As one of the entertainment capitals of the world, the City of Las Vegas and it’s infamous strip have more than enough activities to keep you occupied for however long you plan to stay there. The skyscrapers are the first things to emerge out of the desert as you approach this commercial oasis and find yourself riding down Las Vegas’ legendary strip. Driving down the wide boulevard you’re flanked by huge hotels and casinos practically calling out to you; let the fun begin! However you can’t forget that the heady world of Las Vegas is located in the state of Nevada and for those that want to escape the casinos and tick a few other things off their bucket list, a road trip could be just the ticket. You have to be over 21 to hire a car, but then most people heading to Vegas are over the 21 age limit for drinking and gambling anyway. Be sure to have valid ID on you at all times and if you do plan on driving, get an inexpensive international driving license from your home country before you set off on your Vegas adventure.
Grand Canyon –
The Grand Canyon has got to be any everyone’s list when travelling through America, so rent a car and start planning your road trip. Depending on which part of the canyon you head to, drive time is usually between 4 and 5 hours from Las Vegas. Don’t be put off though, the drive itself will feel like an adventure as you cruise down the typically straight desert roads of America.
You have two main options when you head to the Grand Canyon: you can either go through Grand Canyon National Park (the North Rim or South Rim) or the Hualapai Indian Reservation (also known as Grand Canyon West, but not to be confused with the West Rim). The Hualapai Reserve is the closest to Vegas and will take you about 3 hours to reach it. From here you can reach Eagle Point and Guano Point. Eagle Point is named after an eagle shaped formation in the rocks and is where the Skywalk is located, allowing you to walk out past the edge of the rim for a quick peak down to the bottom of the canyon. Although this is the closest and so possibly the most appealing choice, you won’t get the ‘Grand Canyon View’ you’d expect here as it’s fairly low compared to Grand Canyon National Park. If you’re looking for the show-stopping panoramic views of the Grand Canyon you see in the movies, the South Rim in GCNP will deliver. Heading from Las Vegas, the south entrance of the South Rim is the easiest to get to but if you have the time, head to the East entrance where Desert View is – you’ll be rewarded for you efforts. A final option for those looking for more of an active adventure is to head to Havasu Falls which requires an 8 mile hike to the village before another 1 ½ mile hike up to the falls, a refreshing oasis in the middle of the never ending desert.
Lake Tahoe –
A road trip for those who enjoy the journey as well as the destination (or those simply used to American distances), Lake Tahoe is another natural wonder that must be seen. Located right along the state border of California/ Nevada and 7 hours from Las Vegas, it’s definitely worth dedicating a weekend to this trip so you have time to truly appreciate the beauty of the lake and all the activities going on along its shores. Lake Tahoe South is probably the easiest side of the lake for you to reach from Las Vegas and offers everything from skiing and water-sports (depending on the season) to casino resorts, bars and fine dining. If you head towards the Truckee River, there’s also river rafting for an adrenaline kick! Whatever you’re doing, this alpine paradise will stop you in your tracks at any time of day, whether it’s a clear blue morning sky reflected in the lake or a bursting sunset tipping the pines in gold.
Reno Rodeo –
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in June, get involved in ‘the wildest, richest rodeo in the West’ – Reno Rodeo. It is a ten day celebration of all things cowboy, including championships in saddled and bareback rodeo as well as a Miss Reno Rodeo competition. Reno is around a 6 hour drive from Las Vegas or a short flight of around an hour.
Area 51 –
For the conspiracy theorists among you, Area 51 is the place to go. Only publicly acknowledged by the CIA in 2013, Area 51 and the surrounding area has become a popular tourist destination. There are paid tours available which are well worth the money for the knowledge imparted by the guides and the planned route you are taken on. If you do want to do it yourself, the top-secret base is 2 and a half hours from Las Vegas. Head to the town of Rachel afterwards, down the aptly named Extra-terrestrial highway and grab some food and a few souvenirs, all alien themed of course.
Hoover Dam –
This early feat of concrete engineering is visited by around 1 million tourists a year. The ledge of the dam stands at 725feet above the Colorado River in the Black Canyon. Located 40 minutes out of Las Vegas, it’s a good detour to take if you plan on heading to the Grand Canyon. Tours are available of the Power Plant and an overall Dam Tour which gives you unprecedented access to the innards of the Dam. There’s also the Mike O’Callaghan & Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which will give you views previously only reached by helicopter, the walkway is around 900feet above the Colorado River, giving you a view of the Dam towards the north.