Las Vegas: Honeymoon and Wedding by Car

Most Las Vegas hotels as seen from the Mandalay Bay, including the famous Luxor pyramid. - Las Vegas New Bureau/Darrin Bush
Most Las Vegas hotels as seen from the Mandalay Bay, including the famous Luxor pyramid. – Las Vegas News Bureau/Darrin Bush

Constantly rising airfares are making it difficult for couples to reach the honeymoon or wedding destinations of their dreams. And even if you do fly there, you might not have much money left for quality accommodations. Luckily, there are plenty of dream-worthy destinations right here in North America reachable by car.

For those who live in the western United States, Las Vegas is a great, drive-able destination for honeymoons and weddings. Its abundance of four- and five-star resorts can be enjoyed at prices that would usually put you in a three-star or lower hotel anywhere else (this is especially true on weekdays). Plus, the money you saved on the hotel and by driving can be put toward an endless supply of great restaurants, entertainment and shopping.

We’ve previously scouted the Hard Rock Hotel and recommended it as a great choice for honeymooners, but some of our other favorites includes the Cosmopolitan (impossibly cool), Mandarin Oriental (no casino, less hectic, very swank) and Venetian (all suites, central location, romantic vibe).

If you’re looking for a destination wedding spot, there are a lot more options than getting hitched at a little chapel with Elvis officiating (although we have friends who did that). Many resorts offer wedding services that are just as classy and elegant as you’d find elsewhere. The Mandalay Bay has often been voted the best of the bunch, offering 10 ceremony locations (including a private lagoon and their Shark Reef aquarium), catering by its award-winning chefs and your own wedding planner. Your wedding guests are also just as likely to appreciate the affordable hotel accommodations.

Distance From:
Los Angeles: 265 miles, 4 hours (or 6 to 7 depending on traffic)
Phoenix: 284 miles, 4.5 hours
San Diego: 327 miles, 5 hours
Salt Lake City: 428 miles, 6 hours
San Francisco: 562 miles, 8 hours
Albuquerque: 572 miles, 8 hours
Denver: 756 miles, 11 hours

Las Vegas, honeymoon, pools, Hard Rock
Grand pools like those at the Hard Rock are a big reason to honeymoon in Vegas. Photo courtesy of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Mix Lounge, Mandalay Bay, Honeymoons, Weddings
Mix Lounge on the top floor of the Mandalay Bay is a great spot for wedding receptions and honeymooners alike. Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International
Wedding Venue, Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay
Valley of the Falls, just one of the 10 wedding venues at the Mandalay Bay – Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International
hard rock hotel casino las vegas honeymoon
You can stay in a suite like this one at the Hard Rock on weekdays at extremely reasonable rates. Photo by James Riswick

Detours and Day Trips:

Grand Canyon
Whether as a detour or as a day trip, the Grand Canyon is THE sight to see when venturing away from Las Vegas. Although the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is a four-hour drive (and certainly the more appealing and famous destination), the western Grand Canyon that’s home to the famous Skywalk can be reached in two and a half hours. We would still recommend going all the way, however, and spending a night either in one of the park lodges or 60 miles south in the charming Route 66 town of Williams, Ariz., that provides easy access to Interstate 40 back to Vegas.

Even photos can't properly describe the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. Photo by James Riswick
Even photos can’t properly describe the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. Photo by James Riswick

Sedona, Ariz.
Roughly the same distance away as the Grand Canyon National Park entrance is Sedona, Ariz. This is really a honeymoon destination by itself and certainly more of a detour than a day trip. Dubbed “Red Rock Country,” Sedona lives up to its name with a gorgeous color palette of reds and oranges that contrast majestically against the blue sky and green foliage. It really is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Though there is no shortage of accommodation available, we’d highly recommend the secluded Enchantment Resort. The picture below should provide reason enough.

Enchantment Resort lives up to its name. Photo courtesy of Enchantment Resort
Enchantment Resort lives up to its name. Photo courtesy of Enchantment Resort

Death Valley:
If you’re coming from Southern California, driving through Death Valley could double your drive time, but the journey will be exponentially more enjoyable than the interminable slog that is Interstate 15. Majestic, truly unique views abound no matter where you look, with towering mountains, rolling sand dunes, blindingly white salt flats and an endless supply of oddly named sights like the Devil’s Golf Course.

If you’re coming from elsewhere, it’s only about three hours to Death Valley, so a day trip is certainly possible. Unlike the Grand Canyon, however, there is a dearth of lodging options anywhere near it.

Make sure to check the park website to ensure that all roads are open. Also, Death Valley’s staggering elevation changes and temperatures can take a toll on your car, so double check it’s in proper working order.

Death Valley, Driving, Roads
The highway up and down into Death Valley from Panamint Valley. Photo by James Riswick

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