Three Fun Day Trips from Las Vegas

I love Vegas as much as the next person (probably more than the next person, if we’re being honest), but even I can’t handle more than about three consecutive days on the Strip. It’s rare that I’ve visited Vegas without hopping in the car and heading elsewhere for at least a day trip. Fortunately, there’s a lot of fun stuff to do nearby that will give you a break from the intensity of the Strip. Here are three of my favorites:

1. Valley of Fire State Park

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This incredible State Park is the best one I’ve visited in any state; it’s absolutely National Park caliber. It’s still a little under-the-radar but is becoming more popular as more people find out about it. The red rocks here are simply breathtaking against the stark desert landscape. There are specific attractions to see within the park, like the stunning Arch Rock…

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…Elephant Rock…

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…ancient petroglyphs…

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….and crevices to hide in (ok, that one might not be on the official list of attractions).

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But I think you’ll also found you’re blown away by the scenery just driving the main loop road around the park. I could look at landscapes like these forever.

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2. Death Valley National Park

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Even though this park is in the state of California, it’s closer to Las Vegas than to LA or any other major California city. It’s only about a two hour drive from Vegas, and although a day certainly isn’t enough to see this vast and diverse park in great depth, it will give you time to hit the highlights and still be back on the Strip in time for a nice dinner.

Don’t miss: Zabriskie Point (supposed to be especially stunning at sunset and sunrise)…

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…Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette, so named because of all the colorful rocks featured there…

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…and Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, at 282 feet below sea level.

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3. The Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

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Pull a Clark Griswold and take your family on a tour of the Hoover Dam as part of your Vegas Vacation…just make sure you keep your hands to yourself on the tour. Speaking of tours, there are different options here, from just walking around the exterior (free) to a $10 visitor center, to a $30 guided tour of the power plant and dam. I don’t think the Hoover Dam is somewhere you can spend a whole day or even close to it (unless you really love power plants), but it’s also not that far from the city – about 45 minutes – and can easily be combined with other sightseeing.

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Happy road-trippin’!

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