7 Ways to Have Fun Off the Las Vegas Strip
Heading to Viva Las Vegas, but want to do something other than gamble and spend lots of money on The Strip? Do you want to have fun off the Las Vegas Strip without breaking your wallet? Stick around because we can show you several things to do off the Las Vegas Strip!
There is so much for anyone and everyone to enjoy in Las Vegas, but Las Vegas is more than just The Strip. We would know best, it is where we moved after we graduated from our universities, met, and fell in love…awww. What we both love about Las Vegas is not even on The Strip, it is off The Strip. There are so many things to do in Las Vegas than just gambling, dining at celebrity chef restaurants and watching Cirque Du Soleil shows. So what are the fun things off the Las Vegas Strip? Hiking, canyons, the Hoover Dam, National Conservation and Recreation Areas, lake activities, colored rocks, hot springs and would you believe me if I said snow?!?!
My list of activities to enjoy off the Las Vegas Strip are the perfect day trips and break from all of the busy streets filled with tourists, gambling, smokey casinos, dance clubs and more. In addition, Las Vegas can be expensive, so these day trips off the Las Vegas Strip are quite budget-friendly. They are also the perfect activities to cleanse yourself from all the “Viva Las Vegas” shenanigans. You can easily enjoy these activities with a driving distance of no longer than one hour (give or take).
Renting a Car
When you visit Las Vegas, you do not need a rental car for staying on The Strip, but you will need it to explore things off the Las Vegas Strip. We rent our rentals cars in two ways – AutoSlash and Costco. If you are members of Costco, then you need to take advantage of their unbelievable rental car rates. To be honest, paying $60 a month for better car rentals may be worth it. If you are not a Costco member, then we highly recommend using AutoSlash.
Just grab a taxi from your respected resort and go to the airport, should cost you no more than $15. Why only rent a car for day trips? Because The Strip and Downtown Las Vegas makes their guests pay for parking overnight now (used to not be that way) and rates can go from $10 to over $20 a night.
When we lived in Las Vegas, we used to rent cars all the time for our day trips. One time, we rented a vehicle for $40 for 4 days – you really can’t find a great deal like that anywhere else. In our experience, we have found rental car rates in Las Vegas to be significantly cheaper than other cities, which makes it very budget-friendly to enjoy these trips off The Strip.
Red Rock Canyon
(Distance from The Strip: 30 min)
Let us start off by saying how much we LOVE Red Rock Canyon. We actually had it as our view every day from our apartment to and from work and the view never got old. Since it was so close to where we lived, during spring and fall, we would go hiking at Red Rock Canyon every other week. Needless to say, it is one of our favorite things to do off the Las Vegas Strip. If you have time to visit Red Rock Canyon from the Vegas Strip, we highly recommend you enjoy the drive throughout the park (convertible would be the best) and then hike one of many of Red Rock Canyon’s trails.
Hiking at Red Rock Canyon is amazing, there is so much beauty everywhere you look. The Red Rock Canyon trail we would say you HAVE to hike is Ice Box Canyon – it is the best hiking trail in Red Rock Canyon. If you go during the right time of the year (December-April), at the end of the trail is a small waterfall. Red Rock Canyon always blew us away with not just its majestic red tinted rock/canyon formations, but deep into the park is so much green, waterfalls and crystal clear waterholes. Who knew all of this beauty existed in the desert and just 30 minutes from the Vegas Strip?
The Ice Box Canyon trail is a total of 2.6 miles, which averages to 2.5 hr long hike. It is considered to be a moderate to strenuous hike. The trail is quite fun and easy to follow. There are tree logs to cross, rocks to climb and the end of the trail is the best part of all – crystal clear, ice cold waterholes! During the summer, the cliffs provide a lot of shade, therefore the canyon rarely gets any sun, hence the name, Ice Box Canyon. We don’t recommend swimming in the waterhole, one we have no idea how deep it is and two, it’s freezing!!!!
1000 Scenic Loop Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89161
Entry fee: $15 per vehicle
Seven Magic Mountains
(Distance from The Strip: 35 min)
One of the most unique things to do in Las Vegas is going to see the Seven Magic Mountain. In 2016, Las Vegas partnered with the Art Production Fund, New York and Nevada Museum of Art, Reno to install a magical art piece by the renowned Swiss artist, Ugo Rondinone. The art piece is called the Seven Magic Mountains and has been a huge success since it unveil. It brings color into the desert with the seven, 30 to 35 ft. high bright colored boulders. It is certainly a fun sight to see and only 30 minutes off The Strip. Grab your camera, tripod and your free spirit, the Seven Magic Mountains wait for you!
S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89054
Entry fee: FREE
(Distance from The Strip: 35 min)
Skip the day clubs and pool parties and head to Lake Mead! It is the perfect place to really make use of that swim suit/swim trunks you packed. It is 112 miles long and the largest reservoir in the United States. That means there are plenty of fun things to do at Lake Mead. Instead of pool parties on the strip, grab a party boat on Lake Mead with your friends! You can also rent jet skis, speed boats, wakeboards, tubes, kayaks, paddle boards from SkiWi Rentals– the options are almost endless. If water sports are not your thing, visitors can also relax at Boulder Beach and enjoy swimming nearby. Note, the beach is a little rocky, but other than that, it is a great place to swim.
10 Lakeshore Rd
Boulder City, NV 89005
Entrance fee: $20 per vehicle
(Distance from The Strip: 45 min)
Hoover Dam is an iconic landmark thanks to the movie, Transformers. Or maybe because it generates 4 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power each year for 1.3 million people across Nevada, Arizona, and California. Needless to say, a visit to Hoover Dam is not to be missed. You can experience the Hoover Dam in many different ways – enjoying a birds eye view from the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (also referred to as the Colorado River Bridge), walking across the Hoover Dam, visit the visitor center, go on the Powerplant tour or Hoover Dam tour. There are plenty of options to enjoy and explore the Hoover Dam. The bridge allows for some great photo opportunities and the chance to marvel at how big the Hoover Dam truly is. Walking across the Hoover Dam allows guests to be close and personnel, it can be thrilling to just look down from the ledge. Lastly, the tours of course provide guests with an inside look of the Hoover Dam and to learn more about its history and significance. For more info on the tours please click here.
On the Arizona side, visitors have the option to pay to park at lots close to the Hoover Dam, but there are also first come first serve free parking spots just a little further. If you didn’t get lucky in the casinos, maybe you will get lucky with parking. It is FREE to walk and drive across the Hoover Dam and Colorado River Bridge. Whereas you have to pay to enter the visitor center and go on the tours.
81 Hoover Dam Access Rd
Boulder City, AZ 89005
Parking: $10 or FREE
Visitor Center: $8 ages 4 and up
Power plant Tour: $11 for adults, $9 for adults 62 and older, children between 4-16yrs and active U.S. military personnel, free for children 3 and younger.
Hoover Dam Tour: $30 per person, no children under 8 years old are allowed and not wheelchair accessible
Arizona Hot Springs
(Distance from The Strip: 45 min)
Seeking a fun adventure to really rejuvenate your mind and body? Look no further than the Arizona Hot Springs. Not only is it a beautiful hike between some small canyons, but you also get to hike along the beautiful Colorado River. This secret gem is quickly becoming on of the most popular things to do off the Las Vegas Strip thanks to recent viral videos.
To get to Arizona Hot Springs, you must hike the White Rock Canyon trail. The total distance of the trail, is 5.9 miles and hiking it can take around five hours, plus more time to enjoy the pools. It is considered to be a strenuous hike because you have to climb some rocks to get to the spring and pools. At one point during the trail, hikers must climb a ladder. The trail is marked fairly well, but hikers should be aware that the trail will close during the summer months and it is strongly advised to bring water no matter what time of the year you visit. Swimming in the hot springs dehydrates the body tremendously, so again, PLEASE bring plenty of water.
The hike is enjoyable, but nothing to rave about until you get deep within the canyon, close to the Colorado River and springs. Then the fun really begins when you reach the pools (thermal baths). The spring forms several pools and releases highly mineralized water at temperature of about 111°F. Once you arrive to the several pools, you are in natures very own spa retreat. So pick your own thermal bath and relax!
Willow Beach, AZ 86445
(Distance from The Strip: 53 min)
Would you believe us if we told you that within an hour driving distance from the Las Vegas Strip is snow?!?! Of course it is not year-round, but Mt. Charleston sees snow during the months of September to April. Even in the summer time, if you are looking to escape the Las Vegas desert heat, Mt. Charleston will be at least 20°F cooler. Whether there is snow or flowers on the ground, Mt. Charleston is one of the most refreshing things to do off the Las Vegas Strip. We love to just drive up and down the winding roads and soak up the wonderful views.
If you are looking to hike, Mt. Charleston has some great hiking trails to enjoy in the spring and summer such as, Mary Jane Falls, Fletcher Canyon and Charleston Peak South. During the winter months, visitors can enjoy ample amount of winter sports at Lee Canyon. They have skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing and sledding for visitors of all ages. Mt. Charleston is a great day trip no matter what time of the year it is!
2275 Kyle Canyon Rd
Mt Charleston, NV 89124
Winter activities: prices vary
Valley of Fire State Park
(Distance from The Strip: 1hr 4 min)
The Valley of Fire State Park contains over 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone. Who knew one of the most beautiful state parks in the United states was just an hour outside of Vegas? There are plenty of things to do in the Valley of Fire State Park, but the most popular are simply driving through and hiking trails. Driving through the Valley of Fire State Park is breathtaking on its own, but when you add hiking to the agenda, it makes an amazing day trip off the Las Vegas Strip.
The Valley of Fire trail we highly recommend to hike is called Fire Wave. It is an easy 1.2 mile hike, (about an hour long), that is a photographer and nature lovers dream. The trail is an out-and-back hike with marked posts and stones to help hikers find their way, but it is also a trail that is fairly broad which allows hikers to wander freely and explore the park’s beauty. Hikers will know when they hit the end of the trail because their jaws will drop in awe. The Fire Wave is essentially a sandstone formation that resembles the look of an ocean wave with swirling patterns of red, white and pink sandstone. It is one of the most magnificent sites you will ever see. All around you are gorgeous backdrops to capture photos you will look back on forever.
29450 Valley of Fire Hwy
Overton, NV 89040
Price: $10 per vehicle
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I hope you enjoyed my list of places and things you can enjoy off the Las Vegas Strip. Las Vegas is so much more than just dance clubs, gambling and celebrity restaurants. I hope you have the opportunity to see what I mean by going to at least one of these many beautiful places during your next trip to Viva Las Vegas!