Vegas Day Trip Ideas ❥ If you’re not too drunk to function.

Beginning of September, I went on an amazing road trip adventure to the American Southwest and have been sharing some traveling hacks in the past few weeks. To conclude this series, here are two mini day trip destinations you can check out when in Las Vegas – if you’re not too hungover to drive that is.

First and foremost, this post was originally supposed to go up last week but knowing me, I got consumed by Netflix. Since then, the news about the Vegas shooting broke out and I can’t begin to imagine how that could’ve easily been me there…

With so much that’s been going on in the rest of the world (Hurricane Irma, etc. etc.), I feel like my social media and my blog are part of a safe haven that I can turn to to forget what’s happening around me, which is exactly why I tend to not talk about these sorts of serious topics on here. I understand that traveling is very much a privilege especially when there are those dealing with difficulties who can’t necessarily afford such luxuries. Not really sure where I’m going with this, guess sometimes the guilt just eats me up inside. I don’t wanna turn this into some kinda self-reflection post but I felt like I needed to get this off my chest. Thoughts and prayers to all those affected in recent catastrophes.

And on with the juicy bits!

Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains

Starting off with the closer one of the two, Seven Magic Mountains is a a creative expression of human presence in the desert. It reflects both concepts of nature versus artificiality as represented by the distant mountain ranges and heavy traffic flow between LA and Las Vegas. Made popular by Instagram, this is definitely the “it” thing to see, although I bet you can’t tell it cost $3.5 million to install.

Seven Magic Mountains Seven Magic Mountains Seven Magic Mountains Seven Magic Mountains

It’s an easy 30-minute drive from the strip and makes for a super cute photo shoot opportunity.

Seven Magic Mountains Seven Magic Mountains Seven Magic Mountains

We unfortunately came on a cloudy day (technically night as we arrived around 5pm) and it was actually drizzling for a bit too. That said, there weren’t as many people. Is this really worth seeing though? I personally thought it was ugly to be honest. I’m the sort of person who appreciates beauty in its most natural state so I thought the desert alone was perfect as is. But you know what they say… Art, whether you love it or hate it, the purpose is to elicit a response. I’m probably contradicting myself here, but like I said, it definitely is a great spot for pictures so go see it while it’s still there!

Kelso Dunes

Kelso Dunes

Located in the Mojave Desert, Kelso Dunes is southwest of Seven Magic Mountains and just a short hour and 45 minute-drive from the Vegas strip.

Kelso Dunes Kelso Dunes Kelso DunesScenic drive en route Kelso Dunes.

Kelso Dunes Kelso DunesKelso Dunes Kelso Dunes Kelso DunesKelso Dunes Kelso Dunes Kelso Dunes

This was probably a fail for us though since we technically didn’t even make it that far out. We walked for 20 minutes towards the peak and turned around because the sand was burning hot and practically scorching our feet.

For the whole time we were in the Southwest, we’d worn runners because we knew we’d be walking and hiking lots. Long and behold the time when we really needed to be wearing sneakers, we wore sandals because we wanted to look pretty in our Instagram shots. (Lame.) And well in my defense, sandals and sand kinda go hand in hand. When was the last time you saw someone wear a pair of Nikes on the beach?

If you’re thinking of hitting up Kelso Dunes, just know that it’ll be a good hike to get to the peak and closed shoes are definitely encouraged. Oh and remember to bring water too!

Seven Magic Mountains

And there you have it! Two fun day trip ideas you could take on your next Las Vegas adventure. For more detailed guide on where else to check out while you’re in the area, be sure to hit up my previous posts on Horseshoe Bend + Antelope Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park. Tune in again next week for my Los Angeles guide. See you then 😉

92 Comments

  1. October 8, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    Fun pictures! I never really get off of the strip when I’m in Vegas. Guess I need to get out more. LOL

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:08 am

      Hahahahaa you barely have time to sleep with all them parties going on, who has time to venture off the strip! 😉

  2. October 8, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Oh my god, everything about this is so drool worthy! I love love love your video in the beginning and your photos! Holy cow, so freaken adorable. I’ve always wanted to hit up that area of the U.S. and road trip to all the natural beauts and art installations there. But $3.5 million just to install a bunch of rocks on top of each other, like whattt??? I would have never guessed in a million years it cost that much.

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:09 am

      Thank you so much Alex!!!!! <3 And I know right, tell me about it. Imagine what you could do with all that money! I hear they're getting rid of it tho as it is too expensive to maintain hahaa so if you wanna go, you gotta be quick lol!

  3. October 9, 2017 / 12:02 am

    We were in Vegas this time last year. So wish we would have known about the 7 Magic Mountains – very random but looks super fun to do a photo shoot. 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:10 am

      Definitely! I was gonna say you could always check it out the next time you revisit but I do hear it’s getting taken down soon!

  4. October 9, 2017 / 2:13 am

    Love your ideas! We visited Vegas two years ago, and I wish I knew about those two. We went further to Joshua Tree Park though, that was really good too.

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:13 am

      Joshua Tree Park is soooo on my list! Although we actually did pass by one in either Utah or Arizona. It was quite a small one tho.

  5. October 9, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    We have a friend who is not so far from Vegas but we haven’t visited it yet… We always wanted… These colorful mountains is one of the coolest things we have ever seen! We’d like to take tons of photos here hahaha

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:15 am

      You gotta hurry if you wanna tho. I hear it’s getting taking down! Guess it’s time to phone up that friend for a visit hahaa 😉

  6. October 9, 2017 / 1:57 pm

    Although I know of vegas, and the Nevada Desert I had no idea about the 7 magic mountains, I’ve instantly just added it to my list of things to do on my USA road trip. Your post has given me some great ideas 😀 Thanks for bringing this to my attention

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:16 am

      Glad to hear, Amit! Although I am sorry to inform, as I just found out, that the rocks won’t be there for much longer :/

  7. Abigail Sinsona
    October 9, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    I love this guide and I feel like it’s speaking to me, haha. This would be my ideal way to enjoy Las Vegas. While I do love to explore the city and the strip, I think this would be a fun change from all the common ways to see LV!

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:17 am

      Oh definitely! And I mean your body can only handle so many days of being hungover right? You need a break and some healthy activities LOL!

  8. Brooke
    October 10, 2017 / 8:36 am

    Well I truly detest Vegas (at least the casino and strip areas most people visit when they go) but I do love the desert hiking when you get out off the beaten path there-it can be a cool place when it’s not summer! 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:18 am

      For sure! I get that the casino and party scene isn’t for everyone, but there’s definitely something for everybody in Vegas 😀

  9. October 10, 2017 / 11:39 am

    what gorgeous photos! your outfit is too cute! I have always wanted to visit this area of near Vegas, thank you for sharing!

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:19 am

      Thanks Krista! Hope you’ll get to check them out next time you’re in town 🙂

  10. October 10, 2017 / 6:31 pm

    I saw a couple of friends went here but they never mentioned about the $3.5 mill. I wonder what the material of those art pieces? You made beautiful pictures though.

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:19 am

      Thanks so much Umiko! If you google Seven Magic Mountains, they have a website where they go in-depth about their installation process and you’d be surprised how much work went into just “stacking rocks” XDD

  11. October 10, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    Thanks for posing ideas that are not on the strip. I never really had an interest to go to Las Vegas until now

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 12:20 am

      So glad to hear I was able to spark your interest in visiting! Hope you’ll get to it someday 🙂

  12. October 11, 2017 / 12:31 am

    If you’re not too drunk to function is a reasonable detail here 😉 Why would you go to Vegas then? Lol

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 10:54 am

      Hahhaaa girl you gotta give your body a break from all that hangover sometimes! And strange enough, I always see people bring their kids to Vegas so you’d be surprised!

  13. BeeTravelista
    October 11, 2017 / 8:24 am

    Oh wow never knew this

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:18 pm

      Now you do 😉

  14. October 11, 2017 / 8:28 am

    Wow! That looks unreal. My boyfriend wants to go to Vegas in 2018 as we’ve never been to the USA at all & Vegas is a different place on earth. This makes me excited as I’m not a big gambler and would rather do a bit exploring around!

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 10:55 am

      Aww that’s awesome! These day trip ideas are perfect then!!! Although I do hear they are taking down the colored rocks soon so not sure if they’ll still be around in 2018 :/

  15. Anisa
    October 11, 2017 / 9:02 am

    I really wanted to do the seven magic mountains last time we went to Vegas but we just didn’t have time – love your photos! Another idea for a day trip is going to the Grand Canyon. I took a helicopter there from Vegas and although it was expensive, it was definitely worth it.

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 10:57 am

      Thanks Anisa! Lucky you!!!!! I was dying to do a helicopter ride but you’re right, it is quite expensive. And we checked out Grand Canyon too and went as far as Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon even. I have a whole separate post on mistakes to avoid making when visiting 😀

  16. October 11, 2017 / 9:36 am

    So much wanderlust going on in one post! Your pictures are beyond amazing! I love the fun facts about the Seven Magic Mountains. Definitely one for a bucket list!

    • JASCHEN
      October 11, 2017 / 10:58 am

      Thank you so much Yesh! Really glad to hear you enjoyed my photos since I wasn’t quite feeling them as you can see, cloudy skies don’t exactly make for the best photography setting.

  17. Sarah
    October 11, 2017 / 10:32 am

    I’ve been to Vegas (too) many times. But only ever did a day-trip once. We went to the Hoover Dam and really enjoyed it. It’s easy to get to and a very cool thing to see. Just another idea to add to the list!

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:08 pm

      We actually drove past Hoover Dam and didn’t stop. Biggest regret ever 🙁

  18. October 11, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    Really cool video and pictures!
    What camera did you use to shoot them?
    I’m also divided regarding the Seven Mountains. The pictures are beautiful, and the colors in the middle of the desert are great. On the other hand, Nature itself was pretty too! And the cost of this installation :O
    It’s great that you talk about those two spots, I would never have guessed that there is so much to see around Las Vegas 🙂
    If I ever go on that road trip along the West Coast, I’ll make sure to check out the Death Valley and Las Vegas.

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:09 pm

      Thanks so much Pauline!! I use a mirrorless camera – Fujifilm X-Pro 2 🙂 And I’m totally with you about the rocks. They’re cute for photos but Mother Nature is beautiful on her own as well!

  19. October 11, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    Love your photos and video! Makes me want to go back to Vegas just to make theses side trips.

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:10 pm

      I hear they’re taking down the rocks soon? But I’d highly recommend it if you could revisit before then 😀

  20. October 11, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    Seven Magic Mountains looks absolutely beautiful but when I read that it cost 3.5 million to install this, I keep wondering whether it wouldn’t have been better to spend that money on more useful things like helping people in need. Well, but that’s another topic, of course and your pics are really great.

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      My thoughts exactly!!! I’m so torn about the idea because of that but not gonna lie, they do make for a pretty cute photo backdrop. And thank you Daniela. Hope you enjoyed a wonderful weekend!!

  21. October 12, 2017 / 4:08 am

    3.5 million….seriously!? That is some crazy money! (They do look very festive though).
    I think the natural sand dunes are more my thing too. Oh, and I get the sandals thing, trainers and a maxi skirt isn’t a great look.

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Hahhahahaa sometimes I’ll do the runners and a skirt and chop off my feet in photos 😉

  22. October 12, 2017 / 5:27 am

    Really nice pictures! I love how colourful the blocks are! A great spot for photos 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:17 pm

      Great spot for Instagram photos for sure!

  23. Kristen
    October 12, 2017 / 9:25 am

    Great post! Every time I’ve gone to Vegas, I never left the city. It’s good to know there are day trip options too, because I’m getting to the age where I’m actually pretty tired of the Vegas scene haha

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:17 pm

      Hahhahaa I feel you. Nature walks are definitely much more enjoyable when you reach that age where your body can’t physically handle the booze and the party no more.

  24. October 13, 2017 / 12:38 am

    More than anything I love simply LOVE your photos and that video. Didn’t know about seven magic mountains. Amazing post!!!

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      Aww thank you so much for the kind compliments, Neha!

  25. October 13, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    There is so much to see and experience in Vegas beyond the party and casino scene. I love the landscapes around the place, it has a kind of wild beauty. The seven mountains look so surreal. The man made structures are so colourful and so contrasting with the wilderness in the background.

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:15 pm

      There’s actually so much to see around the area. Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon… oh the list goes on! I definitely think Vegas/the American Southwest has something for everyone.

  26. October 15, 2017 / 2:51 am

    Your photos are stunning, and let me want to visit these places as soon as possible! 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:14 pm

      Thanks Clara! Hope you’ll get to them soon 😀

  27. October 15, 2017 / 4:09 am

    The colorful seven magic mountains is what I need to photograph and get on my Instagram. I know they are not there permanently but my Dad is in the area next week and I’m sending him to photograph them! I can’t believe how tall they are, when I saw the people stood by them. This is a worthwhile day trip from Vegas!

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:13 pm

      That’s so cute! And yess they’re HUGE!!!!! I saw two Japanese ladies who took a taxi cab there so you bet it’s worthwhile hahaa 😉

  28. October 15, 2017 / 7:00 pm

    Great! It’s nice to see that there are really cool natural attractions in Las Vegas. It’s a refreshing shift from all those casinos and hotels. My dad and relatives, who live in California, usually travel to Las Vegas on weekends. 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      October 15, 2017 / 9:13 pm

      That’s awesome! Maybe they’ll be able to check these out next time on their drive 😉

  29. October 16, 2017 / 9:58 am

    This looks awesome! Two things I would never expected to see. I think I would love to go to Vegas particularly to explore outwith the main strip so this is great! Thanks for the tips!

    • JASCHEN
      October 20, 2017 / 6:45 pm

      No problem Chiera! Vegas is full of surprises and I definitely recommend venturing off the strip!!

  30. October 25, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    The cost of that art installation! OMG! I guess I don’t think it’s ugly, but definitely not worth that! Definitely a cool place for an Insta photo, though.

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:27 pm

      100% agree with ya there. It’s crazy expensive but I’m definitely guilty for doing a photoshoot here hahaa.

  31. October 25, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    I love your photos soo much! I’ve been to the seven magic mountains and they are so fun!! Thanks for sharing these great ideas! 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      Aww thanks Felicia!!! Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend <3

  32. October 25, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    You video is stunning. The red rocks are breathtaking. Also just wanted to say I feel you on that statement about social media being an escape from some of the stress of the world. Thanks for making art and taking our minds off things 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      Thank you Maloney for understanding! Traveling is really such a privilege and I’m blessed to get to have these beautiful experiences and share them with my readers here on the blog 🙂

  33. Kristin
    October 25, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    Fun ideas. I love visiting Vegas and have yet to rent a car and tour the area.

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:29 pm

      It’ll definitely be a fun alternative to clubbing and gambling 😉

  34. October 25, 2017 / 2:56 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe it cost over 3 million to install Seven Magic Mountains. I’ve always wondered where that was and now I know 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:29 pm

      Ikr!!!!! And yes, now you do! Hope you’ll get to check it out before it gets taken down!

  35. October 26, 2017 / 12:58 am

    I’m a huge Vegas fan, having been more than 30 times, but I can never quite tear myself away from the city. I love the landscapes here, and those rocks are kind of cool. Maybe next time…

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:30 pm

      Hahhaha girllllll you’re crazy! I’ve only been twice and I already feel like my body is too old to handle all the parties and alcohol. Hope you’ll get to check these places out the next time you’re there 😉

  36. October 26, 2017 / 5:00 am

    Just read over this for the second time! I have a friend from Spain coming to America this summer, and we are hoping to go to Vegas together. I’ll have to send this to her!!

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:31 pm

      How fun! Hope you guys have a blast and let me know if you need any other recommendations!!! 😀

  37. October 26, 2017 / 6:17 am

    Two awesome day tripe ideas – ideal for when you get tired of blackjack! I absolutely loved visiting Vegas and surrounding areas a couple of years ago

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:32 pm

      Hahhaa it’s a perfect alternative! Cheers Laura!

  38. Lindsey
    October 27, 2017 / 4:49 am

    I’m not really a Vegas fan but these day trips would be worth it for me to go back haha. Especially the Seven Magic Mountains! I’ve since I started seeing photos of those I really wanted to go see them!

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:33 pm

      I hear they’re taking it down so you better hurry hahaa. Let me know if you need any other day trip recommendations 😀

  39. November 2, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    Love your photos! I have never heard of these places and will definitely make a trip to see these when I visit Vegas again.

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:22 pm

      Aww thanks Nadia! So glad to hear that!!! Let me know if you need any other recommendations for your future trip 🙂

  40. November 2, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    It looks so peaceful and so beautiful out there! Great pictures, I need to go there one day myself too 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      Thank you so much dear! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far!

  41. TH
    November 3, 2017 / 1:44 am

    Cool pics! I visited Las Vegas this summer and we did a day trip to Grand Canyon 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      November 4, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      That’s awesome! Hope you had a blast 😀

  42. November 5, 2017 / 5:00 am

    I”m not usually very good with day trips – I promised myself to travel a lot during the weekends but I can’t make it, not even to Oxford which is like an hour by train from London! Shame and at the same time lucky you – the above ideas are cool so I’m jealous! and your khaki shirt is lovely!

    • JASCHEN
      November 8, 2017 / 1:17 pm

      Aww Mann if I were you I’d be taking day trips around London every weekend! But it’s also good to just sit and relax at home so I get it hehee. Thanks dear and hope you enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

  43. November 5, 2017 / 7:10 am

    The seven magic mountains are so bright and colourful . I’ve not heard of seven magic mountains and would love to visit! These are great day trip ideas. I’m bookmarking this for when we plan our road trip to the USA.

    • JASCHEN
      November 8, 2017 / 1:17 pm

      Yay! Hope you’ll get to visit soon before they take it down!!!

  44. November 5, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    wow nice pics! when i think about vegas, i think about the flashy city. i totally forgot it’s in the middle of a dessert with still much to see. thank you for sharing!

    • JASCHEN
      November 8, 2017 / 1:17 pm

      I always forget that too! There are definitely some fun day trip destinations around worth exploring tho 😉

  45. November 6, 2017 / 11:57 pm

    It’s great to see there’s an alternative to full on Vegas. I think the dunes would be my choice. I loved White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, and I could happily spend time here, just wandering. And I bet it’d me more of a workout than I expect; walking up dunes is hard work!

    • JASCHEN
      November 8, 2017 / 1:19 pm

      I definitely didn’t expect it to be so difficult! The heat was really just the thing that made it hard for us to continue. And I’ll have to check out White Sands National Monument! Sounds like a lovely spot for a stroll!

  46. November 7, 2017 / 3:20 am

    These coloured rocks are fantastic… and definitely worth a visit. Thanks for sharing your excellent photos 🙂

    • JASCHEN
      November 8, 2017 / 1:19 pm

      No problem, thank you Ali for the kind words!

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