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15 Things to Do OUTSIDE Las Vegas – Best Attractions Near Vegas

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The number of things to do near Las Vegas is so vast that we knew we had to write a guide about it. While there are lots of things to do in Las Vegas, when you venture off the Strip, you can find even more cool attractions.

This city is a popular stop on a West Coast road trip, so you might want to rent a car in Las Vegas or read our guide to renting an RV in the US. Of course, if you don’t want to drive, there are lots of great day trips from Las Vegas that you can take advantage of.

That said, if you want to get off the beaten path and explore some of the best places to visit in Las Vegas off the Strip, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re traveling alone, with kids, or as a couple, you’ll find all kinds of things to do near Vegas and the surrounding areas.

From day trips to the nearby natural areas to unique attractions just outside of Sin City, you’ll find lots of cool places to visit near Las Vegas by car. Keep reading to see how you can make the most of your time in Las Vegas, Nevada!

1. Red Rock Canyon, a beautiful place to visit near Las Vegas

Without a doubt, Red Rock Canyon is one of the best places to visit in Las Vegas off the Strip. When you’re tired of the noisy casinos and crowded attractions, nothing beats some quiet time in nature!

A visit to this natural area is a great outdoorsy thing to do in Las Vegas to appreciate the beauty of the desert. As the name suggests, the region is comprised of reddish rock walls and peaks. This makes it an awesome hiking and climbing spot, so if you’d like to explore, I recommend the Turtlehead Peak Trail, which is about 4.5 miles long but quite difficult.

Red Rock Canyon, thing to do in Las Vegas off the Strip

1. Red Rock Canyon, a beautiful place to visit near Las Vegas

You could also take the Calico Tanks Trail if you want something a bit easier but still just as scenic, or the 5-mile Ash Creek to Calico Tanks Route.

If you’re not a hiker, don’t let that stop you from seeing this beautiful off-the-Strip attraction near Las Vegas. This canyon tour is a good alternative and takes you to the most impressive parts of Red Rock, such as the Wilson Cliffs.

2. Visit Grand Canyon, the best thing to do outside Las Vegas

The Grand Canyon is just a few hours from Sin City by car, so visiting it is one of the top things to do near Las Vegas. It’s such a popular place that we have a separate guide full of tips for visiting the Grand Canyon in a day.

Grand Canyon, things to do outside of las vegas

2. Visit the Grand Canyon, the best thing to do outside Las Vegas

While you could spend more time there, if you only have a day, you could take a Grand Canyon helicopter tour to experience the immense beauty of this place. It’s one of the best family things to do in Las Vegas off the Strip, too. A birds-eye view of the canyon and massive rock formations makes for an unforgettable trip.

If you’re renting a vehicle, then the Grand Canyon is a place you must visit near Las Vegas by car. However, if you don’t want to drive, there are lots of Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas. If you’re traveling on a budget, the West Rim bus tour from Las Vegas is a good choice, but you can check our guide for all the top options.

3. Hoover Dam & Lake Mead, two must-sees in Las Vegas off the Strip

The Hoover Dam makes for another cool road trip from Las Vegas. Plus, if you’re traveling with kids, it’s a great family thing to do in Las Vegas off the Strip. What better way to get away from the hustle and bustle than to see this modern marvel up close?

Hoover Dam & Lake Mead, best place to visit in Las Vegas off the Strip

3. Hoover Dam & Lake Mead, two must-sees in Las Vegas off the Strip

The Dam created the largest reservoir in the country, Lake Mead, which you can visit on this day tour. Moreover, the Hoover Dam is included in the Go Las Vegas All-Inclusive Pass, too.

If you’re looking for things to do outside Las Vegas for the day, the Hoover Dam is only about 45 minutes from the city. That said, you can combine the dam with the Grand Canyon on this full-day tour, which includes transportation.

4. Springs Preserve, a little-known attraction in Las Vegas off the Strip

Sometimes, it can be challenging to find appropriate things for kids to do in Las Vegas, and this is where the Springs Preserve comes in. It has 180 acres of sustainable gardens and trails, as well as museums and galleries about the evolution of Las Vegas and the surrounding desert.

Las Vegas Springs Preserve, a natural place to go near Las Vegas

The Springs Preserve is the perfect thing to do in the Las Vegas area because it’s not far from the casinos and hotels. At the same time, it’s a lovely natural place with plenty of entertaining exhibits. If you’re looking for outdoor things to do in Las Vegas, but you’re worried about how young kids will hold up, check this place out!

It’s also worth noting that the Springs Preserve is included in the Go Las Vegas All-Inclusive Pass if you want to take advantage of that.

5. Death Valley, the best place to visit outside Las Vegas

As we mention in our guide to visiting Death Valley, we run photography workshops in this national park every year. Death Valley is just a couple of hours from Sin City, so it’s an incredible place to visit near Las Vegas by car.

Death Valley, things to do in Las Vegas not on the Strip

5. Death Valley, the best place to visit outside Las Vegas

The national park is in the Mojave Desert in California, and if you don’t want to drive there, I recommend this full-day tour. As one of the hottest places on earth, Death Valley is a popular attraction near Las Vegas off the Strip. However, temperatures here can reach 135ºF, so be sure to stay near the main areas. This is another reason why having a tour guide is a good idea!

The lowest point of Death Valley is the Badwater Basin, which is over 280 feet below sea level. It’s also one of the biggest salt flats in the world, so I consider visiting it to be one of the coolest things to do outside Las Vegas.

6. Antelope Canyon, one of the most popular attractions near Las Vegas

One of the best places to visit in Las Vegas off the Strip is Antelope Canyon. Located in Arizona, about 4.5 hours from the city, we think it’s one of the most special places to visit near Las Vegas. We loved it so much that we wrote all about our experience visiting Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon, fun things to do outside Las Vegas off the Strip

6. Antelope Canyon, one of the most popular attractions near Las Vegas

Antelope Canyon is a photographer’s dream, which is part of why we prioritized it to take a road trip from Las Vegas. The play of light on the geological formations and spiral arches is something you must see.

That said, the reserve is on Navajo land and you can only visit if you hire a guide. I recommend this tour, which also includes a trip to nearby Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe-shaped meander with an imposing view. We wrote about visiting Horseshoe Bend, and we thought this was an excellent outdoor thing to do while in Las Vegas.

7. Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, the best of Las Vegas’ surrounding areas

The Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is another cool place to visit near Las Vegas by car. This historical area is full of ancient petroglyphs, including over 300 rock art panels. They’re a must-see in Las Vegas off the Strip.

Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, best thing to do in Las Vegas and surrounding areas

7. Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, the best of Las Vegas’ surrounding areas

As you make your way through this natural space, you can see remnants of the Archaic civilization of the Nevada desert. Not only is it a free thing to do in Las Vegas off the Strip, but it’s quite enlightening to look at the petroglyphs and try to decipher what they mean.

Hiking in Sloan Canyon is a great thing to do outside Las Vegas when you get tired of the crowds. While access is restricted, there are a few trails you can check out. I recommend the Sloan Canyon and Sloan Cyn Anthem Trails, as well as the Petroglyphs Trail and Sloan Quarry Loop.

8. Valley of Fire State Park, another cool attraction off the Las Vegas Strip

The Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest state park in Nevada and one of the top outdoor things to do in Las Vegas. The area is perfect for camping and hiking, and the views will leave you breathless.

Exploring the park is a great thing to do outside Las Vegas if you’d like to spend more time in nature and enjoy some peace and quiet. While you’re hiking, keep an eye out for reptiles, foxes, and other small mammals, as well as the gorgeous landscape.

Valley of Fire State Park, outdoor things to do in Las Vegas

8. Valley of Fire State Park, another cool attraction off the Las Vegas Strip

The park gets its name from the stunning Aztec sandstone, which creates red formations millions of years in the making. If you go at the right time, the sun glints off the rocks and makes them look like they’ve been set ablaze.

To get the best experience at the Valley of Fire, I recommend this hiking tour with hotel pick-up. You can choose a hiking trail to suit your fitness level, and you’ll see ancient petroglyphs, climb rock scrambles, and take in the immense desert scenery.

We didn’t visit during our first time in Las Vegas, but it is now one of my favorite things to do in Las Vegas off the Strip and I can’t wait to come back and spend some more time there.

9. Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, a great place around Vegas

Sin City may be known for its nightlife, but there are lots of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, like visiting Tule Springs. This national monument is a must-see off the Strip in Las Vegas, so if you have some spare time, I highly recommend it.

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, things to do around las vegas

9. Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, a great place around Vegas

The Tule Springs Fossil Beds were declared a national monument in 2014 to protect and preserve its paleontological remains of the Ice Age. Here, you can see the fossil remains of mammoths, lions, camels, horses, bison, wolves, and other ancient species. It’s a stunning place to visit off the Strip in Las Vegas with family.

While you’re there, be sure to visit the nearby Floyd Lamb Park, which is just a mile from the Strip. It’s one of the quietest places to visit near Las Vegas and makes for a great picnic or relaxation spot. There, you can explore the walking trails and the Tule Springs Ranch, where you can learn about life in this area before Las Vegas was established.

10. See the Seven Magic Mountains, a free thing to do in Las Vegas off the Strip

Just 30 minutes from downtown, Seven Magic Mountains is a cool attraction in Las Vegas that’s off the Strip. It was created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone and is comprised of seven colorful totem poles in the Mojave Desert.

Seven Magic Mountains, best attractions outside las vegas

10. See the Seven Magic Mountains, a free thing to do in Las Vegas off the Strip

Seven Magic Mountains is an antithesis to the artist’s other project, Human Nature, which features natural materials in a manmade environment. The totem poles range in height from 30 to 35 feet and weigh between 10 and 25 tons individually. They’re a must-see in Las Vegas off the Strip, particularly for the unique juxtaposition of human intervention and natural space.

If you have time for more things to do around Las Vegas, I recommend this tour, which combines Seven Magic Mountains with Red Rock Canyon. Of course, if you prefer keeping things simple, the art installation by itself is a wonderful free thing to do in Las Vegas off the strip.

11. Area 51 tour, an unusual thing to do near Las Vegas

For something fun to do off the Strip in Las Vegas, consider an Area 51 tour. Just a few minutes from the hustle and bustle, you can see some of the creepiest and mysterious sights in the desert.

The area is full of secret spots associated with extraterrestrial activity, but to see them, you need to book an excursion. I recommend this full-day tour, which takes you to the Area 51 airbase at Groom Lake, the Little A’le’ Inn, the Black Mailbox, and other UFO-related places to visit near Las Vegas.

Area 51 tour, things to do outside Las Vegas off the Strip

11. Area 51 tour, an unusual thing to do near Las Vegas

Your journey begins at the Janet Airlines hangars, which is believed to be the place where workers were secretly transported to Area 51. Along the way, you’ll learn about the secret military base at Area 51 and several unsolved alien stories and theories. They say that Area 51 is the site of extraterrestrial autopsies and highly advanced research and technology, so it’s an interesting place to go.

Whether you believe in aliens or not, this tour is fascinating and one of the most entertaining attractions in Las Vegas off the Strip.

12. Clark County Wetlands Park, a family place to visit in Las Vegas & its surroundings

Another soothing thing to do in Las Vegas and its surrounding areas is to walk around Clark County Wetlands Park. The entire park is environmentally sustainable, with an educational nature center and several miles of walking trails.

Clark County Wetlands Park, place to visit in Las Vegas off the Strip

12. Clark County Wetlands Park, a family place to visit in Las Vegas & its surroundings

Not only is a visit to the park a relaxing thing to do around Las Vegas, but it’s totally free. I recommend taking the Nature Preserve Trail for the spectacular views and some quiet time away from the busy Strip. There are rest areas where you can take a breather or enjoy a picnic.

While you’re traveling along the trail, keep an eye out for jackrabbits, ducks, herons, and other desert critters.

13. Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs, a romantic thing to do outside Las Vegas

For a romantic thing to do in Las Vegas off the Strip, take your partner to the Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs. They’re right outside historic Boulder City, about 40 minutes outside Las Vegas. This is the perfect thing to do outside Las Vegas if you’re an outdoorsy couple like us!

The Goldstrike Hot Springs Trailhead is about a half-mile from the parking lot off Highway 93. You can either hike/scramble to the springs, or kayak along the Colorado River through the Black Canyon. Both are scenic trips, and the effort is worth it, as this is a beautiful place to visit near Las Vegas.

Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs, must see in Las Vegas off the Strip

13. Goldstrike Canyon Hot Springs, a romantic thing to do outside Las Vegas

While the trail is about 2 miles each way, you will have to descend a series of rope climbs to get into the canyon. Also, due to extreme temperatures, the area is closed between May and September.

That said, if you go at the right time and you’re up for the physical effort, you’ll find hot springs, grottos, and waterfalls. I think this is a fun thing to do in Las Vegas as a couple, as you can spend some alone time together surrounded by the pristine geothermal environment.

14. Nevada Southern Railroad Museum, another family thing to do off the Las Vegas Strip

A visit to the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum is a nice family thing to do off the Las Vegas Strip. Located in Boulder City, on the tracks that were built to make the Hoover Dam, the museum is an interesting place for kids and adults.

Nevada Southern Railroad Museum, things to do near Las Vegas and surrounding areas

14. Nevada Southern Railroad Museum, another family thing to do off the Las Vegas Strip

Here, you can hop aboard a train and travel along the heritage railroad while learning about the history and construction of the Hoover Dam. Inside the museum, take a look at dozens of locomotives, or even try your hand at being a train engineer.

The museum is a great place for kids and will give them something fun to do in Las Vegas off the Strip.

15. Zion & Bryce Canyon, the best places to visit near Las Vegas

Without hesitating, I would say that Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon are two of the top places to visit near Las Vegas. You can check out our guides on visiting Zion National Park and visiting Bryce Canyon for the best tips to plan your trip to these two national parks.

First, Zion National Park is a few hours northeast of Sin City, and it’s one of my favorite outdoor things to do near Las Vegas. The hiking trails will take you to some of the most spectacular lookouts in the country, like Angels Landing or the Narrows.

Zion & Bryce Canyon, best place to visit outside las vegas

15. Zion & Bryce Canyon, the best places to visit near Las Vegas

Zion is pretty close to Bryce Canyon, one of the best places to visit off the Las Vegas Strip. This region is full of hoodoos, or unique rock formations that you can’t find anywhere else. Plus, numerous hiking trails can take you to some of the most popular geological structures, like Thor’s Hammer or Queen Victoria.

Since these are two vast areas, if you have little time I recommend taking a guided tour like this one, which includes transportation from Las Vegas and the entrance and guide for these two national parks.

Now you have all the information you need to explore on your own and check out the best things to do near Las Vegas. I hope this guide helped you realize that, even there are many things to do in Las Vegas Strip, there is more to Sin City than gambling and expensive hotels.

If you have any questions about things to do in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you. Thanks for reading, and happy trails!

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COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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