The sparkling ads about Las Vegas attract a lot of attention to its casinos, but why should you spend all your time pouring your hard earned money into slot machines, on the chance you may hit a jackpot? There’s a lot more to see and explore while you’re visiting this bright little place in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
You probably had no idea that the residents of Las Vegas live a very normal life off the Strip, and usually only visit it when their friends and family come to visit. Honestly.
The Role of Gambling in Vegas
The average gambling budget for Las Vegas visitors is $581, and these wanna-be winners actually lose over $6 billion annually within its 135 square miles – which have over 40,000 more hotel rooms than New York City! Though some folks will win a few bucks or at least break even, it’s really the nightlife, neon lights, spectacular shows and star struck crowds wandering down the Strip that brings them back time after time.
It’s a trade-off – stay in a great hotel room, with everything at your fingertips and they will take care of all your wants and needs. What you don’t pour into gambling in the casinos, you’ll spend right on the same property (dining, buying gifts, movies, bowling, etc). It’s a great business plan, and certainly has pumped a lot of money into the local economy.
Create Some New Memories
Getting off the beaten path for a thrilling day outdoors with friends can literally can bring out your inner child’ in an otherwise adult party town. There are several attractions within an hour of Las Vegas Boulevard that will make you feel a world apart from the glitz and blinding lights. If you want to see the blazing stars in the sky, you actually have to get miles away from the Strip – and when you do, you’ll be happy you took the time to get off the main road. Some places include snowcapped Mt. Charleston, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Nascar races north of town. But, I want to introduce you to one attraction you’ll never forget!
Into the Desert – This is an awesome and thrilling time for two or a whole group of friends. Booking an ATV desert ride with Vegas Off Road Tours is easy on the budget, and the tours start at only $160. You’ll roam through mountain ranges, high and low desert, steering through lifts, twists and drop offs.
The tour company uses safe and comfortable top-of-the-line solo or side by side ATV vehicles. You’ll be accompanied by a guide who not only knows the best places to see, but also has stories to tell about them all. This Wild West adventure is not only a blast, but also includes famously good backyard grilled burgers and cold brews at the end of your day.
Natural Beauty and Wild Horses – This desert is quiet, yet surprisingly full of life, and the Mojave’s survivalist plants have a story all of their own, with a multitude of uses which have kept themselves and the desert’s occupants alive and well over the years.
Wildflower patches appear out of nowhere, along with brilliantly purple alfalfa, agave plants, and many types of cactus. The Joshua tree is a common inhabitant of the region as well, used by Native Americans to make dishes and sandals. The creosote bush bears yellow flowers and lives into the thousands of years; it’s among many desert plants with medicinal properties used for centuries by people indigenous to the region.
Resilient animals also populate the Mojave’s sprawling reaches. Not only will the ATV desert tour allow you a chance to spot the protected, beautiful wild horses roaming free, but there might be a few wild burros and mule deer in the area as well. Other wildlife running rampant in the seemingly barren desert includes birds, lizards, foxes, rattlesnakes, chipmunks and land and pond turtles.
Historic Landmarks – Your exhilarating ride starts and ends at one of Vegas’ best kept secrets – the famous Pioneer Saloon, built in 1913 in Goodsprings. Yep, it’s the same place ABC News touted as one of 10 must-see bars in the United States, and it is the very place where the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures crew spent the night in early 2013.
The saloon’s visitors are the stuff of legends – including Clark Gable, Cheech and Chong and Sandra Bullock, to name just a few. And, oh, let’s not forget the ghosts of old miners and a gunned down card cheat, to boot. Even its furnishings have a story – the original cherry wood bar survived an ocean voyage in the 1860s around Cape Horn to its final resting place right here in this once-bustling mining town.
There is More to Las Vegas than Neon Lights! Photo Gallery
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