My family has started a yearly Las Vegas trip tradition. My father, two sisters and I go to Vegas every year for four days to gamble, see some shows and eat as much food as possible. A few years back, we started exploring the other activities that there are that don’t involve gambling or drinking. Las Vegas is an excellent travel destination, even for those who don’t want to sit at a Blackjack table for eight hours. Here are just a few things to check out during a break in gambling or for those of you who don’t gamble.
Shopping and Las Vegas are synonymous. The shopping is comparable to shopping on Fifth Avenue in New York City. You can find Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin or a variety of luxury stores in almost every hotel. There is also the Fashion Show mall on the westernmost end of the Las Vegas Strip. The mall offers you not only luxury brands but also a variety of everyday brands like Express, Banana Republic and Hugo Boss, to name a few.
For a more eclectic and local shopping and food check out the Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas. The Container Park is a great place to relax, grab lunch and let the kids play on the playground during the afternoon. There is also a stage for live music during the evenings and weekends. I highly recommend the Simply Pure, a vegan café, for a delicious juice. I had the Pure Angel, a juice made up of apple, carrots, cucumber and ginger.
There are so many options when looking to explore the surrounding areas of Las Vegas. Whether you want to see the Grand Canyon, ride an ATV in the desert or kayak along the Colorado River there is something for everyone. One thing to set your mind at ease is almost all of the tour companies will pick you up from your hotel and take you to them. I have been on three very different excursions, and each was definitely worth the trip.
Most recently I went kayaking along the Colorado River with Candace at Evolution Expeditions. They picked us up at the hotel, and we drove for just over an hour to get to the launch point. There the kayaks were waiting for us. We had booked ahead of time online stating how many kayaks we would need. You can have one adult per kayak or ride tandem and have two people in a kayak to lighten the load. Each of us had chosen to have a kayak to ourselves, despite my sister, who wanted to share with me. We were lucky enough that it was just the three of us with the tour guide who was fantastic.
We rowed for about an hour and a half taking one break while we made our way to a cave. It was the perfect location for some photos and is where I snapped my cover photo. This was also the first time I had ever kayaked, and while it’s challenging you will get the hang of it after a while. After spending about 10 minutes in the cave, taking photos and resting, we turned around and rowed back to where we started. All the while, the guide was teaching us techniques and imparting local knowledge on us. If you are thinking about doing this tour, make sure to bring a hat and some sunglasses with you!
The first year we decided to start exploring and leaving the strip we signed up for an ATV ride that takes you to the Colorado River from Lake Mead National Park. Once you get to the river, you have the opportunity the chance to swim and a little before turning back with the ATVs. The excursion was with Las Vegas ATVs. The tour also included a pickup and drop off at the hotel, a stop at the Hoover Dam for photos and lunch after at the restaurant that the company has onsite. The excursion lasts about 7 hours, but it is worth it. My family and I were lucky enough to be in the front of the ATV motorcade and had a blast driving them together. Be warned though you get a little dirty from all the dust that is kicked up but don’t worry it’s worth it!
Another year we spend riding dune buggies in the Mojave Desert with Zero1. It was a 1.5-hour drive on a trail led by an expert guide. This tour did not pick you up at each hotel but had specific pickup points at a few hotels on the strip. It was a fun time, but we all agreed that the ATVs were more fun than the dune buggies.
As you can see, there is a lot more than just gambling in Las Vegas, especially now that they have a hockey team and are getting a professional football team. The shows there are some of the best, and some of the biggest celebrities perform there regularly. The restaurants are amazing, and you can find any cuisine you want to try. Vegas has something for everyone, so even if you don’t gamble or drink, consider it as a travel destination and try out some of my recommendations.