It’s often said that when you’ve seen Vegas once, you’ve seen it 100 times. Sure, you may not have tried every fancy cocktail or rolled the dice in every casino, but once all the neon starts to run together, it may be time to step off the strip. The following (admittedly cheesy) tourist destinations will help you mix up your visit, without taking you too far from the city lights (just incase you have a dinner reservation to make).
This spot is a reason to travel to Nevada in and of itself, or so think roughly seven million tourists a year. Built in the 1930s, the 30-mile dam was an engineering marvel at the time of its construction, which cost $49 million ($836 million by today’s standards if you adjust for inflation) and over 100 lives to build.
Today, there are myriad ways to tour the dam. The Department of the Interior leads a 30-minute historic tour for $15, but recent visitors tout more exciting ways to check it out. The Super Hoover Dam Express tour is fast and funny, getting you in and out in 45 minutes. For adventure-seekers, a trail run is eight miles and follows an old road above Lake Mead; or you can pay to have a Hummer H2 take you across, while a 15-minute helicopter tours start at just $100.
The nearby Boulder City also has a charming downtown area with a yearly film festival and tons of antique and vintage shops.
X-Files comes to life. Area 51 has long been the suspect of speculation and conspiracy theories. The U.S. Air Force owns this 23-by-25-mile piece of land shrouded in secrecy. The primary purpose of this land has been publicly unknown since the government purchased it over 60 years ago. Reports of unusual phenomena and its connection to the Air Force have made it a hotbed for modern UFO and alien conspiracies, and a surprising number of people believe the site is used for studying and reverse engineering crashed alien spacecraft. From Las Vegas, you can take a guided tour of Area 51, located off of “Extraterrestrial Highway,” complete with the Little A’le’inn dinner and gift shop.
Primm and Jean are two random towns nestled between Vegas and Los Angeles, worth visiting purely for their novelty. Primm is just over the border from California, with a small casino and outlet mall for the drivers who apparently couldn’t make it the extra 45 minutes to Las Vegas. However, it does feature a great little amusement park with a thrilling hypercoaster, a log flume ride, and Bonnie and Clyde “Death Car.” Good Springs, a classic dessert ghost town featuring an old mining bar (Pioneer Saloon) that dates back to 1913, is nearby, as well. There are even still bullet holes in the wall from past “gentleman’s disagreements.”
To kick it up a notch, book a “haunted lockdown” and stay in the bar overnight. One Tripadvisor reviewer went as far as to claim it has the “Best burger by a million miles.” The town also offers ghost hunts and a star-gazing tour.
This area is painted as an ersatz luxury resort and has all the cheese of a gondola ride at The Venetian. With a “Tuscany” theme, the lake offers a nice getaway from the intense crowds that invade the city on weekends. Reflection Bay Golf and Beach Club is sculpted from the natural desert terrain and five holes are located along the beach’s shoreline. The lake is full of athletic activities, like stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, and Flyboard Las Vegas – a trending sport that allows participants to soar above the water. For those looking for a more relaxing experience, yacht cruises leave from the marina and the nearby resort offers boat rentals, boutique shopping, and wine tastings.
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