Las Vegas, Nevada is an entertainment oasis in the desert, with bright lights, 5-star lodging and first class shopping. Beyond the Strip of neon lights, there are many wonderful sights to see, so we asked the most road tripped man in the world, Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com, to share some of his favorite Las Vegas road trips.
It is understandable why millions of people from around the world flock to Las Vegas each year. It’s a city that has something for everyone and can be a fun escape from reality. Beyond gaming, the opulent and obvious, the geographical location of Sin City makes it a perfect home-base for a number of nearby Las Vegas road trips. From colorful roadside attractions and water sports, to history and mountain escapes, there is something in every direction. When you want to take a break from the action, here are some of my favorite Las Vegas road trips just a short drive from the Strip.
Valley of Fire State Park
Tops on my list is Valley of Fire, a geological wonder that showcases unique red rock sandstone formations, along with an abundance of wildlife, fantastic winding roads, and lots of hiking and photographic opportunities. Insulated from the city lights, this is also a great place for stargazing. Without question Valley of Fire is one of my favorite Las Vegas road trips and it is just about an hour northeast of town.
Entrance fee: $10
Seven Magic Mountains
Driving to Las Vegas from the south, about 20 miles before you hit the Strip, you will encounter one of the coolest and most colorful roadside attractions. Seven Magic Mountains is a large public art display that encompasses 32 gigantic boulders stacked 4-6 high and painted with the brightest eye-popping colors you’ve even seen. Set against the neutral colors of the Mojave Desert, Seven Magic Mountains really stand out. This display seems to pay homage to Las Vegas in two ways. First, the bright colors are reminiscent of the famed neon lights of the city. And second, the seven-stacked boulders look like massive cairns, leading the way into Vegas.
Entrance Fee: Free
During the summer months, Las Vegas can be extremely hot, so outdoor activities can be limited to the cooler times of the day. But believe it or not, just 45 minutes from downtown Vegas, you can ascend to 8000 feet as you drive up Mount Charleston and escape the heat of the desert below. In the winter months, you can even go snow skiing. Mount Charleston is one of the tallest mountains in the state at nearly 12,000 feet and offers hiking, seasonal waterfalls, horseback riding, biking or just a relaxing picnic.
Entrance Fee: Free
Red Rock Canyon
Just 25 minutes west of downtown Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon National Park, which can be accessed in two different directions, making it a full loop and a very scenic drive. Once inside the park, there is a 13-mile one-way loop that takes visitors through the canyon. Weather permitting, there are lots of hiking trails, climbing areas and plenty of room on the road for biking. If you do the circumference road (in one way, out the other), you’ll come across Bonnie Springs, which is worth a stop. This mid-1800s mining town is now a tourist attraction where the spirit of the era is still alive.
Entrance Fee: $20 or free with Parks pass.
Lake Mead Recreational Area
With striking landscapes and one of the most diverse national recreational areas in the country, Lake Mead is a year-round haven for water enthusiasts. From fishing, boating, hiking to swimming and horseback riding, there is an endless array of activities. Lake Mead is also just a great place to get away from all of the action on the Strip to relax on the beach and soak up some sun. The area is quite expansive, so if you’re up for a stroll, you can certainly find a tranquil place to take in the beauty and diversity of the landscape. Lake Mead Recreational area is just 35 minutes southeast of downtown.
Entrance Fee: $20 (boating and camping extra) or free with Parks pass
There are many other nearby Las Vegas road trips to consider, but these are some of my favorites. Visiting all five places is only 277 miles and you can probably do them all in two days. Click the following link for great Las Vegas hotels.
If you have any other Las Vegas road trip suggestions, please share in the comments below!
Mike Shubic is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Gnomads, visit Travelocity Gnomads.
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