When you picture Las Vegas, lots of things probably come to mind—dazzling lights, slot machines, mesmerizing shows, opulent hotels. But all of that is just a small part of this sprawling desert oasis. Almost completely surrounded by national parks and recreational land, the city of Las Vegas is full of natural beauty; especially in the fall and winter months, when temperatures are more bearable and you can stay outside for longer than 10 minutes. With endless opportunities to camp and hike, Las Vegas proves it has so much more than gambling.
Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort
Located in the shadows of downtown Las Vegas, the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort is about as close to camping on the Strip as possible. Located just off Interstate 15, the resort boats a tropical “Casablanca” theme, with palm trees at every turn and plenty of sunshine. The facilities include a well-stocked convenience store, restaurant, fitness center and banquet hall. And in case that’s not enough, you’ll also find waterfalls and white sand beaches featuring two lagoon-style swimming pools. There are five different types of campsites: Standard, Deluxe, Premium, Premium Plus and Big Rig. All have 20, 30 and 50 amp service, as well as free cable. But regardless of which site you choose, you’ll be rewarded with clean spaces, plenty of perks and some truly memorable views.
Rates can range from $70 per night to $92 per night, depending on the type of campsite and seasonality. Monthly rates are offered at a discounted price. Click here to book your stay.
Aliante Nature Discovery Park
In a city prized for its discretion and opportunities for bad behavior, finding fun, affordable activities to do with your kids can be a challenge. Their little faces are too expressive for poker, obviously. But not to worry—the Aliante Nature Discovery Park is a more responsible and energetic choice for kiddos of all kinds. Not only does it have plenty of grassy fields, covered patios and various sport courts, it also has a small swimming lake, a waterfall and a dinosaur-themed play area. And unlike most attractions in Vegas, it’s completely free. You may have a drive a bit to reach the 20-acre park, but it’s totally worth it and your kids will thank you for it. Where else can they crawl through a giant dinosaur head, have a picnic and run around a splash pad, all in the same day? The odds of having a very good day here are 10:1.
While it’s tempting to stop at one of those all-you-can-eat places along the Las Vegas Strip, there are times when you want something more low key. Serving up big portions of home cooking, eating at Southwest Diner feels like being around the family dinner table. Palm trees and neon give flash to the exterior, while old antiques and knick knacks make the inside feel cozy and familiar.
Open until 8 p.m. every day, Southwest Diner offers classics like homemade pot roast, homemade meatloaf, and homemade biscuits and gravy. They’ve truly perfected the art of comfort food; everything here is 100 percent homemade and you can taste it. Many items on the menu have Mexican and Southwestern influences. Their most famous item, the chili relleno casserole, is piled high with shredded cheese, fresh chilis and fluffy eggs. And if you can save room for dessert, this is one of those rare places that still understands the value of homemade pie.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
It might seem like nothing can outdo the striking neon of downtown Las Vegas, but Mother Nature pulls it off at the nearby Red Rock Canyon. Just outside the city, these rust-colored mountains are set to stun, and you can enjoy a 13-mile scenic drive, numerous hikes and campgrounds to look your fill.
The scenic drive only goes one-way, and does have a vehicle weight limit of 13 tons, so if you’re high rolling in your 40-foot Class A, you might want to make other plans. But for everyone else, it’s the easiest and best way to see the entire park. If you prefer foot travel, there are more than 25 hiking paths and trails you can explore, across all different kinds of terrain.
Must-see stops include Calico Tanks, Turtlehead Peak, White Rock and Pine Creek Canyon. If you decide to stay the night, Red Rock Canyon offers Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land for those rugged enough to take on boondocking.
With a variety of trail lengths and types, multiple parking lots, plenty of bathrooms and wheelchair accessibility, a visit to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an ideal stop for just about anybody.
Seven Magic Mountains
Standing in the middle of the Nevada desert, surrounded by nothing but dry brush and flat land, are a series of 25-foot-tall neon-colored boulders known as Seven Magic Mountains. Originally built by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone back in 2016, this colorful art installation was only intended to last through 2018, but due to its immense popularity, it’s sticking around through 2021. So it can get crowded. Introverts, try visiting at sunset or later in the day—you’ll avoid most of the crowds and get some of the best views.
While you’re there, bust out your inner photographer or enjoy the complimentary cell phone tour. Just call the number provided at the entrance and listen to some in-depth information about the pillars and their creation.