City guides

Kid-friendly weekend trips from Las Vegas

Discover the ultimate escapes near Las Vegas that promise unforgettable adventures for the whole family.

February 15, 2024
 min read
Last updated:
Feb 20
A view of the Las Vegas skyline at night.

Las Vegas is a city of dazzling lights and endless entertainment, not just for the adults, but for little adventurers too. Beyond the neon glow, a world of kid-friendly weekend trips awaits, ready to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. From the thrills of nature to the wonders of learning in a fun way, these destinations are sure to spark the imagination of young and old alike. Let's dive into the top escapes that will make your family weekends something to look forward to.

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon offers a stunning natural playground. With its scenic drive, numerous hiking trails, and picnic areas, it's the perfect spot for families looking to explore the great outdoors. The visitor center, packed with educational exhibits, gives kids a fascinating insight into the area's wildlife and geology. Beyond the trails, the Calico Tanks hike leads to a natural water reservoir, offering breathtaking views of the Las Vegas Valley, making it a rewarding experience for those who undertake the adventure.

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Exploring the Valley of Fire is like stepping onto another planet. Famous for its vibrant red sandstone formations, this state park provides ample opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and even spotting ancient petroglyphs. It’s an outdoor classroom where every path leads to a new discovery about the Earth’s ancient past. The park's visitor center showcases exhibits on the geology, ecology, and history of the park, enriching the experience. Children will be mesmerized by the stories behind the Atlatl Rock petroglyphs, imagining the ancient peoples who once inhabited the land.

Boulder City, Nevada

A trip to Boulder City feels like a gentle step back in time. This charming town not only offers access to the engineering marvel of the Hoover Dam but also invites families to enjoy its quaint streets, unique shops, and the Nevada Southern Railway Museum, where train rides bring history to life. The museum provides a hands-on learning experience about the railway's role in developing the West. Families can hop aboard a vintage train, experiencing the joy of travel from a bygone era, and even participate in special themed rides throughout the year.

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Nevada

Nestled in the Red Rock Canyon area, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is a haven of tranquility. The park's historical ranch house, picnic spots, and walking trails provide a serene escape from the city. Seasonal programs, including living history events and outdoor plays, add a touch of enchantment to every visit. The park's past as a luxury retreat for celebrities and business magnates adds a layer of intrigue, while its current role as a site for environmental education and conservation offers valuable lessons for all ages.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

For families who love water sports, Lake Mead offers endless fun with its boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities. The vast landscapes surrounding the lake are perfect for hiking and wildlife spotting, making it a great place to introduce kids to the joys of outdoor activities in a spectacular setting. The Alan Bible Visitor Center provides interactive displays and educational programs about the area's natural history, conservation efforts, and the construction of the Hoover Dam, offering a comprehensive look at this man-made wonder and its impact on the region.

Mount Charleston, Nevada

Escape the desert heat and head to Mount Charleston for a refreshing change of scenery. With hiking trails, horseback riding, and even snow play in the winter, it's a year-round destination for families seeking adventure in nature. The cool mountain air and towering pine trees provide a peaceful retreat. The Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway offers educational exhibits on the area's ecological and cultural history, and the numerous picnic areas and campgrounds make it an ideal location for a family weekend getaway, where the stars seem just a touch brighter.

Death Valley National Park, California

Don’t let the name fool you; Death Valley is full of life and beauty. It’s the hottest, driest, and lowest national park, offering unique landscapes like the salt flats at Badwater Basin and the colorful hills of Artists Palette. Educational programs make it easy for kids to learn about this extreme environment in a fun way. The Furnace Creek Visitor Center is a treasure trove of information, with interactive exhibits that explain the park's geology, climate, and history. Families can venture on guided tours to explore the mesmerizing natural phenomena, such as the mysterious sailing stones and the ancient Ubehebe Crater, providing a hands-on learning experience that is as thrilling as it is educational.

Zion National Park, Utah

A bit further afield, Zion National Park astonishes with its majestic cliffs, river walks, and lush valleys. The park’s shuttle system makes it convenient to explore, and ranger-led activities provide engaging ways for kids to discover the natural world. The Junior Ranger Program is particularly popular, offering children the chance to learn about the park's wildlife, geology, and history, while earning a badge. Hiking the Riverside Walk or wading in the Virgin River offers a refreshing respite from the desert heat, and the Emerald Pools trail leads to stunning waterfalls and verdant hanging gardens, making Zion a magical place for family exploration.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon is a bucket-list destination for a reason. Whether you choose to explore the South Rim or take part in a guided tour, the views and educational opportunities are unparalleled. It's a place that reminds us all of the Earth's incredible history and beauty. The park offers a variety of family-friendly activities, such as the Junior Ranger program, which educates children about the canyon's formation, wildlife, and conservation efforts. Hiking along the rim trails or taking a mule trip into the canyon provides breathtaking perspectives of the vast landscape. The Grand Canyon Visitor Center presents engaging exhibits and a theater showing informative films, enriching the visitor experience with insights into the geological and cultural history of this iconic landmark.

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

For an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Great Basin National Park offers star-filled skies, ancient bristlecone pine trees, and the mystic beauty of Lehman Caves. It’s a spot where families can hike, stargaze, and explore nature’s wonders without the crowds, making it a memorable journey into the wild. The park's diverse ecosystems, from desert to mountain environments, provide a unique opportunity for educational exploration. Guided tours of Lehman Caves bring to life the underground world of stalactites and stalagmites, while the park's Astronomy Programs offer a glimpse into the universe's vastness, making science and nature tangible and thrilling for curious minds.

These destinations around Las Vegas prove that adventure is never far away. Each offers its unique blend of fun, learning, and natural beauty, ensuring that every weekend can be an opportunity to create lasting memories. So pack your bags, gather the family, and set off on an adventure that will enrich, entertain, and inspire. Whether it's marveling at natural wonders, stepping back in time, or just enjoying a picnic under the open sky, these trips promise joy for the journey and beyond.


*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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