National Parks Near Las Vegas

Las Vegas may be best known for its casinos and nightlife but there’s also outdoor recreation nearby. From Red Rocks Canyon in Las Vegas to the many national parks near Las Vegas here are some of the best places to go to get out into nature.

While there are may things to do in Vegas with kids, sometimes it is good for your mental health just to get away. Are you looking to get away from the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, and out into nature? Make your plans for a road trip to one of these nearby national parks! There’s also a variety of state parks worth checking out.

Death Valley National Park is the closest national park to Las Vegas. Photo courtesy Canva.

Death Valley National Park

2 hours + 15 minutes (143 miles)

This national park is unique in that it lies below sea level. It is also the hottest and driest of all the U.S. national parks. Here you’ll find sand dunes, salt-flats, badlands, canyons, valleys and mountains. Zabriskie Point at sunrise is a must see sight. Natural springs brought first attracted people to this area in the 1920s.

Death Valley National Park boasts a dark sky designation from the International Dark Sky Association. However, our favorite facts about the park is that it was one of the filming locations for the setting of the planet Tatooine in Star Wars.

Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park. Photo courtesy Canva.

Zion National Park, Utah

2 hours + 40 minutes (160 miles)

Magical, majestic, stunning, breathtaking and amazing are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind to describe this national park. The rock sediments and formations, carved by the millions years of rushing water and rain, are fascinating. Fair warning, about 4 million people each year visit Zion, mostly during February through late November. It can be very crowded.

This park is something of a hiker’s paradise. You’ll want to check out Angels Landing, Observation Point and Emerald Pools.

Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo courtesy Canva.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

4 hours (260 miles)

Awe-insipring and breathtaking vistas. This national park is known for crimson-colored irregular columns of spire-shaped rock formations called hoodoos. These sandstone cliffs were craved over time by wind and water.

Bryce Canyon is actually a series of natural amphitheaters or bowls, carved into the edge of a high plateau. Be sure to hike Navajo Loop and Fairyland Loop. You can also access Sunset Point and some of the best views in the park without much of a hike.

Joshua Tree National Park. Photo courtesy Canva.

Joshua Tree National Park

3 hours + 5 minutes (185 miles)

This national park is the setting of a stark Mojave and Colorado Desert landscape dotted with bristled Joshua trees. There’s also an interesting history here with the first known people of the Pinto Culture living and hunting here between 8000 and 4000 BCE. White settlers later ranched and mined here. Visitors will enjoy hiking, camping, climbing and bird watching.

Insider Tip: Be sure to check out these deserts of California!

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

4 hours + 25 minutes (280 miles)

Does anything really need to be said about this national park, the best known national park in the United States? If you haven’t visited, it is surely on your bucket list. It was designated as a national park in 1919. Then UNESCO designated the Grand Canyon a World Heritage Site in 1979.

Here layered bands or red rock cut into an immense canyon by the Colorado river, delight more than 6 million people per year. With four different rims, and two visitor’s centers there are plenty of ways to get a bird’s eye view of the canyon. But there are just three ways to explore below the rims: hiking, mule and river trips.

You may want to spend the night in Grand Canyon Village, located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Great Basin National Park

4 hours 30 minutes (300 miles)

This national park offers groves of ancient bristlecone pines. It is also home to a Thirteener, a mountain over 13,000 feet tall, Wheeler Peak. Here you’ll want to make reservations to explore one of the 40 known caves, Lehman Annex Cave which is 7,300 feet tall. You can see Calcite and other minerals formed deposits along the walls, as well as stunning stalactites.

Here you may be able to catch a glimpse of Bighorn sheep as well as thousands of stars, and many planets. The park was designated as an International Dark Sky Park in 2016.

Other National Parks Near Las Vegas

If you are up for a drive over 6 hours you may want to add one or more of these national parks to your itinerary: Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Arches National Park,
Monument Valley And Four Corners or Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde is one of our family’s favorites with incredible history.

National Monuments and Reserves

And, don’t forget about nearby national monuments and reserves and state parks. A few that you may want to consider include Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Little Red Rock, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and Sequoia National Forest.

Have we left and of your favorite national parks near Las Vegas off of our list? Tell us below in the comments!

Beautiful National Parks in Other States

Colorado National Parks

Colorado also has some beautiful areas to outdoor recreate. Be sure to check out Colorado national parks!

Texas National Parks

I’ve always wanted to visit Big Bend National Park. Find out the scoop on this Texas National Park and others!

California National Parks

Be sure to add Sequoia National Park to your list of must-see national parks! Surrounded by towering red giants that have stood for more than 2,000 years, Sequoia National Park is truly a humbling and awe-inspiring place to visit.

South Dakota National Memorial

We would certainly be remiss if we didn’t mention Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Our friends over at Carful of Kids have an excellent guide to the Mt Rushmore area.

New Mexico National Monuments

New Mexico is home to two national parks and a lot of national monuments. Our favorite of these is Bandelier National Monument. It is well worth a visit while in the Santa Fe area.

National Parks Near Las Vegas

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

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