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Cheap weekend trips from Las Vegas

Discover affordable escapes just a stone's throw away from Las Vegas, perfect for any weekend adventurer looking to explore without breaking the bank.

February 14, 2024
 min read
Last updated:
Feb 20
A view of the Las Vegas skyline at night.
Las Vegas, a city that never sleeps, is surrounded by an array of hidden gems and breathtaking landscapes, all within a short drive. Whether you're a nature lover, history buff, or simply in need of a change of scenery, there's a budget-friendly weekend getaway waiting for you. Let's dive into some of the best spots for a memorable adventure that won't leave your wallet empty.

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Just an hour's drive from the glittering Las Vegas Strip, Valley of Fire State Park offers a stunning contrast with its fiery red sandstone formations that seem to blaze under the sun. This park, Nevada's oldest and largest state park, spans over 40,000 acres and is a haven for hikers, photographers, and anyone in awe of nature's magnificence. Explore ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks by Ancestral Puebloans, hike through trails that wind around formations like the White Domes and Elephant Rock, or simply enjoy a peaceful picnic amidst the vibrant landscape. The park's raw, natural beauty provides a perfect backdrop for a day of adventure or relaxation, making it an accessible escape from the city's hustle.

Death Valley National Park, California

Embarking on a journey to Death Valley National Park transports you to another world. Despite its foreboding name, this park is filled with extraordinary sights, from the mesmerizing Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, to the colorful palette of Artist's Drive. This land of extremes, just a few hours from Las Vegas, is not only the hottest but also one of the most photogenic places on Earth. Spring visits often reveal a rare and beautiful phenomenon: wildflowers blooming across the desert floor, a stark contrast to the usual arid landscape. With careful planning to beat the heat, visitors can explore salt flats, sand dunes, and historic sites like Scotty's Castle, making Death Valley a must-visit for those seeking both beauty and adventure.

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, a sanctuary of massive sandstone cliffs soaring into the clear blue sky, is a testament to nature's artistry. A few hours' drive will bring you to this Utah treasure, where the Virgin River has carved a spectacular gorge over millions of years. Hiking enthusiasts will find bliss in trails that range from the easy Riverside Walk to the strenuous trek up Angels Landing, offering panoramic views that are truly unmatched. For a more serene experience, the Emerald Pools provide a peaceful retreat with waterfalls and lush vegetation. Zion's natural beauty and diverse landscapes make it an ideal destination for those looking to immerse themselves in nature and challenge their limits, all within a weekend's journey from Las Vegas.

Hoover Dam, Nevada

A marvel of modern engineering, the Hoover Dam stands as a monument to human ambition and determination. Situated just a short drive from Las Vegas, it offers more than just a historical perspective; it presents breathtaking views over Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States by volume when full. Visitors can explore the dam through guided tours that delve into the engineering marvel's history, construction, and impact on the American Southwest. The surrounding area also provides opportunities for photography, hiking, and observing the diverse wildlife that calls this region home. Whether you're marveling at the dam from the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge or exploring the exhibits within the visitor center, the Hoover Dam experience combines educational enrichment with awe-inspiring sights, making it a must-visit for those interested in the intersection of nature, technology, and history.

Grand Canyon West, Arizona

While the Grand Canyon National Park is renowned worldwide, Grand Canyon West, located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, offers a unique perspective with the Skywalk—a glass bridge that extends 70 feet over the canyon rim, providing heart-stopping views of the canyon floor 4,000 feet below. This attraction, closer to Las Vegas than the national park's South Rim, allows for a thrilling day trip where visitors can also enjoy helicopter tours, river rafting, and exploring Native American culture. The area's breathtaking landscapes serve as a reminder of nature's grandeur and are sure to inspire awe and wonder. Grand Canyon West is a testament to the beauty and majesty of the American Southwest, offering an unforgettable experience that is both accessible and awe-inspiring.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park, where two distinct desert ecosystems—the Mojave and the Colorado—meet, offers an otherworldly landscape that feels like stepping onto another planet. The park is named after its twisted, bristled Joshua trees, and it captivates visitors with its stunning rock formations, serene desert vistas, and star-filled night skies. It's a paradise for climbers, hikers, and nature lovers, with trails leading through cactus-strewn landscapes and hidden oases. Whether you're exploring the Cholla Cactus Garden, marveling at the views from Keys View, or stargazing in one of the darkest night skies in Southern California, Joshua Tree provides a peaceful yet adventurous escape from the bustling city life, making it a perfect weekend destination for those looking to reconnect with nature.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers a refreshing oasis in the desert, with its vast waters perfect for boating, swimming, and fishing. Surrounding the lake, dramatic landscapes provide endless opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Just a short drive from Las Vegas, Lake Mead is not only a place for water enthusiasts but also for those seeking solace in nature. The area's rich biodiversity, historical sites, and stunning vistas of the lake against the backdrop of rugged desert mountains make it a versatile destination. Whether you're cruising on the lake at sunset, picnicking along its shores, or exploring the remnants of submerged towns by scuba diving, Lake Mead offers a multitude of experiences that are both invigorating and relaxing.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada

Red Rock Canyon, with its towering red sandstone peaks and keystone thrust fault, is a sanctuary of natural beauty located just a short drive from the Las Vegas Strip. This conservation area offers more than 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities, and a scenic drive that showcases the Mojave Desert's unique flora and fauna. Each trail offers its own unique perspective of the canyon, from the Calico Tanks trail that ends with a stunning view of Las Vegas to the Ice Box Canyon trail, which provides a cooler hike with seasonal waterfalls. For those seeking a less strenuous experience, the 13-mile scenic drive offers numerous viewpoints and picnic areas. Red Rock Canyon is not just a destination; it's an escape to a world of natural beauty and tranquility, a place where the hustle of the city fades into the background, leaving only the awe-inspiring beauty of the desert.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its otherworldly hoodoos, offers a landscape so unique it's hard to believe it's on this planet. The park's natural amphitheaters are filled with red, orange, and white spires that light up at sunrise and sunset, offering a view that's nothing short of magical. Hiking trails like the Navajo Loop and Fairyland Loop take visitors on a journey through these stunning rock formations, providing a close-up look at the intricate patterns and colors of the hoodoos. For those looking for a less physical adventure, the park offers horseback riding tours and a scenic drive with multiple overlooks that offer breathtaking vistas of the entire park. With its clear, dark skies, Bryce Canyon is also an unparalleled destination for stargazing, making it a perfect spot for those who seek not only the beauty of the earth but also the wonders of the night sky. The park's elevation and clean air contribute to some of the most spectacular celestial viewing opportunities in North America, providing a profound reminder of our place in the universe.

Laughlin, Nevada

Laughlin is a unique blend of natural beauty and casino entertainment, offering a laid-back alternative to the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. Situated along the Colorado River, this small town provides a variety of outdoor activities, such as boating, fishing, and hiking, alongside the excitement of its casinos and live entertainment. Laughlin's riverside location offers a tranquil setting for water sports or a leisurely cruise, while its riverwalk presents a picturesque path for evening strolls. The town also serves as a gateway to the surrounding desert, with nearby attractions including the historic ghost town of Oatman, Arizona, where wild burros roam the streets. Laughlin is the perfect destination for those looking to enjoy the excitement of Nevada's gaming and nightlife in a more relaxed and scenic environment. Embarking on a weekend getaway from Las Vegas doesn't have to mean spending a fortune. With so many nearby destinations offering a wealth of natural beauty and unique attractions, there's never been a better time to explore the wonders just beyond the city limits. Each of these locations promises an enriching experience, proving that you don't need to travel far or spend much to find adventure and rejuvenation. So pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the incredible sights and experiences waiting just a short distance from the neon heart of Las Vegas.
*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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