getaways from Las Vegas.
Mojave National Preserve
Distance From Las Vegas: 1 hour 8 minutes drive (68 miles / 109 Kilometres)
Singing sand dunes, cinder cone volcanoes, a large Joshua tree forest, and carpets of spring wildflowers are all found inside the 1.6-million-acre Mojave National Preserve, which is located midway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Its canyons, mountains, and mesas are home to long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military installations.
Begin your journey at the excellent visitor centre, which is housed in the historic Kelso Depot, a 1924 Spanish Mission Revival style train stop. Take a peek at the preserve’s features after picking up maps and information. The most prominent sunset and dawn spot is the neighbouring Kelso Dunes, California’s second-largest dune system.
Kelso Depot has been converted into a museum with a 20-minute video and an information centre. When visiting the park, this is a great spot for a brief pit stop as well as maps and facilities.
Teutonia Peak is a four-mile round-trip hike that leads to the summit of a small peak with numerous prominences. From here, you may observe the Cima Dome, walk through the world’s largest Joshua Tree forest, and explore a variety of old abandoned mines.
St George, Utah
Distance From Las Vegas: 1 hour 50 minutes drive (119.4 miles / 192 Kilometres)
After cutting over the northwest part of Arizona and crossing the border into Utah, Las Vegans arrive at St. George. It’s the state’s largest city outside of Zion National Park’s sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and rock formations, which are among the most spectacular examples of natural splendour in the state. Trails aren’t all made equal.
Angels Landing, a 2.5-mile hike with steep and narrow paths, is well-known. It’s accompanied with a warning sign that lists the number of persons who have perished on the trail. The Sand Hollow Reservoir, on the other hand, is a great place to go fishing and boating.
Downtown St. George’s dining, pubs, art galleries, and shopping help to balance out all of the outdoor activities.
Zion National Park
Distance From Las Vegas: 2 hours 30 minutes drive (160 miles / 257.5 Kilometres)
In the southwestern Utah counties of Washington, Iron, and Kane, Zion National Park features some of the country’s most spectacular canyon scenery. Within its 232 square miles, you’ll find high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep sandstone canyons, and the Virgin River and its tributaries. In Zion, you’ll find 2,000-foot Navajo Sandstone cliffs, pine- and juniper-clad hills, and seeps, streams, and waterfalls that sustain rich and bright hanging gardens.
Zion’s unique geography supports a diverse range of habitats and wildlife.
Desert, riparian (riverbank), pinyon-juniper, and conifer woodland populations make up Zion’s environmental diversity.
The surrounding environments of the Mojave Desert, Great Basin, and Rocky Mountains all contribute to Zion’s abundance. The park is home to nearly 1,000 plant species, 78 animal species, 30 reptile species, seven amphibian species, eight fish species, and 291 bird species.
Zion Canyon is the most spectacular part of Zion National Park.
The sole entry into the canyon is by the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, an in-and-out path that goes down the canyon bottom with steep sheer walls on both sides. This route includes a lookup to Angels Landing and offers views of several of the park’s most well-known attractions.
At the start of the Narrows, one of the park’s most recognized attractions, the road comes to an end. The park’s shuttle bus is a convenient way to go throughout this area, stopping at scenic sites and hiking trailheads along the way.
Joshua Tree National Park
Distance From Las Vegas: 3 hour 15 minutes drive (187 miles / 301 Kilometres)
Joshua Tree National Park, one of California’s most peculiar national parks, is well-known for its enormous boulders and Dr. Seuss-like Joshua trees, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
There are a lot of interesting things to do in Joshua Tree! Take a magnificent drive through the park, a guided tour of Keys Ranch, or a trip to Barker Dam to see the sunset from Keys View.
The 49 Palms Oasis hike is a three-mile round-trip moderately difficult ascent with strands of fan palm trees and nice water ponds.
The Hidden Valley trip may appeal to day hikers. This one-mile circle trek crosses a valley bordered by stones and has a picnic area.
You can also go mountain biking on the park’s gravel roads, rock climb with a guide, or photograph some of the park’s breathtaking views. Hike the park’s more demanding paths, such as Ryan Mountain hike for amazing panoramic views of the Lost Horse Mine trail to discover what’s left of one of the region’s richest producers.
If you want to meet other travellers who are travelling at the same time as you, search for solo tours in Joshua Tree National Park, share costs and experiences, and travel together!
Grand Canyon National Park
Distance From Las Vegas: 4 hour 8 minutes (252.4 miles / 406 Kilometres)
One of the best weekend getaways from Las Vegas would have to be a visit to The Grand Canyon. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is located in northern Arizona and serves as a reminder of Mother Nature’s grandeur as well as a window into the region’s geological and cultural history.
The canyon has a length of 277 river miles and a width of 600 feet to 18 miles. A dry climate keeps the Grand Canyon from spreading and plunging to its astounding depths.
Grand Canyon Village is the park’s most popular access point, and as a result, it usually attracts large crowds during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. This is where you’ll find Yavapai Point, one of the best vantage spots for viewing the canyon. This is the location to go if you don’t want to camp but yet want to be in the park.
Havasu Falls is a desert oasis with crystal blue streams and gushing falls that give the dry canyon backdrop an almost surreal appearance and is acclaimed by visitors as one of the Grand Canyon’s most stunning sights.
The North Rim and the South Rim are the two rims that make up the Grand Canyon. Hiking the South Rim Trail, which is one of the Grand Canyon’s most popular and long pathways, is one of the best ways to see the South Rim’s most popular sites and perspectives. This reasonably easy walking path follows the canyon’s rim, stopping at prominent viewpoints like Maricopa Point and Hopi Point.
For safety reasons, it’s usually better to contact other like-minded adventurers before visiting the park. You can meet hiking buddies at GAFFL who are planning adventures in the coming days.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Distance From Las Vegas: 4 hour 10 minutes drive (261.9 miles / 421 Kilometres)
Bryce Canyon is a fantastic place to visit for those looking for weekend getaways from Las Vegas. Outdoor enthusiasts can go hiking and exploring in the backcountry as much as they like. Bryce Canyon is a year-round destination with something for everyone.
The three tiers of vistas at Inspiration Point provide a range of views of the main amphitheatre.
From here, visitors can see the Silent City (near Sunset Point), which features rows of hoodoos against the backdrop of Boat Mesa. Recent visitors have characterized the view as “one of the most magnificent sights in the United States,” emphasizing that it is a great way for people with mobility issues to see “one of the most stunning views in the United States.”
For those willing to get up early, Bryce Point, one of the park’s most popular vistas, offers breathtaking sunrises. When the sun rises, the tops of the hoodoos look to be on fire, and then they change colours quickly and almost magically. This beautiful location not only offers stunning views, but also some of the park’s more creatively named formations.
Visitors can see the Boat Mesa and the Sinking Ship, which are situated against the Aquarius Plateau’s Pink Cliffs.
Rainbow Point, near the park’s southernmost point, offers panoramic views to the north of the entire park.
Distance From Las Vegas: 4 hour 28 minutes (270.5 miles / 435 Kilometres)
Los Angeles is bursting at the seams with things to see and do! It is a culturally diverse metropolis known as the United States’ creative capital. A thriving culinary scene, fantastic shopping, world-class museums, and family-friendly activities await visitors.
Sunseekers who come to enjoy the warm weather and beaches will find a diverse range of activities and regions. Visit the TCL Chinese Theatre, take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and then trek or ride a horse to the famous Hollywood sign.
You may visit Griffith Observatory, which offers breathtaking views of Los Angeles, while strolling through Griffith Park. Alternatively, you can visit Universal Studios for a few hours or the entire day.
Spend the day in Santa Monica or Venice Beach, where you may stroll down the boardwalk or along the bluff in addition to playing in the sand or swimming in the sea. The sunset on the Santa Monica Pier is a fantastic way to end the day!
If you’re a museum or garden aficionado in Los Angeles, you’ll be spoiled for choice: pick a few places to visit for a leisurely day of shopping and eating.
Within a day’s drive of Los Angeles, there are many chances to enjoy the great outdoors, including charming coastal towns, beautiful lakes, and lovely wine country destinations.
Author Bio: This article was written by GAFFL, an app that helps you find a travel companion with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are travelling to, find travellers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.
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