Most people will go to Las Vegas and not leave the strip. They will spend their money on gambling and see the shows. They think whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. This is not true! I just got back from a 5 night stay and I think that I enjoyed most of my time while I was off of the Las Vegas strip.
The first two days we spent our days exploring the strip, playing the slots, and seeing the different decor in the different resorts. On the third day, I rented a car and did what I wanted to do.
I asked the locals if they preferred Red Rock Canyon or Valley of Fire. Most of them said Red Rock Canyon. We decided to go with the locals and explore Red Rock.
This is about a half hour drive from Las Vegas. It cost $15 to get in. If you have a National Park Pass, you can take advantage of it by using your pass. You can pay $40 a year to be able to get into any National Park or pay $80 for a lifetime pass.
If you decide to go, make sure you take fluids to replenish yourself. This is a 12 mile scenic drive if you just drive with no stops. There are probably about 10 stops through the scenic route, but to me, only a few are worth the stop and hike. The first stop is probably the most explored of all the different stops. There is a few different trails to choose from to enjoy. It all depends on the length or difficulty you want. Some of the stops are just to relax or a quick view. You can go as fast or slow through this route. It took us about 3 hours with stopping at most stops just to take in the view.
Another thing to see not far off the strip, but a history of the strip is The Neon Museum. We went during the day, but was told later, that night time is better if you want to enjoy the actual lights. One of the reasons I wanted to go here is I knew, New Kids on The Block made a video here and was on my list. You can find neon signs from the strip to signs that was used at car dealerships. It is never crowded since you have to have a ticket and they limit the amount of people that are in it. You can find this not too far from Fremont Street.
Now, most will go to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam while in Las Vegas. Now the question is, South or West Rim for the Grand Canyon. I chose the South for a few reasons. The West Rim had much to offer, but I wanted the view. This ends up being a 2 hour extra drive, but worth it. The WestRim is on an Indian Resevation and can come to a cost. Just to enter, it’s around $45 a person. If you want to step foot on the skywalk and get a picture, you can add another $70 per person.
South Rim was an adventurous trip. We stopped by Hoover Dam and walked up onto the bridge to overlook the Dam. We then drove down to the Dam and walked to the end and back. You have an hour drive until you hit Kingman, Arizona. This is where you can stop and visit the Route 66 museum. From here, we decided to take Route 66 to Williams, Arizona. Which is the gateway to the Grand Canyon. There are a couple of times you will have to get onto Interstate 40 due to the old historical road that is no longer accessible. The 10 to 20 minute extra drive is worth it to experience one of the original highways and see how the great people in these town take pride in this road.
There were a few towns between Kingman and Williams that we stopped at and took photos. When you get to Williams, there are a couple of things to see. You can drive through Bearizona and see some wild animals. I wanted to see this, but time was not on my side for this. You can also take a train from Williams to the Grand Canyon. We decided to drive to the Grand Canyon. It was more breathtaking than I expected. Walking the trail to the edge and making my way past the trees to see God’s creation was a jaw dropping moment. Pictures just do not do this place justice.
If you don’t have a lot of time, I highly recommend Valley of Fire State Park. I’m not sure why the locals recommended Red Rock Canyon over Valley of Fire, because I enjoyed Valley of Fire more. I thought there were more trails to hike and just the scenery itself is more beautiful. They say if the sun hits the rocks just right, it looks like it is on fire and that is where they get their name. We did this on our last day and wish we had a little more time. The state park is an hour drive one way. If you choose just to drive through, it can take an hour, but I recommend to take at least a couple of the trails. Just always make sure you stay hydrated.
If you have other places to add, please leave me a message.