Strapped for time but desperately in need of a vacation? Make the most of summer’s second half with these five convenient weekend getaways, all within driving distance of Las Vegas.
Santa Barbara, California
One of Southern California’s most cosmopolitan beach towns entices with miles of coastline, outdoor activities ranging from kayaking to biking, and quirky attractions like Lotusland, a 37-acre botanical garden filled with rare plants. Need more incentive to visit? The city’s tree-lined downtown and more than 100 nearby wineries should do the trick.
Where to Stay: Perfect for the traveler who isn’t quite ready to commit to full-blown camping, the resort at El Capitan Canyon (PICTURED), a 20-minute drive from State Street and downtown Santa Barbara, offers canvas safari tents and luxury cedar cabins equipped with full bathrooms, kitchens, and private patios—glamping at its finest. 805-685-3887
Talk about sensory overload. Early fall is one of the most stunning times to visit Sedona and its famous red rocks, located just four hours from Vegas. Nature certainly takes priority here, but the area also features several impressive cultural sites, including the Chapel of the Holy Cross, an architectural wonder built into the side of a mountain, and Tlaquepaque arts village.
Where to Stay: The five-star Enchantment Resort (PICTURED) and its sister property, Mii amo, offer what are without a doubt the area’s most lavish digs—we recommend scheduling an extended weekend and making Sedona your base from which to explore neighboring areas like Flagstaff and the experimental community of Arcosanti. 844-244-9489
Zion National Park, Utah
From Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock to Angel’s Landing and the Narrows, there’s no shortage of trails for hikers inside what’s now considered one of the country’s most photogenic national parks—and it’s all just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Vegas. Plus, once you arrive, you’ll be sandwiched between two other must-see parks, the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon.
Where to Stay: As the only in-park lodge in all of Zion, the Zion Lodge (PICTURED) tends to fill up fast, but if you have the opportunity to secure one of the property’s woodsy cabins or second-story suites, don’t pass it up—you’ll be rewarded with valuable amenities including private balconies, king-size beds, and in-room fireplaces. 435-772-7700
La Jolla, California
Just a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Vegas, this breezy coastal community, a treasure trove of boutiques, art galleries and museums, and upscale cafes and coffee bars, also offers close proximity to downtown San Diego and the golden cliffs of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (both are roughly 25 minutes away).
Where to Stay: With its hacienda-style architecture and hand-painted murals, the historic La Valencia Hotel (PICTURED) is the undisputed grand dame of La Jolla. We suggest booking one of the property’s private villas and snagging a sunny spot by the famous rectangular pool overlooking the Pacific. 858-454-0771
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Whether you’re visiting Vegas or you live here, you’d be remiss not to make the pilgrimage to the Grand Canyon at least once. Luckily, it’s just a five-hour drive to the canyon’s scenic South Rim, where Grand Canyon Village and the Visitor Center are located (25 miles east, meanwhile, you’ll find Desert View and its historic watchtower).
Where to Stay: Also located on the South Rim, El Tovar is the most popular in-park lodge, but vacancies are rare during summer. Instead consider one of the two cabin suites (the Buckey O’Neill, pictured, and Red Horse cabins) at the nearby Bright Angel Lodge, an iconic desert structure designed in 1935. 888-297-2757
PHOTOGRAPHY VIA FACEBOOK.COM/ELCAPCANYON (EL CAPITAN CANYON); ENCHANTMENT RESORT (ENCHANTMENT RESORT); ZION LODGE (ZION LODGE); LA VALENCIA HOTEL (LA VALENCIA HOTEL); XANTERRA PARKS & RESORTS (BRIGHT ANGEL LODGE)