day trips from las vegas
road trips from las

Neon To Nature

Beyond-the-Neon Day Trips From Vegas

Route Distance

60 to 210 miles

Suggested Time

1+ Day Per Route

Positively brimming with grandeur, Nevada has the lion’s share of the wild west’s stunning scenery, intriguing geology and natural wonders. This 355-mile route on the Great Basin Highway takes in the highlights, beginning with red rock spires and sandstone canyons and ending with mountain peaks and ancient Bristlecone Pine forests. In five days, you’ll steer from Las Vegas to Ely to Great Basin National Park, immersing yourself in the larger-than-life landscapes of Valley of Fire State Park, Cathedral Gorge State Park, and many other fascinating state parks, including ghostly haunts and sites soaked in Nevada history.

Highlights

  • Tour a famous wonder of the engineering world at Hoover Dam
  • Hike, cycle, or rock climb at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
  • Wander among wildlife and ancient petroglyphs at Valley of Fire State Park

The Very Best Day Trips From Las Vegas

Where to Go Beyond the Glow

With day trips from Las Vegas in every direction, there’s plenty to satisfy your get-outside side without traveling too far from the Entertainment Capital of the World. Hit the Red Rockin’ Loop and hoof it around lush, oasis-like Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, stunning Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and a ghost town with its own saloon. Venture the Fire and Water Loop to Valley of Fire State Park, Gold Butte National Monument, Mesquite, and Lake Mead. Or cruise the Colorado River Corridor to tour Hoover Dam, chow down in Boulder City, tour a historic gold mine, and live it up on the Laughlin Riverwalk.

COMMUNITIES ON THIS TRIP

Boulder City, Laughlin, Mesquite, Moapa Valley, Goodsprings

Glovebox Essentials

Prepare for Your Adventure

Get ready to come chase some horizons with this handy tool kit. Here, you’ll find all the Neon to Nature road trip essentials, including downloadable directions, maps, and podcasts, and tunes to complement your upcoming adventure.

Welcome to Nevada – Just the Place

Go from Neon to Nature

Day Trips From Las Vegas? Get Outta Town.

This 3-part, hub-and-spoke road trip transports you to some of southern Nevada’s most breathtaking parks and landscapes, famous landmarks, and one-of-a-kind attractions—and back again. Use these tips to take off-strip day trips, or even to plan some well-worth-it overnight escapes.

Loop 1

Red Rockin’ Loop

Immerse yourself in craggy, red-banded beauty at Red Rock Canyon, lush greenery at historic Spring Mountain Ranch, and sagebrush saloon ambiance in Goodsprings Ghost Town.

Loop 2

Fire and Water Loop

Take the scenic route along Lake Mead’s edge to Valley of Fire, where famously photogenic orange and red rocks abound, then mosey to Mesquite for museums, art, and fine meals.

Loop 3

Colorado River Corridor

After touring Hoover Dam, head to Boulder City for epic eats and outdoor action, on land and water. Stop for a historic mine tour en route to Laughlin for more riverfront fun.

las vegas day trips

Loop 1

Red Rockin’ Loop

60 to 110 mi

Pack the snacks and book it to the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center to view a live desert tortoise habitat and hiking recs. Plan ahead and book a Timed Entry on Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive, the looping scenic drive Las Vegas visitors cherish for its stunning vista points and popular trail access. Next stop: tranquil Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, a verdant oasis full of hikes, historic buildings, and unique ranger programs. Add a trip to Goodsprings Ghost Town to wind down with burgers ‘n’ beers at the storied Pioneer Saloon.

Nevada is all about open-road adventures, but please brush up on travel restrictions and safety guidelines before heading for our horizons.

The Red Rockin’ Loop proves why we call this suite of day trips from Las Vegas “Neon to Nature.” And all this outdoor action is sure to make that hotel pillow feel extra plush. Here are our fave places to crash Downtown.

Circa Resort & Casino

Circa Resort & Casino

Las Vegas

El Cortez Hotel and Casino

El Cortez Hotel and Casino

Las Vegas

Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Las Vegas

Oasis at Gold Spike

Oasis at Gold Spike

LAS VEGAS

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Hikers head to Calico Basin’s larger-than-life landscapes. Climbers go crazy for more than 1,200 named routes, from short sport to 20-pitch pushes. Meanwhile, solace-seekers steal away to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

Blue Diamond Loop

Blue Diamond Loop

Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive

Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive

Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

LAS VEGAS

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

BLUE DIAMOND

Vegas Off-Road Tours

Vegas Off-Road Tours

GOODSPRINGS

Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains

JEAN

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If those original stamped tin walls could talk! The 1913-built Pioneer Saloon is home to legends, folklore, and Food Network-approved fare—all washed down with some notoriously killer drinks. Worth those extra miles, trust us.

Cottonwood Station Eatery

Cottonwood Station Eatery

Blue Diamond

Pioneer Saloon

Pioneer Saloon

Jean

scenic drive las vegas

Loop 2

Fire & Water Loop

120 to 175 miles

Valley of Fire is one of the most popular Las Vegas day trips—and with good reason. Nevada’s first and largest state park, formed when dinosaurs roamed the Silver State, offers unparalleled vistas of (or atop) other-worldly sandstone formations, plus chances aplenty to spy desert bighorn sheep and stone-carved calling cards from Nevada’s earliest human ancestors. But push on to discover fascinating museums, eye-catching art, off-road adventure, golf galore, and some amenity-packed resorts where you rest your head in style. 

The border town of Mesquite is home to art, culture, great restaurants, and nine golf courses—all set against a stunning Virgin River Valley backdrop. Here are some of our favorite places to make a night of it in Mesquite.

Eureka Casino Resort

Eureka Casino Resort

MESQUITE

Virgin River Hotel & Casino

Virgin River Hotel & Casino

MESQUITE

Casablanca Resort & Casino

Casablanca Resort & Casino

MESQUITE

Leave early to beat the crowds (and heat) to Valley of Fire. Then uncover American Indian history at Lost City Museum and cruise on to Mesquite for an amazing art gallery, artifact-packed museum, and high-octane activities.

Lost City Museum

Lost City Museum

Moapa Valley

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Overton

Skydive Mesquite

Skydive Mesquite

MESQUITE

Adventure Time Tours & Rentals

Adventure Time Tours & Rentals

MESQUITE

Virgin Valley Heritage Museum

Virgin Valley Heritage Museum

MESQUITE

Mesquite Fine Arts Center & Gallery

Mesquite Fine Arts Center & Gallery

MESQUITE

Gold Butte National Monument

Gold Butte National Monument

GOLD BUTTE

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Boulder City

Desert Ranch Experience

Desert Ranch Experience

BUNKERVILLE

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Sweeten your trip with a milkshake at The Inside Scoop, or spice it up with Cajun cuisine at Sugar’s Home Plate—both in Moapa Valley. If you think your day’s work has earned you a huge, juicy steak: Katherine’s Steakhouse.

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

Moapa Valley

Katherine’s Steakhouse

Katherine’s Steakhouse

MESQUITE

Sugar’s Home Plate

Sugar’s Home Plate

OVERTON

Light up your world with a mass ascension of lanterns into the Mojave Desert’s night sky, join a cele-BRAY-tion of one of Nevada’s sweetest wild critters, or sample your way around an old-fashioned pomegranate party.

Pomegranate Arts & Crafts Festival

Pomegranate Arts & Crafts Festival

Nevada Open Golf Championship

Nevada Open Golf Championship

Donkey Jamboree

Donkey Jamboree

The Lights Fest

The Lights Fest

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road trips from las vegas

Loop 3

Colorado River Corridor

70 to 250 miles

  • Catch a tour of Hoover Dam, or a vista of it from an 886-ft-high bridge
  • Hiking, paddling, and hot springing along the mighty Colorado River
  • Antique-shop, café-hop, and hit up museums in charming Boulder City
  • Get wild on the water or in seven lively resorts along the Laughlin Riverwalk

Without Hoover Dam, there’d be no Vegas. Tour the modern marvel and test your camera’s panorama mode from the 886-ft-tall, 1,905-ft-long viewing bridge—the longest of its kind in North America. Then explore Boulder City, the quiet, Art Deco-obsessed town that built it, where fascinating museums, cute shops, outdoor activities, and amazing eats abound. Stop for a tour of Techatticup Mine and poke around Nelson Ghost Town en route to Laughlin, where the party continues, in the resorts and, of course, on the Colorado River.

If your day ends in Boulder City, choose from a Colonial Revival-style gem, a swanky B&B, or a retro-chic motel (there’s that neon again). If you push on to Laughlin, settle into one of nine riverfront overflowing-amenity resorts.

Milo’s Cellar & Inn

Milo’s Cellar & Inn

BOULDER CITY

El Rancho Boulder Motel

El Rancho Boulder Motel

BOULDER CITY

Hoover Dam Lodge Hotel & Casino

Hoover Dam Lodge Hotel & Casino

BOULDER CITY

Tropicana Laughlin Hotel & Casino

Tropicana Laughlin Hotel & Casino

LAUGHLIN

Harrah’s Laughlin Casino Hotel

Harrah’s Laughlin Casino Hotel

LAUGHLIN

Boulder Dam Hotel

Boulder Dam Hotel

Boulder City

Golden Nugget Laughlin

Golden Nugget Laughlin

LAUGHLIN

Aquarius Casino Resort

Aquarius Casino Resort

Laughlin

Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino

Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino

LAUGHLIN

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Got extra days? Take ‘em. Otherwise, your work’s cut out choosing how to stack this action-packed out-and-back. This trip delivers for history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, water lovers, and just about everyone else, too.

London Bridge Jet Boat Tours

London Bridge Jet Boat Tours

LAUGHLIN

Gold Strike Hot Spring

Gold Strike Hot Spring

BOULDER CITY

Laughlin Riverwalk

Laughlin Riverwalk

LAUGHLIN

Historic Railroad Trail at Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Historic Railroad Trail at Lake Mead National Recreation Area

BOULDER CITY

Colorado River Museum & Historical Society

Colorado River Museum & Historical Society

BULLHEAD CITY

Eldorado Canyon and Techatticup Mine

Eldorado Canyon and Techatticup Mine

Nelson

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters

BOULDER CITY

Nevada State Railroad Museum—Boulder City

Nevada State Railroad Museum—Boulder City

BOULDER CITY

Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum

Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum

BOULDER CITY

Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park & Trails

Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park & Trails

LAUGHLIN

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Treat yourself to famous Dole whip floats at Chilly Jilly’z, mom-and-pop classics at the postcard-perfect Coffee Cup Café, and “killer” burgers  at The Dillinger—all in BC—or steak your claim at Laughlin’s chop houses.

The Dillinger Food and Drinkery

The Dillinger Food and Drinkery

BOULDER CITY

Coffee Cup Café

Coffee Cup Café

Boulder City

Chilly Jilly’z Bakery & Cafe

Chilly Jilly’z Bakery & Cafe

BOULDER CITY

From 4-day film fests, smoked meat celebrations, and the largest juried outdoor art fest in the Southwest to rallies for mountain bikes, off-road rigs, and motorcycles, these Colorado River towns know how to get down.

Best Dam Barbecue Challenge

Best Dam Barbecue Challenge

Laughlin River Run

Laughlin River Run

Polaris RZR UTV World Championship

Polaris RZR UTV World Championship

Dam Short Film Festival

Dam Short Film Festival

Art in the Park

Art in the Park

Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Demo Fest

Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Demo Fest

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#NeonToNature

Big city lights and breathtaking desert sights. See ‘em both (plus everything in between) and tag #NeonToNature so we can virtually tag along with ya.

Me: Always excited to play outside. 💛⁣⁣
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A few weeks ago I went mountain biking with bikeblastlasvegas at Bootleg Canyon just outside of Boulder City. It is close to Lake Mead + the Hoover Dam ...making it a great area to visit. So many fun adventures to fill your days in TravelNevada ☀️ #TravelNevada #BeyondVegas #HowToNevada #ad
Nelson Ghost Town

#nelson #nevada #ghosttown #dfmi #naturalnevada #explore #roadtrip
Clicked in December 2019
It might be hard to imagine Southern Nevada as anything but neon signs and blackjack tables, but in reality, it is an outdoor-lover’s mecca. A huge thank you to travelnevada for encouraging us to take the road less traveled and explore Boulder City this weekend! We spent the day at the lake, explored old railroad tunnels, quenched our thirst at the local brewery, and (attempted to go) zip-lining down Bootleg Canyon before the 45 mph wind gusts picked up. No sweat though - I have no doubt we’ll be back soon! 🌵☀️ I have so much else to say about our trip to Southern Nevada - so keep an eye out for some new blog posts coming at ya this week!
Laughlin has those Cali vibes going! 💕 #myvacationpants
Spring Mountain Ranch is a refuge for plants, animals and people. We require people to stay on trails in order to help protect habitat for wildlife.
Saturday evenings were made for Boulder City—live music, cold beer, and amazing burgers! 🤤🤤
🍔The Bugsy: Cheddar cheese, Applewood smoked bacon & grilled onions
🍔 The Baron: Half pound patty with Jack Cheese topped with thinly sliced pastrami and covered in a rich Bleu Cheese and tangy Mustard Coleslaw
📍 thedillingerbc
#67: Valley of Fire State Park, NV
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We took a “rest day” exploring the colorful, petroglyph-covered rock formations of Valley of Fire. Starting to get seriously obsessed with the red and green hues out here!
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#ashleypolskiart #minttinadventures #nevada #lasvegas #valleyoffire #valleyoffirestatepark #vegas #onlyinnv #travelnevada #paint #oilpainting #painting #pleinairpainting #art #painter #artist #artistsoninstagram #hike #hikingadventures #adventure #travel #explore #outdoors #optoutside #getoutside #nature #nvstateparks
Hot Dam!
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#hooverdam #hoover #dam #nevada #ohdam #bridge #blueskies #coloradoriver #lakemead #canyons #explore #escape #adventure #travel #wander #wanderlust #wow #america #west #gowest #explorenevada #visitnevada #mountains #western #wonderfulworld #amazed
Rub a dub dub there’s an old lady in the tub! 🛁 
Model: betsymom7 
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III canonusa 
Lens: 105mm

1/200 sec at f/10.0 
ISO: 200

#canonphotographers #canonphotography #westerntown #ghosttown #boomtown #oldladyinthemaking #bonniesprings #natgeoyourshot #natgeo100contest #oldladyhobbies #vegasphotographer #vegasphotography #moodygrams #bathtubs #nevada #travelphotography #travelphotographer #wildwildwest #nevadahistory #silverstate #vegaslocal #localphotographer #bonniespringsranch #photographer_pics #vegaslocals #vegaslocalscene
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