11 State & National Parks Near Las Vegas | Avis Rent a Car

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Las Vegas is known for its warm days all year round. The sunny days are not only great for taking a dip in the pool but also ideal for hiking, camping, and outdoor adventures. Get away from the busy streets and flashing lights to experience fresh air and nature. 

If you don’t consider Vegas a hotspot for national and state parks, think again! There are plenty of day trip destinations nearby. If you are looking for things to do in Vegas, Avis Car Rental is ready to help you get on the road with this list of outdoor adventures. 

1. Sloan Canyon 

In about 30 minutes, you can drive from the Las Vegas Strip to Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. Here you can hike black volcanic mountains featuring a gallery of ancient petroglyphs left by Native Americans. Look for the area’s natural wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, rabbits, foxes, quail, roadrunners, tortoises, and lizards. 

2. Seven Magic Mountains 

If you have Instagram, you’ve almost surely seen pictures of these brightly colored, stacked boulders located in the middle of a desert. Since these seven pillars stand only 35 minutes outside of the city, you have to make a trip to see Ugo Rondinone’s unique art installation. Don’t forget your camera!

3. Lake Mead 

Lake Mead is a go-to place for visitors and locals alike, found only a short 40 minutes away from the Strip. You can camp by the lake, hike by the Colorado River and canoe back, or just enjoy boats and water toys. If you want more of a beach experience, you can rent Jet Skis and play on the sandy shores. Stay safe by wearing life jackets during all your time on the water. 

4. Hoover Dam 

Located 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona border, Hoover Dam attracts more than a million visitors each year. Visit the site for yourself and learn the history of the structure and about those who built it in the 1930s. Peruse through the museum or choose a guided tour.

5. Red Rock Canyon 

Red Rock is appreciated by all, from experts in rock climbing to families with toddlers. You can experience a different side of Vegas at this hotspot located roughly 45 minutes from the Strip or around the corner from downtown Summerlin. During your visit, take advantage of photo opportunities, biking trails, picnic areas, walking trails, rock climbing, and more. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen, water, hats, and other necessities. 

6. Mt. Charleston 

Say goodbye to the sandy desert when traveling to Mt. Charleston. In under an hour, you can leave the bright lights behind and reach the mountains, where camping, skiing, sledding, hiking, biking, horseback riding, picnicking, and more await. Mt. Charleston offers trails for hikers of all skill levels. 

One popular hike is Mary Jane Falls, which ends at a waterfall. Although it is a shaded hike, wear good shoes, bring a hat for extra protection, and stock your pack with water and snacks. 

7. Valley of Fire State Park 

Here you can enjoy a plethora of easy and moderately difficult hikes. Valley of Fire is known for its beautiful rock formations, formed out of red and white sandstone. The splendid vistas at the park more than make up for the 60-minute drive from Las Vegas. Before driving out, consider renting a four-wheel drive vehicle, like an SUV or pickup truck, to combat the sandy roads and trails.

8. Death Valley National Park 

Located 2 hours from Las Vegas, Death Valley is famous for its beautiful views and varying terrain. You can explore the salt flats, one of the lowest points of elevation in North America or climb the sandy hills of one of the many dunes in the area. If you want to stay awhile, pick out a first-come, first-served campsite—the National Park Service says they rarely fill up. 

During the day, choose from hikes like Dante’s View or the Natural Bridge. If hiking isn’t for you, you can see the multi-colored rocks at the Artist Palette. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to pack a lot of water.

9. Zion National Park

Rent a car and drive 3 hours from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, an awesome day trip and a must-see destination. Zion is famous for its diverse hiking trails and spectacular views. Ride the free shuttle and learn about the history of the area, or if a certain stop piques your interest, hop off and go exploring! Some hikes have water running through the trails or springs that you can swim in.

10. Grand Canyon National Park 

Take a road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon in a minivan or SUV rental and your entire crew can make the 3-hour trip together to a bucket-list destination. Here you can camp, river raft, hike, backpack, cycle, go on a helicopter tour, ride donkeys, visit a museum, picnic, ride a train, and walk across the skywalk. You could spend a week here and still find new places to explore and hike. If you prefer to travel with a guide, there are a variety of tour packages available.

11. Great Basin National Park 

If you prefer trees and greenery to red rocks, drive north for 4 and a half hours to reach Great Basin National Park. The Great Basin offers lakes, limestone caves, mountains, and even the only glacier in Nevada. With a larger car rental, you can pack for backcountry skiing or a summer picnic, depending on the time of year. If you plan on fishing, make sure to bring a permit with you (you can’t buy one at the park). Enjoy the beauty of a national park without the crowd.

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