5 Summer Getaways You Can Drive to Near Las Vegas

Paula Pant
August 9, 2017
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Mild winters are a huge benefit to living in Las Vegas, but the city’s blistering summer months inspire many locals to escape.

Average high temperatures in Sin City range between 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit from June through August, according to lasvegas.com.

Fortunately, Las Vegas is close to many refreshing getaways where locals can escape the triple-digit temperatures. Here are five summer getaways within a 2.5-hour drive from Las Vegas.

1. Mt. Charleston

Located only 45 minutes from downtown Las Vegas, the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area – known to locals as “Mt. Charleston” – is a convenient respite from the summer heat.

Mt. Charleston holds average monthly high temperatures between 74 to 78 degrees from June through August, according to Weatherbase, thanks to its elevation of 7,510 feet.

The Mt. Charleston area, which is part of the Humboldt-Toyiabe National Forest, encompasses more than 316,000 acres of wilderness. Several hiking trails open into panoramic views of mountain peaks, waterfalls, caves and high desert landscapes. The Mary Jane Falls Trail, a local favorite, winds through dense white fir and ponderosa pine forest and leads to views of a gorgeous waterfall over limestone cliffs.

2. Lake Mead

Swimming, boating, fishing, water-skiing — if you enjoy water sports, Lake Mead may become your favorite summertime playground.

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a breathtaking landscape featuring turquoise-blue waters surrounded by stark red canyons, mountains and valleys.

This massive lake spans 290 square miles of water surface, nestled on 1.5 million acres of National Park Service-protected recreation area. It’s the largest reservoir in the U.S. and the primary source of usable water in Southern Nevada. The scenic Colorado River flows through Lake Mead, connecting to the Hoover Dam only six miles away.

The lake features three marinas and several fishing spots. Those who want to stay overnight can choose from 10 campgrounds and RV parks or a handful of nearby hotels and resorts.

3. Pahrump

Located 65 miles from Las Vegas – about 1.5 hours by car – the tiny town of Pahrump, population 37,000, features Lake Spring Mountain, a popular summer destination for swimming, boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, or chilling in a lakeside cabana.

Lake Spring Mountain is famous for its crystal-clear, sapphire-blue water and gorgeous mountain backdrop. A wide selection of restaurants, bars and hotels surround the lake, bringing this quiet town a hint of nightlife.

Southern Nevada’s only two wineries – the Pahrump Winery and Sanders Family Winery – are also located in Pahrump, as is the Spring Mountain Motor Resort, where people can learn how to race Corvettes.

4. Laughlin

Looking for another relaxed, waterside town?

Laughlin, Nevada, located 90 miles southeast – about 1.5 to 2 hours from Las Vegas – sits on the banks of the Colorado River and is a popular destination for jet-skiing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, and bass and trout fishing.

This unincorporated town of only 7,300 residents is a tourist hotspot; Laughlin hosts more than 2 million visitors annually. It’s well-regarded for its many golf courses, which operate year-round.

But perhaps the most famous area in Laughlin is its central riverwalk, where visitors can amble along the Colorado River, passing restaurants, bars, shops and casinos along the path.

5. Zion National Park

More than 3 million annual visitors flock to nearby Zion National Park, where normal daily summer temperatures range from lows in the 60’s to highs in the 90’s.

Located 2.5 hours away (160 miles), Zion is a 229-square-mile expanse of red rocks, valleys, waterfalls, chiseled sandstone canyons and emerald pools. It’s one of the region’s premiere destinations for hiking, climbing, cycling, birding, canyoneering, backpacking, camping, and nature photography.


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