While Las Vegas may conjure visions of bright lights, luxury hotels, and fast-paced nightlife, this city’s natural wonders are sorely underappreciated. Located in the Mojave Desert and bordered by mountains on every side, the climate in the Las Vegas area is hot and dry—the area enjoys an average of 310 sunny days per year and rarely gets cold weather. Take advantage of the sun and get outside the city limits to experience some of Nevada’s breathtaking landscapes. Located about 21 miles outside of the city center, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a great destination for hiking, rock climbing, bouldering, mountain biking, and horseback riding. This scenic conservation area is also home to local wildlife like burros—a type of small donkey—, chukar gamebirds, chorus frogs, and sagebrush lizards.
If you have time to take a day trip, Death Valley National Park is approximately 111 miles outside of the city and boasts iconic natural points of interest including Furnace Creek, Badwater, and Zabriskie Point. This national park is known as one of the hottest and driest spots in the world, with its lowest point measuring 282 feet below sea level. Visitors can explore more than three million acres of sand dunes, slot canyons, salt flats, and rocky summits. Death Valley is also a fantastic destination for watching the sun set and catching a glimpse of a dark sky full of stars.
While the area around Las Vegas certainly has a lot to boast when it comes to natural wonders, hanging out downtown is just as fun. Get your photo taken in front of the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which has stood on Las Vegas Boulevard since 1959. Take a stroll down the Las Vegas strip and marvel at the colorful neon signs and landmark resorts. Pay a visit to one of the city’s eclectic museums like the Pinball Hall of Fame, the Mob Museum, the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, or the Neon Museum to learn a little bit about local history and culture. And before you leave, make sure to enjoy a perfectly prepared prime rib meal at one of the city’s many legendary steakhouses.