Story originally appeared on Westgate Restorts.
Las Vegas. The city that never sleeps. A seemingly endless array of bright neon lights, flashing casino games, massive resorts, over-the-top attractions, crowds and excitement. But there is another side to Las Vegas. In fact, you can escape from all that and enjoy a peaceful and serene desert experience.
The great outdoors of Vegas and its surrounding areas offer natural beauty, extraordinary geological formations, and adventure you can’t find anywhere else. Here are eight opportunities to get away from it all and discover the quiet side of Las Vegas.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Just 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, you’ll find Nevada’s first National Conservation Area. Visited by more than two million people annually, Red Rock offers spectacular scenery, a 13-mile scenic drive, miles of epic hiking trails, opportunities for rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking and road biking. You’ll also discover picnic areas, wildlife, a visitor center with indoor and outdoor exhibits and even a bookstore.
Emerald Cave Kayak Tour
Experience the scenic beauty of the Black Canyon with a fun-filled kayak adventure. A variety of kayak options are available that range from a few hours of paddling to a full day. Along the way, you’ll spot wildlife, and learn the history of the area from an expert guide. The highlight is reaching Emerald Cave, named for the water’s brilliant, emerald green color as the sunlight reflects off the river bottom and lights up a normally dark cave.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you’re looking for a little serenity, you’ll find it high in the sky above the lights of Las Vegas. Choose from one of the many hot air balloon rides and experience an adrenaline-filled ride, soaring through the sky in a basket. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime ride that offers spectacular 360-degree views of the Las Vegas Strip, the Pahrump Valley and the surrounding mountains. Climb as high as 10,000 feet for a bird’s eye view for miles around.
Valley of Fire State Park
With 40,000 amazing acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops mixed with gray and tan limestone, the beautiful Valley of Fire State Park offers ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. Find a variety of hiking trails and terrain to see canyons, petroglyphs, stunning stone formations and signature swirling rock hills. Or see the Visitor Center for exhibits on area geology, ecology, history and more.
A massive 726-feet in height, Hoover Dam is a staggering achievement in architecture. The concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River sits on the border between Nevada and Arizona. Constructed during the Great Depression the dam was dedicated in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It’s free to drive or walk across the dam and the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Or you can pay for tours inside the dam.
Walk the Vegas Strip
It may not take you away from the hustle and bustle, but one of the best outdoor adventures in Las Vegas is simply walking up and down the famed Vegas Strip. Lined with giant casino hotels and neon lights, the Strip is Las Vegas and four-mile jaunt up and down South Las Vegas Boulevard offers some of the city’s most iconic sights. Enjoy the wonders along the way such as the choreographed Bellagio Fountains and the Treasure Island pirate ship.
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
Here’s another chance to head to the skies for a bird’s eye view. Climb aboard a helicopter for a trip from Vegas to the one and only Grand Canyon. You can choose a copter trip to the canyon’s South Rim or West Rim. You can soar above the North Rim, or even descend to the Grand Canyon floor. Choose from a number of helicopter tours featuring panoramic windows for amazing, unrestricted views of this grand, wonder of the world.
Lake Las Vegas Paddleboard
Another great escape is to visit the calm waters of beautiful Lake Las Vegas for a peaceful paddleboard adventure. Glide along the lake and enjoy views of the scenic Las Vegas Valley. You can choose from a variety of 1- or 2-hour Paddle board rentals and select from multiple departure times to work this outdoor activity into your Vegas schedule. The 320-acre lake also offers electric boat and kayak rentals, an aqua park, and more.