Las Vegas to Grand Canyon by Car
The Grand Canyon is a popular tourist destination for travelers who are looking for majestic views and an abundance of outdoor activities. If you love hiking, camping and sightseeing, this vacation destination is a must for your bucket list.
The closest airport to the Grand Canyon is in Flagstaff, which provides the perfect opportunity to see nature in all its glory as you make your way toward the gorge. Rather than opting for an organized tour, rent a car from one of our Las Vegas car rental locations at your own paceHoover Dam, Seligman and Kingman, Arizona. Be prepared for the open road by list of road trip essentials
Drive Time from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon: approximately 4 hours
Distance from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon: approximately 270 miles
Best car for this road trip: Full-Size Car
1. Las Vegas
The Live Entertainment Capital of the World is a prime vacation spot for visitors near and far. While many of the attractions are geared toward adults, there are plenty of things to do in Las Vegas for the whole family to have fun. Cirque du Soleil has multiple shows at some of the city’s most popular resorts. Some of entertainment's biggest stars regularly perform throughout the year in Vegas.
Beyond live performances, each resort tends to have spectacular pool areas and incredible restaurants. Off the strip, you'll find helicopter tours, jet experiences and even a giant "sandbox" where you can pay to play with big rig construction equipment.
Any time spent in Las Vegas requires a few stops at some of the city’s best restaurants. Splurge a little and have some fun. Harvest by Roy Ellamar brings sustainable and seasonal dining to the middle of the desert. Fresh produce stars side by side with perfectly prepared meats and seafood.
When it’s time to leave the bright lights behind and head from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon by car, start early and pick up some breakfast, grab a cup o' joe, and hit the road on I-515 toward Boulder City.
2. Boulder City
Boulder City, Nevada is about 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas. Though this is a short first leg from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, Boulder City is worth stopping in if you need a restroom break, a meal or just want to let antsy kids stretch their legs. This town features a handful of major metropolitan conveniences before you hit a mostly unpopulated stretch of Arizona. Boulder City's Main Street is packed with distinctive boutiques. Drop in if you're looking for a unique souvenir to commemorate this part of your trip.
On the way toward Kingman, AZ, you'll come up to the Hoover Dam – which is about eight miles northeast of Boulder City. Be sure to leave yourself a little bit of time so you can stop and check out this iconic American landmark and fantastic feat of modern engineering.
3. Lake Mead
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is just about six miles northeast of Boulder City. One of Nevada’s most popular travel destinations, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir (based on water capacity) in the country. Located on the Arizona-Nevada border, this constructed lake provides unlimited recreation that’s perfect for the entire family to enjoy. One of the best ways to experience the Hoover Dam is by spending time on Lake Mead’s bright blue water.
Before heading to Kingman, take some time to stop at Boulder Beach. An outdoor enthusiast’s playground, this beach stretches along the basin’s shoreline for over a mile and is filled to the brim with activities. Perhaps spend some time biking around the backcountry and taking in some epic scenery. Whether you’re wading in the water or indulging in fantastic fare, there’s plenty of exciting things to do at Lake Mead.
The next two locations were classic Route 66 stops from back when the highway was the quintessential road trip for America. From Boulder City, it's about an hour and 15 minutes to Kingman via US-93 S. You'll cover 78 miles on the way. Highlights like the Arizona Route 66 Museum and Kingman Railroad Museum are just some of the fun things to do in Kingman.
There are more than 60 restaurants in Kingman, so this is a great place to grab a bite to eat for lunch. For distinctive dining, try Floyd and Company Real Pit BBQ or Mr. D'z Route 66 Diner. If you’re still dragging from the early morning or need a second wind, stop by Beale Street Brews Coffee Roasting Co. for an exceptionally crafted coffee beverage.
Seligman, Arizona is about 73 miles from Kingman on I-40 and is just over an hour on the road, but if you’re feeling a little adventurous, hop on Route 66 and take the 87-mile trip instead. In Seligman, you'll find quaint small-town highlights like the Route 66 General Store, overflowing with memorabilia. You can also take a quick tour through the Return to the 50s Museum for nostalgic knick-knacks that teleport you to a different decade.
If you opted not to get lunch in Kingman and everyone in the car is starting to feel a little hangry, don't miss the Roadkill Cafe. This distinctive diner is known for its buffalo burgers, but you'll find other specialties like the Bad-Brake Steak and Fender Tenders.
6. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is about an hour and a half from Seligman. You'll cover 97 miles in this final leg of your journey. This route will and Grand Canyon Village.
Once in the Grand Canyon, you can hike, backpack, enjoy a mule trip and more as you explore this natural wonder. See our travel writer’s personal account of hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon via the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails. There are numerous camping sites throughout the park, so you can spend a few days at this natural wonder and do all the activities your family wants to accomplish.
Driving From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon FAQs
How does the Grand Canyon weather compare to Las Vegas?
The temperatures at the Grand Canyon are noticeably cooler than in Las Vegas. Summer temperatures in Las Vegas frequently exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit due to the city's desert location. Average highs in the Grand Canyon hover around the mid-80s (Fahrenheit). In the winter, the Grand Canyon is typically 20 degrees cooler than Las Vegas, so you’ll need to bring proper attire and plan on dressing in layers. Weather also varies depending on where you are in the Grand Canyon, with the North Rim being about 10 degrees cooler than the South (due to higher elevation). It can also experience heavy snowfall – which can cause road closures.
Is camping available at the Canyon?
Yes, you can camp at the Grand Canyon. Reservations are recommended for popular campgrounds like Mather Campground on the South Rim and the North Rim Campground. Desert View Campground is open on a first-come-first-serve basis. Trailer Village is the only campground that offers full hook-ups for RVs.
Can you still ride a mule down the Grand Canyon?
Sure-footed mules are still a popular aspect of visiting the Grand Canyon. The world-famous mule rides allow you to tour the North or South Rim, or ride into the Grand Canyon itself for an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch. Mule rides were first offered at the Grand Canyon in 1887, and more than 600,000 people have ridden them into the canyon ever since. Be sure to reserve your ride well in advance since this beloved experience fills up early.
What are some local spots to eat along the way from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon?
You may want to stop in Boulder City for breakfast on your way out of Nevada. Check out The Coffee Cup, Southwest Diner or Little City Grille.
Kingman, AZ, features more than 60 restaurants, including Mr. D's Route 66 Diner, Floyd and Company Real Pit BBQ and Beale Street Brews Coffee Roasting Co. Kingman is the perfect stop when you're ready for lunch on your Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip.
If you'd rather wait until you reach Seligman, don't miss the Roadkill Cafe. The distinctive diner is known for its buffalo burgers.
Are there ghost towns I can explore?
There are many ghost towns worth exploring in Arizona, but there's only one close enough to the route from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon. Oatman was founded in 1908 and its mines produced over 1.8 million gold ounces. However, the town's population has dwindled to about 135 people – not counting the burros. It's a kitschy stop where you can find local crafts and souvenirs.
If you don't mind driving a little out of your way, visit Jerome, Arizona. You can pick up a map at the visitor center, tour the historic park and even take a guided ghost tour.