If you’re ready to pack your bags and experience a road trip out west, one of the best routes you can take would have to be from Salt Lake City, UT to Las Vegas, NV. You might not think there’s a lot to see in the expansive Utah desert, but you might be surprised-- it’s not just rocks, mountains, and cacti! There’s a lot going on in those small towns along the way, offering so much to stop and see while you’re on your journey to Las Vegas.
Whether you like to gamble or not, Las Vegas is a fun city that has a little bit of something for everyone-- whether you want to lounge by the pool, try five star restaurants, or even catch a show-- there are a million reasons why a road trip from Salt Lake City (SLC) to Vegas is a fantastic idea. So pack your bags and let’s get started! Here are 10 must-see attractions when you’re roadtripping from SLC to Vegas.
50 N Temple | Salt Lake City, UT | templesquare.com/
Before you begin your road trip out of SLC, take a day or an afternoon and explore some of what the city has to offer. Afterall, this is the largest city in Utah and is home to some pretty interesting attractions, such as the Red Butte Garden, the Natural History Museum of Utah, or the Hogle Zoo. There are also plenty of parks to explore in this very outdoorsy and energetic city.
One thing should definitely be on your list however, and that is Temple Square. Here you’ll find the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), which is home to the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You can explore all the square has to offer, including dining and tour options for the church, or even catch choir practice. It’s also a nice area to just sit and take in the beautiful landscaping and do some people watching.
“This place is beautiful and we really enjoyed roaming around the meticulously manicured lawns and looking at the flowers. It was lovely with some foundations and a beautiful reflecting pound around the "castle" building.” -Yelp Review
3003 N Thanksgiving Way | Lehi, UT | thanksgivingpoint.org/
As you move out of SLC, one of the first points of interest you’ll find is the aptly named Thanksgiving Point. We’re pretty sure you haven’t encountered a place quite like this before, which boasts of five separate experiences on their sprawling campus. No matter what you feel like doing when you get there-- checking out dinosaurs, seeing how a working farm operates, strolling through their magnificent gardens, or admiring the wonderful butterfly conservatory-- you can literally do them all here!
This complex is a nonprofit that aims to educate young and old alike, and get them a little closer to the natural world. If you need a quick bite, there are also a couple of places to dine as well!
“Loved loved loved it. Dinosaurs,farm animals, butterflies, and tons more. Just happened to get a hotel near there visiting, great surprise!” - Yelp Review
8841 N Alpine Loop Rd. | Sundance, UT | sundanceresort.com/
When you’re out west in the Rockies, it only makes sense to check out one of the amazing ski resorts! One of the best in the area is the Sundance Mountain Resort. Here you’ll encounter some of the best ski trails and most spectacular views you’ll ever find in Utah. Not to mention the resort (which is owned by actor Robert Redford) has the right kind of attitude, and is committed to keeping a balance with nature and fostering a sense of creativity within its community.
If you’re roadtripping in the summer months, or you’re not too interested in skiing, there’s still plenty to do. Try out one of their spa packages, grab a bite to eat, shop at their local store, or even check out what’s going on in their art studio. We recommend not stopping by while the film festival is going on, however, which is usually in January because it might get extremely crowded!
“Sundance has a reputation for having a cool vibe and the experience is a full rounded and robust romp with nature. They have managed to preserve the natural beauty of the area while offering all the amenities to make your stay pleasurable.” -Yelp Review
810 N 800th St. | Scipio, UT | utahsadventurefamily.com
After some time in the car, your legs might be begging for a break. A great place to stop to fuel up, get snacks, and stretch your legs is the Scipio Petting Zoo-- which also happens to be adjacent to a travel plaza. Here you’ll find everything from emus, deer, baby goats, donkeys, and even a camel! The animals are friendly and well-cared for, and the zoo is free with a donation.
The highlight of this zoo are the bunny and baby goat areas, where you can actually go into the pen and pet the animals! Adults have just as much fun here as the kids, and it’s a welcome break from the long drive.
“I had an amazing time here! super friendly staff, very friendly animals and it was free! I really enjoyed my time here. 10/10 recommend! They also have a rabbit area that visitors are allowed to go in and pet the bunnies.” -Yelp Review
50 S. Main St. | Fillmore, UT | stateparks.utah.gov
While he might not receive a lot of mentions in history books, Millard Fillmore was the 13th president of the United States, and for whom the city of Fillmore is named after. This city was the territorial capital of Utah from 1851-1856 before it was moved to Salt Lake City. The statehouse was where the Utah legislature met for only a single session, and it is now a well-preserved museum that holds much of Utah’s history.
In the basement there are all kinds of military weapons, Native American artifacts, as well as frontier tools. The second floor is the restored office replica of Gov. Brigham Young as well as fine china and textiles. A very interesting glimpse into the early years of Utah Territory!
“Small building with an incredible amount of history packed inside. An amazing collection of actual documents, photos and other memories showing the early life in Utah.” -Yelp Review
Iron County, UT | utah.com/parowan-gap
If you want to delve even further into Utah’s ancient history, you can’t pass up the opportunity to view the Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. Carved directly into the boulders, archeologists believe these glyphs are the work of several Native American groups, done over the course of 1,000 years. Their exact meaning is still unknown, but they speculate that it could have something to do with a religious activity or hunting ritual.
The Parowan Gap is itself a geological marvel, and is known as a wind gap, where an ancient river once cut through the rocks of the Red Hills. This place is known for its spectacular sunsets if you happen to arrive at the right time!
“This is well worth the side trip! It is a beautiful area and it is extraordinary to be able to walk so closely to the petroglyphs. The informative signage about the history of the area is excellent.” -TripAdvisor Review
Springdale, UT | nps.gov/zion
This national park is huge, and you could definitely spend a couple of days here to really experience its enormity. But if you just have a couple of hours, half a day, or even just one day on your road trip, it is definitely worth it. If you’re into hiking-- and taking amazing pictures when you’ve reached the top-- then this is the place for you. The park highly recommends doing either Angel’s Landing or Observation Point hikes for the views, even if you can’t do any of the others.
A must-see at Zion-- besides the huge, red cliffs that surround you-- are the Emerald Pools, which are natural occuring pools that are surrounded by green vegetation. On this hike, you’ll catch views of Lady Mountain, The Great White Throne, and Red Arch Mountain-- all waiting for your camera!
“For obvious reasons, Zion NP is one of those national parks that is breathtakingly beautiful and exactly what you'd expect from all of those Instagram photos that take over your feed.” -Yelp Review
67 W 200 N | St. George, UT | history.churchofjesuschrist.org
For seven years, Mormon leader Brigham Young spent his winters in what is now St. George, working to establish the Mormon settlement. Today his former home is a museum that has been modeled to what would have been its 1870s appearance. There is an informative, and free, tour throughout the home and the beautiful gardens that surround it.
While you’re in St. George, it might also be worthwhile to check out this city’s Mormon temple, which is also a beautiful work of engineering and architecture.
“Very nice free tour! Fun for the family and beautiful home. Very interesting to learn the history of St. George Utah and how it got its name.” -Yelp Review
1835 Convention Center Dr. | St. George, UT | rosenbruch.org/
After the grandeur of national parks and the informative history exhibits you’ve experienced along the way, perhaps you’d like to try something a little more off the wall? Perhaps something involving a room with taxidermied animals? Well if that doesn’t creep you out, then the Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum might be right up your alley.
The displays are all animals that were hunted by the museum’s founder, Jim Rosenbruch. He traveled around the world to hunt animals on almost every continent, and now they are exhibited to the public. It’s an interesting array of all kinds of creatures, and to see them so close really makes for an interesting visit.
“I would definitely recommend if you want to get out and try something new. Informative and honestly, better than the museum that we have in Las Vegas.” -Yelp Review
Las Vegas, NV | redrockcanyonlv.org/
As you drive into Las Vegas, depending on what time you arrive, you might see the lights before you see the actual city itself! This fun city is full of all kinds of activities, and it is a great way to end your road trip! Choose to stroll the Strip, see one of the famous shows in town, or just relax by the pool. Vegas is a city that never seems to sleep, so no matter what you’re up for, chances are you can do it no matter what time of day-- or night!
While you’re in the Las Vegas area, take the short drive out to Red Rock Canyon, where you can take the scenic driving tour, do some more hiking, or check out the tortoise habitat for the chance to observe Nevada’s state reptile up close!
“Unbelievable and tranquil- don't leave Vegas without going here., short drive from our hotel downtown.” -Yelp Review
So, there are some of the many sites to see on a road trip from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas! Did we miss any of your favorite destinations? Let us know in the comments!