Thursday, June 16, 2022

17 Incredible and Fun Places to Visit near Las Vegas

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Lake Las Vegas, Las Vegas Day Trips, Vegas Travel, Vegas Travel expert

Lake Las Vegas

 Lake Las Vegas is one of the most scenic spots in the Vegas Valley, and is considered part of Henderson. The man -made lake is a huge hit with tourists and locals both. 

Lake Las Vegas is my happy place- IM OBSESSED- LOVE IT!  I miss the ocean and mountains in the Pacific Northwest; so at least being at the lake helps! A few hotels are located in the area: the Westin,(my favorite),  the Hilton and MonteLago Village Resort. The Lake offers:
  •  panoramic scenery
  • a luxurious vibe 
  • quaint lake village 
  • amazing amenities
  • water sport rentals 
  • perfect for family getaways, staycations or a daytrip escape
Lake Las Vegas Water Sports has rentals available for kayaking, paddle boarding etc.  In addition many residents in the valley, call Lake Las Vegas home. I wish we had bought a condo at the lake, instead of a house in town.
Gilcrease Orchard, Las Vegas Pumpkin Patch

Gilcrease Orchard

Can you believe pumpkins grow in the desert? I was so shocked to find out there was a huge pumpkin farm in Las Vegas!  

We visited Gilcrease Orchard, located in north Las Vegas last October.  Gilcrease is a 50-acre working farm where visitors can come to pick their own  fruits & veggies, enjoy homemade ciders, take a hayride, and pick pumpkins.

Some delectable treats are available for purchase, the cinnamon sugared donuts melt in your mouth. They are the best I've tasted in a long time. You must try the donuts if you visit Gilcrease.

Las Vegas Day Trips, Las Vegas Travel, Vegas Travel Expert, Green Valley Ranch Resort

Green Valley Ranch Resort
If you didn't already guess from previous posts, we are are crazy about pools and even more so since moving to the desert.  I'm on a mission to dip my feet in every resort pool in Vegas, ha not really! We've visited a lot of them though, and have several still to check out.

Green Valley Resort is another gem in Henderson I love. This Tuscan themed village is calling your name! Of course there are no beaches in Las Vegas, but this pool does have a sandy shore. There's only one other pool in Vegas (that I'm aware of) that has a sandy beach.  It's a mystery how the sand in sections of the pool doesn't make the water murky.

Boulder City, Visit Boulder City, Vegas Day Trips, Vegas Travel Expert

Boulder City 

A different kind of thrill is located 3o minutes from Las Vegas. Boulder City is a small town offering big adventures, and is home to the Hoover Dam. If you are and outdoor/thrill seeker, this is the place for you!

Nostalgia and vintage vibes make the city a popular destination. Boulder city is a 20 minute drive from Henderson, south of the Las Vegas Valley.  The main drag is dotted with 50's diners, ice cream shops from yesteryear, unique shops and antique sellers.

If home style cooking is your favorite, check out  Southwest Diner. We ate a delicious Mother's Day lunch. I can't wait to go back again!  If you do stop in to eat, be prepared to wait awhile for your food. It's a very busy diner- HOMEMADE is their specialty!

Hoover Dam, Visit Hoover Dam, Vegas Day Trips, Vegas Travel Tips, Vegas Travel Expert

Hoover Dam

We visited the Hoover Dam while on vacation in Vegas in a few years back.  At that time, water levels from Lake Mead were much higher than now.  The Vegas Valley depends on the dam for water supply. 

Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border  of Nevada and Arizona. It was built between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Boulder City is considered home to the dam and the history of the area is quite amazing. The Hoover Dam is a 20 min drive from Henderson on Highway 93/95.  We toured the dam on our own, but guided tours and special events are available.

Bullhead City AZ, Vegas Day Trips, Places near Vegas to visit,

Bullhead City, Arizona

If you live or vacation in Las Vegas, head south to this fun getaway. Bullhead City makes a great day trip or mini vacay. Trust me, you'll want to stay longer than one day.

Travelers who love shopping vintage shops and antique stores will be in their element in Bullhead City. The foodie scene is tremendous as well.  The selection of eateries is quite large for a small city.  Of course the Colorado River separating Bullhead City and Laughlin Nevada; is a big draw for the area. 

Laughlin Nevada, visit Laughlin Nevada, Vegas Day Trips, Vegas Travel Expert

Laughlin Nevada

Laughlin NV and Bullhead City AZ  are basically sister cities. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Colorado River separates the two cites.  Laughlin has a casino row like the Las Vegas Strip, but on a smaller scale.  It's a hoppin place.  I really loved our stay in Laughlin!  

Most of the Casino Resorts are located along the river.  If you make it to Laughlin, make sure and reserve a room with a river view- so breathtaking! 

Things to Do
  • Take A River Cruise
  • Shop at the outlets nearby
  • Enjoy fun watersports: boating , water skiing etc.
  • Feast on amazing cuisine
Mt. Charleston, Visit Mt. Charleston, Las Vegas Day Trips, Vegas Travel Expert

Mt. Charleston 

Can you believe there is a snowy mountain in the middle of the desert?! I had to see it with my own eyes to believe it! 

Mt. Charleston is beautiful and a nice break from the desert below. It took one hour to drive from our home to the top of the mountain. The area is known as SPRING MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA

The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area offers opportunities for year-round fun. You can Learn about the area by checking out the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway. You can even volunteer to conserve the forest, if that is your type of getaway!

During the scorching summer in Vegas, locals love to escape to the mount to stay cool. It's usually 10-20 degrees cooler than the valley. In winter it's a local's ski resort and cold weather playground. The lodge at Mt. Charleston recently burned down, and is in process of being rebuilt.

Kingman AZ, Visit Kingman AZ, Vegas Day Trips, Vegas Travel expert

Kingman Arizona

Get your kicks on Route 66! Kingman doesn't have a lot going on, but is a nice laid back stop if you want to escape the craziness of Las Vegas. We were in town to visit an old friend from home in Bremerton WA.  We saw her, grabbed a bite and called it a day.

If you plan to visit Upper Antelope Canyon or the Grand Canyon, Kingman is a good spot for a stop on the way to those destinations. The Route 66 Museum might keep you occupied for awhile too.

Grand Canyon West, Skywalk, Visit Grand Canyon West, Vegas DAy Trips, Vegas Travel

Grand Canyon West

There are no words to describe this incredible scene in the Arizona desert.  By car it will take 1.5 hours to get to Grand Canyon West from Las Vegas.  There are a few accommodations nearby in campgrounds, but hotels are few.  

Other options for touring the canyon are available:  
Cruise the Colorado on a river raft; or from the air on board a Maverick Helicopter. No thanks on both, ha! Staying on the ground works good for me.

After you pay for tickets at the visitor center, shuttles will be waiting outside to bus you over to the canyon. At Grand Canyon west, there are 3-4 areas you can explore on foot. 

Grand Canyon West, Grand Canyon Skywalk, Visit Grand Canyon, Vegas Day Trips

The SKY BRIDGE and GUANO POINT are "must sees" at Grand Canyon West. Be advised, it's an additional 34.00 on top of the entrance fee, to set foot on the Sky Bridge.  In addition, no cameras or cell phones are allowed on the bridge. Photographers hired by the park are available to take photos, for a fee.

We decided to forgo the walk on the sky bridge. Instead we dined with amazing window views. The cafe is an unbelievable experience waiting for you! The items on the menu are pre-selected with 6 or so lunch/dinner options. Each meal costs around 21.95 and includes a drink.

Tips for Visiting
  • Visit on a weekday for less crowds
  • Bring a light jacket- it can be cool
  • Wear Tennis shoes with good traction 
  • May is the perfect month to visit

Red Hills Desert Garden, St George Utah, Visit St. George, Vegas Day Trips

St. George Utah

St. George is Southern Utah's largest City.  You can get there from Vegas in 1.5 hours by car. We visited on Labor Day weekend.  The temps were toasty, but not too bad. The city is located on the Arizona border; and lies in the northeastern part of the Mojave Desert.

St. George boasts an attractive stretch of green beneath red rock cliffs in Utah's desert southwest. Its pleasant winter weather attracts a large number of "snowbirds" from the north, who do long stays in the winter.  

The downtown area has wonderful small town charm. A few shops and diners are available, as well as a lovely fountain park.  Of course there are amazing and well known outdoor adventures nearby:
  • Zion National Park ( reservations are now required for entry)
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
  • Sand Hollow State Park
  • Red Hills Desert Garden
My favorite stop is where I am standing, in the middle of the Desert Garden. It is FREE to visit and is a great space to be still, quiet and enjoy nature.
  • 7 Magic Mountains, Las Vegas Nevada, Travel Nevada

7 Magic Mountains

 Wow we have the Stonehenge of America near Las Vegas! The unique display of art is a huge hit in the middle of the desert. Head south on I-15 towards L.A.  Soon you'll see the bright ice cream colors lighting up the drab brown hills, 10 miles out of town. Learn the amazing story behind 7 Magic Mountains .

Tips for Visiting:
  • Arrive early- it gets crowded fast; good photos will be a challenge
  • Wear closed in shoes - very dusty
  • Tours are available from Las Vegas 
Las Vegas Sign, Travel Nevada, Visit Las Vegas, Vegas Travel Trips, Vegas Travel Expert

The Las Vegas Sign

 The " Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign is one of the most iconic symbols of Vegas. It's been welcoming visitors to the city since 1959. It's now the most photographed landmark in the city.  I've chatted with several locals, who said
 they've never seen the sign- crazy!

I visited it on one of my trips, but haven't been back since we moved here. The sign is located slightly off the strip, on Las Vegas Blvd near the Mandalay Bay Hotel. 

Tips for Visiting
  • Arrive early! Just like 7 Magic Mountains, it get's crowded fast
  • Again, wear closed in shoes, very dusty too
  • Try to visit on a weekday
  • If you are taking pics, Oct thru May is best- too hot otherwise!
Beverly Hills CA, Visit Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive,  Vegas Day Trips

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills CA

Make sure you bring a stuffed wallet to shop on Rodeo Drive! Luxury shopping and dining are the center of excitement, at this charming LA suburb. The city is home to many celebrities and luxury hotels.

Rodeo Drive is a haven for luxury style. Even if you don't plan to shop, you'll love strolling the streets and sipping a frappe in the beautiful surroundings!  On our recent visit, we visited downtown for the first time.  If you want to unwind and enjoy the sun in a serene setting, check it out!

Bordering cities of Hollywood and Santa Monica offer endless attractions and fun for tourists in the Los Angeles area. Don't miss visiting Santa Monica Beach and Pier!

Disneyland, Visit Anaheim, Disneyland CA, Vegas Day Trips

The Happiest Place on Earth

Disneyland is a 4 hour drive from Las Vegas on Interstate15 South.  If you plan to visit the park, make your online reservation well in advance. We visited this past February and reserved our tickets about 2 weeks before arrival. At peak times, probably it needs to be done a few months out from your visit.

Unfortunately life has changed greatly since the pandemic. It's sad we can no longer show up and buy  tickets at the gate. 

A few years back I did a guide on how to do Disney trip for under 1000. ( for west coasters)  We all  know inflation is bad right now; and 1000 is not gonna do it! You may still find some money saving tips for planning your trip to Disney in Anaheim.

Red Rock Canyon, Visit Las Vegas, Travel Nevada, Las Vegas Travel Expert, Vegas Day Trips

Red Rock Canyon

We toured Red Rock Canyon in early fall, it was an ideal time  for a visit. The temps were perfect and crowds were less.  There are several stops on the scenic drive through the canyon.  The entrance fee is very affordable : $15 or so- for a car load.  You are permitted to stay in the park until 6 p.m. and explore at your own pace.

The canyon is  a 30 minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip. As with most outdoor adventures, guided tours are available. Touring the Canyon by bike is quite popular. It would be amazing try that next time!

The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area encompasses 195,819 acres within the Mojave Desert. Red Rock is an area of worldwide geologic interest and beauty.

Valley of Fire, Visit Valley of Fire, Travel Nevada, Vegas Day Trips

Valley of Fire

The world renowned Valley of Fire has 2000 year old petroglyphs carved into massive red sandstone formations, in the Mojave Desert. The stunning rocks illuminate the valley, especially at sunset. This makes the valley appear as though it's "on fire." 

There are 50 acres of preserved land and Valley of Fire Park was first to be established in Nevada in the year 1935. Be prepared for very extreme heat if you visit in the late spring or summer. Daytime temps fluctuate between 100-120 degrees-ouch!  

The Valley of fire has been a popular spot for filming movies such as:
  • Casino
  • Transformers
  • Total Recall
  • Star Trek Generation ( 1994) & many more...
Things to do at Valley of Fire
  • Enjoy landscapes
  • Elephant Rock ( pictured above)
  • Hike Crimson Staircase
  • Rainbow Vista
  • Walk 1.25 mile loop
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope on your next trip to Las Vegas, you'll  check out these incredible stops nearby!  If you are on instagram, follow along for the mini travel guides and fashion tips for your destionation.

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  1. Wow! So many incredible things to see and do. We did stop and tour the Hoover Dam on a previous trip; my husband owned his own small hydroelectric dam and for years whenever we went on vacation we toured other dams and learned about their power supply.