When Las Vegas is talked about as the ultimate playground, our minds immediately wander to the casinos, theatres, nightclubs, the Grand Canyon, and the dazzling hotels. People come to Vegas to let go and indulge, and that’s great, but there are plenty of ways to do just that, minutes away from the iconic Strip.
Las Vegas is surrounded by an exceptional natural playground waiting to be explored. Enjoy everything from hiking and kayaking to hot air ballooning, playing golf, or ATV riding. Check out these must-do outdoor sporting experiences in Las Vegas, that we have listed below.
1. Go ATV Riding in Eldorado Canyon
You can very quickly start to experience adventure away from the Las Vegas Strip, by venturing deep into Eldorado Canyon State Park on an ATV Tour.
There are a few companies that offer All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) tours and they will collect you from your hotel and take you into the state park, where you will find over 100 technical routes through the park.
Once you’ve arrived at the state park, your guide will provide a thorough safety demonstration and vehicle orientation before the fun begins.
Expect to be enthralled by not just the twist and turns but the epic views along the way.
With your expert guides, navigate through the back canyons and the remote regions only locals know about.
Finish off with an eerie walking tour of Techatticup mine. The historic mine, where gold was once a hot commodity, is now believed to be haunted.
On your way back to Vegas, you’ll stop by Old West Town for lunch. Discover the local history in this restored mining camp before being dropped off at your hotel.
2. Hot Springs Hike
A local favorite, but rarely done by those traveling to Sin City, the Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs Hike, is one of the best outdoor activities to do in Las Vegas
The trek to the Colorado River is a fun adventure in itself and it can take around 4 hours to do the hike there and back.
What makes the hike to the hot springs one you must try is that it’s about both the journey and the destination.
After a steady 1.5 miles of walking to begin the adventure, you’ll reach your first obstacle. Far from just another dirt path, this trail is a part hike, part rock climb.
Making use of the fixed ropes, you’ll quickly gain elevation to some stunning views.
From that point until the springs, you’ll come across another 7 rope obstacles.
Your frustration and impatience will be curbed by the beautiful desert scenery within Gold Strike Canyon.
You will be blown away, as soon as the calming hot springs come into view. Enjoy the invigorating bath before starting the return journey.
3. Exotic Car Driving Experience
If you are visiting Las Vegas and you enjoy fast car driving experiences, then you really must try one of the exotic car driving experiences!
Choose from one of 12 different supercars with the opportunity to race your chosen vehicle around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
After arriving at the track, just a half-hour away from the Strip, see the exotic cars laid out before you. An envious and difficult choice must be made.
Before driving, you will receive expert racing instruction and one-on-one coaching from a local pro. Tips normally include driving position, specifications, and racing lines.
Then, after being given a 2-lap test drive (as a passenger), you’ll be ready for the real thing!
This is not just an opportunity to drive at speed, it’s an opportunity to get lifelong bragging rights. Put away the video games and feel the real thing.
With your instructor now in the passenger seat, push the car to the limit in an unforgettable racing experience, reaching 125 mph or more.
4. Kayaking or SUPing on Lake Mead
Close to Las Vegas, it’s only 40 minutes from the Strip to Lake Mead, a tranquil area and location away from the crowds.
With Class I water, it’s an inviting lake for all skill levels for SUPing (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) and kayaking.
Although an expansive lake, there are many coves and stunning canyons to explore that will have you thankful for buying that waterproof phone case.
If you don’t have your own gear handy, then there are several tour operators in Las Vegas ready to show off the best of Lake Mead including Kayak Las Vegas.
5. Red Rock Canyon Horseback Ride
Whether you love horses or not, it’s hard not to fall in love with the scenery in Red Rock on this sunset horse ride.
Experience the chance to become a true cowgirl or cowboy as you ride through the Old West, immersing yourself in the captivating scenery of the Nevada desert.
After a hotel pickup (most Vegas hotels are included), the enthralling experience includes 90 minutes on horseback guided by a professional wrangler.
Meander along the same trails the old cowboys used a century ago. Explore the vibrant walls of Red Rock Canyon, viewing the valley plains from a mountain summit.
6. Valley of Fire Hiking Tour
Leave behind the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip and experience a desert hike through a geological wonder. After adventuring in an ATV and on horseback, it’s time to explore the natural world on two feet.
The Valley of Fire tour will take you to Native American petroglyphs that date back over 3000 years.
Get picked up directly from your hotel lobby and embark on the scenic 45-minute drive to the oldest state park in Nevada.
Passing Lake Mead and the Moapa Indian Reservation, soon it’ll be time to lace up and get walking.
Your small group (no more than 13) will be led by an expert guide who will give you a fascinating insight into the history of the Native American Tribes and the petroglyphs.
Now, with a thorough background, further explore the wild desert landscape with a newfound appreciation.
7. Hot Air Balloon Ride
For a more relaxing (but no less exciting) outdoor adventure in Las Vegas, embark on a hot air balloon ride.
Make the journey to Pahrump, where you’ll be rewarded with a stunning bird’s-eye view of the mountain and desert scenery.
After a safety briefing from your resident pilot and guide, jump into the basket and hear the roar of the propane cylinders as the balloon slowly rises into the atmosphere.
Reaching heights of over 3000 meters, there is no better view of the town.
Once you’ve touched back down, your pilot will hand over a flight certificate to commemorate the experience.
Soon you’ll hear the pop of the champagne cork for celebratory mimosas. For those arriving in the winter, have your choice of sunrise and sunset experiences.
Playing Golf in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is fast gaining a reputation for its golf courses as it is for its casinos and shows.
1. The Falls Golf Club
Located in Henderson and one of the two resort golf courses on Lake Las Vegas, Falls Golf Club not only provides you with the perfect space to practice but also offers rest and relaxation with its waterfalls and lush scenery.
The golf courses at The Falls are intricately designed and are a pleasure to play on.
2. Bali Hai Golf Course
Located on the Las Vegas strip, Bali Hai is the area’s only championship course.
This course boasts an impressive island green and seven acres of water. You will likely be astounded by the amount of greenery here, which includes over two thousand palm trees.
The sands used here are white and caddies are available for golfers.
The Bali Hai is one of America’s best golf courses.
3. Angel Park Golf Club
Located a few minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip, this golf club boasts the Palm and the Mountain, two standard golf courses on offer.
You can enjoy impressive views of Red Rock Canyon and the Las Vegas Strip from this club.
4. Reflection Bay
Also situated on Lake Las Vegas and designed by golf course guru Jack Nicklaus, Reflection Bay Golf Club is a paradox of design that blends into its desert surroundings despite its beach golf element.
The lake has been interestingly and artistically woven into the golf course’s design and is an absolute must-visit for golf enthusiasts who find themselves in the area.
Professional Bull Riders World Finals in Las Vegas
The Professional Bull Riders Championships or the PBR World Finals is held every year in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.
This event is an international event, featuring bull riders from around the world competing for this prestigious crown.
There are over 500 bull riders who attend the event from around the world, with riders coming in from Canada, the US, Australia, Brazil, and further afield.
The world finals of this event take place in the month of October, where the winners of the various rounds come together and attempt to balance on top of the bull for a little longer than the others.
In the finals, each of the bull riders will demonstrate a 70-second freestyle bullfight. The judge’s decision will be made according to the aptitude and the style of the rider.
The judgment is based on various criteria like handling of the barrel, jumping the bull, and contact with the bull.
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
1. Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Circus Circus Hotel and Casino is one of the older casino hotels and one of the most famous. Both a hotel and casino, this venue is located on the Strip in Las Vegas and these days is cheaper than some of the newer hotels.
It is also more family-friendly, with its own circus, hence its name.
Location: 2880 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, USA.
2. Bellagio Casino and Hotel, Las Vegas
Bellagio Casino and Hotel is one of the more expensive and classy hotel-casinos in Las Vegas.
The hotel offers spacious rooms and the facilities are as good as any hotel you will find here.
When you enter the hotel and head to the registration lobby for the registration, you will notice that the hotel welcomes you with one of the most beautiful glass sculptures found in any hotel. The glass sculpture represents the Italian flowers at their full blossom and it is something that you should not miss at any cost.
The Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio is also worth visiting. The gardens have the most amazing flower arrangements and the flowers are from every part of the world.
The Bellagio was erected with the concept of making it the most luxurious hotel in the world and you will certainly feel that thing once you are in the hotel.
Location: 3600 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, USA.
3. Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino
Caesars Palace Hotel is a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip and has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city since it was first built.
The hotel was established in the year 1966, and today is one of the most famous casinos on the Strip.
The structure is a tribute to ancient Roman architecture, complete with columns, fountains, and aqueducts symbolic of a Roman palace.
The hotel itself lies on an 85-acre plot and contains over 3000 suites and rooms; within the boundaries of this destination resort, there are over 20 different cafes and restaurants as well as 4.5 acres called the Garden of the Gods that comprise different gardens and pools.
Guide to Getting to Las Vegas
1. Flying to Las Vegas
You will find that getting to Las Vegas is very convenient as the city is easily accessed by both air and road.
Upon arrival, you will have a choice between taking a taxi, a bus, or a shuttle to your hotel.
If you are looking for the most inexpensive way to travel, it is advisable to take the bus.
If you have already made reservations at any particular hotel, or decide on one upon arrival, be on the lookout for the free shuttle services that some of the Las Vegas hotels offer their guests.
2. Greyhound and GoBus Coaches to Las Vegas
Should you decide to take the bus, Greyhound is the main bus/coach company to Las Vegas.
Remember though to book your tickets in advance, as this will give you a further reduction in bus fares.
3. Driving to Las Vegas – Interstate 10, 15, 70 and 80
If you enjoy road trips and choose to drive down to Las Vegas, then do remember to travel during off-peak hours and preferably on weekdays, as the interstate roads can get quite busy during the weekends.
Interstate 15, Interstate 70 and 80, and Interstate 10 are some of the roadways that will take you to Las Vegas, depending on which part of the country you are driving down from.
Las Vegas Budget and Cheap Flights
McCarran International airport (LAS) is one of the busiest airports in the USA and is the one airport that serves the city of Las Vegas in Nevada, USA.
There are literally dozens of airlines flying in and out of the city every day although only a few budget low-cost airlines.
Below is a look at some of the budget airlines that fly in and out of Las Vegas airport – McCarran international.
Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas
Southwest Airlines are the main budget airline that fly in and out of McCarran airport in Vegas. SouthWest Airlines fly from here to about 30 cities across the United States, including to main gateway and popular airports in the U.S. such as:
- Fort Lauderdale
- Washington Dulles
- Chicago Midway
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- Denver Houston
Southwest flights tend generally to cost between $50 and $250 dollars and there are normally discounts for booking in advance.
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Frontier Airlines to Las Vegas
With Frontier Airlines the only city as of writing, which you can fly to direct, is Denver International airport (airport code DEN).
From Denver International, you can connect to several other cities in all corners of the U.S. including Anchorage, New York, Portland, San Diego, and Fort Lauderdale.
Frontier can be considered a budget airline but prices, when I search, seem to be as much and sometimes more than for airlines such as US Airways.
Tips for Booking Budget Flights to Vegas
- Book early. Many airlines such as SouthWest offer early booking discounts.
- Consider flying mid-week if you possibly can. Avoiding Friday to Monday can mean cheaper seats.
- Consider the possibility of a package that includes hotel and flights to Vegas. Sometimes the hotels themselves provide packages.
Sports Travel Booking Resources
Traveling around the world to watch & experience sports, I tend to always use the same resources for booking trips. These are the ones I use most frequently and that I find to have great customer support and competitive prices.
- Sports Event Tickets – Tickets for all sporting events
- Get Your Guide – is an excellent site as a one-stop shop for booking attractions, local tours, activities, and excursions. Great customer service and an easy-to-use site.
- Booking.com – The best site I have found for hotel and accommodation bookings.
- Flights – are also now offered by booking.com and as I love the brand this is my first port of call now for flights.
- Safety Wing Travel Insurance – I love Saftey Wing as they cover everything I need to be covered and they have a simple-to-use site, and again, I have found their customer service very good, when I needed to ask questions.
- Hostelworld – Book backpacker hostel rooms around the world with Hostel World.