According to the latest Visitor Profile from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) people visiting Sin City are spending more on sightseeing (page 42) than the past few years. While the average visitor spends almost $40 on sightseeing, many of the activities can be enjoyed for free if you stay on the Vegas Strip or have a car to take some trips. Today, we’ll look at some things to do outdoors in and around Las Vegas.
Visit Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is beautiful. The view of the mountains about 30 minutes away doesn’t do it justice. You have to be up close to really appreciate Red Rock Canyon. This city guy (born and raised in New York City) isn’t very comfortable with open spaces but this has become one of my favorite places to go for some relative isolation.
Some visitors love staying in the car and driving the scenic loop while enjoying the air conditioning in the car. Plenty of visitors head to Red Rock Canyon to hike the trails. Both will cost money inside the national park. However, hikers can head up the mountain range at nearby Calico Basin for no fee.
If you’re just looking to get away from the action grab a bite to eat and head to the scenic overlook and picnic area at Red Rock Canyon. This is where I go the mellow out and drink coffee most often. The views are great and there’s no charge just to hang out. A few tables should suffice a small group or family bringing food.
While you’re out west you can visit Red Rock, Suncoast, and Rampart casinos if you’re itching to gamble a little or want to grab dinner after a long day outdoors. Shoppers can head to Downtown Summerlin or Tivoli Village.
Do Touristy Things In Touristy Places
Las Vegas is a relatively large city but the vast majority of tourists tend to stay on the Vegas Strip or downtown Las Vegas. That’s cool, there’s plenty of things to do outdoors in both places. We recently discussed Strip Marches as a fun activity that will take you from casino to casino.
Creating your own or downloading a walking tour is one way to explore the great outdoors wherever you’re visiting. Visit the Bellagio Fountains or Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Vegas Strip. Take a walk through The Linq for window shopping or sit outside of New York-New York so you can enjoy a drink and a bite. There are a lot of ways to enjoy the sun on the Vegas Strip.
Head downtown and walk through the mall of casinos under the Fremont Street Experience. Keep walking east after the canopy ends. Downtown Container Park is a few blocks away and has small bars and restaurants to enjoy outdoors. There are also a variety of small shops if you’re looking to buy something.
Take A Drive
There are things to see and do within driving distance that aren’t necessarily in Las Vegas. The word “drive” is a bit of a pun. Golfers know they can enjoy the great outdoors playing different courses within a 20-40 minute drive from the Vegas Strip or downtown Las Vegas.
Take a 90-minute drive to Laughlin, NV to enjoy some time boating or jet skiing in the Colorado River. The casino-hotels next to the river have gambling, restaurants, and bars if you need more action or want to crash. The drive to Lake Mead for similar activities on the water is only about 45 minutes away but there aren’t any casinos if you need more activities.
Take a drive 30-40 minutes south of the Vegas Strip to Primm, NV. This small casino town might bring back images of the old west. Mount Charleston is about 45 minutes away from the Vegas Strip and feels like another world entirely. Temperatures are usually 20 degrees cooler than Las Vegas. You can go hiking or relax in the resort. For reference, this is usually the part of Nevada that you see when the news talks about snow just outside of Las Vegas.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.