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, so it's impossible to reach this destination without taking at least a short drive. Rather than opting for an organized tour, rent a car from one of 30 Las Vegas car rental locations, and make the trip at your own pace and with your own stops. Take time to enjoy all the notable stops along the way including Hoover Dam, Seligman, and Kingman, Arizona. Be prepared for the open road by visiting our checklist 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
The Live Entertainment Capital of the World is a prime vacation spot. While many of the attractions are geared toward adults, there are plenty of opportunities 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; acts like Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Blue Man Group, Penn and Teller, and more.
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 you’re ready to leave for the Grand Canyon, start early and pick up some breakfast, grab a cup o' joe and hit the road on I-515 toward Boulder City.
Boulder City is about 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas. Though this is a short first leg, 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 is the last stop with 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 8 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 a fantastic feat of modern engineering.
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. Kingman is a fun stop for highlights like the Arizona Route 66 Museum and Kingman Railroad Museum.
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.
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 drop you off near the South Rim 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. The nearest place to return your rental car is in Flagstaff, Arizona, which is about two hours south. Or, you might want to consider going on to Phoenix which is a little over two hours beyond Flagstaff and filled with plenty more to experience before you fly back home.