One of the best things we did in Las Vegas was get outta town. This was not only for the sake of our livers and our wallets, but for sanity’s sake as well. The landscape of the Nevada desert provides such an beautiful, peaceful day or two escape from your trip to Sin City.
Rent a car and drive just twenty minutes westwards out of Las Vegas and you’ll find yourself in a completely different world: instead of hotels and Black Jack tables you’ll be surrounded by the red rocks of this fascinating nature reserve.
It’s $7 per car to enter the reserve and you can simply follow a 13 mile one-way scenic drive through the mountains.
There are numerous view points during the drive, with hiking trails beginning at each one of them, varying from 30 minutes to 4 hour hikes – so don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes, and sun protection, as you’ll be exposed to the desert sun everywhere.
When looking at a map, the Grand Canyon doesn’t seem too far away from Vegas – it’s 180 miles to be precise – however, the streets that you have to take to get there add up to 280 miles – which is quite a ride.
The helicopter and ariplane tours offered along The Strip are a very comfortable and exciting option, rather than sitting in a car or coach for 4 or 5 hours each way, you’ll be picked up at your hotel, driven to the airport and put in a small business plane or helicopter and flown to the Grand Canyon.
Most trips include a flight over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Starting at around $150 per person (without landing at the Canyon), going up to $300 (including one or two landings at the Canyon and a champagne lunch there) the trips can get pricey, but well worth it!
Hoover Dam & Lake Mead
If you decide against a trip to the Grand Canyon, an easy trip to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead are easily done in a day, and even as quick as a morning trip out and you can be back at the slot machines after lunch.
Crossing the Dam is free, the power station can be visited for $11.
Lake Mead charges an entrance fee ($5 per car, valid for 5 days) for access to the recreational area and beaches, and cruises over the lake to Hoover Dam leave from the Boulder Basin marina, which is the first marina on entering the lake area.
Going in is worth the money if you want to take a boat tour to the Hoover Dam (Lake Mead Cruises offer brunch, dinner and sightseeing cruises), or if you actually want to spend some time on the beaches (not so spectacular) – for views of the lake there are various viewpoints on the way to Hoover Dam that can be accessed without entering the recreational area.
Have you got other tips on what to do on a day trip outside of Vegas?