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  • Matthew Kenagy

My Top 5 Favorite Things to See Outside Las Vegas

Las Vegas is all about glitz, glamour, hospitality, and entertainment, and it's no wonder it welcomes over 40,000,000 visitors per year. I've called Las Vegas home for nearly 13 years, and it's an incredible place to live with relatively affordable housing, great weather, and as many entertainment and restaurant options as New York and Los Angeles.


Living in Las Vegas presents a wealth of new opportunities for discovery, especially outside the Strip. There are a number of great awe-inspiring and family friendly activities nearby, and here are five of my favorite:


HOOVER DAM & LAKE MEAD

Standing over 700 feet tall, Hoover Dam was a marvel of modern engineering when it was built in the early 1930s. Located about 45 minutes outside of the Las Vegas Strip, one can only imagine the challenges of building such a structure without modern technology.


Post 9/11, it was decided that the main traffic route across the Colorado River should no longer be the Dam itself, and in 2010 the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat TIllman bridge (right) was completed. You can park and walk across the bridge and the dam itself. For those that are more daring, you can hike to the Dam from Lake Mead via Railroad Pass, which was the location of the old railroad that serviced and supplied the construction of the Dam.


Lake Mead itself offers fishing and boating activities, and is a great spot for group activities on the water with available wave runners, fishing boats, pontoon boats and other available activities.


LAKE LAS VEGAS


Another surprising water haven outside of Las Vegas, this one is a bit closer. Located just off the 215 and 95 interchange, Lake Las Vegas is actually still a part of Henderson. Lake Las Vegas includes the Hilton and Westin resorts, golf courses, and water sports like flyboarding, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, yacht charters and more. The quaint village area also offers a number of dining options lakeside, and you can frequently find musical performances or move showings in the adjacent park.


RED ROCK CANYON


This hiker's and biker's paradise is located about 20 minutes from the Las Vegas strip. The Red Rock Canyons are stunning natural rock formations outside everyone's favorite adult playground, and features dozens of trails for hiking - from easy to experienced. A couple of trails even feature hidden treasures certain times of year like natural waterfalls that are created from melting snow at high altitudes. Bring plenty of water - Red Rock Canyon gets extremely hot during the summer, and I wouldn't recommend walking in the mid-day heat. If hiking isn't your thing, there's a roughly 20-mile scenic drive through the canyon. While you are there, be sure to checkout the Visitors Center, where you can learn more about the wildlife you may see on your hikes, as well as the Artist in Residency program and the Tortoise Habitat.


THE SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS

The Seven Magic Mountains are located just South of Las Vegas, near Jean, Nevada, and can be seen from I-15 on the way to California. Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone (the same artist behind the Human Nature exhibit at Rockefeller Center in New York) created this public art installation in 2016 for a two-year exhibit, but the exhibit is still open to the public today. It's a popular spot for Instagrammers and Social Media Influencers alike, and is a great example of the merger of pop art blending with nature.


MOUNT CHARLESTON & LEE CANYON


Who says you can't ski in Las Vegas? Mount Charleston is located about an hour away from the Strip, and generally offers incredible hikes, camping, disc golf, archery, and seasonal skiing. It's a great respite from the heat in the Summer and a perfect winter getaway if you are looking for that snow-covered cabin in the woods.


BONUS: NELSON, NV


The town of Nelson, Nevada, is located about an hour away from Las Vegas on the way to Laughlin. There are several buildings still standing from the 1700s, but the town became a literal gold mine in the late 1800s and early 1900s and was a key source of gold ore for early miners.


The town is also famous for its feature in the 2001 film 3000 Miles to Graceland where a crashed plane prop still sits as a reminder of the film's mark on the old ghost town.


Which one of the sites that I mentioned is your favorite? Are there any other cool things to do outside of Las Vegas that you think should have made the list?











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