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Off the Strip: 6 Sightseeing Musts from Las Vegas

September 12, 2014 | By |

Las Vegas may be known for its bright lights and entertainment-filled nights, but truth is there are even more dazzling sights if you are willing to venture past the Strip. From man-made marvels to natural wonders, here are 6 sightseeing musts from Las Vegas.

Hoover Dam

hoover-dam

Built between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression, Hoover Dam was one of the largest US government projects of its time and remains an engineering wonder. It’s located between Arizona and Nevada and spans the Colorado River in the Black Canyon. Architecturally beautiful, the structure stands out for its curvilinear arch and art deco design. The dam is also home to Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US.

How to get there: hop on a Hummer or bus tour, rent a car, or take a helicopter ride

How far from Vegas: approx. 1-hour drive; flight times vary depending on chosen tour

Grand Canyon

Considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a spectacular sight for the eyes. If heading to the West Rim on a ground tour, you’ll likely travel through the Joshua Tree Forest, while an aerial tour will provide views of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Key highlights of the West Rim include Hualapai Market at Guano Point and the Grand Canyon Skywalk at Eagle Point.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Going to the South Rim instead? As part of the Grand Canyon National Park, the South Rim offers picturesque trails and views at Mather Point. Bright Angel Lodge, a historic hotel complex located directly on the edge of the Canyon itself, is another must-see. A helicopter ride of the South Rim offers views of Dragon’s Corridor, the Tower of Ra, Kaibab National Forest and the Colorado River.

grand-canyon-afternoon

How to get there: hop on a Hummer or bus tour, rent an SUV, or take a helicopter ride

How far from Vegas: approx. 2.5 hour drive (West Rim) or 5-hour drive (South Rim); flight times vary depending on chosen tour

Death Valley

Don’t be fooled by its name: Although Death Valley is the hottest area in all of North America, if offers tons of natural and historical riches (just make sure to see them in an air conditioned vehicle or during cooler hours of the day). Among its hidden treasures is Scotty’s Castle, a Spanish-style villa that was built in the 1920s after a conman successfully convinced a millionaire to invest in his “goldmine.” Death Valley’s mysterious aura is also attributed to the Ubehebe Crater (all that remains from a violent volcanic eruption thousands of years ago), Badwater Basin (a saltwater basin and the lowest spot in North America) and Rhyolite Ghost Town.

How to get there: hop on a bus tour, rent a car, or take a helicopter ride

How far from Vegas: approx. 2-hour drive; flight times vary depending on chosen tour

Red Rock Canyon

red-rock-canyon

A scenic 21-kilometre drive along Red Rock Canyon is perfect for a day of sightseeing: take in views of the sandstone Calico Hills, marvel at the limestone roasting pits used by the Native Indians and study the petroglyphs at Willow Springs. A Red Rock Canyon trip would not be complete without seeing Spring Mountain State Park, a ranch previously owned by Howard Hughes, eccentric millionaire extraordinaire. The canyon also offers 19 hiking trails, as well as opportunities to observe plants and wildlife.

How to get there: hop on a bus or Hummer tour, or rent a car

How far from Vegas: approx. 35-minute drive

Zion National Park

Known for its red, white and pink rock formations, Zion National Park is a feast for the eyes. Located in Springdale, Utah, the park offers a stark contrast between desert areas and pockets full of waterfalls, ponds and lush greenery. Some major points of interest include Virgin River, Checkerboard Mesa, Weeping Rock and Emerald Pools.

How to get there: hop on a bus tour, rent a car, or take a helicopter ride

How far from Vegas: approx. 2.5 hour-drive; flight times vary depending on chosen tour

Laughlin

laughlin

Laughlin is no Vegas, but this gambling city’s smaller-town-feel and lower costs make it an attractive alternative to the glitz and glam of the Strip. In addition to casinos, you’ll find shopping, spas and golf courses. Its location on the banks of the Colorado River and its proximity to Lake Mohave also mean opportunities for fishing, swimming, boating and other aquatic activities.

How to get there: hop on a bus tour, or rent a car

How far from Vegas: 1.5 hour-drive

Ready to make the trip from the Strip? Learn more about your options for sightseeing tours from Vegas so you can get started on planning!