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11 National Parks Near Vegas You Won’t Want to Miss

In 2019, over 40 million people visited the Las Vegas area, making it one of the most popular destinations in North America. Although many visitors stick to the casinos and Vegas Strip, it’s also a great starting point for a road trip.


There are dozens of national parks near Las Vegas, and in this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best ones.

11 Breathtaking National Parks Near Vegas

If you thought Las Vegas was only for gambling and nightlife, you were mistaken. The city has a central location in the Southwest, and several national parks are nearby. 


Some travelers fly into Vegas, get an airport van rental, and head off on a road trip. If you have this idea in mind, we recommend creating an itinerary involving some of the following parks.

Death Valley National Park, CA/NV

Distance from Vegas: 2 hours and 20 minutes (150 miles)


Did you know that Death Valley is the hottest and driest place on earth? While that may sound pretty unappealing, a visit to this national park is a rewarding experience. 


The park is located below sea level, which contributes to its unique landscape with sand dunes, salt flats, deep canyons, and rugged mountains in the distance. Some of the best sights in Death Valley National Park include:


  • Badwater Basin

  • Zabriskie Point

  • Artists Palette

  • Dantes View


You can visit Death Valley all year round, but summer can be extremely hot. It’s not surprising that spring is the most popular time to visit since the weather tends to be sunny without high temperatures. There’s also the possibility of seeing the wildflowers in bloom, and the cooler air makes hiking much more enjoyable.


While the park is open 24/7, it is closed on major holidays. Be sure to check with the visitor center for more information on how to stay safe in Death Valley.


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Zion National Park, UT

Distance from Vegas: 2 hours and 45 minutes (160 miles)


Zion National Park is the most popular national park in Utah, likely because of the abundance of hiking trails within it. There are hikes for people of all skill levels, and some, like the Riverside Walk, are even paved. 


The most famous trails are Angel’s Landing and The Narrows, both of which lead to impressive rock formations. However, you’ll have to navigate tough terrain to get there, so come prepared.


No matter where you are in the park, you’ll feel overwhelmed by the beauty of the red rocks, Virgin River, and contrasting greenery.


If you want to avoid the crowds, come to Zion National Park in March or November, when the weather is mild but still outside of peak season.


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Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Distance from Vegas: 4 hours and 10 minutes (275 miles)


There are so many ways to explore the Grand Canyon, making it possible to visit several times while experiencing something different. 


If you don’t have much time, you can enjoy the vistas from the rims of the canyon. Most people visit the closest rim to their city, which in the case of Vegas is the West Rim.


This area of the park is operated by the Hualapai Native Americans, not the park service. However, the entrance fee to this rim includes access to the Skywalk, a glass-bottom observatory of the canyon. 


Most people coming from other parts of Arizona visit the South Rim, with the most amenities. Unlike the North Rim, it’s open all year and has lodges, campgrounds, and plenty of memorable experiences for families. 


If you want to see several areas of the park, check out these rental minivans for optimal comfort.


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Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Distance from Vegas: 3 hours and 10 minutes (190 miles)


Located in Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park is a paradise for hikers and stargazers. However, many people are turned off when they learn that cell reception is limited.


That doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time, but be sure to come prepared. Once you get to the park, stop by the visitor center to purchase your park pass, books on the local flora and fauna, and other great resources that will help you navigate Joshua Tree. 


If you prefer, you can take a guided tour of the park. But, that’s not necessary if you stick to the most popular attractions in Joshua Tree, such as:


  • Hidden Valley Nature Trail

  • Keys View

  • Cholla Cactus Garden

  • Skull Rock

  • Barker Dam Nature Trail


The best thing is that the park is open all year, and the exits never close. That means you can stay as late as you’d like to experience some of the best stargazing in the nation from the campsites.


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Yosemite National Park, CA

Distance from Vegas: 5 hours and 30 minutes (340 miles)


Yosemite is full of attractions, so it’s important to plan your visit carefully and in advance. We recommend the following sites:


  • Mariposa Grove (famous for its sequoia trees)

  • Glacier Point 

  • Hetch Hetchy

  • Yosemite Falls (the most famous of all the parks’ waterfalls)

  • Horsetail Fall


While hiking and camping are some of the most popular things to do in Yosemite, many visitors enjoy fishing, biking, birdwatching, rock climbing, horseback riding, art, and photography. There are even ranger programs for the little ones to participate in.


Some areas of the park are only accessible with 4-wheel drive, so consider an SUV rental.

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Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Distance from Vegas: 4 hours (260 miles)


Bryce Canyon has the largest concentration of hoodoos (tall rock spires) on the planet, making it especially unique. You can see the hoodoos from the road, but to really get a good view, it’s best to go for a hike. Some visitors also explore the park on horseback or snowshoes, depending on the season.


In the summer, park rangers and volunteers give stargazing presentations on Wednesdays and Fridays. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn from experts and observe the Milky Way from this natural amphitheater without any light pollution. Reserve your spot in advance!


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Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, NV

Distance from Vegas: 20 minutes (16 miles)


Despite its close proximity, this national park in the Mojave Desert seems to be a world away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. Still, the closest national park to the city allows you to take in the desert landscape.


It’s a great place to go if you don’t have much time for a road trip while you’re in Vegas. Still, there’s plenty to see and do, including guided hikes among sandstone cliffs. 


It’s best to avoid hiking in Red Rock Canyon during the summer since the temperatures are unbearable. If you end up planning a visit this time of year, bring sun protection and plenty of water.


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Great Basin National Park, NV

Distance from Vegas: 4 hours and 30 minutes (300 miles)


Nevada’s Great Basin National Park is an oasis for wildlife and pine forests. Many visitors come to see the Lehman Caves, which are made of limestone. Moreover, the dark skies allow rangers to lead astronomy programs all year.


You should be able to see the main attractions and do a couple of the best hikes in two days, but you could easily spend more time here. If possible, try to visit in summer or fall when the weather is best.


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Arches National Park, UT

Distance from Vegas: 6 hours and 30 minutes (450 miles)


Arches National Park is near the city of Moab and the Colorado River in Utah. With more than 2,000 sandstone arches, it has some of the best views in the state.


Some groups choose to see the park from the comfort of their vehicle, making it a great time to consider a 15 passenger van rental. But if you really want to make the most of your visit, you should plan on stopping at different viewpoints of your scenic drive to take in the views or walk around.


The best months to visit the park are April, May, September, and October since the weather is cooler.


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Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV

Distance from Vegas: 30 minutes (25 miles)

Lake Mead is one of the best national parks near Las Vegas due to its close proximity. Most people visit the area to see the Hoover Dam but stick around for activities like:

  • Cycling

  • Boating

  • Kayaking

  • Hunting and fishing

You can even camp in the park, which is equipped with restrooms, grills, and other facilities.

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Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Distance from Vegas: 5 hours and 20 minutes (335 miles)


Capitol Reef is one of the less famous parks in Utah, meaning that you’ll skip the crowds all year. The park surrounds the Waterpocket Fold, resulting in incredible rock formations. You don’t want to miss Chimney Rock, Hickman Bridge, and Cathedral Valley.


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Don’t Miss a Single National Park with AVR

Las Vegas is near some of the country’s most impressive national parks, and you don’t have to choose just one to see on your next getaway. 


Whether you’re planning an hour drive, a day trip, or a long road trip from Vegas, Airport Van Rental can help by offering 8 seater van rentals. You’ll travel comfortably and without having to worry about the miles on your vehicle.