Nevada is a state of contrasts, with the prime example being the glittering oasis of Las Vegas sparkling in the haze of the Mojave desert. Welcoming over 40 million visitors a year, Las Vegas is the most spectacular gambling destination in the world. However, many people do not realize that Las Vegas has so much more to offer, from the Hoover Dam to Red Rock Canyon. Less than an hour away from Vegas is Mount Charleston, with great winter sport opportunities.
Travelling north of Las Vegas will take you in to central Nevada, where the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge is the largest National Wildlife Range in the United States. You will also find the towns of Caliente, which got its name from the bubbling hot springs in the area, and Pioche, one of the deadliest towns in the Old West. The nearby State Route 375 is also known as the Extraterrestrial Highway, not only because it looks, and feels, as though you are on another planet, but also because of all the strange happenings in the area that travellers frequently recount.
A world apart from the bustling big cities of Nevada is Highway 50, also known as ‘the loneliest road in America’, where you can collect a souvenir certificate if you manage to survive the ‘long and tedious’ drive, interjected only by the fighter jets piercing the sky. Although the five hour drive may not take you past many commercial tourist sites, it is actually one of the best ways to experience Nevada, as the quirky and unique points of interest that you pass are some of the most authentic in the state. It is also a road that parallels the Pony Express Trail, of which many remnants are still visible.
For a true Western experience, Cowboy Country in northern Nevada is the place to go, where you will be welcomed with true Old West hospitality. Elko is home to the Western Folklife Center, as well as the Northeastern Nevada Museum, depicting the natural history of the area. Rising south-east out of Elko are the Ruby Mountains, also known as the Alps of America, where visitors can hike, horse ride, fish and bird watch at the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. For an authentic Western experience, stay at one of the many working ranches and take a trail ride through the Jarbidge Wilderness.
The Reno-Tahoe territory is in Northwestern Nevada, and offers some great areas for outdoor activities. Downtown Reno is continuously revamped, and is home to celebrity chef restaurants, plenty of shopping locations and many events and festivals, making it the most diverse destination in Nevada. The nearby Lake Tahoe, over 70 miles of shoreline with great recreational activities, such as golfing and water sports, is also worth a visit, with a sunset not to be missed. The Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, just north of Reno, contains Pyramid Lake, the largest remnant of the ancient Lake Lahontan.
Whether you are looking for glitz and glamour or wilderness and nature, you will find it in Nevada. From the Mojave Desert to the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Nevada’s extreme contrasts means that it can truly offer something for everybody.
A shimmering oasis in the haze of the Nevada desert, Las Vegas is arguably one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the world. No matter how many times you may have seen Las Vegas on TV or in movies, nothing can prepare you for the blast of sensory overload and visual madness that you experience when you first arrive. Although most known for its glamorous casinos and risque nightlife, Las Vegas has so much more to offer
The city of Las Vegas is designed to keep people entertained and satisfied without ever having to step foot outside of its sparkling borders. The concept of time is almost non-existent in Sin City, with no clocks in the casinos, a never-ending flow of drinks, top chefs standing by to create world-renowned delicacies, and nightclubs that seem to always be open. It is the only city in the world where you can dance the night away in ancient Rome, wake up and have brunch under the Eiffel Tower, and get married in a pink Cadillac at sunset in front of an erupting volcano. The fastest growing metropolis in the US, Las Vegas is able to cater to every whim and desire.
It is possible to get around the city by foot, with the main attractions of Las Vegas Boulevard being on a two-mile strip that is pedestrian-friendly, where you could easily spend days taking in all of the technicolor attractions. The Eiffel Tower Experience allows visitors to travel to the top of this scaled-down replica, or, for another birds-eye view of the city, the Stratosphere Tower, with the fastest elevators in the US, has an observation deck 100 storeys above the ground. Daredevils can sign up for the Sky Jump, where they can free-fall 855 feet into thin air. The Mirage Casino is home to a fake Polynesian volcano, which, after dark, erupts spectacularly, stopping passer-bys in their tracks.
For those who want to know more about how the ‘sin’ got put into Sin City, the museums of Las Vegas are the place to go. From the literally dazzling Neon Museum to the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art to the Erotic Heritage Museum and the Mob Museum, there are plenty of places where you can learn more about the background of this fascinating city. For the majority of the 20th century, Las Vegas built up its own identity by borrowing pieces from other cities around the world, with the aim of creating a spectacularly jaw-dropping skyline. Many of these buildings, such as the 66 acre CityCenter complex, are mechanical feats of genius in their right mind, turning the streets of Vegas into an art gallery in its own right.
When visitors need a break from the glittering landscape and adrenaline-fueled casinos, there are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had, tucked away from the hyper-reality of the city. The Grand Canyon is one of the top natural attractions in the USA, and the Hoover Dam, an engineering masterpiece, can also be toured. To further escape the neon jungle of Las Vegas, explore the red cliffs and hidden caves of Red Rock Canyon, or take a hike on Mount Charleston. Whether you want a relaxing getaway or a wild weekend of madness, Las Vegas truly has something for everybody.
3500 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109