If you are someone who only thinks of gambling and drinking when you think of Las Vegas, keep reading, I was just like you! If you told me a few years ago that I would go to Las Vegas twice in one year, I definitely would not have believed you. However, after my past two trips, I would tell anyone that Las Vegas is an awesome place for a fun vacation.
My favorite thing about Las Vegas is that it is an awesome access point. You can stay off the strip at a nice resort or hotel, visit many different national parks close by, eat at any number of delicious restaurants, spend a day checking out the Strip, shop at hundreds of different stores, and enjoy nice weather. On top of all of that, cheap flights and amenities make Las Vegas very affordable if you don’t participate in drinking or gambling. Also, the town of Las Vegas is actually very small, so everything you want to get to is very close; a lot of times you do not even need to get onto a freeway. If you stay off the strip, Las Vegas feels similar to Orlando; you can lay by the pool and relax and there are many fun things to do in the area.
The best parts of both Las Vegas trips were the day trips to national parks in the area (kind of). In April 2015, we took a day trip to the Grand Canyon, but it is a four hour car ride there and back, so it makes for a long day. However, one look at the Grand Canyon made it worth it. It was a beautiful day and we were able to hike our way along the rim while shedding a few years off of our mother’s lives. (We never actually were that close to the edge, I promise). When you look out into the canyon, you almost get dizzy because it is so, so vast. It is one of those sites that you can almost not even believe that it is real it is so amazing. It should definitely be on your bucket list if you have not seen it.
This past March we decided to go to Red Rock Canyon National Park before I had to head back to Minnesota because it was a lot closer (only 30 minutes from Las Vegas). I would compare Red Rock to an adult playground. The rocks are spread out and vast enough that you could run around and hike for hours. It is definitely somewhere I would love to visit again and just pack a lunch and spend the entire day climbing. The views at Red Rock are also stunning; there is a lot of contrast between different colors in the rocks as well as lots of depth and variety. There are also some hikes in the park to little waterfalls or hieroglyphics if you want something more structured (or if you are with kids and you need a break from worrying about them falling off a large cliff). The hikes we went on were pretty short, but it was fun to switch it up. Put a kid on your back for an added workout! If you are looking for something closer to Las Vegas but still beautiful and interactive, Red Rock is a great option. I can’t wait to go back!