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5 road trip destinations from Las Vegas

As summer approaches and Memorial Day weekend draws closer, we can expect to see more California license plates on Pahrump roads as they are a major pass-through between Las Vegas and Death Valley. But where can locals go to relax and escape the heat — and maybe the tourists, too?

Here are five ideas for road trip destinations from Pahrump that take less than five hours.

St. George, Utah

There’s plenty to enjoy in Southern Utah and in less than three hours, visitors can arrive in St. George.

The destination is great for those who enjoy the outdoors as it’s near Zion National Park, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and Dixie National Forest. Or, travel a little further for a day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park or the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Estimated time: 3 hours (181 miles).

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

There’s a not-so-small piece of British history in Lake Havasu City: the London Bridge.

In 1967, Robert McCulloch purchased part of the bridge from across the pond for $2.46 million. The developer of Lake Havasu City thought the purchase would help make the desert community a tourist destination.

Havasu

Now, visitors go to the city for the bridge as well as for the water sports and special events like the IJSBA Jet Ski World Finals and the Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair.

Estimated time: 3 hours, 18 min. (282 miles).

Flagstaff, Arizona

About five hours from the Pahrump Valley, Flagstaff is a great road trip into Northern Arizona. Stargaze at Lowell Observatory, check out the shopping and open-air markets in the city’s downtown or see spots along the historic Route 66.

Lowell

Flagstaff can also be a home base to drive an hour south into Sedona or north to Kaibab National Forest, a roughly 1½ hour drive.

Estimated time: 4 hours, 42 min. (306 miles).

Palm Springs, California

If you want to vacation at a spot that was popular with old-school Hollywood film stars and the Rat Pack, consider visiting Palm Springs. Visitors can browse vintage shops, art galleries or boutiques at the El Paseo Shopping District. A ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway can also provide a view over the valley at an elevation of more than 8,500 feet. There’s also plenty of options to sit poolside at resorts or visit spas in the city.

Estimated time: 4 hours (268 miles).

San Diego, California

So “less than five hours” might be a little generous, but the 5½ hour drive to San Diego may be worth it for ocean lovers. Visitors can walk along the boardwalk at Mission Beach or head to La Jolla for a surf lesson. There’s also family-friendly attractions at Balboa Park, which is home to the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Natural History Museum and other attractions. Guests can also opt for a glimpse of the San Diego Padres’ home ballpark Petco Park or the USS Midway Museum, located on a historical naval aircraft carrier in downtown San Diego.

Estimated time: 5 1/2 hours (321 miles).

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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