A guide for those who want more than boozy pool parties and money-guzzling slot machines (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
If you go to Vegas you have to go to Las Vegas Boulevard, aka “The Strip”. It’s America’s “city of lights” with replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Venice canals lining the boulevard. It’s the entertainment capital of the world with everything from gambling, to nightclubs, to fine dining and too many shows to choose from. Whatever your pleasure, you must stop at or stay on the Strip if this is your first visit to Las Vegas.
That said, there is more to Vegas than the Strip. If you are an adventure seeker, history buff or nature lover, there’s something for everyone in and around Las Vegas.
Just 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas in Boulder City is Flightlinez, a zipline adventure course. Soar over Bootleg Canyon on four separate ziplines that cover over 1.5 miles. If you’re from out of town they’ll even send a free shuttle to pick you up from the Strip.
Take in the breathtaking views and possibly see some wildlife, including hawks and big horn sheep. It’ll take about 2.5 hours to complete the course after thorough safety instructions and preparations. The guides will provide some history and humor along the way. They offer both daytime and sunset tours, as well as moonlight tours when there is a full moon.
Want a unique zipline experience over iconic Vegas? Head to Downtown Las Vegas and check out the Freemont Street Experience. You have the option of flying like Superman or in a seated position, high above the casinos and shops, all within the illuminated canopy (Viva Vision) of Freemont Street. If you fly at night you may also catch the Viva Vision light show.
45 minutes outside of Las Vegas is one of the top 10 construction achievements of the 20th Century. The Hoover Dam rises 725 feet above the Colorado River and is one of the country’s largest hydroelectric power facilities.
Tour options include self-guided walks, guided tours including the power plant and inspection tunnels, or a birds-eye-view helicopter tour. You will also take in spectacular views by crossing the 1,900 foot Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River.
Bonus! You get to visit 2 states at once! As you walk the bridge you will cross the dividing line between Nevada and Arizona. There’s a photo op with the plaque to prove it!
Spend the day floating on crystal blue waters in the middle of the desert. This 16th largest man-made lake is the perfect way to spend a sunny day in Las Vegas. There are several cruises that will take you to Hoover Dam, where the Colorado River and Lake Mead meet. You can also rent your own boat, canoes or kayaks, take a hike, or relax with a picnic.
If you want to get in some exercise and take in the scenery, hike the Historic Railroad Trail either from the trailhead at Lake Mead Visitors Center or from the opposite side by the Hoover Dam Parking Garage. The trail provides panoramic views of Lake Mead and five tunnels that were once part of the railroad route from Boulder City to the Hoover Dam.
Helpful Tip: It gets HOT out there! The trail is just under 4 miles in one direction so I recommend getting dropped at your starting point and having a ride waiting on the other side. The only shade will be as you pass through the tunnels.
Rent a bike or take a hike in Las Vegas’ beautiful Red Rock Canyon. It’s home to a diverse mix of flora and fauna, and of course boasts towering, colorful Aztec Sandstone that can be viewed from the ground or scaled to the top. There are over 20 hiking trails of various lengths and difficulties to choose from, some offering views of Las Vegas.
If you don’t want to hike, there are other ways to explore Red Rock, such as electric bike tours and off-road jeep tours.
Fun fact: The tracks of small two-footed dinosaurs have been found in the Aztec Sandstone.
Are you getting the itch to gamble yet? Not far from the canyon is Red Rock Resort & Casino. Spend the night after your long day outdoors and enjoy the casino and its many dining options.
One Last Thing
Okay, so I am taking you back to the Strip. One unique experience that opened in 2014 is the High Roller. This 550-foot-tall Ferris wheel is currently the largest in the world and provides incredible views of the Las Vegas Strip, especially when all the lights are shining at night. Walk through the Linq’s outdoor promenade and you’ll run right into the High Roller at the end.
Up to 40 people can fit into just one of the spacious cabins and you can even rent one for a private party! Purchase a drink to bring on-board with you, sit back and relax as you take this 30-minute ride high above the city. When you hit the top, make a toast to making the most of your trip to Las Vegas!
Need help with booking travel or tours? Contact my good friend at Splendor Vacations for help!