Only a half-hour drive from the Vegas strip, Lake Mead is a day trip that cannot be missed. I highly encourage renting a car for this excursion (see my transportation tip).
Lake Mead Marina offers rentals such as fishing boats, Sea-Doo's, pontoon boats, and ski boats. The prices per hour are very reasonable, and because a two-hour rental minimum is all that is required, you don't have to spend an entire day on the water. (Unless, of course, that's what you want to do!)
Nothing can be more peaceful than a day spent on the lake. You'll forget that you are only a short distance away from the excitement and crowds of the Vegas strip. Lake Mead is a beautiful, serene landscape that must not be missed.
Bring a cooler full of water (you'll need it!) and do not forget the sunscreen! Also, you may want to stop at a deli or convenience store on your drive to the lake and pick up some sandwiches so you can have a picnic lunch on the water!
Just around the corner of the Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and not far at all from the Las Vegas is Hoover Dam.
Located in Black Canyon spanning the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada Hoover Dam is a testament to this country's grit to build a dam of monolithic heights during the depression no less and within some of the most inhospitable weather conditions. Thousands of men and their families flocked to this area looking for work. They found it within Black Canyon and along the beautiful Colorado River. Within five years time they accomplished in building the largest dam of its time. Still to this day, Hoover Dam still stands as a monument to those hardy souls who suffered much to accomplish their task. It is a National Historic Landmark and has been rated by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders. Hoover Dam weights more than 6,600,000 tons and it is 726.4 feet from foundation rock to the roadway on the crest of the dam. The towers and ornaments on the parapet rise 40 feet above the crest. Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity type, in which the water load is carried by both gravity action and horizontal arch action. The maximum water pressure at the base of the dam is 45,000 pounds per square foot. There are three and one-quarter million cubic yards of concrete. There are 4,360,000 cubic yards of concrete in the dam, powerplant and appurtenant works. This much concrete would build a monument 100 feet square and 2-1/2 miles high; would rise higher than the 1,250-foot-tall Empire State Building if placed on an ordinary city block; or would pave a standard highway 16 feet wide, from San Francisco to New York City. The first concrete for the dam was placed on June 6, 1933, and the last on May 29, 1935. Approximately 160,000 cubic yards of concrete were placed in the dam per month. Peak placements were 10,462 cubic yards in one day (including some concrete placed in the intake towers and powerplant), and slightly over 275,000 cubic yards in one month.
To observe the true beauty of the high desert you should make the trip to Red Rock National Conservation Area. Head west on Charleston Boulevard about 16 miles from Las Vegas. The Bureau of Land Management operates a visitors' center where they exhibit plant, animal and desert life. Don't miss the drive around the 13 mile scenic loop as it winds through the colorful red rocks, Joshua trees and the unusually beautiful desert scenery. Admission is $5 per car. see if you can find the hidden waterfall and pond and streams. Bring a lunch and have a picnic there.
The fun really begins as soon as you start from Las Vegas. In the thirty minutes it'll take you to reach Bonnie Springs, you'll experience a desert wonderland of cacti, plants, and unique trees: The Yucca, the Barrel Cactus, the Prickly Pear, and the Joshua. You will see what is called "The Lord's Candle". the long stem that grows out of the center will burn for hours like a torch. The prospectors and settlers used them for light long before lanterns were abundant or even available.
When you reach Bonnie Springs, you'll see that they are nestled at the foot of majestic peaks. the colorful bluffs are a monument of historic mysteries. in fact, from the porch of our museum you'll see a door-like slab carved in the face of one of our peaks. the logical speculation is that it was an Indian altar but no one knows for sure. It is these things, however, and things like this that make a visit to Old Nevada so wonderfully unusual and so enjoyable to young and old alike.
If you're lucky you will see some of Nevada's wild life that roams free beyond the canyon walls. There are wild donkeys, horses, coyotes, polecats, badger, deer, elk, and big horn sheep. And, along with the poisonous sidewinder and green Mojave, there is the only poisonous lizard in the United States - The Gila Monster.
Enjoy swimming, horseback riding, the petting zoo, cocktails, dining, and the excitement of the Old West at the Bonnie Springs Motel.
They have beautiful themed rooms complete with fireplaces and luv tubs, or threy have kitchen suites available which are great for the whole family. For our motel guests, we offer our horseback riding Breakfast Ride, a 1-hour guided ride and breakfast, for only $25. The ride is at 9:00 am, and reservations must be made by 7:00 pm the night before.
Hans and I have done this a couple of times and not everyone knows about it. You can TAKE THE SAM'S TOWN FREE SHUTTLE. Why? you ask!!! The Casino has a nice Family atmosphere. It has (had!) an absolutely wonderful Buffet. If you look in the Las Vegas magazines you will find a coupon for "FREE $10.00 Slot PLay" when you play $20.00. Sign up for your Free Prime Rewards Membership Card to receive your FREE Slot Play.
Sam's Town Shuttle Stops:
Harrah's Las Vegas
Tropicana Resort & Casino
Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon
Outdoor pools surrounded by private bungalows provide havens for relaxation. A full-service beauty salon and spa offer a variety of therapeutic and rejuvenating body care treatments in the European tradition. They are a world class spa featuring a complete range of unique facilities and services for both men and women.
They offer everything from Watsu or mudbath to a "couples massage" where you and your loved one can experience the wonderful relaxation of a massage together. Every spa experience includes access to our soaking mineral pools and eucalyptus steam room. The hair and nail salon offers all types of hair treatments, manicures, and pedicures.
For reservations and information, call (800) 459-PLAY (7529) ext. 6760. Locally, call (702) 346-6760. Certain restrictions apply.
All spa & salon treatments & prices are subject to change.
If or when you decide to visit Las Vegas. Not far is one of the man made wonders Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.
I don't know if how many folks in VT have visited this area, but if you visited in the 1980's it was busy. It was a major highway for traffic to get here and there from Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. I can remember the trucks trying to cross and how dangerous I thought to be a major tourist attraction with so many tourist who visit this wonderful piece of man made wonders. After 911 it changed the access dramatically with having check points before anyone enters this area and before the bypass that vehicles had to be inspected before they could cross. So, what does the highway commission decide to do? Well, build another man made wonder! It is awesome and the fact they built a walkway for us tourist to enjoy was a good idea. I guess they knew folks would try to drive across to see the dam that way.
Well, here is some advice. You will not see it very well if you try to drive and that is because of the huge concrete wall barriers they used to separate traffic from the walkway. So, just take the stroll instead to see such a beautiful view of the whole Hoover Dam and beautiful Lake Mead.
Frequently Asked Questions Q. DOES THE COLORADO RIVER BRIDGE HAVE A NAME? A. Yes, the United States Congress officially named it the “Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge” after two prominent local citizens who dedicated themselves to public service and the greater good. Mike O’Callaghan was a longtime Nevadan, former Governor, community leader, and businessman. He died in March 2004 at the age of 74. Pat Tillman graduated with honors from ASU and played professional football for the Arizona Cardinals before joining the Army. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 at the age of 27.
Q. WHEN WILL THE HOOVER DAM BYPASS BE FULLY COMPLETE? A. Construction of the Colorado River Bridge is now complete, and the Bypass has had traffic moving on it as of October 19, 2010. Q. WHAT IS THE BUDGET FOR THE HOOVER DAM BYPASS AND WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?
A. The design and construction budget remains unchanged at $240 million. The Colorado River Bridge construction portion of that budget is $114 million. The $240 million budget consists of $100 million in federal funds, $20 million each from the states of Arizona and Nevada, and $100 million in state bond funds. Of the approximate $130 million in bond funds ($100 million plus interest) advanced by the states of Arizona and Nevada, approximately $96.3 million has been repaid.
Q. HOW MANY PHASES OF CONSTRUCTION HAVE OCCURRED ON THE BYPASS?
A. There have been six distinct, yet overlapping, phases of Bypass construction: Relocation of portions of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) transmission system and switchyard Arizona approach – 2 miles of bypass roadway Nevada approach – 3 miles of bypass roadway Colorado River Bridge Interim surfacing of Bypass Final surfacing and roadway tie-ins
Q. WHAT ARE SOME KEY FACTS ABOUT THE COLORADO RIVER BRIDGE?
A. The arch span is 1,060 feet long The Bridge is 1,900 feet long The Bridge deck and sidewalk is located approximately 900 feet above the Colorado River The Bridge is located approximately 1,500 feet south of the Hoover Dam Q. WILL THERE BE A SIDEWALK ON THE COLORADO RIVER BRIDGE?
A. Yes, it is located on the north side of the Bridge for optimum viewing of the Hoover Dam. The sidewalk is part of the pedestrian and visitor amenities, which include a parking lot, trail, and interpretive plaza. From the web site:http://www.hooverdambypass.org/faq.htm
Valley of Fire State Park is only about an hour drive from the Strip but it is like another world. The open feeling and beauty of the land and the heat of the desert are a wonderful break from the cold air-conditioned casinos on the strip......but I like the casinos too, don't misunderstand me.
When in Vegas, you also have to do all-you-can-eat buffets that all hotels have.
One of the bigger one I did was brunch at the Flamingo. Lots o' options especially dessert - there's always room for dessert (whipped cream on..)
At the Tropicana on Wednesday nights there is a seafood buffet for about $16. But there are coupons in the hotel for $4 off.
Valley of Fire State Park is located 50 miles north of Las Vegas via I-15. This destination is well worth the drive. There are beautiful red rock formations throughout this well kept State Park. You'll find plenty of places to safely pull off the road to snap picture after picture. There are several trails and each trailhead has picnic tables and restrooms. The rock formations are truly something to behold and words cannot describe how breathtaking the landscape is.
Entrance Fee: $6.00 per vehicle per day.
Camping Fees: $14.00 per night per vehicle (6.00 + 8.00).
Open: dawn to dusk
Visitors Center: 8:30 - 4:30
IF YOU LOVE TO DRIVE FAST, THEN YOU MUST GO TO THE RICHARD PETTY DRIVING EXPERIENCE AT THE LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY. THEY ACTUALLY LET YOU DRIVE AN ACTUAL NASCAR THAT HAS ABOUT 700 HORSE POWER AND GOES ABOUT 170 MPH. ON THIS TRACK.THEY ALSO HAVE A RIDE ALONG PROGRAM FOR THOSE THAT DON'T WANT TO DRIVE.
BY FAR THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING THINGS THAT I HAVE DONE.
I have seen both of the rims of the Grand Canyon and in my own experience, I like the North Rim than the South Rim! I was in Grand Canyon in 1990, in the North Rim to watch the sunrise. It was an experience of a lifetime!The Grand Canyon lit up like there was fire all over the horizon and it was beautiful and exhilirating...
Last year, I was on the South Rim. It is also beautiful. But, not equally as beautiful as the North Rim.
I heard about the helicopter ride. I have not experienced that because it was kind of expensive for us as a family. But, I am sure, when you take the helicopter ride that you will enjoy both the north and the south rims!
Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area
This beautiful park is less than an hour west of town. There is a 13-mile one way loop through the park with lots of places to stop for a hike. This is supposed to be a great place to see wild burros, but we never saw any.
Nevada has at least three Red Rock Canyons; two are in sections of the Toiyabe National Forest near the center of the state but by far the most well-known is location is along the east side of the Spring Mountains - one of the ranges of hills that surround Las Vegas in most directions.
Just five miles from the edge of the city, the flat land rises to a great colorful escarpment, formed along a fault zone (the Keystone Thrust) with peaks over 8,000 feet, and including huge cliffs and ravines composed of bands of grey, white and red sandstone, all heavily eroded. The wide empty plains beneath the hills are studded with Joshua trees and other plants typical of the Mojave Desert, contributing to a most impressive spectacle.
I DONT THINK YOU CAN GO TO LAS VEGAS AND NOT TAKE TIME OUT TO SEE THE GRAND CANYON...IT WOULD BE A CRYING SHAME TO MISS THIS WONDER OF THE WORLD.
SO MY WIFE AND I BOOKED WITH PAPILLION HELICOPTERS FOR A THREE HOUR TRIP TO THE CANYON. PICKUP FROM OUR HOTEL WAS RIGHT ON TIME AND SOON WE WHERE AT THE AIRPORT HELIPAD WAITING FOR OUR TURN TO FLY OUT ON OUR TRIP. WE WERE LUCKY AND GOT THE TWO FRONT SEATS BESIDE THE PILOT WITH WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST VIEWS.
THE TRIP STARTED WITH A FLIGHT OVER LAKE LAS VEGAS AND THE HOOVER DAM AND ON OUT OVER LAKE MEAD, ALL THE TIME THE PIOLT KEPT US ALL INFORMED WITH WHAT THERE WAS TO SEE AND WITH THE ODD JOKE THROWN IN AS WELL TO PUT THE NERVOUS FLYERS AT EASE.
AFTER A 45 MINUTE FLIGHT THE GRAND CANYON CAME INTO VIEW...AND WHAT A VIEW.
IT WAS A LOVELY SUNNY DAY AND WE SAW THE CANYON IN ALL ITS GLORY. THEN WE STARTED OUR DESCENT INTO THE CANYON WHERE WE WOULD HAVE A THIRTY MINUTE STOP TO HAVE A SIMPLE BUT NICE LUNCH SERVED WITH A CLASS OF CHAMPAGNE. THEN YOU HAD A CHANCE TO GET THE ALL IMPORTANT PHOTOS. AS I SAID WE HAD THIRTY MINUTES HERE BUT I WOULD HAVE LOVED MORE TIME AS IT WAS SO PRETTY AND MIND BLOWING, I COULD NOT BELIEVE WE WHERE THERE, IM SO GLAD WE DID IT. I HAVE TO SAY IT WAS A PRETTY EXPENSIVE TRIP BUT ITS NOT EVERY DAY YOU GO TO SEE SOMETHING AS JAW DROPPING AS THIS.
THE TRIP ENDED BACK AT LAS VEGAS WITH A FLIGHT OVER THE STRIP...A GOOD END TO A GREAT DAY. AS FAR AS I CAN REMEMBER OUR TRIP COST ROUND ABOUT £250 FOR THE TWO OF US.