Hasta La Vista Vegas – What To Do Beyond The Strip

8 June 2014

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but those who stay solely in Las Vegas miss out on a mountain of amazing activities beyond the famed strip. Hasta la vista Vegas, it’s been fun but we just need a little more adventure. Here’s some of what we’re leaving you for…

 Long forgotten ghost towns

Ghost Towns of the Mining Boom

Just over a century ago, Nevada was amid a mining boom. People were flocking in the thousands to strike it rich and silver mining towns were springing up to cope with the sudden influx.

These days, the rush has disappeared and so have most of the people. Early 20th Century-style towns now sit almost empty, which is both eerie and beautiful. Tonopah is one of these towns and has managed to stay functional thanks to the tourists that come here to catch a glimpse of old-world Nevada. With almost no recognisable modern signage or buildings, it’s like walking onto a Hollywood movie set.

 Death Valley: the driest area in North America

Scotty’s Castle, Death Valley

Imagine this: it’s the 1920s and a cunning conman known as Walter ‘Scotty’ Scott is trying to persuade millionaire Albert Johnson to invest in a local gold mine. At the same time, Albert Johnson’s wife was furious as Nevada had no suitable places for her to stay in during their trips. So, a castle-style building was built to appease her.

Albert Johnson later found out about Scotty’s trick to con him and, instead of being angry, was amused by his gall. He named his castle Scotty’s Castle and played along with a new trick that Walter ‘Scotty’ Scott owned it.

 The mighty impressive Hoover Dam

Kayaking Around Hoover Dam

The Colorado River cuts through the range of the Grand Canyon and divides Nevada and Arizona. At its closest point to Las Vegas sits the Hoover Dam, which is only a 40-minute drive away from the heart of town.

Here, you can take tours through Black Canyon underneath the dam or, for those feeling a little more adventurous, go kayaking on the dam itself. From the water, it really is quite an impressive sight.

 Stunning scenery in the Sierra mountain ranges

Vegas To Reno Drive

You’re clearly in Vegas for a reason and enjoy those bright lights and city life. Sp, after checking out the world’s tallest Ferris wheel in Vegas, why not try a mini road trip to Reno? Known as ‘the biggest little city in the world’, it’s staggering just how barren yet striking some parts of this drive are.

You’ll get the opportunity to pass by some bona fide ghost towns and take in some truly isolated and rugged scenery along the way. It’s a fairly lengthy drive, but worth it if you appreciate getting back to nature and want to end your trip in a different city.

 The grandest canyon of them all

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon needs no introduction – with jaw-dropping landscapes as far as the eye can see, it’s both a harsh and humbling scene. The Grand Canyon national park sits one state over in Arizona, about four-and-a-half hours' drive from Vegas.

It really would be a shame to miss out on the Grand Canyon when you're so close, given that it’s on many a travel bucket list. For those who want to take in as much of The Grand Canyon as possible, consider a helicopter ride for mind-blowing views.

Tracy Fitzgerald

Tracy Fitzgerald is a big believer that relaxation comes in many forms and has been travelling her whole life trying to discover ways to pacify her restless soul. Her travels have seen her teaching surfing (badly) in the Dominican Republic, playing her violin to strangers in Prague, ‘Jeeping’ around tropical Puerto Rican islands, and living the high life in Dubai and the busy life in London. Now in Sydney, Tracy is a writer and editor who is still trying her very best to just relax…