Though Las Vegas is best known for its indoor entertainment, there are adventures in nature to be had in the great outdoors nearby. A short car ride can bring you to some of the nation’s most scenic and inspiring landscapes. Day trips within 150 miles of Las Vegas are a great way to take the family to some of the most unique and picturesque landscapes in the country.
“Las Vegas is the gateway to the desert southwest, located within driving distance of 13 national parks,” said Courtney Fitzgerald, brand public relations manager for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Whether you want to see the golden rocks of the Grand Canyon or experience snowcapped mountains, Las Vegas is a great central location to it all.”
Red Rock Canyon
15 miles west of Las Vegas. Red Rock Canyon is a scenic area of rock formations and desert with a 3,000-foot escarpment produced by a thrust fault. Open to the public year-round and a popular destination for hikers, bikers, joggers and rock climbers, Red Rock Canyon is home to feral horses, wild burros, bighorn sheep, coyotes and a variety of desert plant life.
Bonnie Springs Ranch/Old Nevada
20 miles west of Las Vegas near Red Rock Canyon. Bonnie Springs Ranch was built in the 1840s as a cattle ranch and watering hole. Adjacent to the ranch is Old Nevada, a place where tourists can witness a re-creation of an Old West town complete with gunfights, horseback riding, children’s petting zoo and mini-train rides. Bonnie Springs Ranch/Old Nevada is open to the public year-round.
Lake Mead National Recreational Area
25 miles from Las Vegas at its closest point. With more than 550 miles of shoreline, Lake Mead offers year-round opportunities for swimming, water skiing, camping, boating, fishing, tours and cruises.
Spring Mountain State Park
30 miles west of Las Vegas. This historic ranch was a stopover for travelers on the Mormon and Spanish trails. Once owned by industrialist Howard Hughes, the Spring Mountain State Park is the site of seasonal outdoor theater and concerts. The park is open year-round.
30 miles east of Las Vegas, on the way to Lake Mead. Built in the 1930s for Hoover Dam construction workers’ families, it is the site of the historic Boulder Dam Hotel and is the only Nevada city that does not allow public gaming. Boulder City’s historic Old Town district is home to many quaint shops, including Native American jewelers.
If you have an adventurous spirit and wish to travel a little further, the following destinations are within 150 miles:
120 miles north of Las Vegas near Beatty, NV, which bills itself as the ‘Gateway to Death Valley.’ Rhyolite is a well-preserved ghost town. Highlights include ruins of the Potter General Store, Newton’s Grille, a school, several major banks, a house made entirely out of bottles and a railroad depot.
Death Valley, CA
135 miles from Las Vegas and a 40-minute plane ride away. Death Valley has the lowest elevation on the North American continent at 280 feet below sea level. Points of interest include Zabriskie Point, 20 Mule Team Canyon and Scotty’s Castle. Tours are available.
The Grand Canyon, AZ
300 miles or a one-hour flight from Las Vegas. Over millions of years, the Colorado River carved this natural wonder that is one mile deep and 277 miles long. Sightseeing air tours and ground tours of the Grand Canyon depart Las Vegas daily for half-day, full-day and overnight excursions.
For details about day tours to Las Vegas, see Vacation Within A Vacation: See the Grand Canyon in one fun-filled day.
The weather in the vicinity of Las Vegas is warm year-round and the summer months are hot for outdoor adventures so plan accordingly if you venture out of the casinos during the summer.