What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, they say. But there’s no reason to stay in Las Vegas when so many incredible natural wonders are within a day’s drive.
First head to Springs Preserve for a whirlwind primer on area history, geology and critters. A hidden gem, this 180-acre nature preserve features indoor interactive exhibits on living sustainably in the desert, the humble beginnings of Sin City and the habits of its ancient and modern inhabitants.
From there, explore the crazy rock formations of Valley of Fire State Park, the inner workings of Hoover Dam and the water scene on Lake Mead.
Then, head south to the Hualapai Reservation in Arizona to raft through the western end of the Grand Canyon. Dry off and take Historic Route 66 toward the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
Check out highlights below of this fantastic trip that takes you far beyond Sin City’s gleaming lights.
Tip: Every year Nevada goes to Daylight Savings time, but Arizona does not. Remember this one-hour difference as you travel between the two states.
Before You Go
Download the Gypsy Guide App
Enjoy the freedom of driving your own car while traveling with an entertaining guide that doesn’t take up space. Learn more at gypsyguide.com/tour/las-vegas/ and gypsyguide.com/tour/grand-canyon-south-rim/
Rent an RV with Outdoorsy
Do this road trip in an RV to stay close to nature. Learn more at www.outdoorsy.com/rv-rental/arizona/grand-canyon-national-park
Start: Las Vegas
Fly Over Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon with Maverick Helicopters
Take an amazing Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas and complete your sightseeing adventure with a sunset view of the Las Vegas Strip. Learn more at www.maverickhelicopter.com
Springs Preserve Botanical Gardens
A few miles away from downtown Las Vegas is a 180-acre utopia that features museums, art galleries, animal exhibits, live show, and botanical gardens.
3 Nevada Road Trip Stops Leaving Las Vegas
While Las Vegas offers plenty of entertainment, get in touch with your wilder side at these three unique spots near the city on your way to the Grand Canyon: Valley of Fire State Park, Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead.
Grand Canyon West Skywalk Glass Bridge and Rafting
Quick Facts: South Rim vs. Grand Canyon West
What’s the difference? A lot. To start, they are on opposite ends of the canyon and 4 hours apart.
Everything to Know about the Grand Canyon Skywalk Glass Bridge
Towering 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon is the $30-million Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass walkway. Read more.
Top 2 Grand Canyon West Viewpoints
Outside of the Grand Canyon National Park on the Hualapai Indian Reservation lies Eagle Point, and Guano Point near the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Grand Canyon West Rafting Trip Ends with Helicopter Ride
Join Hualapai River Runners for an unforgettable day rafting through the western end of the Grand Canyon and taking a helicopter to its rim.
The Hualapai Bird Singer
Hualapai elders will tell you that you don’t just find bird songs. They find you. Then one night, Luka Montana had a dream of singing.
The King of Route 66 – Kingman, Ariz.
At the “king” of Route 66, see heartbreaking photos and life-sized depictions of the Dust Bowl refugees at the museum, then eat and sleep in iconic Mother-Road spots.
Bears, Brew and Trains in Williams, Ariz.
Historic downtown Williams with its vintage Route 66 businesses is one of the Grand Canyon area’s best-kept secrets. A wildlife park, scenic train ride, a thrilling zipline adventure above Route 66, and a peaceful mountain retreat are waiting for you.
Bearizona Drive-thru Wildlife Park
See bears, wolves, buffalo and more in this drive through park among the pine forests of north Arizona. 60 miles from Grand Canyon’s south rim in Williams.
Grand Canyon Brewing Co.
Savor a Sunset Amber Ale at the new Grand Canyon Brewing Co. location. There’s a tasting room and restaurant with burgers, brats and pizza. Take a tour of the brewery.
Ride the Grand Canyon Railway into the Heart of Grand Canyon National Park
Take a scenic train ride to the south rim of the Grand Canyon from the depot in Williams, or drive to the south entrance near Tusayan.
End: Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim
National Geographic Visitor Center and IMAX in Tusayan
Right before you enter the park, soar past towering cliffs and raft through huge rapids when you watch the IMAX movie Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets.
48 Hours at the South Rim
Open 365 days a year, the South Rim offers plenty of activities, restaurants and, of course, gorgeous views. It is the most-visited part of the canyon. Here are some of our favorite things to do while at the South Rim from biking in solitude to exploring some of the rim’s most historic treasures.
Leave Your Car When You Stay at Yavapai Lodge
Sleep in a forest of ponderosa pine trees near Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The Yavapai Lodge’s restaurant, tavern and nearby market and shuttle stop make navigating the rim easy. Plus all rooms have been upgraded, including air-conditioning in every unit, new this year.
When you board one of Pink Adventure Tours’ signature pink Jeep Wranglers, you’ll soak up more information than you thought possible on your Grand Canyon tour. Catch a tour from Tusayan near the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Sedona or Las Vegas.