Las Vegas might be one of the best cities in the world when it comes to nightlife, partying, and all out luxury. The glitz and the glamor of its neon signs and flashing lights are renowned throughout the world. A trip to Vegas isn’t complete without a “what happens in Vegas…”. However, there is more to do than just casino-hop and rage at the hottest nightclubs. Here are some memorable things you can do so that you don’t recreate The Hangover.
Two Words. Dune. Buggies.
Ahh, the greatest of desert activities. Dune buggies are extremely fun and exhilarating. There are lots of sand dunes surrounding Las Vegas and those brave enough to take them on can have the ride of a lifetime. Rent a dune buggy and race through the desert where no normal car would be able to go.
Go Hiking In The Valley of Fire
About an hour’s drive from the strip is Valley of Fire State Park, home to landscapes that will make you feel like you are in Westworld or an old-timey Western. At only $10 entrance fee per car, this is an incredible must-hit spot to do in Vegas. Your wallet will thank you after all of the luxurious splurging you’ll likely be doing. The rock formations, Native American petroglyphs, and hiking trails are the main attraction of this otherworldly park.
Do not overlook the incredible outdoors adventures that Las Vegas has to offer. Even if you need to book a car rental in Las Vegas, do it.
Visit The Hoover Dam (And Go Kayaking There?!)
Everyone knows about the Hoover Dam and most people inevitably stop by if they’re driving to Vegas. However, did you know you could go kayaking there? Because I didn’t. Apparently there’s a stretch of the Colorado River where kayakers can take on and catch a glimpse of the Hoover Dam in all of its majesty from the bottom-up.
Go Hiking At Red Rock Canyon
Did you bring your bike? Just 30 minutes from the strip is Red Rock Canyon, home to a scenic 13-mile bike route that is very popular among locals. It’s only $3 to enter per bike or $7 per car, making this yet another budget-friendly Vegas activity. Also a good way to sweat off the alcohol from the night before.
Visit The Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex
This wildlife preserve is only 20 miles from Las Vegas and covers a vast area of 1.6 million acres. It is a great place to catch beautiful desert and mountain landscapes, and as the name suggests, see some wildlife. Seeing desert tortoises, bighorn sheep and jackrabbits in their natural habitats, you would never guess that this is just a short drive from Las Vegas’ bustling strip.
Go For A Boat Ride on Lake Mead
Need something a little less dry? Hit up Lake Mead in the summer for some boating and swimming. Hurry though, depleting water levels are drying up this man-made lake that might be expected to run dry as soon as within the next decade.
Visiting in the Winter? Go Skiing or Snowboarding
Most people think of only desert when they think about Vegas. However, in the winters, it definitely gets snowy thanks to the mountainous areas and high altitudes. About an hour’s drive outside of Vegas’s Strip is the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort. It isn’t the most challenging of ski and snowboard areas, but if you’re looking for a high-octane activity while in Vegas, it is budget-friendly and popular among beginners and intermediates.
If you drove to Las Vegas, you’re good to go to visit all of these incredible spots, none of which are more than an hour from the Strip itself. I had visited Vegas several times in the past but most of the time, since I was younger and traveling with family, I was restricted mostly to the walkable area along the strip. When I road-tripped through Vegas a few years back, it gave me a glimpse of just how incredible the area was surrounding the City of Sin.
Renting a car in Las Vegas might seem silly, especially when most people only know Vegas as the party capital of the United States. However, it will allow you to see a side of the city that most people won’t get on foot. There is a side of Vegas beyond the neon lights of the Strip and Fremont Street. That side is tame yet wild, beautiful yet oftentimes inhospitable, and holds adventures abound for those willing to seek it out.