Beyond the lights, glitz, and chaos of the Las Vegas Strip lies the chance for real adventure – no gaming involved.
Mention Las Vegas to most people, and they’ll immediately think of the casinos, endless buffets, the Vegas lights, and tourist-trap hot spots that dot Las Vegas Boulevard. And while the Strip certainly has its share of exciting venues and world-class dining opportunities, there is life beyond the 4.2-mile stretch of road between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road, known as “The Strip.” Let’s look at several terrific options for visitors and locals who want to get to know Las Vegas beyond the lights.
Hoover Dam: Just 30 minutes east of Las Vegas lies a marvel of man-made engineering – the Hoover Dam. Known originally as Boulder Dam until it was renamed in 1947, the dam measures 726 feet in height and spans across the entirety of the Black Canyon of the Colorado River – joining Arizona and Nevada in the process. Take time for a tour and learn how to purchase paddle craft and rafting permits that let you launch a kayak, canoe, or personal raft right below the dam. Open 363 days a year (closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas), the Hoover Dam is an absolute must-see of things to do in Las Vegas.
Lion Habitat Ranch: Henderson, a town on the southeast corner of the Las Vegas Valley, is home to a wide range of exciting destinations – Lion Habitat Ranch is one of them. There are immersive options that let you feed the lions ($800), interact with lion cubs ($200 for two people), dine in close proximity to lions (Feast with the Beasts, variable cost), or simply pay an admission fee and observe the lions up close. Private tours are also available. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this exciting adventure while visiting the desert!
Ethel M Factory Tour & Botanical Garden: If you’re looking for something completely different while visiting Sin City, then look no further! What could be better than combining fresh, rich chocolate with a beautiful natural setting? That’s exactly what you get when you take the Ethel M Chocolate Factory tour. Located in Henderson, just 15 minutes from the Strip, and completely FREE to enjoy, visitors will enjoy learning about the chocolate making process and then have access to a botanical cactus garden that features more than 300 unique plant species.
Pahrump Valley Winery: Take a break from the intensity of Las Vegas and head out to Pahrump – a town about an hour away from Vegas that is home to an award-winning winery, the Pahrump Valley Winery. Their wines have won 86 national awards, including two Double Gold medals. Nevada Magazine voted the winery the Best Restaurant and Best Winery in both 2015 and 2016. Sample their diverse selection of wines and see where the magic happens yourself.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Though the desert may appear dry and featureless at first glance, it is actually a vibrant ecosystem that is home to a variety of plants, animals, and geographic features. And nothing stands out more when looking west from the Las Vegas Strip than Red Rock Canyon. Spanning nearly 200,000 acres and attracting more than two million visitors each year, this area is a goldmine for geo-lovers everywhere. Sandstone walls measure 3,000 feet tall in some places, and La Madre mountain marks the high point in the park with an elevation of 8,154 feet. Get there at just the right time for an awe-inspiring sunrise, easy parking, and minimal crowds to maximize your overall adventure in the rocks and mountains that define the desert.
Vegas has so much to offer and different options when it comes to exploring the areas beyond the bright lights of the Strip, including your choice of lodging. If you’re looking to enjoy all that Vegas has to offer – the excitement, the natural beauty of the surrounding areas, and the ingenious manmade attractions and exhibits, consider a stay here at Tahiti Village Resort & Spa – just two miles away. You’ll find an oasis away from the noise and congestion of the Strip, but you’ll never be more than a few minutes from the action.