If you’re driving from Sacramento to Las Vegas, the roughly 600 mile journey will take around 9-10 hours depending on traffic conditions. While the Interstate 80 and US-95 freeways connect these two cities in fairly efficient fashion, this lengthy drive can get boring and fatiguing over time. Stopping to take breaks along the way makes the drive much more pleasant. But where exactly should you stop on a Sacramento to Vegas road trip? Here are some of the best places to take a rest, get gas, eat and explore between Sacramento and Las Vegas.
Why Stop On A Sacramento To Vegas Drive?
Before getting into the specifics of where to stop on the Sacramento to Vegas drive, it’s worth understanding why stopping to break up the journey is a good idea in the first place. Here are some of the main benefits of stopping along the way:
- Prevent driver fatigue – Driving for 8+ hours straight can be mentally and physically draining for the driver. Taking regular breaks helps you stay alert and focused.
- See interesting attractions – The drive between Sacramento and Vegas passes through some beautiful scenery and quirky roadside attractions that are worth stopping to admire.
- Eat/drink/recharge – You’ll need to refuel both yourself and the car during this lengthy drive. Stopping allows everyone to use the restroom, get snacks and give your legs a stretch.
- Split up the drive – Breaking the journey into smaller segments makes the drive feel shorter and less tedious.
- Bring your pets – If you’re traveling with pets, they need regular opportunities to get out of the car, reliever themselves, eat and drink.
Stopping every 2-3 hours allows you to enjoy the benefits above without adding too much extra time onto your Sacramento to Vegas drive. Now let’s look at some of the best places to stop along the way.
The first worthy stop when driving from Sacramento to Vegas is the mountain town of Truckee, located around 100 miles east of Sacramento. Conveniently right off Interstate 80, Truckee offers plenty of services like gas stations and restaurants right off the highway exit. Some top attractions and activities in Truckee include:
- Walking/shopping historic downtown – Check out the fun shops and eateries in charming downtown Truckee.
- Donner Memorial State Park – Learn about the infamous ill-fated Donner party who were stranded here in winter.
- Donner Lake – This beautiful alpine lake is perfect for taking scenic photos or enjoying recreational activities like fishing, boating and swimming in summer.
- Ice skating – The Truckee Ice Rink offers year-round ice skating.
- Rafting on Truckee River – Take an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip down the Truckee River.
- Hot springs – Soak in the relaxing waters of Steamboat Hot Springs.
Truckee is a great first pit stop to take when driving from Sacramento to Vegas. The gorgeous mountain scenery also adds some nice scenery during the early part of the drive before it transitions to dry desert land.
The “Biggest Little City in the World” makes a convenient and entertaining stopover point about halfway between Sacramento and Las Vegas. It takes around 4 hours to drive from Sacramento to Reno. Here are some of top things to see and do if you stop in Reno:
- Casinos – Try your luck at one of Reno’s many glitzy casinos like the Atlantis, Eldorado, Peppermill and Grand Sierra Resort.
- National Automobile Museum – This museum has an impressive collection of over 200 vintage automobiles.
- Reno Aces baseball – Catch a minor league baseball game at the Reno Aces’ stadium during baseball season.
- Lake Tahoe – The entrance to stunning Lake Tahoe is less than an hour drive from Reno.
- Great restaurants – Reno has an emerging food scene with many tasty dining options.
- Nightlife – Reno has a buzzing downtown scene with fun bars, clubs and shows.
The combination of gaming, entertainment, outdoor activities and great restaurants makes Reno an entertaining place to take a break during your road trip to Las Vegas.
This small rural town situated along Interstate 80 is worth a quick stopover for a few unique attractions. Here are some things to see if you decide to stop in Lovelock:
- Seven Troughs Distilling Co. – Sample craft spirits at this distillery.
- Lovers Lock Plaza – Check out the locks left by sweethearts at this romantic bridge.
- Pershing County Courthouse – Visit the courthouse museum with exhibits about local history.
- Roadside art – Look for the quirky art installations spotted around town.
- Take a selfie with the Lovelock sign – Capture the perfect pic in front of the iconic Lovelock sign.
Lovelock likely doesn’t warrant more than a quick 30 minute to 1 hour stop but it does offer a few unique photo ops and sights you won’t find anywhere else along the drive.
About 60 miles east of Lovelock, the city of Fallon makes another good quick stopover point if you need gas, food or just want to get out and walk around for a bit. Top attractions in Fallon include:
- Grimes Point Petroglyphs – View the fascinating ancient rock art left behind by Native Americans.
- Oats Park Art Center – This arts center houses a nice collection of local artwork.
- Churchill County Museum – Learn about local history at this museum.
- Downtown Fallon – The downtown area has several cafes, shops and restaurants to explore.
- Fallon Auto Museum – Check out a collection of over 120 classic automobiles and motorcycles.
Fallon provides a convenient place to fuel up yourself and your vehicle before completing the final stretch of the drive down to Las Vegas.
After Fallon, the next possible stop is Hawthorne, situated near Nevada’s Walker Lake about 2 hours from Las Vegas. Some unique attractions here include:
- Walker Lake – Stretch your legs on the scenic shoreline of this desert oasis lake.
- Walker Lake State Recreation Area – Enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.
- Walker Lake Wildlife Refuge – Spot birds and wildlife at this protected wetland.
- Naval Ammunition Depot Museum – Learn about Hawthorne’s military history at this museum.
- Mineral County Museum – View exhibits on local history and industry.
The lakeside location provides some beautiful desert scenery that’s different from the first half of the drive. It’s a nice place to take a breather before completing the final 80 mile stretch down to Las Vegas.
Where to Stop in Las Vegas
After the long Sacramento to Vegas drive, you’ll no doubt be ready explore Las Vegas’ famous attractions and amenities. Here are some ideas for where to go once you arrive in Vegas:
- Walk the Strip – There’s no better way to experience Vegas than strolling along the neon-lit Strip and taking in the sights.
- See the Bellagio fountains – These choreographed water fountains feature an incredible light and music show.
- Tour hotels and casinos – Each Vegas casino has its own themes and attractions, like gondola rides at The Venetian.
- See a show – Las Vegas has some of the world’s best live performances and productions.
- Freemont Street Experience – This pedestrian mall features an amazing overhead light show.
- Red Rock Canyon – Visit this stunning desert canyon landscape just outside the city.
- Shop and dine – Vegas has tons of shopping, restaurants and buffets to enjoy.
With so much to see and do on the Strip, downtown and the surrounding areas, you could easily spend several days exploring Las Vegas after arriving from Sacramento.
Recommended Stops on the Sacramento to Vegas Drive
To summarize, here are some of the best places to consider stopping at on a road trip from Sacramento to Las Vegas:
|Approx. Distance from Sacramento
|Hiking, boating, shopping, ice skating
|Casinos, museums, shows, restaurants
|Distillery, lover’s bridge, museums
|Petroglyphs, museums, downtown
|Walker Lake, wildlife refuges
Stopping at 1-2 of these spots allows you to break up the drive, see some attractions and arrive in Las Vegas refreshed and ready to explore this exciting city.
Tips for a Smooth Road Trip
Here are some additional road trip tips to make your Sacramento to Las Vegas drive go smoothly and enjoyably:
- Check your vehicle – Inspect your tires, fluids, wipers etc. before embarking.
- Pack snacks/water – Having food and hydration handy saves time and money.
- Bring entertainment – Download playlists, podcasts, audiobooks to listen to along the way.
- Share driving if possible – Switch drivers every few hours so no one gets burnt out.
- Don’t rush – Leave early so you don’t have to speed or drive while overly tired.
- Watch for wildlife – Deer and other animals sometimes cross the freeways.
- Fill up often – Don’t let your gas tank go below half full.
- Bring jackets/layers – The weather can change quickly in the mountains.
- Have an emergency kit – Pack a kit with flares, jumper cables, first aid etc..
Following these tips will help make your road trip to Vegas go smoothly and allow you to relax and enjoy the ride.
The 600 mile journey between Sacramento to Las Vegas takes some careful planning. While you could just power through and drive non-stop, taking the time to stop at a few attractions and towns along the way enriches the experience. Places like Truckee, Reno, Lovelock and Hawthorne all offer great reasons to take a break from the road. Remember to take regular stops for gas, food, and just to stretch your legs. And don’t forget to save some energy to experience Las Vegas once you arrive. With smart planning using the advice above, your Sacramento to Vegas road trip will be an epic adventure!