Thanks to its proximity to some of America's most iconic landscapes and national parks, Las Vegas is a popular jumping off point for Western vacations—even for families who don't spend any time in Sin City. These popular suggestions can all be reached in six hours or less, based on an estimated drive time.
Lake Mead, NV
Drive time: 45 mins.
Looking for a fun, relaxing family vacation on water? Consider a houseboat rental on gorgeous Lake Mead, a 112-mile man-made lake formed by the Hoover Dam. Houseboating provides a boatful of memories and you don’t need a special license or previous boating experience to do it.
Death Valley National Park, CA
Drive time: 2 hrs., 22 mins.
Drive time: 2 hrs., 45 mins.
Utah's first national park is named after Zion Canyon, 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, cut through red and tan sandstone. The park features massive sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and a unique array of plants and animals. Many families combine a trip to Zion with Bryce Canyon National Park, 78 miles away. Both parks are included in Utah's Mighty 5.
Bryce Canyon, UT
Drive time: 4 hrs., 22 mins.
Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is not a canyon at all. Instead, it is a collection of giant natural amphitheaters formed by hoodoos—tall, thin spires of rock up to 150 feet in height. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors.
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Drive time: 4 hrs., 38 mins.
The second most-visited of all American national parks, Grand Canyon National Park belongs on every family's bucket list. Don't miss ranger-led programs that offer families an opportunity to explore and learn about the park. Junior Ranger programs for kids ages 4 to 14 include self-guided activities and ranger-led programs.
Disneyland Resort: Anaheim, CA
Drive time: 4 hrs., 50 mins.
Laguna Beach, CA
Drive time: 4 hrs., 58 mins.
Known for its mild year-round climate and artist community, the seaside resort town of Laguna Beach beckons families to enjoy its scenic Southern California beaches and kid-friendly attractions.
Drive time: 5 hrs., 0 mins.
The area known as the Valley of the Sun encompasses Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and at least a dozen other smaller cities. Best known for its tony resorts, Scottsdale has grown up to offer families a wide array of museums, shops, restaurants, and lots of ways to have fun.
El Capitan Canyon: Santa Barbara, CA
Drive time: 5 hr, 22 mins.
For families who like camping but don't love roughing it, glamping at El Capitan Canyon is the best of both worlds, delivering the sounds of nature, the smell of campfires and plenty of free-form fun—but in a hassle-free setting with comfy beds, running water, and easy access to meals.