Visiting Las Vegas is a treat, but why wait to get the experience started? If you’re lucky enough to live driving distance from the city, or just prefer wheels over other modes of transportation, taking a road trip to Vegas is an exciting way to get your trip started. In just a matter of hours, you can drive through miles of interesting road trip stops before winding up in Sin City. The Los Angeles to Las Vegas drive is one filled with an abundance of desert landscapes, delicious eating spots, and kitschy art.
Pack your bags, gather the group, and fill the tank, because we have all the recommendations to have the best Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip!
Depending on which route you’d like to take while driving to Vegas from LA, expect to spend at least four hours on the road. Without factoring in traffic, driving on the I-15 N is the shortest and more popular drive, clocking in at about 4 hours and 15 minutes for drivetime over the course of 270 miles. On this route, you’ll experience the iconic drive between Victorville and Barstow.
Alternatively, those looking for a little more nature on the road trip may opt for the slightly longer drive on the I-10 E. This route is approximately 325 miles from the heart of LA, and without traffic will take around 5.5 hours. This route takes you past Joshua Tree National Park and through the Mojave Desert.
On average, roughly 35,650 people daily drive through the California/Nevada state line at the I-15 Primm exit. That being said, it’s more likely than not that you’ll hit some traffic on your road trip. Friday is the busiest time for people to start their Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip, and running into that traffic can easily add an extra hour to your drive time. Take extra care on holidays or when there are big Las Vegas events as well, as you may see your hours on the road hitting double digits. If possible, try to leave on a less-popular day – Monday through Wednesday will probably be your fastest bet.
Main Street of America, the Mother Road, Will Rogers Highway… whatever you want to call it, go get your kicks at the Route 66 Museum. This museum in Victorville is a fun way to learn about the roads you’re taking!
While the original Del Taco from Yermo, CA is now closed, Barstow is home to the chain’s longest-operating restaurant. Stop in and order something off of their secret menu for a quick road trip bite!
Once founded as a silver mining town in 1881, the Calico Ghost Town was architecturally restored in the 1950s and is now California’s Silver Rush Ghost Town. Take a step back in time and embrace some of California’s past.
A rural road with a bizarre name (and equally bizarre past) has understandably drawn some attention from roadtrippers. In 1944, the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa resided in this area, but it is now home to the Desert Studies Center.
Featured on the very first episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this road trip restaurant in Baker is a unique place to grab a bite. From milkshakes to gyros, The Mad Greek Cafe can satisfy any appetite while sitting amongst Grecian statues.
Also in Baker, it’s hard to miss the giant alien greeting you. Snack on some homemade jerky (made of beef, not aliens) as a road trip snack! If you’re driving to Vegas from LA in the future, keep an eye out for their upcoming UFO Hotel.
Right past the state line, a tiny oasis welcomes visitors to Nevada. Primm is home to three casinos, an outlet mall, and even a roller coaster. Whether you’re stopping in town to get gas or to gamble, Primm is a great prequel to Las Vegas.
Built in 1913, the Pioneer Saloon is a classic. This bar is saturated in Western history, as evidenced by the bullet holes in the walls, original brass detailings, and tales of patrons like Clark Gable. Take a seat at the bar and drink in the history!
You might notice your Los Angeles to Las Vegas drive is very… beige. Luckily, the Seven Magic Mountains art installation by Ugo Rondinone brings a pop of color to the desert landscape. Especially during sunset, this is a great photo op.
The desert landscape doesn’t always need a pop of color to stay interesting. Visit Red Rock Canyon for a variety of ways to appreciate Nevada’s natural beauty outside of the Vegas lights, from hiking to climbing to biking!
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.