The undisputed home of extravagance and entertainment, Las Vegas is the city that features on the bucket list of travellers of every variety.
It may be an oasis of entertainment in the heart of the Nevada desert but away from the bright lights and bustling casinos there is a wealth of natural wonders to explore.
The exhilaration of Las Vegas can be exhausting and a day trip into the great outdoors can provide a welcome balance to travellers to Sin City.
Here are 15 day top-rated trips from Las Vegas that offer the full spectrum of sights in Nevada.
1. Grand Canyon
A day trip to the Grand Canyon sees you cross state lines into Northern Arizona, ticking off another of the 50-states from your USA bucket list.
Spanning a staggering 277 miles the Grand Canyon has been etched into the earth by the Colorado River and is still a work in progress.
The land has been naturally eroded away by the course of the river over millions of years and will continue to forever.
You can start hikes from the visitor’s centre and here you can seek advice as to which trail suits you best.
2. Valley of Fire
The Valley of Fire is one of Nevada’s most iconic natural wonders.
Picture perfect in every way the Valley of Fire is home to native Indian petroglyphs that it is believed to date back over 3,000 years.
These perfectly preserved rock carvings give incredible insights in to the lives of our ancestors.
At the Valley of Fire visitors centre you can learn more about these relics before heading out to see them for yourself.
A true geographical wonder the Valley of Fire is an awe-inspiring day trip from Las Vegas.
Be warned, temperatures can soar to 120F, ensure you stay hydrated and protected from the sun.
3. Death Valley National Park
Named Death Valley for good reason, Death Valley National Park is one of the driest and hottest places on earth.
Experiencing the harshness of the environment gives visitors an appreciation for the elements, especially water.
A day trip to this national park is not complete without visiting Furnace Creek, Badwater and Zabriskie Point.
During a day trip to Death Valley you can visit eerie and desolate Rhyolite, a ghost town left in the wake of the Gold Rush.
Intriguing and incredibly hot, Death Valley is a sight to behold.
Charge your camera for Death Valley is the perfect place for panoramic shots.
4. Hoover Dam
If you thought Las Vegas was an impressive man-made feat in the middle of the Nevada desert then you will suitably be in awe of the Hoover Dam.
Taking over five years to build and requiring constant maintenance the Hoover Dam created the largest reservoir in the United States of America.
Holding a staggering 28.9 million acre-feet of water the capacity of the Hoover Dam is almost incomprehensible.
Tours of the Dam complex and neighboring power plant are offered throughout the day.
5. Area 51
A trip to Area 51 is a rare opportunity to visit the world’s most secretive military facility.
Of course, day visitors don’t get the same kind of access as the real life Men in Black nor do you get to read the active X Files but there is plenty to explore.
Drive along the Extraterrestrial Highway to Little A’le’inn.
Having been the backdrop for countless documentaries and drama series there’s plenty to get the mind wandering at Area 51.
6. Red Rock Canyon
Being one of the most accessible day trips from Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon lies just 17-miles south of the city centre.
Whether you choose to explore Red Rock Canyon on electric bicycle, on horseback or on foot, a trip to this beautiful canyon is one of the highlights of the Mojave Desert.
In the Red Rock National Conservation area, you’ll also find the gorgeous red and cream Calico Hills.
7. Bryce Canyon
Venturing into Bryce Canyon installed a feeling of sheer wonderment in all who visit.
Featuring extraordinary natural geographical formations of red rock Bryce Canyon is one of the most impressive landscapes in Nevada.
Let your imagination run wild and see if you can see castles, battlements and ruins of city walls in the red rocks.
Many people say that they can see faces in the rock too.
Bryce Canyon is a simply stunning landscape that provides a delightful contrast to the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Teaming Bryce Canyon with a trip to Zion National Park is a popular combination day trip from Las Vegas.
8. Zion National Park
A destination in its own right Zion National Park is one of the more versatile landscapes accessible from Las Vegas.
Deep gorges are carpeted with greenery unlike the stark, raw landscapes found in other canyons surrounding Las Vegas.
Home to a vast array of flora and fauna Zion National Park falls within the state lines of Utah.
Another opportunity to tick another US state, if you’re counting that is.
An inspiring muse for artists, photographers, writers and more, Zion National Park is remembered fondly by all who visit.
9. Techatticup Gold Mine and Eldorado Canyon
Techatticup Gold Mine and Eldorado Canyon is a field day for adrenaline junkies.
Best explored by ATV the Techatticup Gold Mine and Eldorado Canyon trail is a great day trip from Las Vegas for fun loving, active travellers.
The Techatticup Gold Mine was Nevada’s biggest working mine in its hay day and the Eldorado Canyon was home to more people than modern day Las Vegas.
Exploring the Techatticup Gold Mine and Eldorado Canyon by ATV is a fun and memorable way to learn about the rich history of Nevada’s gold mining industry.
10. Mount Tipton Wilderness Area
For travellers seeking to get off the beaten track in their day trip from Las Vegas, the Mount Tipton Wilderness Area is an easily accessible option.
Located in Mohave County this Wilderness Area spans over 30,000 acres and Mount Tipton towers over the stark landscape at 7,148ft.
Best explored on foot or on horseback the Mount Tipton Wilderness Area is something of a hidden gem.
Perfect for rock climbing the Mount Tipton Wilderness Area is a paradise for the intrepid traveller.
Home to herds of wild mustangs Mount Tipton is one of Arizona’s best-kept secrets.
11. Los Angeles & Hollywood
For many people a visit to Los Angeles is entirely separate to a trip to Las Vegas but it need not.
Lying just 4 hours away, Los Angeles is an easy, direct day trip from Las Vegas.
In the space of a day in the City of Angels you can visit Beverly Hills, drive down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and get that all important photo with the Hollywood sign.
Having had your fill of life in the desert be sure to take a stroll along the beachside boardwalks of LA before returning to Las Vegas.
12. Lake Mead
Offering a welcome contrast to the Nevada Desert, Lake Mead itself is best explored by traditional paddle wheel boat.
Best experienced in the evening time you can jump aboard the Desert Princess and be wined and dined as you glide across the calm waters of Lake Mead.
Lake Mead provides a relaxing and peaceful day trip from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area, however, should be explored during the day time and has a number of scenic walking trails that curve around the lake shores.
The perfect way to spend the day before boarding the Desert Princess before sunset.
13. Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Lying just half an hour from the centre of Las Vegas lies Nevada’s most significant Petroglyph site.
Featuring over 300 panels of etchings in the canyon’s red rock, the site has 2,000 different depictions.
Meticulously managed to preserve these ancient Petroglyphs visitors to Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area are implored to stick to the trails.
Away from the ancestral artistry the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area features dusty lake beds, giant rock towers and of course, picture perfect expanses of desert.
14. Dixie National Forest
Spanning across 8,000 km² the Dixie National Forest is a great day trip from Las Vegas for nature enthusiasts and travellers who want to tick off as many US states as possible.
Dixie National Forest lies in Utah and occupies the land between the Colorado River and the Great Basin.
Keep an eye out for the vast array of wildlife that supports the precious Dixie National Forest ecosystem.
Home to cougar, bobcat and the Utah prairie dog, should you be patient enough you may just spot these rare mammals.
Bird lovers should look out for blue grouse, wild turkey and golden eagles.
15. Mount Charleston
With a wonderful selection of canyons and deserts to explore in day trips from Las Vegas, Mount Charleston offers travellers contrasting landscape to enjoy.
Located just 45-minutes away from the Las Vegas strip, Mount Charleston is snow capped in the winter making it ideal for sledding and skiing.
Quite the contrast indeed from the sweltering heat of Las Vegas.
For travellers who are keen to experience the incredibly versatility of western USA from a base of Las Vegas Mount Charleston is the perfect day trip.
Where to stay in Las Vegas, Nevada (NV): Best Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada (NV)