Diana Edelman

Top 10 Day Trips From Las Vegas

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Get out of town for the day. Here are the best day trips to take from Las Vegas.

Sure, the glittery lights and sex appeal are enough to lure visitors to Las Vegas. And, sure, there are plenty of things to do in Vegas (like, you know, gambling, partying and dining on some of the best food in the world), but beyond the neon lights there is another world. A world that can put visitors in touch with bright blue skies, sprawling desert landscapes and give them a glimpse at life in southern Nevada.

So, on your next visit to Sin City, plan on a little “escape,” too.

Boulder City
Made famous for Boulder/Hoover Dam, this quaint little town is a quick 30-minute drive from the Strip. Here, you can relax at adorable little sidewalk cafes (one of our favorites is Milo’s Cellar with a sweet smattering of (you guessed it — wine) and pull up a chair to listen to locals having a bluegrass jam. There is also Boulder Dam Brewing Company with seasonal selections of tasty beers, parks, antique shopping and gorgeous views of Lake Mead. Which leads us to …

Lake Mead

Lake Mead Cruises

While you can’t miss the tell-tale bleached rocks that weave a story of a time when the water table was higher and marinas didn’t have to relocate due to shallow areas, Lake Mead’s got plenty to do. From renting a boat and cruising around the various little nooks and crannies of the man-made lake to hiking around and getting a taste of nature, Lake Mead is the anti-Vegas in every sense. Except that, like Vegas, it’s made by humans.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

Photo by Ralph Arvesen / CC BY 2.0

Opened in 1936, Hoover Dam (also known as Boulder Dam) tells the story of early Vegas. Visitors can cross the new massive bridge into Arizona (and be in a different time zone), plus explore the inner-workings of this huge complex. A word of warning: for those who get weak in the knees from heights, don’t cross the bridge, and definitely, whatever you do, don’t look down.

Nelson, Nevada
Located about an hour outside of town, this little nugget of a city takes you a step back in time. It’s got kitsch, memorabilia and a plane that has been strategically planted into the side of a small desert mountain. At sunset, it’s a photog’s dream with the textures, the skyline and, of course, the trinkets that make up this tiny, tiny town.

Mt. Charleston

Mount Charleston

Photo by Mike Durkin / CC BY 2.0

The highest peak in Southern Nevada, Mt. Charleston looms just outside of the city. It’s got towering pine trees, a snow-capped peak (depending on the time of year), hiking, camping, lodges to sip hot beverages, a ski and snowboard resort and more.

Ok, so there isn’t too much here except for a few casinos nestled on the state line of Nevada and California. But, if you like shopping, this is the place to score designer duds at the outlets for a discounted price. Oh, and there is a roller coaster.

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