Last week, I wrote about the Valley of Fire State Park being a terrific day trip from Las Vegas. If you make the trip, why not tack on a trip to the Lost City Museum to round out the experience? This museum, one of six state museums in Nevada, was created in 1935 by the National Park Service to house and preserve artifacts unearthed at the nearby Pueblo Grande de Nevada (“The Lost City”) site. With the construction of the Hoover Dam, this site was going to be flooded, and those artifacts might have been lost forever. The Civilian Conservation Corps helped dig up the artifacts and build this museum to house them.
The Lost City Museum
You’ve heard of the Anasazi Indians, right? These ancient Puebloans inhabited this region well over a thousand years ago before suddenly disappearing for no apparent reason. The artifacts you’ll see here at the museum are from that civilization. Continue reading →
While you can occupy your entire Las Vegas vacation with activities inside the city’s limits, it would be a shame to come all the way to Nevada and not enjoy some of its natural beauty outside the city. I’ve managed to pry myself away from Las Vegas long enough to go see the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Laughlin (on the Arizona border) on previous trips, and in September, I finally made it to the Valley of Fire. While it was a place I’ve wanted to visit for years, I was shocked to learn that not everyone’s heard of it.
That's desert sage lending a splash of green to the earth tones of the desert.
When I mentioned I was going, several people asked me “What’s the Valley of Fire?”
Gasp. Oh, people.
Simply put, it is Nevada’s oldest state park which lies about an hour outside of Las Vegas and is filled with gorgeous natural rock formations. Continue reading →
If you rent a car when you’re in Vegas and like to find quirky things to do off-Strip, boy do I have one for you: Go check out the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza. The Travel Plaza is a truck stop, but it’s definitely not your average truck stop. For one thing, it resides on Moapa Paiute tribal land. Believe it or not, the majority of the tribe’s income stems from this one little travel plaza located on the edge of the Valley of Fire. How is that possible? Because people like to come here to blow shit up.
Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza
One of the first things you’ll see when you walk into the store is a small mountain of boxes—those boxes are cases of fireworks of all kinds. And there are more where that came from. The Travel Plaza has the largest selection of fireworks in the West. But Gray, you may be asking, aren’t fireworks illegal in Clark County? I can’t just bring them back to my fancy-schmancy hotel on the Strip and blow them up out by the pool, can I? Yes, they are, and no, you can’t. Don’t even think about it. Continue reading →
Please welcome my guest blogger today, JoAnna Haugen. JoAnna lives in Las Vegas and is well-versed in the hiking opportunities around the city. Here, she gives you her best tips for solo hiking near Las Vegas.
Though many people come to Las Vegas for its world-class cuisine, countless shows and gambling entertainment, there are also abundant opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts as well. In fact, one of the most popular outdoor activities in the Las Vegas valley is hiking, which is of little surprise given the fact that there are trails scattered throughout Red Rock Canyon, across Mt. Charleston, near Lake Mead and in Valley of Fire, all located within an hour’s drive of the Strip.
photo courtesy of JoAnna Haugen
Next time you’re in Las Vegas, tie on your boots and hit the trails. Here are a handful of tips to get you started:
In order to reach any of the hiking areas in Las Vegas, you’ll need a car. If you didn’t drive yours to Las Vegas, rent one. There are tours that go to Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead, but there isn’t enough freedom in these tours for you, a solo hiker, to escape the crowds. Continue reading →
If you’re looking for a day trip from Las Vegas, one of the most popular is to the Grand Canyon. It’s a long drive, though–around 10 hours round trip, and that doesn’t include time spent at the Canyon. Personally, I’m not fond of long solo car rides, especially coming on the heels of an 8 hour day flying from Vermont to Las Vegas, knowing I’ve got another 8 hour day flying back. Same goes for the bus tours, which take even longer (around 14 hours). But seeing the Grand Canyon was something I’d always wanted to do, and a few years ago, I finally decided it was time I saw it. My solution? Combine two things I’ve always wanted to do: Since I’ve also always wanted to fly in a helicopter, I decided to take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. In all my trips to Las Vegas, this was the most memorable thing I’ve done and my favorite by far.
The Grand Canyon
I booked a flight on Papillon’s Golden Eagle Air Tour, which is a no-frills flight that doesn’t land at the Grand Canyon and is 3.5 hours hotel to hotel. I found a discount online for this tour, so it wound up costing me $250 (but this was back in 2006). It runs around $300 now. They picked a few of us up at our hotel (the Bellagio) by van and shuttled us to their airport location, where we sat and waited for about 45 minutes for the tour and watched a safety video. Continue reading →