Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon

Grand CanyonThere are 1001 things to do in Las Vegas, and that’s just before lunch. Not only is there a stunning array inside the Mega Resorts, but there’s all the glitz of the four-mile, neon-drenched Strip itself, as well as the glittering Freemont Street Experience, Downtown.. and although many people visit Las Vegas and never feel the need to leave the boundaries of their hotel, it would be a shame to come this far from the UK and not visit outside of the city limits.

Nearby to Las Vegas there is the desert itself, plus the impressive Hoover dam, and a little further afield, although by no mind way out of reach, is the Grand Canyon itself.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Located 25 miles outside of Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreation Park Area allows a great deal of relaxation and fun year-round. With 1.5 million acres, it’s twice the size of Rhode Island and is America’s largest manmade reservoir. With 50 miles of shoreline, the park offers multiple marinas, boating, fishing, and water sports. It also caters to hikers, climbers, campers, and car tours, and there are paddlewheel cruises on the lake itself, on which they serve a wonderful champagne brunch!

Hoover Dam

The colossal Hoover Dam was completed in 1935 giving this desert region and Las Vegas a reliable water supply from the Colorado River, as well as creating Lake Mead (above). You can take a $10 tour of the facilities (print your own discount coupon from the website for $1 off) or you can just walk over the dam and view it from both the Nevada and Arizona sides of the canyon. Make sure you park your car on the Arizona side where there is plenty of free parking; parking on the Nevada side is $5. The water levels are currently 50 feet lower than they should be as a result to an eight-year drought in the region, which has resulted in the dam losing 40% of its generating power.

Lost City Museum

With the construction of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead threatened a number of original dwellings of the ancient, mysterious Anasazi civilization. The museum showcases artefacts retrieved from the flooded sites, including pottery, tools, jewellery, and arrowheads. With distinctive black and white geometric designs, the pottery and potsherds are especially beautiful and representative of the rich Anasazi culture.

Grand Canyon

Cutting roughly across the landscape, the canyon is 277 miles long, a mile deep and roughly 10 miles wide and is arguably America’s best-known natural attraction. As the star of many films and documentaries, many of us feel we know it, and yet nothing prepares you for the real thing. It is utterly, completely, and unbelievably awe-inspiring. It takes about 5-6 hours to travel to the North Rim (the nearest to Vegas) by car.

Alternatively you can book yourself on one of the many helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon (try Air Vegas, Scenic Airways or Grand Canyon Tour Company) and expect to pay about $200-300 per person, which is well worth it for what is probably the best of all views, anywhere.

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  1. Panama says:

    Visitors going to Las Vegas who want to experience the Grand Canyon should make sure they have sufficient time in their itinerary. GCNP is not “next door” to Las Vegas. Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) is 280 miles from Las Vegas. This is about 5 hours average drive-time. It is about an hour air ride from Las Vegas. It’s a one-day adventure getting there, whether driving yourself or using a guided tour. Forum writers on TripAdvisor advise that the best experience is to spend at least a full day or an overnight at the canyon. Typical tours from Las Vegas provide 2 – 2.5 hours at GCNP. Both coach tours and air tours offer options for overnight excursions. It is also possible to buy “flight only” tickets from some of the air tour companies and arrange your own tour by taking a taxi into the park once arriving at GC Airport. If you are able to go to GCNP by rental car, set aside 2 days in your itinerary and book lodging at the park or nearby. Many of the Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas actually go to Grand Canyon West. It is scenic but in a more intimate setting (described below). You are lower and closer to the canyon floor, river, and walls but the West Rim has only two main viewpoints. It is not part of GCNP but is part of the Grand Canyon. It covers 122 out of 277 miles of the Grand Canyon. More information on many of the tours below can be found by searching the Las Vegas Forum and the Grand Canyon National Park Forum. See below for information about a video about Grand Canyon West.

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