The glitz and glamor of the Las Vegas Strip can be intoxicating, but gambling, shows, and endless buffets may not tickle everyone’s fancy. Should you find yourself in Las Vegas and crave a change of pace, here are four amazing side trips you can make in and around the Las Vegas area.
Visit the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of America’s best-known parks. The popular South Rim is just a five hour drive from Las Vegas. If you’re unaccustomed to roughing it, the park’s free shuttle buses will take you to scenic points around the South Rim, giving you a comfortable and air-conditioned view of one of the country’s grandest sights. The more adventurous might prefer to try their hand at camping, hiking, or even a mule ride down narrow switchback trails to the bottom of the canyon.
Fly with Sky Combat Ace
The perfect getaway for the extreme thrill seeker, Sky Combat Ace is based in the Silverado Ranch area, just south of Las Vegas. This unique experience puts you behind the controls of your very own real fighter jet, with a qualified instructor right behind you to guide you through the aerial acrobatics of a real dogfight. The experience includes complementary transportation, and newly fledged fighter pilots can even purchase a DVD of their daring flight.
Relax on Lake Mead
A short 30 mile drive east from Las Vegas will bring you to Lake Mead. With sandy beaches and blue water, it feels like a trip to the beach–with fewer sharks! Lake Mead offers swimming, fishing, and boating opportunities from its shores. Visitors can also bring their tents for overnight camping. Desert hikes are also available, taking hikers away from the lakeside to display a beautiful assortment of desert scenery and ecology.
Ski on Mount Charleston
That’s right, you can ski on your Las Vegas vacation. Mt. Charleston is one of Nevada’s highest peaks, and is a modest 40 miles from Las Vegas proper. During the winter, visitors to Mt. Charleston can ski, sled, or take a guided showshoe hike. Going in summer? Mt. Charleston offers a variety of recreational activities and programs year-round. Families with younger children may appreciate the Junior Ranger program, and those trying to avoid the heat can opt for a nighttime hike guided by a trained naturalist.