Las Vegas is known as a place to let loose. You can leave your inhibitions at the door and get your fill of eating, drinking, and gambling. That said, everything from food to luxury is excessive and in your face. If you’re like me, you can only take so much of this façade. Thankfully, there are plenty of amazing things to do outside Vegas. After half a dozen visits to Sin City, here are my favourites.
Where to Rent a Car in Vegas?
Before we dive into this list of things to do outside of Vegas, you’re going to need some wheels. Renting a car from LAS airport is best. Not only will you get some of the lowest rates in town, but you also won’t have to spend on transportation to and from the airport. Keep in mind, the drop off centre is offsite so be sure to give yourself an extra 30 minutes on your departure!
I used Rhino Car Hire on my last trip and highly recommend them. Their “pain-free and simple” search engine compares the best rates on several major rental companies and gets you the best deal.
Alternatively, if you are with a large group or looking to travel in style, consider renting a limousine through Limo Find!
Visit the Neon Bone Yard
First up on this list of things to do outside Vegas is paying a visit to the incredible Neon Museum and Boneyard. Although technically still within city limits, a car is recommended as taking an Uber or taxi to the north side of town can be pricy, especially if you are staying on the strip
Regardless of how you get there, a visit is well worth the drive. If you have ever wondered where Las Vegas’s iconic signage goes to die, this is it. The Neon Museum and the Neon Boneyard are run by a non-profit organization working hard to preserve and share Las Vegas’s iconic signs of yesterday. It may seem like a collection of junk however cheerful and enthusiastic staff are on hand to prove otherwise. Guests can wander the museum, take in exhibitions, and enjoy a guided walk through the boneyard.
NOTE: Be sure to book in advance! Tickets sell out fast.
For a full breakdown of my experience at the Neon Boneyard with plenty more pictures, check out my full review!
See the Seven Magic Mountains
Next up on this list of things to do outside Vegas is visiting the Seven Magic Mountains art installation. If there was ever something built “for the gram,” the painted rocks outside of Las Vegas is it. These peculiar stacks of colourful rocks 10-miles south of the city draw people in simply to snap a few pictures, yours truly included.
That said, the contrast of vast nothingness and bright neon colours is particularly eye-catching.
Created by Swiss-born artist Ugo Rondinone, Seven Magic Mountains consists of 33 limestone boulders stacked up to 35 feet high. Even if just for a picture, it’s well worth the short drive south of the city and a nice change of pace from the lights and sounds of the Vegas strip.
Hike Red Rock Canyon
Speaking of colourful rocks, when thinking about Las Vegas, a beautiful and unique natural landscape doesn’t come to mind. All you can eat buffets and fake Parisian buildings, yes. Interestingly colourful rock formations, no.
So it might come as a surprise that just 15-miles west of Las Vegas you will find Red Rock Canyon National Conservatory, home to some seriously beautiful scenery.
Visitors can not only enjoy the mix of red and white Aztec sandstone through the parks many hiking trails but also by car. The park features a one-way 13-mile loop and the drive is easily one of the most scenic things to do outside Vegas.
Tour Hoover Dam
Once the tallest dam in the world, Hoover Dam is definitely a sight to see. It has enough concrete to stretch across America and provides power to three states. On top of that, this engineering marvel is just 37 miles south-east of the city.
With both guided and self-guided tour options, visiting Hoover dam is one of the most popular things to do outside Vegas. With its incredible height, history, and Art Deco architecture, it’s easy to see why.
Dune Buggy Through the Valley of Fire
Have you ever looked at a beautiful landscape and said: “Man, I want to drive all over that?” In the tiny town of Moapa, just 52 miles north of Vegas, you can do just that.
Those that make the short drive are rewarded with a truly unique and fun adventure. Guests can rents dune buggy’s for a self-guided rip through the incredible mix of desert sand dunes and rocky trails through the wildly accurately named Valley of Fire.
Expect to spend a full day with travel to and from Vegas and four hours ripping around the park. Pack sunscreen, water, and lunch and prepare for some serious fun. Out of my half dozen visits to Las Vegas, this has been my favourite activity by far!
Visit the Edge of The Grand Canyon
Last up on this list of things to do outside Vegas is visit the Grand Canyon. Although it’s located in a different state, the western rim is only 250-miles away from Vegas and makes for a fun day trip. Once there, you can take in the mind-blowing views and even venture out onto a glass floor walkway 4,000 feet above the canyon floor!
The drive may be a bit long for some, however, with a stop at Hoover Dam, this makes for an epic road trip! That said, if spending a day driving there and back doesn’t appeal to you, you can always take a helicopter ride! I did this several years ago and can highly recommend!
Leaving Las Vegas?
As you can see, there is no shortage of great things to do outside of Vegas. If you are tapped out at the tables or over the overly fake facade that is Las Vegas, consider renting a car and hitting the road! From neon rocks to dusty and firey landscapes that you can race around on, there truly is more to see and do outside Vegas!
What say you?
Thoughts on these great things to do outside Vegas?
Let’s hear it in the comments below!
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