As American novelist Chuck Palahniuk once famously said, “Las Vegas looks the way you imagine Heaven must look at night”…and he wasn’t kidding! The bright neon lights, towering themed hotels and all night entertainment bring hundreds of thousands of people to the big city every year. And then there’s the casinos…the one thing Vegas is probably most famous for.
From their early gangster roots in the 40’s to today’s multiplexes, Vegas’ casinos have come a long way. There are now even online variants. The table games available at Royal Vegas for example offer all the classics, such as poker and blackjack, without even having to leave your hotel room.
Of course, there is much more to the big city than gambling, and it is very likely you’ll want to get out of your hotel room. With this in mind, I’d like to share with you the lesser known side of Sin City – the adventure travel industry. From leisurely strolls in the desert to high adrenaline high-wire tower jumps, the activities are almost endless. To get you started, we have included some of our favorites below.
You can ride a helicopter across America’s signature attraction, the Grand Canyon. A mile deep, the Grand Canyon really has to be seen to believed and what better to appreciate it than from the skies? Some tours even include a dramatic landing inside the canyon, so you can get out and marvel at the sheer cliffs carved the erosive powers of nothing more than water.
Considering Las Vegas is essentially a strip in the desert, you probably never envisaged that skiing was an option, but Nevada never fails to disappointed. The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort outside the city limits is great for beginners and intermediate skiers of all ages. The resort boasts four lifts that take skiers to the start of 11 different trails.
Kayaking the Colorado River
If skiing and flying aren’t for you, then why not try kayaking across the Colorado River. Carving its way through the Grand Canyon, the it spills over the Hoover Dam, and is just a 40-minute drive from the Strip. Evolution Certain tours launch below the gigantic dam, allowing you to paddle downstream through the river canyon, and stop for a hike to natural desert hot springs.
If it’s classic Hollywood western scenery you’re after, then the hiking in the Valley of Fire State Park is a must. Located an hours drive north-east of The Strip, here you can witness bizarre rock formations with memorable names such as White Domes, Arch Rock, and the Mouse’s Tank which are scattered across the desert landscape. For the eagle eyed tourists, if you look closely, certain rocks are engraved with ancient Native American petroglyphs.
Although not strictly ‘adventure’, golf is definitely still a great morning activity, especially for you sports fans out there. The Strip has hosts of award-winning courses for keen golfers. Whilst some have exuberant fees and lengthy waiting lists, there are numerous laid-back courses. Angel Park, for example, can be found in suburban Summerlin. Beloved by locals, it boasts 36 holes and was designed by pro legend Arnold Palmer.