Red Rock Canyon
Located just 15 miles west of downtown, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a must-see destination. The 195,000-acre preserve is open year round and has 23 hiking trails and a 13-mile scenic drive. It also is a popular spot for mountain biking, horseback riding and rock climbing. Red Rock Canyon is in the easternmost part of the Mojave Desert.
Lake Mead and the famous Hoover Dam are only 30 miles east of Las Vegas. Hiking, camping and kayaking are just three of the many outdoor activities available in the 1.5 million-acre Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Lake Mead is also popular with fisherman, water skiers and campers. The mammoth Hoover Dam, meanwhile, is a true architectural marvel.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire State Park, which is 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas and not far from the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, has numerous hiking trails. The park gets its name from the color of the area's red sandstone. Many hiking trails lead to spectacular rock formations and breathtaking views of the Mojave Desert.
Nature lovers can also find some interesting things to do downtown. Check out Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and the Dolphin Habitat inside The Mirage hotel. At the Secret Garden, you'll find several species of big cats, including white lions and white tigers. At the Dolphin Habitat, you can be a dolphin trainer for a day--albeit at a fairly steep price.
The Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay is also quite an experience. The aquarium displays many species of shark, giant rays, sea turtles and other aquatic creatures. The highlight is the acrylic tunnel that allows you to walk through the giant aquarium for incredible views of ocean predators.
Inside the Bellagio is the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a meticulously-manicured and sculpted exhibit of plants and flowers.
Article Written By Eric Richardson
Eric Richardson is a freelance writer living in Walkersville, Md. He has been working as a writer for four years and specializes in sports, film critique, and video game reviews. Richardson has been published in numerous outlets both online and in print. He attended college at the University of Maryland.