During my longer visit in Las Vegas I used the weekend to explore the area outside of the city and away from the strip. If you also look for some get-aways from the busy strip, here are some ideas, which might help.
1. Hoover Dam
I would say pretty much everybody knows the Hoover Dam, if not by name at least by its appearance in TV shows and movies. The most famous one in my opinion would be Transformers.
A couple of years ago they finished the new bridge across the Colorado River. That was my biggest intend to revisit the site, since I only have seen the bridge a couple of times during construction process. Before completion of the bridge, Hoover Dam was the main crossing over the Colorado River here. This was a big problem, because of the narrow one lane road in each direction and all the tourists visiting Hoover Dam, which created sometimes congestions.
Now the crossing over Hoover Dam is a dead-end. You can drive across the dam where you can find free parking spots, compared to the parking garage, which you will pass on your way righ before the dam. There is also a scenic lookout at the end of the road and it’s worth either driving up or walking up. You will also cross a time zone and a state border at the center of Hoover Dam. Once there, take one of the tours. They will give you great inside views of the dam and depending on the tour you have chosen you also get to go inside the dam.
For all the geocachers reading this: There is a geocache challenge at Hoover Dam.
Hoover Dam was originally built to store water but as a by-product it produces electricity and supplies three states.
2. Red Rock Canyon
On the other side of the city you will find the Red Rock Canyon. Take Highway 159 for a nice loop around the area. There is a scenic overlook approximately in the middle of the loop. Here you have a nice view onto the canyon and the “Red Rocks”, which gave name to the area here. There is a more scenic loop drive inside the Red Rock Canyon State Park and also a lot of nice hiking trails. But to enter you have to pay a fee or have a state park pass.
Come out here to explore the nature and get away from the crowded Las Vegas Blvd and all the casinos. Not to far from the Red Rock Canyon State Park you will find Red Springs Park. No fee required here and there are also some nice trails around the spring. Also good to come out here for a family retreat and to relax. They have tables with shades to protect yourself from the sun. Also be aware that there are some private roads and properties. You will see the signs and please obey them.
3. Bonnie Springs Ranch
Located just of Highway 159. You will see signs on the highway to know when you have to turn. This is a fun place for the whole family. There is a hotel, restaurant, museum and many show events. They have a small petting zoo, staged gun fights and a haunted house which was featured on the Travel Channel.
There is also a small train running from the general parking lot to the ranch itself. There is an admission to enter Bonnie Springs Ranch and for more details on opening hours and prices check their website.
4. Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is only about 2,5 hours away from Las Vegas. You can drive there by yourself if you have a car or use one of the numerous tour offers which depart directly from Las Vegas. Check out also my post about the Grand Canyon Skywalk.