4 Things that don’t have to stay in Vegas

I’m not a huge gambler. In fact, I’ve probably logged more hours in Vegas Casinos than most people and all I’ve ever gambled is 50 bucks. Yes, I’m counting the time I lived there for three months, and that time in college when I met all my friends for Spring Break. I’m even counting all the weekend Vegas trips from LA and bachelorette parties I’ve attended over the years. While I like going to Las Vegas and hanging out with people who are gambling (they seem to be having so much fun), I just can’t throw my money away like that. I’m just not lucky enough to throw snake eyes with every flick of my wrist or get blackjack beating the dealer.  When I do gamble, it’s at the penny slots, where the most you could loss is a dollar. And, I’m not even real comfortable with that.
Unless you can count cards or are just really lucky (I know people who are), Vegas can break you- and since you’re not as sexy as Bradley Cooper in The Hangover, the experience can leave you with some stories you might not want to tell anyone.  After 24 hours of gambling, drinking, dancing, gambling some more (and this time because you are feeling lucky), I have to get out of the hotels and outside to a place where I can’t hear the slot machines and lounge singers, where my lungs can breath smoke free air, and where I won’t mind being tagged in pictures on Facebook. The good news: the glamorous hotels aren’t the only reason to visit Vegas, and winter is the perfect time to get out and explore.

4 Things that don’t have to stay in Vegas:

Go Hiking
About a forty minute drive from the strip, Red Rock Canyon National Park is the perfect answer to a late night party session or a place to burn off a few calories before hitting up the buffets again. With many hikes available at all skill levels, this really is a family friendly activity, with the chance to see some of the 200 different natural wildlife in the area.
Go Skiing or Sledding
Another short 35 mile drive away and you are nestled in the mountains, feeling far away from the bright lights of Vegas strip. Mt. Charleston offers several options for fun in the snow. Skiing will cost a relatively cheap $80 bucks (for lift ticket and equipment) or bring your own sleds to speed down Foxtrail Picnic hill for free. Either way, you are sure to have a lot of unexpected fun.
Go Fishing
While many people retreat to Lake Mead during the brutal desert summers, the lake is also a wonderful spot for fishing year around. With only a small chance of rain fall and fairly mild winters (daily average 50 degrees), renting a boat or jumping on a charter is a great way to see this beautiful lake and surrounding wildlife.  If you want to escape Vegas for the night, sleep on the lake in a house boat or stay nearby at one of the 5 star resorts.
Visit Area 51
More of a day trip  than an easy detour, visiting Area 51is, if nothing else, the most thought provoking experience you could have while in Vegas. Once you get out of the city, the road leading to Rachel Nevada (aka the small town outside of Area 51) is long and quiet, with many great alien signs and picture ops along the way. Even though you are mainly in the car the whole day, this was a really fun road trip. Maybe it’s the feeling that you might uncover something that the government doesn’t want you to know about, but it is thrilling nonetheless. Make sure to take a photo of the infamous “back gate” and grab a cup of coffee and hear some stories from the locals at A ‘Le’ Inn.
With the exception of Area 51, all these activities can be done during the day, for a few hours before heading back to the casinos and clubs. If you are looking for something to do in Vegas that is a bit off the beaten path and still a must-do experience, choose to fill your days outdoors.   Relive your winning hand or that awesome DJ at one of Vegas’ hottest dance clubs while hiking or sledding. By choosing one of these non-Vegas activities, you will definitely have more unexpected stories to tell friends once you are back at home. This time, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.

Jade Broadus is a spunky girl hailing from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. She’s addicted to traveling and has a strange obsession with maps and globes. A lover of dogs, fashion, fish tacos, marine biology, and college football, she has a broad range of interests. Jade has a strong passion for the film “Love, Actually” and has watched it 176 times. Her interests include singing really loud, impromptu dances, shopping, and dressing up in cute dresses and extravagant hats. She has written for Gadling, AOL Travel, Discover Los Angeles, LACOT, LandLopers, Wedding Nouveau, and The Vacation Gals. She is currently the social media and marketing director for Inside Out Media, a media company that owns TravelMindset.com and iExplore.com.

14 Comments

  • Reply December 13, 2011

    Scott - Quirky Travel Guy

    More proof that you can find cool nature activities just about anywhere!

    • Reply December 16, 2011

      Jade

      Exactly!

  • Reply December 13, 2011

    jenjenk

    we used to visit hoover dam a lot…that’s about as active as I ever got going to vegas. :)

    • Reply December 16, 2011

      Jade

      We’ve been to Hoover Dam too- great quick road trip from Vegas!

  • Reply December 13, 2011

    Mark Wiens

    I’ve been to Vegas a number of times as well and I think I’ve spent a total of about $1 on gambling. Outdoor activities are really the way to go. Great suggestions!

    • Reply December 16, 2011

      Jade

      Only $1! You totally bet me.

  • I used to visit Vegas quite a bit when I was younger and living in SoCal. I have very fond memories of weekends spent in the neon city!

    • Reply December 16, 2011

      Jade

      It is so easy to spend a quick weekend in Vegas from LA- great times!

  • Reply December 15, 2011

    Sophie

    Why is it called Area 51, I wonder. (There is an area in Austria called Area 47 – because it’s on the 47th parallel).

    • Reply December 16, 2011

      Jade

      It refers to the parcel of land that it is on. Good guess!!

  • Reply December 17, 2011

    Christina

    That’s a great article. I know at one point I’ll be in Vegas and after half a day I’ll be bored with the loud in-your-face gambling and shopping. So that’s great advice for how to spend the rest of your weekend!

  • but there is one place where you spend your night easilly. its polo towers las vegas.
    Polo Towers Las vegas

  • [...] Even though it’s only been one week since the official start of summer, waking up in Las Vegas with temperatures well into the 90′s (at 8am!) makes it hard to want to explore the area any [...]

  • Reply December 27, 2012

    Mark Hansen

    Don’t forget about the peddlers on the street handing out smut cards and all the adult sites in Vegas http://lasvegasescorts.com should definitely be on this list.

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