Known for its sensational nightlife, incredible live shows, world-class restaurants, and top-notch hotels, Las Vegas is a city that knows no bounds. Whether you’re just visiting or living there permanently, Sin City boasts a high-paced environment, and sometimes, having a little break from the hustle and bustle can be just what the doctor ordered. If you can relate, then it’s time to start exploring weekend trips from Las Vegas.
Luckily, Las Vegas is in close proximity to a plethora of other awesome destinations that are well worth visiting. From world-famous national parks and scenic forested hikes to desert oases and sunny beach towns, there are great getaways that’ll suit absolutely everybody’s preferences and interests. To make things easier for you, we’ve made this list of awesome weekend getaways from Las Vegas, full of epic things to do and places to stay.
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The Best Places to Go on Weekend Trips From Las Vegas
We’ve outlined the top places to go, the coolest things to do, and where to stay in the Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Havasu City, Palm Springs, and Death Valley National Park. All you have to do is pick the getaway that tickles your fancy and get packing, because no matter where you choose to go, you’re sure to have an adventure well worth remembering!
Grand Canyon National Park
Carved out by Arizona’s Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is home to a great deal of fascinating early geological history of the continent of North America. It’s a river valley that exposes strata dating back millions and even billions of years – in fact, the oldest rocks found in the Grand Canyon are a whopping 1.8 billion years old.
Not only is the canyon the site of immense geological history, but it also boasts views that are as dramatic as they are magnificent. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1979, the Grand Canyon offers visitors a labyrinth of topography and vast vistas. It truly is a natural phenomenon that you need to visit at least once if you’re anywhere near the southwestern part of the United States. Even if you’re not!
Distance From Las Vegas: 300-mile drive
Duration of the Journey From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon: 4-5 hours
How to Get There: You can drive yourself from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon almost entirely via interstate highways. Alternatively, you could use public transport – either by bus or a combination of bus and train.
Things to do at the Grand Canyon
The best way to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas is to make your way out to the South Rim. You’ll be charged a fee of $30 per vehicle to enter the park and it’ll take you about four hours to get there.
Here are a few things to do when you’re visiting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Enjoy the Scenery Via the Desert View Drive
The only road open to private vehicles on the South Rim, this route provides unmatched views of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. Best of all, you can enjoy these picturesque panoramas from the privacy of your own vehicle and in your own time – it is 23 miles, after all.
We recommend this small group guided day tour that highlights the South Rim and other local attractions like Route 66, and Cameron Trading Post!
Along the route, you’ll be able to visit several awesome viewpoints. The six developed viewpoints along the route are:
- Pipe Creek Vista
- Moran Point
- Desert View Point
- Lipan Point
- Grandview Point
- Novajo Point
You’ll also pass a few additional unmarked pullouts as well as four different picnic spots, so pack some snacks and wear layers to make sure you’re prepared for a good day out.
Immerse Yourself in Nature on a Grand Canyon Hike
Enjoy the full Grand Canyon experience by trying out one of the epic hikes in the area. There truly is no better way to see a natural environment than to explore on foot. Traverse the undulating landscapes along one, or many, of the best trails in the area. Best of all, you can choose the trail you’d like to hike based on the difficulty level that suits your physical ability.
With so many routes to choose from, you may find it overwhelming to know which one to do, so we’ve given you a few options based on difficulty level:
- Grand Canyon South Rim Trail – Easy
- South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Ah Point – Moderate
- Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point – Challenging
You really can’t go wrong with these trails – so lace up your shoes, put on your hat, and get hiking! Just don’t forget to take plenty of water.
Try this exclusive private tour that includes round trip transportation from your accommodations, lunch, and hiking equipment with a hike of the South Kaibab Trail and a chauffeured trip through some of the most exquisite views around the South Rim!
Experience the Culture and History of the Grand Canyon Area
The Grand Canyon holds immense historical and cultural significance. Archeological remains, including ruins and artifacts, have been found in the area, some of which date back 12,000 years. In addition, anthropologists have also discovered figurines that are believed to have been made between 1,000 and 2,000 BC.
The Grand Canyon was once inhabited by the Pueblo people – followed by the Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, and Paiute tribes. Today, the Havasupai people, who have lived in and around the area for roughly 800 years, claim the Grand Canyon as their ancestral home. Over the years, the area has seen a lot of colonial exploration and eventually, settlement. Today, there are several ways that you can learn about the area’s historical and cultural significance.
Visit the Grand Canyon Historic Village, and from there, you’ll find a number of historical buildings, museums, and centers. A few of the best places to visit are:
- The Grand Canyon Railway Depot
- The Verkamp Visitor Center
- The Hopi House
If you’d prefer an organized trip, here are a few awesome tours you can enjoy too:
- The Grand Canyon Railway Trip Experience
- Sunset Safari at the Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon Back Road Safari
Where to Stay at the Grand Canyon
When it comes to finding accommodation at the Grand Canyon, you’re spoiled for choice. To make things easier, we’re going to give you two different options to choose from, varying in price and style, so you can select the option that best suits your needs.
The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon
If you’re looking for luxury during your stay at the Grand Canyon, the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is hard to beat. It may be pricey, but it boasts five-star service and facilities, so you won’t be missing anything during your stay.
The Grand Canyon Inn
Conveniently located near the South Rim entrance, the Grand Canyon Inn and Motel is a modest accommodation option. It boasts a fun, southwestern theme, and has all the necessities you’ll need during your stay, as well as a swimming pool, bar, and free Wi-Fi.
Located in western Arizona, Lake Havasu is one of the most popular bodies of water near Las Vegas. If your aim is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and enjoy some activities outdoors, Lake Havasu is one of the best weekend getaways from Las Vegas that you could do.
Distance From Las Vegas: 152 miles
Duration of the Journey From Las Vegas to the Lake Havasu: 2.5 hours
How to Get There: By car or shuttle from Las Vegas Airport (LAS).
Things to do at Lake Havasu
Whether you want to chill out and go fishing, explore the local museums, or hit the beach for some water sports, Lake Havasu is the place to be. Another
Here are a few fun things to do and see on your weekend trip from Las Vegas to Lake Havasu.
Yes, you read that correctly – the London Bridge. Built during the 1930s, the London Bridge initially spanned the width of the River Thames. Long story short, the structure was purchased from the City of London and relocated to the United States, linking an island on the Colorado River with Lake Havasu City.
Today, you can do a walking tour of the bridge during which you’ll learn interesting historical facts and other fascinating tidbits. There’s also a resort nearby, London Bridge Resort, with swimming pools and other fun things to do, as well as awesome restaurants and nightlife just down the road.
Top Tip: For a quirky night out with interesting drinks and live music, try out the Flying X Saloon.
In addition, London Bridge Beach is an epic place to spend a sunny day forgetting all your worries. You can chill in the sun and read your book; go swimming, boating or canoeing; or get involved in the beach and water sports like volleyball and basketball. Whatever your preference, London Bridge Beach is always vibey and fun.
Go Fishing on Lake Havasu
A fun activity that the whole family will enjoy, fishing at Lake Havasu will have you entertained for hours on end. The lake is open all day, every day, and entrance is free. Best of all, the lake is full of all the fish you could possibly dream of!
While it’s particularly well known for being some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in all of Arizona, that’s not all there is on offer. The lake is also full of largemouth bass, striped bass, catfish, flathead catfish, channel catfish, bluegill, and redear sunfish.
Not only is there a great variety of different types of fish, but they’re also known to be plentiful and quick to bite. So whether you’re a keen fisherman, just starting out, or showing your children the ropes, you’re bound to have a successful and fun time. Best of all, the lake offers exquisite scenery, so make sure you take in the views while you’re trying to catch your dinner!
Fishing at Lake Havasu can be done from boats (if you bring your own one along) or from the rocky shoreline – you’re bound to have success wherever you are. For the best spot to catch at the lake, try out Skier’s Island – it’s both gorgeous and one of the best fishing holes at Lake Havasu.
Top Tip: Anglers older than ten years old require a fishing license in Arizona, so make sure you’ve got one before you wet a line!
So pack a picnic and grab your swimsuit, because a day fishing at Lake Havasu is sure to be a blast!
Enjoy a Jet Boat Tour of Lake Havasu
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as you get to see not only the delightful scenery surrounding the lake, but awesome views of the city itself from a completely different vantage point. In addition to being able to take in the sights and sounds, you’ll be able to learn all about the most interesting parts of the lake and the city’s history, putting the entire area in context as you visit Lake Havasu on your weekend getaway from Las Vegas.
During the tour, you’ll see awesome scenery such as the “Desert’s Elbow” as well as wildlife, including the interestingly named “Desert Big Horn Sheep”.
Seeing the lake by means of a guided tour will allow you to get a real feel for its sheer vastness and majesty, while simultaneously learning all about the area’s natural history, as well as where the city itself came from.
Where to Stay at Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu City offers a broad selection of accommodation options, from budget-friendly motels to fancy hotels and resorts. Here are two very different options.
London Bridge Resort
The pricier of the two options, London Bridge Resort is the perfect place to be if you really want to go all out. It offers absolutely everything you could possibly need, and the resort itself even has its own nightclub, restaurant, golf course, pools, and marina.
Studio 6 Suites
Located right on the sandy shores of the lake, Studio 6 Suites is a great option that’ll provide you with all the necessities but won’t break the bank.
A well-known desert city in Riverside County, California, Palm Springs has long been known as the holiday destination for wealthy Californians – including Hollywood celebs as well as ordinary middle-class Americans. However, there’s more to it than that. Here are a few fun facts about Palm Springs:
- It’s the largest city in the county (by land area)
- The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ Reservation makes up more than 10% of the city of Palm Springs
- The ground is considered sacred by the local Indian population.
- In 1949, 300 palm trees were planted around the city in an attempt to beautify Palm Springs
While the city has an interesting past, today, it’s also one of the best places to go if you’re considering weekend getaways from Las Vegas. This awesome city is like a little oasis in the middle of the desert, and best of all, it’s not even very far away from Vegas.
Distance From Las Vegas: 232 miles
Duration of the Journey From Las Vegas to Palm Springs: 4 hours
How to Get There: Drive yourself or catch a bus.
Most of all, it’s the perfect place for some time away from your day-to-day life, to spend a bit of time relaxing, as well as seeing some of the local attractions.
Things to do in Palm Springs
Regardless of your interests, you’re bound to have an awesome time during your visit to Palm Springs. Here are a few of the best things to do during your getaway from Las Vegas.
Check Out the Local Museums and Art Galleries
If you enjoy wandering around museums and learning about fascinating history of all sorts, then you’re sure to love Palm Springs’ local museums. With so many different options on offer, you’ll struggle to decide which ones to visit. Here are a few of the best museums:
Offering completely different types of exhibits, these three museums are well worth the visit. If you manage to see all three, you’ll leave the city with awesome knowledge of Palm Springs’ aviation, arts, and cultural history.
If you’re more of an artsy person, you’re in luck, because Palm Springs has an incredible range of galleries and alternative types of exhibits on offer. Here are just a few of them:
- Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center
- The Backstreet Art District
- Heusso Gallery
So if you have time and you’re keen to browse the local museums and art galleries, you certainly won’t be disappointed with any of the ones mentioned above!
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
If you’re an animal lover, the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens ought to be at the top of your list of things to do in Palm Springs. It is a non-profit zoo, home to over 500 animals, including 150 different species. If you’d like to make the best of your visit, set aside a good few hours to make your way through the zoo to see all the animals.
A few of the interesting animals you may see are the bobcat, Amur leopard, Greater kudu, bald eagle and so much more. In addition to the animals you’ll see while passing through, the zoo also offers additional experiences, including things like feeding the giraffe and having a “rhino encounter”.
Not only is the zoo home to a vast variety of beautiful animals, but it even has its very own botanical gardens, showing off the incredible flora and types of landscapes. The gardens specialize in exhibiting the different deserts of the world, making for a fun and educational experience. Clearly, this isn’t like any other zoo you’ve ever visited!
Do the Tahquitz Canyon Waterfall Hike
There are loads of cool things to do in Palm Springs – from relaxing at home around the pool or at a spa to galivanting in the city. But one of the best things to do while visiting the area is the Tahquitz Canyon Waterfall Hike.
It’s an easy walk, only a two-mile round trip, and you’ll be treated to some incredible views – sights you would never have thought possible in the middle of a desert. What awaits you is a majestic waterfall standing at 60 feet tall, a true oasis in the desert. The trail starts at the Palm Springs Visitors’ Center.
Note: The waterfall can be seasonal, meaning it may only run from February until April, but check with the visitors’ center before visiting.
Doing this beautiful hike is the best way to get a real feel for the Palm Springs natural desert environment. Best of all, you can stretch your legs, see a gorgeous waterfall, and say you’ve hiked in the desert, and it’s not even that difficult!
However, if you’re keen on doing a hike but don’t want to do it alone, you can opt to to do a guided hike that includes a meditation session in the Coachella Valley.
Where to Stay in Palm Springs
Since it welcomes many well-off visitors, both celebrities and other wealthy travelers, Palm Springs has a fair few high-end accommodation options. But luckily, there are also many budget hotels that won’t break the bank. Here are a few different choices.
Palm Canyon Resort
Palm Canyon Resort truly is the epitome of luxury. Offering things like swimming pools, a gym, basketball and volleyball courts, a restaurant and bar, and so much more, this resort will make you feel like royalty.
Infusion Beach Club
Conveniently centrally located, Infusion Beach Club is a far more cost-effective option, but it still offers you great facilities and comfort. Here, you’ll enjoy excellent vibes and loads of cool places to explore right on your doorstep.
Death Valley National Park
Its name may sound ominous, but Death Valley is an epic destination if you’re looking for places to go for a day trip from Las Vegas. Found in the northern Mojave Desert, Death Valley is the hottest place on earth during the summer. Yes, you heard correctly – the hottest place on earth! Indeed, in 1913, temperatures of 119 degrees Fahrenheit were recorded within the valley, the highest-ever ambient air temperature recorded on the surface of the earth.
But don’t let that scare you off – that’s during the summer. While it’s still warm during the rest of the year, the climate is far more manageable. And braving the heat is well worth the sweat because Death Valley has a lot to offer as a destination for weekend getaways.
Distance From Las Vegas: 130 miles
Duration of the Journey From Las Vegas to Death Valley: 2 hours
How to Get There: Drive – it’s so close!
Here are a few cool things to do during your weekend in Death Valley.
Things to do in Death Valley
Visiting Death Valley will prove that it’s far more than an arid desert. Not only does it boast some super interesting topographical and geological features, but there are also some really cool things to do.
Visit View Points and Appreciate the Natural Landscapes and Topography
Ranging from desolate desert terrain and towering canyons to wildflower-filled meadows and natural oases, it’s no question that Death Valley is full of incredible vistas. The best way to enjoy these views is from some of the designated viewpoints and natural attractions – and it really is worth making the effort to see them. Here are a few of the best:
- Dante’s View
- Badwater Basin
- Zabriskie Point
- The Devil’s Golf Course
- Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
…among many more! Try to pick a few of these to go check out, depending on how much time you have and how far you want to drive.
However, if you’d like to do a drive along a clearly defined route to take in the views, you should consider doing the Artists’ Drive. A nine-mile drive, the road runs from north to south and you’ll be able to take in the incredible views around you from the comfort of your air-conditioned vehicle.
Along the way, there are several spots where you can stop to take photographs, but one of the best is Artists’ Palette. You’ll be able to gaze out at colorful hills that have been painted in different pastel colors by natural means – that is, the naturally occurring oxidation of metals in the soil. It truly makes for an exquisite view – never mind the photographs!
We suggest this highly rated guided excursion where you will ride around in a minibus to some of the most spectacular highlights of Death Valley!
No Death Valley weekend getaway from Las Vegas would be complete without a visit to the famous Racetrack Playa. If you’re in the mood to witness something bizarre and unexplained, this is for you.
Racetrack Playa features a dry lakebed in the desert – but that’s not all. This lakebed is known for having large rocks dispersed over it that move seemingly as they please. They somehow glide across the surface, leaving trails behind them as they go, resulting in a truly remarkable phenomenon.
You’ll need to travel 27 miles to get there, but it certainly is worth it – in fact, the journey is part of the adventure! As long as you’re in an appropriate car (preferably a 4X4 with high clearance). Once you’re there, you’ll be able to check out this weird attraction and enjoy the peace, quiet, and solitude of the desert.
Enjoy One or a Few of Death Valley’s Hiking Trails
If you’re keen on exploring the natural landscape on foot, you should embark on one of the many incredible hiking trails on offer within Death Valley. Whether you’re a super fit and an experienced hiker or just a novice wanting to enjoy the scenery, there’ll be something appropriate for you.
Here are a few of the best hikes in Death Valley:
All offering something a little different, these hikes in Death Valley will allow you to really soak up the beauty of the desert and the valley’s extraordinary geology.
Where to Stay in Palm Springs
Death Valley has several lovely accommodation options on offer, ranging in price, style, and location. Here are two different options.
The Ranch at Death Valley
The epitome of elegance and class, the Ranch at Death Valley is an experience in itself. With absolutely everything you could possibly need at your fingertips, this accommodation option is well worth the money if you’re looking to splash out.
The Exchange Club Motel
It may be simple, but if you’re wanting to spend most of your weekend getaway exploring Death Valley, then the Exchange Club Motel is just what you’re looking for.
Final Thoughts on the Best Weekend Trips From Las Vegas
While Las Vegas is an awesome city, both for residents and visitors, there is so much to do nearby. From exploring some of the most incredible natural landscapes in the world to learning about local history and culture, there really is no shortage of things to do around Las Vegas.
So, what are you waiting for? Pick your poison and set out on one of these epic weekend trips from Las Vegas. You’re sure to make incredible memories and have the best getaway only a few hours away from Sin City.
Spring time offers a perfect climate as well as spring wildflowers in the valley. The peak months are March to April. If you want a unique way to experience Death Valley, check out the Dark Sky Festival usually in February to explore the vast night skies views like only Death Valley can offer!
Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge offers lighted piers for both day and night fishing. Skier’s Island has unmatched beauty with a wide array of fishes species. Toprock Gorge is a rocky cliff area of the lake that has a no-wake zone close that makes things calmer for the fish.
There sure are! Some top suggestions are Cimarrón Golf Resort, SilverRock Resort, Indian Canyons Golf Resort and Desert Willow Golf Resort.
Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Airbnb is the market leader but you’d be surprised how you can find cheaper deals on the lesser-known VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.