If you want to travel from deep in the heart of Texas all the way to Sin City, then an Austin to Las Vegas road trip would be a fun and exciting way to do so. On the way to Vegas, you'll have the opportunity to visit several excellent national and state parks. In addition to seeing a lot of all-American countryside in several states, you'll get to pass by some intriguing points of interest in or near the biggest cities on this route. Before you get to experience the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, you'll get to have some great times with your RV on the open road.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the southern part of New Mexico close to the Texas border. More than 119 limestone caves in the Guadalupe Mountains make up this national park. Whether you want to tour the fossilized caverns, hike around canyons and plateaus on the surface part of the park, or watch the famed bat flights from the caves at twilight, you can do so at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is close to Carlsbad Caverns, so you should explore this newer national park on your road trip from Austin to Las Vegas as well. While this park doesn't have much in the way of amenities and luxuries, it does have a ton of trails that take visitors through a gorgeous mountain and canyon terrain. Canyons, peaks, salt basins, reef fossils, and more are on display here. You can also explore the remains of an old stagecoach station and tour a restored ranch at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park is an aptly named national park close to Lincoln National Forest and Holloman Air Force Base. It's known for its pristine white sand dunes made of gypsum and for the fossils found within. Visitors to this park enjoy exploring the dunes by hiking, horseback riding, and even dune-sliding. You may encounter coyotes, roadrunners, bobcats, and numerous other types of desert animal and plant life. Be advised that the park is sometimes closed due to the defensive tech tests that can occur there, so you should make sure the park is going to be open before you go.
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is right along your route on this Austin to Las Vegas RV road trip. Interstate 40 cuts right through part of the park, so you won't have to go off the beaten path at all. While the park is known for the colorful petrified wood that gives the park its name, trees aren't the only things frozen in time here. Petroglyphs, archaeological sites, and paleontological sites also testify to the human habitation of this area before recorded history. You can explore Petrified Forest National Park through a series of easy trails or a multi-day backpacking hike.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is fairly close to Las Vegas, so it's the final national park on your road trip itinerary from Austin to Las Vegas. Whether you want to view this gorgeous gorge carefully from its edge or up close and personal on a hiking trip, you'll be able to see the breathtaking vistas that have drawn millions of people a year since the park's inception. Other popular methods of experiencing the Grand Canyon include biking, rafting, and horseback riding.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Pedernales Falls State Park is the first state park you'll encounter on your road trip from Austin to Las Vegas. It's located right on the Pedernales River, so visitors can take advantage of a variety of water sports like tubing, boating, swimming, and fishing. Trails abound at this park; there are even some trails that are specially designated as horseback riding trails and backpacking trails. All of these trails will give you the chance to see the deer, opossums, birds, and coyotes that call Pedernales Falls State Park home.
Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake State Park in Texas is close to Buchanan Lake and Dam on the Colorado River. Inks Lake itself is a bend in the Colorado River that's perfect for swimming, boating, scuba diving, and paddle boating. You can fish from your boat, from the shore, or from two conveniently placed piers. Another fun activity here is geocaching, which involves using a phone app to find specific locations around the park. Whether your interests are high-tech or low-tech, you can find tons of fun at Inks Lake State Park.
Colorado Bend State Park
Colorado Bend State Park is a bit north of Inks Lake. As its name implies, it's located in a bend of the Colorado River, much like Inks Lake. This park offers its visitors a bevy of beautiful waterfalls, caves, sinkholes, natural springs, and other similar geographical features. Expert guides lead cave tours here, so you can whet your appetite for Carlsbad Caverns at Colorado Bend State Park.
Bottomless Lakes State Park
Bottomless Lakes State Park is close to Roswell, NM. While its lakes are, of course, not actually bottomless, the blue-green water in them gives them the illusion of great depth. Diving, swimming, and kayaking are all popular water activities here. On land, visitors frequently hike, bird-watch, and take pictures of the abundant flora and fauna in the park.
Red Rock State Park
Red Rock State Park near Sedona, AZ, has become a desirable tourist destination since its inception in 1991. People love coming here to view the stunning red rock formations and canyons and to hike its beautiful trails. It's also close to the city of Sedona, so you can easily head over there once you're finished exploring Red Rock State Park.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Natural Bridge Caverns is about an hour off of your route near the San Antonio area. Four different exploration options give you the means to explore these natural caverns however you want. On the surface, you can try your hand at their ropes course, climbing area, maze, and gem mining area.
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is across Highway 380 from Bottomless Lakes State Park. This Roswell-area park has multiple wildlife-watching and nature trails that let visitors explore various wetlands environments. Hunting and biking are other popular activities you can do at this refuge.
ABQ BioPark is a complex in Albuquerque that includes a zoo, a golf course, an aquarium, a botanic garden, and a beach. It's located close to downtown Albuquerque, and it is near the banks of the Rio Grande. The zoo itself is nearly 100 years old and houses more than 900 animals from around the world.
Downtown Flagstaff is nationally celebrated for its excellent selection of quality restaurants, bars, and shops. No matter what type of dining experience you're looking for, you'll likely find it in downtown Flagstaff. What could be more enjoyable after a day of exploring nearby state parks than relaxing in a lovely restaurant or bar?
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead is close to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Valley of Fire State Park. It straddles the Nevada/Arizona border and includes the iconic landmark of Hoover Dam. Boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, and camping are all possible here.
San Angelo, TX
San Angelo is home to Goodfellow Air Base and San Angelo State Park. Other local attractions include O.C. Fisher Lake, Fort Concho Museum, and some RV campgrounds.
Roswell is, of course, a mecca for UFO buffs, but it's also an aerospace engineering hub. In Roswell, you can visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center, eat at an alien-themed restaurant, or camp at some lovely local campgrounds.
Albuquerque is the biggest city in New Mexico; Interstate 40 and the Rio Grande go right through it. It's home to a host of important Southwestern cultural museums and the University of New Mexico. Multiple dump stations and campgrounds are also available.
Flagstaff is known for its vibrant dining, nightlife, and shopping scenes. You can stay at multiple campgrounds while exploring this fascinating part of Arizona.