When taking a road trip to Vegas, the drive is part of the fun. If your journey starts in Albuquerque, driving to Las Vegas is a great way to experience the beauty of the Southwest landscape, including the Petrified Forest National Park and even the Grand Canyon (if you take a detour), all while making memories with your friends and family. An Albuquerque to Las Vegas drive is a trip that everyone should experience.
Pack your bags, rally the troops, and fill the tank, because we have all the road trip recommendations to embark on the best Albuquerque to Las Vegas drive.
Taking a Albuquerque to Las Vegas road trip can be a long trek in one day or divided between two days – depending on if you decide to take your time at road trip stops along the way or not. The Albuquerque to Las Vegas distance is approximately 577 miles through New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada via the I-40 W. With ideal traffic and weather conditions, the road trip takes approximately 9 hours to complete.
If possible, avoid starting the Albuquerque to Las Vegas drive on Thursday through Sunday, the most popular driving days. Instead, leave on less-popular driving days such as Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday when traffic tends to be lighter than the hustle and bustle of weekend driving. Allow for longer drive times if you plan on traveling to the city for Las Vegas events or during the holidays. No matter where you’re driving from or which day of the week, the traffic is sure to pick up closer to the city.
Before you reach the Las Vegas casinos, get your kicks at the Route 66 Casino Hotel. Warm up your gambling skills in the casino, or fuel yourself for your road trip to Vegas at Buffet 66 – which is said to be the best buffet in New Mexico.
You will find a few stores similar on your drive, but Chee’s Indian Store is a favorite among road trippers. This store offers authentic Navajo and other Native American items such as handcrafted jewelry, rugs, pottery, and more.
Take a stop at the Painted Desert Visitor Center for some information on the beautiful Petrified Forest National Forest with a book store, gift shop, and hands-on exhibits. Drive a little north to enjoy the views from the Painted Desert Inn.
Though this location is technically a chain of originally seven motels built in the 1930s and 1940s, this installation is one of three surviving motels. If you’re taking a night to rest a little more than halfway through your trip, stay in a wigwam!
If you’re standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and unsure what to do, take it easy at RelicRoad. Along with delicious food (try their Reuben sandwich), they have a great selection of beer on tap. Always drink responsibly when driving.
Flagstaff has a lot to offer, including a stellar view of the stars. Whether you’re visiting during the day or night, the observatory offers a wide range of tours, activities, and exhibits to help you understand and appreciate the vast cosmos.
Things are about to get wild! You don’t even need to get out of your car to enjoy Bearizona. Drive through over 3 miles of the Ponderosa Pine Forest or walk through Fort Bearizona to see North American animals in their natural habitats.
Need a little pick-me-up on your Albuquerque to Las Vegas drive? Grab a burger, “dead chicken”, or some ice cream at Delgadillo’s. This road trip must-see is both delicious and a classic Route 66 landmark with plenty of kitschy decor.
Still feeling hungry? Whether you’re stopping for food or for the 50s nostalgia and a picture of the eye-catching pink and blue exterior, Mr. D’s is a road trip staple. Once you’re done, check out the Arizona Route 66 Museum across the street.
This Albuquerque to Vegas road trip location is an easy one to get, as it’s on your path to the city. This bridge is not only architecturally beautiful on its own, it also gives an amazing view of the Hoover Dam and the Colorado River.
Some say life isn’t only about the destination, it’s about the journey. If you’re planning your next trip to Las Vegas, consider hitting the road and making an adventure out of it.