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Exploring

If you are visiting the American southwest for the first time, or are one of these roadtrips that every family goes on once in a lifetime, Las Vegas may just be a stop along the way. Thus, do make note of the fact that the city of Las Vegas is a rarity in the middle of the desert, built through the foresight of one man (of "Bugsy" fame). It is easy to forget that the heart of the American west and southwest is not far from the bright lights of Vegas.

Here are some touring and exploring options to consider.
  • Less than an hour's drive west of Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon. There is a scenic 13-mile loop that you can take in a car, or else park and take a hike to work off those magnificent buffets you have been enjoying. This is a very doable day-trip that you can do yourself, or else take any one of a number of tours, brochures for which are readily available in your hotel lobby. For photographs and information on the Red Rock Canyon, check the official site: http://www.desertusa.com/redrock/
  • Another doable day trip is to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. The dam is a marvel of engineering, and Lake Mead has become an important recreational area in the region, with paddle wheeler cruises and other boating and water activities. Once again, you can easily do this yourself, if you want time away from many tour groups, or, if you find it less intimidating to do so, join a tour, which will take approximate 7.5 hours. For more information, check http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/ for the dam or
    desertusa.com for Lake Mead activities.

  • If you are itching for a water adventure, consider doing a river rafting trip down the scenic Colorado River. In this case, a tour would be prudent, as lunch would be provided, as well as safety instructions and equipment. Look for brochures for the Black Canyon River Rafting Tour.
  • Anxious to spend a couple of days away, as you are on an extended holiday? Consider a trip to the Grand Canyon or even Death Valley. Once again, there are tours that depart from Las Vegas, or you could look into it yourself. It is not within the limited parameters of this site to give you details on all the national parks that surround this area within a day's drive and a couple of overnights, as these natural wonders deserve pages and pages by themselves. However, an overview for a future deeper foray is possible, as explained on
    lasvegasnevada There are many ways to experience the Grand Canyon or Death Valley, and a tour bus or touristy helicopter ride may or may not be your ticket. But if you are given a choice, and you want to truly experience the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, it is the North Rim that is more spectacular, although less frequented. It is at a higher elevation, is closed in winter, and is indeed awe-inspiring in its grandeur!
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