What are some great attractions near the Las Vegas Strip?
Vegas is famous for its shows, glitz, glamour, casino and gambling. That’s not all its known for, however. Below are several famous and not-so-famous attractions located just off the famous Vegas Strip.
Attractions Off the Las Vegas Strip
Bonnie Springs/Old Nevada
The Burlesque Hall of Fame is the name of the burlesque museum located on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. Formerly known as Exotic World, the museum historically was located on the site of an abandoned goat farm in Helendale, California.
Burlesque Hall of Fame
This is a test of the emergency broadcast system. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Not only that, but he did it twice and then stepped on its tail. Funny, huh?
Clark County Museum
If you’re planning on driving to the Hoover Dam — or want to travel back in time — the Clark County Museum is one stop you don’t want to miss. Located on Boulder Highway in Henderson (about 35 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip), the museum is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. But that’s what makes this experience so authentic — and fun! The museum consists of two parts: A vast outdoor area with historic homes, a “ghost town” and old trains and an indoor exhibit showcasing a physical timeline of Nevada from ancient times to present.
Clark County Wetlands Park
If you want to experience nature during your Vegas trip without taking too much time out of your day, the 2,900-acre Clark County Wetlands features quiet areas, desert animals, ponds and more. The 210-acre Nature Preserve trail is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. A favorite for wildlife viewing, the park is open from dawn to dusk. Follow trails along streams and keep your eye out for ponds and plants including willow, cottonwood trees and towering cattails.
Combat Zone Paintball
If you want to take a break from Las Vegas Strip (and don’t mind driving about 20 minutes away), then get your gear together and gather some friends for a combat paint ball war. For those ready to do something extreme that will get your adrenaline pumping, then this is for you. We all played tag as a kid, and this is taking the game of tag to the fullest. Whether you play individually or as a team, you’ll compete to eliminate your opponent by using air-propelled paint guns to target your enemies.
We all wish we could be kids again. While a time machine isn’t exactly an option, Dig This turns your sandbox days into reality. Perfect for the big kids at heart (14 years and older), this attraction allows you the chance to operate a state-of-the-art “Caterpillar” D-5 track-type bulldozer or 315CL hydraulic excavator. If you choose to take on the bulldozer, you’ll get to dig trenches, ride over tall mounds and push gigantic boulders.
Discovery Children’s Museum
Think about a kid in a candy store. Now imagine that the candy store is actually a three-story museum full of interactive exhibits promoting science, art and culture — and your child’s reaction is strikingly similar to being confronted with a three-story candy cane. That’s the Discovery Children’s Museum. Home to nine themed exhibition halls, the 58,000-square-foot museum entices children of all ages with a well-rounded array of learning experiences that feel a whole lot more like play.
Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens
If you want to take a break from the Las Vegas Strip, see the making of chocolate and wouldn’t mind a free sample, Ethel M is sure to be a sweet stop. Located on the southeast side of town, Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden is only a 15-minute drive from the Strip. If you’ve ever eaten Ethel M Chocolates, they were made here. Forrest Mars Sr. opened the location in 1981. This is the only Ethel M factory in the world.
Floyd Lamb Park
In a city filled with palms and desert landscape, the grass lawn, pond and cottonwood tree-filled Floyd Lamb Park might look a little out of place in the Mojave metropolis of Las Vegas. However, this oasis has been popular for literally thousands of years. Today, the expansive park has four stocked ponds, picnic areas, barbecues, scenic paths and volleyball and horseshoe facilities on 2,040 acres in northwest Las Vegas. Visitors will come face to face with beautiful peacocks, ducks and geese. Those with a Nevada fishing license can fish in any of the park’s ponds but are limited to three fish per person.
If the nightlife scene on the Las Vegas Strip just doesn’t cut it, Downtown’s Fremont East District offers a different kind of party. Fremont East District offers the glamour of vintage Las Vegas, but with a modern twist. At Fremont East, you’ll find a handful of bars, lounges and other one-of-a-kind spots you wouldn’t typically find on the Strip. Trade in your fancy club gear for a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and get comfy.
Gondolas at Lake Las Vegas
Bringing the luxury of world-class resorts to the waters of Lake Las Vegas, the Venetian gondolas there introduce passengers to the romance of Venice, Italy, and the relaxation of a quiet, pristine environment that is truly a world of its own. Three boats, “Principessa,” “Serenissima” and “La Fenice,” venture out for glorious lake cruises, complete with singing gondoliers. As is custom in Venice, couples are expected to kiss when passing under the Ponte Vecchio bridge; the serenading of the gondoliers reaches full force there as the beautiful voices reverberate loudly.
KISS: By Monster Mini Golf
What’s more rock ‘n’ roll than mini golf? Well, a lot of things, unless the course is themed by one of the most iconic rock bands of all time, KISS. Then your rocker status is a hole in one. Located on 4501 Paradise Road, KISS: by Monster Mini Golf offers 18 holes of glow-in-the-dark decadence inspired by all the black-and-white-painted faces you can handle. Pucker up, you’re about to be surrounded by KISS. Christina Vitagliano founded Monster Mini Golf in 2004 when she wanted to create an enjoyable yet affordable amusement facility. Her inspiration expanded to more than 30 themed miniature golf courses
Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix
If you have children, you will, at some point, end up at the Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix. Deny it all you want, but you should just give in to that fact now. It will cause more stress only if you resist. Either your own offspring or one of their friends will insist on having a birthday party there, and as a doting parent, you must deny your child nothing. Of course, if you don’t have children, you’re more than welcome to join in the mini-racing experience. Just prepare to step over, around and between the little ones. Quite frankly, as far as kiddie birthday parties go, Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix has it all. Inexpensive food, picnic-style
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
If your love for animals extends beyond house pets, then a trip to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum is for you. Here you’ll see everything from a real wooly mammoth tooth and a shark jaw bone to exhibits on just about every wild animal under the sun. The Las Vegas Natural History Museum features so much information and so many lifelike replicas of extinct and present day animals that you’ll feel like you’re at the zoo.
Lion Habitat Ranch
How often do you see lions roaming around in Vegas? Don’t worry — these furry felines are safe and sound at their 8.5-acre ranch, located about 12 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. On the weekends, you can watch these lions romp, play and rest. You might recall these lions at their former habitat inside MGM Grand. For 11 years, owner Keith Evans brought his big cats from the ranch to the hotel on a daily basis. They never spent the night at the hotel. Although the old location closed in January 2012, visitors can now enjoy them once again: See these stunning African lions play, groom and, of course, nap.
Machine Guns Vegas
Whether you’re a fan of classic movies with killer gun scenes like “Rambo” or “Scarface” or into video games like “Call of Duty” or “Gears of War,” get ready to kick it up a notch at Machine Guns Vegas. Located just a few minutes off the Las Vegas Strip, Machine Guns Vegas makes you feel like you’re an action hero. With a wide selection of firearms from AK-47s and MAC 10s to Glock 17s and M60s, you’ll shoot up a storm and get the adrenaline rush of a lifetime.
Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
From bright lights to finely-decorated trees, The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village truly embodies the enchanting spirit of the holidays. Visitors can experience all the lights (more than three million to be exact), hundreds of festive trees, gingerbread house displays, Santa visits and nightly entertainment in this three-acre, fun-filled attraction. You’ll even see showcases of popular characters, like Peanuts and The Grinch.
Marjorie Barrick Museum
For a transformative experience in art, head to a museum which itself has undergone a major transformation — The Marjorie Barrick Museum on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus. Once a natural history museum, the facility currently houses groundbreaking exhibits of contemporary art as well as a rotating display of Pre-Columbian pieces from its own extensive collection.
National Atomic Testing Museum
Imagine opening your history text book from grade school and having the ability to jump inside the pages and experience the events first-hand. That’s what it feels like when you step into the 10,000-square foot National Atomic Testing Museum. In late 1991, Congress chartered the museum as the country’s only official atomic museum.An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum houses interactive displays, short films, timelines and real equipment from the former testing site. You can even toy with some gizmos and gadgets, including testing your own radioactivity.
Neon Museum and Boneyard
When tourists think of Las Vegas, naturally their memories flash back to its glittering lights. In addition, their first impression of the city often comes from the world’s most famous neon attraction. Designed by Betty Willis, the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” sign has been greeting visitors at the southern end of the Strip since 1959. Neon signs, introduced in Las Vegas in 1929 at the Oasis Café on Fremont Street, enjoyed their heyday between the 1930s – 1980s. But as LED and LCD screens began taking over the Las Vegas Strip, many of the old signs were removed.
Nevada State Museum
If you’re thinking of taking the kids out for the day at the Springs Preserve, want to brush up on your Silver State history or if you’re simply a fan of old-school Vegas, then a trip to the Nevada State Museum is the spot to see and do all of the above. The Nevada State Museum relocated from Lorenzi Park and opened on the Springs Preserve property in October 2011. The two-level, 70,000-square-foot building is now closer to the Strip and is twice the size of its old location. According to a museum tour guide, visitors to the museum have stayed as short as 15 minutes and as long as nine hours.
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Historic Park
Snatching all the couch pillows — and taking pillows from other rooms — and piling them all up was such an accomplishment. And like many of us, you probably kicked it down once you were done with it. We all built forts for fun, but early missionaries and settlers in Nevada built them as a means of survival. Located on Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue (just a five-minute drive from Fremont Street Experience), the Old Mormon Fort State Park explains the history of early Nevadan settlers and how Las Vegas transformed into the bustling town it is today.
Each day about 4,000 people visit the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop on the Las Vegas Strip. No, it’s not a sign of the recession. Since “Pawn Stars” debuted on the History Channel in 2009 it has become one of the network’s highest-rated shows, making the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop a popular Vegas attraction. People flock to the store, sometimes forming a line at the door, for a chance to get an item appraised or to see one of the stars of “Pawn Stars” (Rick Harrison, his son Corey “Big Hoss,” his dad Richard “Old Man” and Austin “Chumlee” Russell).
Pinball Hall of Fame
A symphony of quarters clanging, low-fi beeps, upbeat digital sounds and faintly distorted classic rock provides the ambiance for the Pinball Hall of Fame. Suggestive marquee art shows women in retro-futurist outfits that seem to be pulled straight out of a version of “Lost in Space” that was confined to the back of the video store. Cartoons, both generic and familiar, make you feel just a bit too comfortable with parting with your money, while rock stars and TV characters from yesteryear beckon — and sometimes even mock you – in an attempt to nab a few more bucks.
Planetarium and Observatory
When most people think of star-gazing in Las Vegas, they envision themselves watching a number of celebrities dressed in their finest, cavorting on the Strip. But the Planetarium and Observatory offers something a little more out of this world. Depending on the time of year and the weather, each session focuses on a variety of celestial objects including the moon, planets, stars, star clusters and other out-of-this-world phenomena. Once the latitude, longitude, time and date are set, visitors are able to see a projection of what treasures the night sky will have to offer on that particular evening. The
Pole Position Raceway
Craving a taste of adrenaline on your vacation? If you want a bit of excitement and adventure, Pole Position Raceway will send your heart racing. Novice and experienced racers alike can enjoy this state-of-the-art facility, which features indoor race karts zooming faster than any of their kind in the country. In fact, over 80,000 unique racers have raced at Pole Position Raceway since opening in December of 2007. In addition to celebrities like Star Wars creator George Lucas, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and professional racers such as Kevin Harvick, Travis Pastrana, Al Unser Jr. and Kyle Busch, novice drivers from ages 10 to 70
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area presents awe-inspiring views most wouldn’t expect to see near a major metropolitan city. In contrast to the bright lights and hype of the Strip, Red Rock offers desert beauty, towering red cliffs and abundant wildlife. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area receives 1.2 million visitors a year.
Red Rock Climbing Center
If you’ve ever wondered what an indoor mountain may look like, then you won’t believe your eyes at the Red Rock Climbing Center. Located only minutes away from Red Rock Canyon, the center features more than 8,000 square feet of actual climbing surface. The walls stand at a towering 35 feet, with routes measuring 100 feet in length. For the daredevils, there is also 1,000 square feet worth of radical overhangs and roof routes. While this area may not have the look of a “typical” mountain, the size is easily comparable.
SlotZilla at Fremont Street Experience
If you think Vegas can’t get any more thrilling, think again. Imagine soaring across the Fremont Street Experience high above people’s heads, right underneath the world’s largest video screen and colorful laser light show. The first phase is coming in late 2013. The second phase will open in early 2014. Slotzilla will let riders take off from a 128-foot, 12-story slot machine-themed platform to breeze directly below the Viva Vision canopy on one of two levels. Soar 70 feet above the ground on the zip line ride or take it to the next level on the zoom line ride, 110 feet above Fremont Street.
SoBe Ice Arena
The 31,000-square-foot rink at SoBe Ice Arena provides a refreshing, fun experience for the entire family. The arena is home to a full-size, NHL-regulation ice rink, along with several youth and adult hockey leagues. When there’s not a hockey game in session, the rink holds public skating and lessons. The rink is a great place to people watch, as skaters young and old, from the expert to the novice, hit the ice to test their skills and have some fun.
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is the perfect place to do just that. Located within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Spring Mountain Range State Park sits right beneath Wilson Range’s rainbow-colored cliffs. Not only will you get up-close views of the beautiful mountains, you’ll also enjoy unique hiking grounds. During the summer, Spring Mountain Ranch offers nighttime flashlight hikes. See the bright moon and stars closer than you ever imagined. You’ll also see unique wildlife.
With the glittering lights and 24-hour action on the Las Vegas Strip, it’s easy to forget that the city is actually a hotbed of historical significance. It’s also hard to imagine that the dry desert was once home to natural springs and abundant water.
Sunset Stampede at Sam’s Town
Located about 20 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip, Mystic Falls Park inside Sam’s Town is like walking through the woods — except the wolf and bears here are completely harmless. In addition to the state-of-the-art, 10-minute Sunset Stampede laser light and fountain show, the 25,000-square-foot atrium includes plenty of greenery, babbling brooks and animatronic animals. While it may not be the great outdoors, the ambiance certainly fits the criteria.
The Mob Museum is going to expose you to history that your school textbooks didn’t dare to cover. Located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas on Stewart Avenue and Third Street (right by Main Street Station), The Mob Museum is an interactive attraction showcasing the history of these famed gangsters. Here you’ll get an inside look at organized crime’s impact not only in Las Vegas, but its influence in America and the world.
Wet ‘n’ Wild
Families and thrill seekers alike will find common ground in the water at Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas. This playful water-themed amusement park offers more than 25 slides and attractions on 33.5 acres, only 25 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Adrenaline addicts will enjoy slides such as the Rattler, a three-person ride down more than 360 feet of fun, twists and turns. The slide shakes riders, delivering sensational oscillations as they make their way to the splash down pool below.
Let’s face it, gravity is a b—-. Dieters know it, basketball players know it and kids with dreams of becoming Superman know it. But there’s little the average person has been able to do about it, until now. Welcome to Las Vegas. Here, in a city that regularly eschews reality for fantasy, gravity is now as easy to overcome as a morning hangover all courtesy of the Zero Gravity Corporation.
Attractions Just Outside Las Vegas
Adventure Canyon at Buffalo Bill’s
Think of all the water rides you’ve been on in the past. They’re all pretty much the same. Sometimes you get drenched more than everyone else, while other times you don’t get drenched enough. But on Adventure Canyon’s log ride, not only will you get soaked, you’ll have a chance to dabble at your shooting skills. This ride features a 35-foot drop that’ll have you screaming like a little kid. And summertime or not, the cooling effect of the water gets you all giddy. What more could you ask for other than a steep plunge and a huge splash? Add electronic gun shooting to the mix and you’ve got yourself one unique log ride.
Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge
Barely an hour by car from the hottest and driest place in the continent — Death Valley — Ash Meadows is an extensive oasis of over 23,000 acres of pure spring water-fed marshes and blue-green streams and pools. Located about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Ash Meadows is filled with wildlife, from birds like the desert Phainopepla and insects like dragonflies to reptiles like the Chuckwalla and mammals like coyote. But Ash Meadows is most famous for its fish – the rare pupfish that dart about its waterways. Tiny and glinting, the pupfish are among the 24 Ash Meadows ecosystem animals that are found
Bonnie & Clyde Getaway Car
Whether you’re driving from California to Las Vegas or driving from Vegas to Primm, you might want to take a quick stop and check out one of the most notorious and intriguing pieces in history. The bullet-riddled car driven by the infamous crime duo, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, is on display at Whiskey Pete’s Resort and Casino. In addition to the famed V8 Ford, you can view other fascinating memorabilia.
Brian Head Resort
The resort’s location is partially responsible. Las Vegas, which is a 3 1/2 hour drive away, is the closest metropolitan area. And Vegas locals and visitors are the resort’s primary customers. Though the park stays busy enough to keep the registers ringing, Brian Head Resort is far from the typical overcrowded ski getaway. Even on the busiest weekends, lift lines are short and there is relatively no waiting. At times on weekdays, especially in the summer months, visitors may feel as if they’re the only ones on the mountain.
Bryce Canyon National Park
One of the most gorgeous areas in the American Southwest, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is located about four hours northeast of Las Vegas. While this is a significant distance, the park is close to Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brian Head Resort — a trip to the region packs in a lot of incredible sights. Bryce Canyon is filled towering spires, fins, arches and mazes. Rocks throughout the park range in color from deep red to gold to tan and chalky white. They make a stunning contrast with the green forests and blue sky that surround Bryce Canyon.
Cedar Breaks National Monument
The path juts out beyond the constructed observation area and seems to end where the sky begins. The path is brilliant with its reddish hues. The soil underfoot is loose and wide enough for only one-way travel. To the left and right, fatally dramatic drops await the slightest misstep. Still, the path is beaten with footprints whose constantly changing patterns are a testament to the beauty of the park.
Chloride Mining Town
The approach to Chloride, Ariz., from Las Vegas is a lesson in Southwest landscapes. Driving by New Deal-era, government-planned Boulder City, you’ll pass over the thriving burg’s raison d’etre — Hoover Dam and the Colorado River’s vast chasm. Seventy miles down the road, you’ll soon realize the old reason people came way out West — ore. Chloride was the home of thousands of people living off the silver mines in the nearby Cerbat Mountains. Now it’s the salt-of-the-earth residence of a few hundred souls. But with weekend re-enactments of gunslinging, bullet-ridden brush-ups and a preserved
Death Valley National Park
Jagged, rugged, severe, beautiful, sublime — these are perfect descriptions of Death Valley National Park. ‘Surprising’ is also a good word for the greater Death Valley area. There are desiccated and colorful desert vistas everywhere. Geological history is on full display. But there are also lush pockets of green plant life, Old West remnants and funky contemporary enclaves in this bigger-than-big wonderland.
Desperado roller coaster
If you’re driving across the California/Nevada state line, there’s one particular thing that catches your attention. We’re not talking about thousands of neon lights. That’s all Vegas. The one structure that stirs major curiosity is Buffalo Bill’s Desperado roller coaster, one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the entire country, located in Primm, Nev.
Extraterrestrial Highway (near Area 51)
“Welcome to Rachel,” says resident Ken Langley as he pulls out a fresh cigarette. “You never get used to them. But you stop jumping after awhile.” Rachel, Nev. sits on less than half a mile of land on the south side of the Highway 375, designated the Extraterrestrial Highway in 1996. It is the town closest to Area 51, the popular name for the top secret government research, development and testing facility located within the 3-million acre Nellis Bombing and Gunnery Range
Frog Hopper at Buffalo Bill’s
As any parent knows, children are fearless and often want to go on the daring rides that adults tend to be more apprehensive about. Unfortunately, those pesky height restrictions tend to get in their way. Primm Valley Resorts has the solution to this problem with the Frog Hopper. Frog Hopper stands 30 feet tall and allows children to experience about 60 seconds of free-falling in a seven-seat car containing one adult seat.
Grand is an understatement. Glorious, exalted, divinely inspired — all are more apropos adjectives to describe THE canyon. One glimpse of its majesty is all it takes to understand why the Grand Canyon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world. The canyon is a staggering 277 miles long. At its deepest, it is about a mile from the rim to the Colorado River far below and it is as much as 18 miles wide in some spots. The park encompasses 1,904 square miles and visibility on a good day can reach up to 100 miles.
Grapevine Canyon near Laughlin
Just outside Laughlin, Nev., you’ll find the exit to amazing Grapevine Canyon. It’s a mile-and-a-half drive on a smooth, graded and ranger patrolled gravel road to the trailhead. Here you’ll find a passageway that dates back centuries. Walk up the easy, one-mile trail and witness the announcements of our continental forebears.
Named one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century, Hoover Dam continues to draw crowds more than 70 years after its creation. Attracting more than a million visitors a year, Hoover Dam is located in Black Canyon, just minutes outside of Las Vegas. In 1930, construction began on the Hoover Dam, the largest of its kind at the time. Despite the remote location and harsh working conditions, it was completed in less than five years — two years ahead of schedule — and well under budget.
Because of geothermal activity, Nevada is home to about 300 hot springs. Here are just a few: Ash Springs, found on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land just off U.S. Route 93 north of Las Vegas, gives visitors the opportunity to sit in the 85-degree water and watch as the spring spills over into a shallow pond. Hot Creek Springs, located on the Kirch Wildlife Management Area just off State Route 318, is one of the more isolated hot springs. Hot Creek Springs offers amazing views of the nearby mountains.
If you told your friends that you spent the day at the beach gazing at teal-blue waters in Las Vegas, they’d probably think you’re crazy. After all, most people know Vegas for its hotels and desert landscape. But just 30 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip is Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which occupies about 1.5 million acres (twice the size of Rhode Island) and 820 miles of shoreline. For only $10, you’ll have access to the lake for a week. It’s a fun escape from the hustle and bustle of the Strip.
Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort
The resort, located at Mount Charleston’s Lee Canyon area, is about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas. Since there’s not much of a winter to speak of in Vegas, skiing is one way to make it feel more like the season. The area features more than 240 inches of average snowfall per year and off-slope amenities such as dining, snowshoeing and summer activities. Don’t be fooled by the warm temperatures in the valley, though — temperatures in the mountains can be vastly different. Expect highs in the 30s and 40s during the winter, and don’t forget to wear plenty of warm clothes.
MaxFlight 2002 Virtual Roller Coaster
If you have the strong stomach and if moving side-to-side and upside down at top speed tickles your fancy, then this is the ride for you. At first glance, the ride looks innocent and harmless. After all, there aren’t any steep tracks or loops to make it appear intimidating. But once you climb into the pod and fasten your seatbelt and harness, this may just be the most thrilling ride of your life. The crazy corkscrews and twists put traditional roller coaster loops to shame. We’re serious.
Las Vegas sizzles with excitement, but let’s face it — the summer heat can get out of control. Temperatures reaching 115 degrees. The 160th straight day of sun. Even the most ardent of sun worshippers are looking for a break and hotel swimming pools and air-conditioned malls just aren’t enough. Luckily just 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas visitors can find all the cool mountain breezes, fresh air and all-around scenic beauty of Mount Charleston.
Nevada Southern Railway Museum
To experience an authentic train ride, take a trip to Boulder City, located only 30 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip. This is the original train track used to bring supplies to the Hoover Dam. Today, guests can ride the train and listen to history about Boulder City, the city responsible for building the dam.
Pioche Mining Town
This old mining town is a bit of a hike from Las Vegas, about three hours north on the scenic Highway 93. But it’s well worth a day trip. Situated in a picturesque mountainside setting, Pioche is filled with hulking, rusting remnants of mines that yielded $5 million in ore from 1869 to 1872 (this figure would be worth nearly $90 million in today’s dollars). Pioche was a rough and tumble place, filled with saloons, gunfights and 10,000 inhabitants at its peak. Now it’s home to around 700 people.
Hidden in Grapevine Canyon in far northern Death Valley, Scotty’s Castle takes you on a journey into the past. The castle’s structure features Spanish-Mediterranean stylings, while the interior features unique hand-wrought iron and tile, tapestries and European custom-made furniture The property was both the vacation home for wealthy businessman Albert Johnson and a hideout for Death Valley Scotty. Death Valley Scotty was one of the town legends and most famous miners in the area.
Valley of Fire State Park
The lights along the Las Vegas Strip aren’t the only illuminating things in town. Travel 50 miles north of the city to Valley of Fire State Park and you’ll see rocks that glow with an unusually bright crimson color. The area offers some of the Southwest’s most amazing scenery with vivid colors splashed on some of the oldest natural rock formations known to mankind.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is one of the most awe inspiring sights in the American Southwest, and it’s an easy two-and-a-half-hour drive from Las Vegas. Featuring sky-high towers and cliffs of multicolored sandstone rocks, the 2,000 to 3,000-foot high canyon walls of Zion National Park were carved out over millions of years by trickling creeks and the rushing Virgin River. Throughout Zion, reddish, golden and rust-colored rocks are contrasted by the deep green of pine forests; mesquite, manzanita and cottonwood groves; and fern and moss-filled grottoes. It is strikingly beautiful.