Los Angeles and Las Vegas are two dynamic, action-packed cities—and from the Hollywood Star Walk to the Vegas Strip, you won’t be short on things to do when visiting either. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to rush from one place to the other.
It’s about a four-to-five hour drive from LA to Vegas, which means that if you wanted, you could hop in the car and get there in a single day. But why miss out on such an excellent road trip opportunity? With landmarks, state parks, roadside attractions, and much, much more scattered throughout the drive, it’d be a shame to miss out on all that Southern California and Nevada have to offer, just to make good time getting to Vegas. Not convinced? Take a look at few of our favorite detours that’ll make the drive from LA to Vegas a road trip to remember!
Situated about a mile west of Interstate 15, Morman Rocks is a formation that has become familiar to many travelers who have driven in its direction down the freeway. About an hour’s drive from LA, the sandstone rocks are the perfect place to stretch your legs and take in California’s natural beauty.
“Great little hike about a mile circle. Not very challenging, but you have a great view of all the beautiful rocks. You can park in the fire station and walk from there.” -Erica B. on Yelp.
Get to know Route 66—past and present—when you explore the California Route 66 Museum’s interactive exhibits dedicated to what’s become one of the best-known roads in America. Open most days from 10 am to 4 pm, this museum will surprise and delight you with its memorabilia from and background information about Route 66 and the many roadside attractions that it’s become home to over the years.
“We always look for unique places to stop and see while traveling, and I am so glad we took the time to stop here . . . Lots of photo-op setups, so much history, and an amazing, helpful staff. It was actually a highlight of our trip.” -Valerie M. on Yelp.
Antique Station is a wonderland of secondhand treasures that are just waiting to be discovered. From furniture, decor, and tableware to dolls, artwork, and knickknacks, this antique shop is a real-life Island of Misfit Toys that you’ll love perusing for quirky collectibles and passed-on keepsakes.
“The best antique shop in the High Desert. A great place to browse for a couple of hours. Always a good variety of interesting items. High-end collectibles as well as affordable treasures.” -Glen S. on Yelp.
You might think that learning about the desert might be a little dry, but not at this environmental education center in Barstow! The Desert Discovery Center is made possible through a collaborative effort by branches of the local government as well as educational and nonprofit organizations in the area.
“I had a lovely time at the Desert Discovery Center! It's a small but beautifully maintained museum focusing on local animal and plant species . . . Great educational exhibits and a wonderful garden outside that includes a pond of endangered fish and turtles.” -Isobel L. on Yelp.
Having first opened in 1954, Peggy Sue’s started with only nine counter stools and three booths. Since then, it’s blossomed into a roadside attraction where the food is only part of the appeal. With trophies of the past like 50s music, authentic memorabilia, a five-and-dime store, soda fountain, and an ice cream parlor, Peggy Sue’s will wow you with its old-fashioned charm and family recipes.
In the diner’s backyard, you’ll find a dinosaur park with towering dino sculptures, waterfalls, fountains, ponds, and more. Of course, the menu at Peggy Sue’s is still a major selling point: breakfast foods, burgers, sandwiches, steak, roast beef, pies, milkshakes, and sundaes will have you refueled and ready to hit the road again in no time.
“This place was really cool! Nice pit stop to or from Vegas. There is so much to look at; the entire restaurant is decorated . . . The food was absolutely delicious. Without a doubt the best biscuits and gravy that I've had.” -Cerena P. on Yelp.
When you’re on the road, gas stations are the only stops that you don’t really have a choice about making—but EddieWorld is so much more than just a place to pump some gas (though you probably want to do that here, too, since it claims to have the lowest prices from Yermo to Vegas!).
With three fast-casual restaurants, homemade ice cream and popcorn, coffee, gummies, nuts, chocolate, stuffed animals, some rare Lakers collector’s items, and—perhaps even more rare—clean bathrooms, EddieWorld has just about everything that you need to keep on cruising your way to Vegas.
“Fun place to stop on your way to/from Vegas. Super clean and organized with friendly staff. Bathrooms are very well kept, which is always a big plus. But also, there are so, so, many options for drinks, snacks, or even a quick meal.” -Catherine B. on Yelp.
Pronounced “Zye-zix,” Zzyzx Road and the accompanying remains of a town are basically the only tangible legacies of Curtis Howe Springer, a con-man who became known as the “king of quacks.” A self-professed medicine man, Springer claimed this small piece of land, previously known as Soda Springs, and turned it into a medical “resort,” which he named Zzyzx so that it could be the “last word in health.” (As with most of Springer’s boasts, this isn’t an accurate description—”Zzyzx” isn’t a real word.)
Springer was later arrested for squatting on public land and false advertising, but Zzyzx Road still stands and has become an increasingly popular place to stop on the way to Vegas, whether it’s just to pose with the sign or to actually explore the largely abandoned remains of Springer’s establishment.
“It's a really pretty drive up the road. You drive along a dried-up lakebed—lakebed on the left, hills on the right. You can easily see 5+ miles into the distance.” -Anrana S. on Yelp.
As culturally rich as it is beautiful, Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area contains sprawling desert scenery and its centerpiece, Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site, holds more than 300 rock art panels dating as far back as the Archaic Era.
Hiking, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and respectful exploring are all activities that are encouraged to be enjoyed at this remote park in Nevada, which is only about 12 miles from Las Vegas. While you’re free to traverse the area, the park management asks that visitors stay on the designated trails and do not touch the rock art.
“Great trail if you've never been, moderate and slightly uphill on the way in. Really cool history and there is an awesome visitor center when you park, and they have some great information on the history and the trail.” -Meghan M. on Yelp.
Built in the midst of the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam was the largest dam of its time and took less than five years to complete. A National Historic Landmark, the Hoover Dam straddles the Colorado River and has been become world-famous as a momentous feat of civil engineering.
Around 30 miles southeast from Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam sits on the Nevada-Arizona border, and the Nevada side has a parking garage for visitor convenience. There’s no street address for the dam, but you can use the GPS coordinates “N 36.016222, W -114.737245” to get there.
“Definitely a destination point if you're going to Vegas. The dam is so amazing and walking across the bridge to see it is breathtaking!” -Ken L. on Yelp.
Vegas is definitely a town that comes with a long list of must-see points of interest and must-do attractions. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing in between when you’re driving there from LA. In fact, it’s just the opposite—with so many options to include in your road trip, you might have to plan a second one in order to see them all!