Phoenix to Las Vegas Road Trip – Only Guide You’ll Need

Feeling bored and want an amazing road trip adventure? If you live in Arizona, you’re in great luck! Here’s a great idea: A road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas! From one vibrant and sunny city to another, this is undoubtedly one of the best cross-state trips you can plan.

Today, we’ll be talking about what you need to do to make a successful trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas.

Planning Your Road Trip

Before you hit the road, it’s essential to plan for your journey. Road trips are all about spontaneity and adventure, but a little bit of planning can make your journey smoother and more enjoyable.

Planning Your Pheonix to Las Vegas Road Trip
Planning Your Pheonix to Las Vegas Road Trip

Let’s quickly go over some important pointers to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible: 

  • The drive from Pheonix to Las Vegas takes between 5-6 hours nonstop.
  • The distance between these 2 places is 300 miles, but can vary based on the route you take 
  • There are 2 main routes from Phoenix to Las Vegas.
  • The Southwest can be scorching in the summer, with temperatures soaring above 100°F (37°C). To escape the extreme heat and make the most of your outdoor activities, consider visiting in the fall, winter, or spring when the weather is milder. 
  • Ensure your driver’s license and vehicle registration are up to date. Check if you need a parking pass or permits for specific activities like camping or hiking.

Recommended Read: Worst Time to Visit Arizona

Best Route for Pheonix to Las Vegas

The kind of road you take has a great impact on how smoothly your trip goes, so it’s important to understand all the options you have at your disposal. 

Best Routes and Maps
Best Routes and Maps

Different Routes

  • I-10 W and US-93 N: This is the most direct route and is ideal if you want to reach Las Vegas quickly. You’ll pass through the Sonoran Desert, which offers vast desert landscapes.
  • Historic Route 66: For a nostalgic journey, follow the iconic Route 66. It’s a longer route, but you’ll experience charming small towns and roadside attractions along the way.
  • I-17 N and AZ-89A N: If you’re a nature enthusiast, this route takes you through the stunning red rocks of Sedona and the scenic Oak Creek Canyon.

Scenic and Efficient Routes

  • I-10 W and US-93 N: This route is not only efficient but also offers beautiful desert scenery, especially during sunrise or sunset.
  • I-40 W: If you opt for Route 66, take I-40 W for a smooth and scenic drive through northern Arizona.
  • AZ-89A N: To witness Arizona’s natural beauty, including red rock formations, forests, and canyons, consider this route through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.

Now it’s your choice to make which route you want to take. Either the shorter and quicker one or the longer scenic one. I personally used the AZ-89A N route and I loved it!

Best Navigation Tools for Pheonix to Arizona Road Trip

  • Google Maps: Maps are a must-have when you’re taking road trips. One simply can’t go wrong with Google Maps and trust me when I say this, I’ve been lost because Google Maps’ servers were down this one time, so for that reason alone, I’d suggest you have the offline maps downloaded.
  • Waze: Another excellent app for navigation, Waze offers user-generated traffic and road information. Though not as widely used as Google Maps, it has some handy features and functionality like showing you the reported speed traps throughout the map which is useful if you’re someone like me who likes to be a little above the speed limit.
  • Physical Paper Maps: Don’t underestimate the usefulness of physical maps. They can serve as backups when technology fails, which isn’t unlikely since you’ll be crossing many desert areas. 

7 Places to Visit Between Phoenix to Las Vegas Road Trip

The road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas is an exciting and eventful one.

Here are some exciting and noteworthy stops you should consider as you make your way to Las Vegas:

Stops along the way: Pheonix to Las Vegas Road Trip
Stops along the way: Pheonix to Las Vegas Road Trip

Sedona, Arizona

Located just off Route 66, Sedona is famous for its striking red rock formations. People from all over the US visit Sedona to explore these unique and fascinating rock formations. Some people say they also emit cosmic energy, which has captured the interest of travelers for many years.

Sedona, Arizona
Sedona, Arizona

So, if you are making your way to Las Vegas and have some time to spare, be sure to explore hiking trails, visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, or enjoy the vibrant arts scene.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma Castle National Monument is a captivating historical site located along the route. You can witness the well-preserved cliff dwellings that were once home to the Sinagua people.

Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle National Monument

There are lots of fascinating photography spots and guided tours as well! It’s a fascinating glimpse into ancient Native American history. This place should be on your must-visit list when taking this road trip.

Jerome, Arizona

Jerome is a fun and exciting place with old roots. This historic mining town is located right under the side of the mighty Mingus Mountain. You can stroll through its streets filled with lively shops and collect loads of souvenirs.

Jerome, Arizona
Jerome, Arizona

There are also a lot of art galleries and eateries for when you get hungry along the road trip and need a quick bite to recharge. The Jerome State Historic Park is also another must-visit spot. Not only will it be a highly engaging and educational experience, but it will also fill your camera roll with tons of breathtaking shots for your trip posts on the gram!

Hoover Dam

Going to Vegas and missing the mighty Hoover Dam? Impossible! A marvel of engineering admired by people worldwide, the Hoover Dam is a must-see. It is a huge anti-gravity dam right on the Colorado River, and is one of the most visited dam in the world!

Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam

Take a tour to learn about its history and significance, or simply marvel at the massive structure as you make your way to Vegas. I can guarantee that you won’t regret it! 

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Once you explore the Hoover Dam, situated not far from Las Vegas, is a desert oasis waiting to be explored on your road trip from Phoenix. This massive reservoir, created by the Hoover Dam features outdoor activities like boating, fishing, or picnicking along the shores of Lake Mead. It’s a refreshing break from the desert landscapes.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Valley of Fire State Park

Another famous bucket list destination is Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park. Just a short drive from Las Vegas, this park is renowned for its vibrant red sandstone formations and breathtaking views. Valley of Fire State Park contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years.

Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park

The sand dunes here are truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, so make sure you don’t miss this spot! You can even hike the trails to see ancient petroglyphs and unique rock formations for yourself. 

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Located west of Las Vegas in the famous Mojave desert, this area offers everything a nature lover could ever desire. Be it hiking, rock climbing, or good old sightseeing, this place is sure to wow you. The scenic drive is a great way to appreciate the natural beauty of this wonderful state.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Hotels, Camping & Airbnb Options Along The Route

The trip from Phoenix to Vegas can be an exciting yet tiring one especially if you visit all the places we’ve mentioned above, so you might feel like taking a break and crashing somewhere, especially if it’s nighttime. Thankfully, the route between the 2 cities offers many welcoming accommodation options that allow you to catch your breath and recharge:

Hotels

In cities like Kingman, Flagstaff, and Boulder City, there are many famous hotel chains as well as charming local inns, so you’ll have a place to stay regardless of how your budget is. 

Hotels
Hotels

If you plan to explore the Grand Canyon, you can easily crash into one of the park’s lodges. Apart from that, you also have El Tovar and Bright Angel Lodge, which are very close to the canyon’s rim which also offer scenic views.

Also, consider checking out What’s the Difference Between Hotel and Motel?

Camping

As for nature enthusiasts, a night spent camping in desert areas is truly an unforgettable one. Luckily, the belt between Phoenix and Las Vegas offers many such opportunities where you can simply ditch the wheel and set up camp for the night.

Camping
Camping

Many national forests and parks, such as Coconino National Forest and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, have campgrounds. However, if you’re traveling during a busy season, you will have to check in advance for availability.

Airbnb and Vacation Rentals

Nowadays, there’s an AirBnB almost everywhere, which has made road trips incredibly easy. In some towns and cities, you’ll find many Airbnb rentals, which can provide a unique and cozy experience while helping you catch up on some much-needed rest.

Pro Tip: If you’re lucky and ask nicely, the host might even give you a nice discount!

Airbnb and Vacation Rentals
Airbnb and Vacation Rentals

Additionally, some national parks offer packages that include lodging and activities, so be sure to check those out as well!

Your Road Trip Checklist

Now that we’ve talked about the road trip and places to see on the way, let’s move on to the most important element that can make or break a journey: your checklist. With our comprehensive list, you’re guaranteed to have a smooth and hassle-free trip!

Let’s check it out: 

  • Maps and Navigation: GPS is handy, efficient, and convenient. But sometimes, your phone may lose internet access and GPS might not work. To be on the safe side always download an offline map and carry a physical one with you as well!
  • Vehicle Documents: Before you hit the road, it is crucial to ensure that you have your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance with you. They’ll come in handy if you ever get pulled over.
  • Emergency Contacts: You never know when things might go wrong on a road trip, so having someone in the know is always helpful. Keep a handy list of emergency contacts to reach out to in case anything goes wrong. This list should ideally include roadside assistance and someone back home who knows about your travel plans.
  • Roadside Emergency Kit: Before going on a road trip, it’s important to ensure that your car has the gear it needs to survive an emergency. Pack some jumper cables, a flashlight, flares, a basic toolkit, and a first-aid kit before hitting the road.
  • Spare Tire and Jack: A flat tire can seriously ruin your road trip, but you can get back on the road soon if you have a spare one. Make sure your spare tire is in good condition and that you have the tools to change a flat tire. Also, download a YouTube video if you’re unsure about how to change a tire.
  • Phone Charger and Power Bank: Getting from Phoenix to Vegas takes a minimum of 5 hours on a good day. Your phone will likely run out of battery during this time especially if it’s an old phone. We advise carrying a power bank and a car phone charger with you. Keep your devices charged, especially if you’re relying on navigation apps.
  • Cash and Cards: Have a mix of payment options for gas, tolls, and unexpected expenses.
  • Water and Snacks: It’s no surprise that the desert drive from Phoenix to Vegas is a scorching one. It’s essential to have lots of liquids with you. Stay hydrated and energized with bottled water and non-perishable snacks. If you plan to store perishable snacks or drinks, a small cooler can be useful as well.
  • Sun Protection: For this sunny and dry road trip, make sure you have adequate sun protection since it can get very hot and dry! Make sure you pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats to shield yourself from the desert sun.
Your Road Trip Checklist
Your Road Trip Checklist
  • Entertainment: Good entertainment can make your road trip go by in a breeze, and can prevent you from losing focus or falling asleep behind the wheel. Bring along music playlists, audiobooks, or podcasts for entertainment, since it’s going to be a 5 hour drive. 
  • Paper Towels and Wet Wipes: You’ll be spending a lot of time in the car, so things can get quite messy. Make sure to carry wipes and paper towels. They’re handy for spills and quick clean-ups.
  • Camera: Make sure you carry a good camera to capture the stunning landscapes and memories along the way.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Before hitting the road, ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Check the oil, brakes, tires, and fluids. Also, make sure your spare tire is properly inflated. Carry a water bottle and extra coolant with you as well.
  • Safety Precautions: Familiarize yourself with all the local and road laws of the state you’re visiting. Make sure you follow the rules and be cautious, especially when driving through unfamiliar areas. Take regular breaks to stay alert, and switch drivers if you feel like you’re getting tired.
  • Hydration: In the desert climate, staying hydrated is crucial to prevent yourself from falling ill. Keep drinking water throughout the journey, and make sure you stock up on water from gas stations as you drive.
     
  • Rest: Fatigue is the leading cause of road accidents in the country. Make sure you’ve gotten enough sleep before you head out on the road, and ensure you take frequent breaks during your trip.
  • Bubble Gums: This one is my secret tip, but chewing bubble gum while driving can help you stay focused and alert, especially on long, hot, and dry roads.
Things to do in Las Vegas: Phoenix to Las Vegas Road Trip
Things to do in Las Vegas: Phoenix to Las Vegas Road Trip

Conclusion

In conclusion, a road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas offers an exciting blend of adventure, scenic beauty, and historical sites. By planning your route, preparing your vehicle, and considering stops like Sedona, Montezuma Castle, and the Hoover Dam, you can ensure a memorable journey. Don’t forget to pack essentials like navigation tools, emergency contacts, sun protection, and entertainment to make your trip comfortable and enjoyable. Safe travels!

Umar Ali
As editor in chief, I am always on the road, searching for hidden gems, undiscovered waterfalls, enticing hikes to explore, underrated delis, and more. Crafting compelling content that captures the true essence of each place is my passion. With years of experience in travel journalism, I strive to provide unbiased and factual content based on my real-life experiences. When I'm not out exploring, you can find me delving into local markets and devouring new foods, immersing myself in the cultures and communities that make each destination unique. It might sound like a tough job, but I love it!

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