When most people think about Las Vegas, they only think about the strip. But what convinced us to move back here after living in a lot of the major cities in the US is the access to the outdoors. There are a bunch of amazing outdoor activities to try in Las Vegas and even more within a short drive.
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Last Updated: July 23, 2021
15 Amazing Outdoor Things to Do in Las Vegas
If you want to drive on a dry lake bed and see more of the natural landscape near Las Vegas, an ATV Tour is a great way to do it. I’ll admit that we were having too much fun driving over mounds and learning to fishtail and do donuts to really care about our surrounding though.
You can go at your own pace and they teach you everything you need to know. They offer pick-ups on the strip or you can meet them at the tour site (a good choice if you plan on doing more exploring before or after the tour).
Local Tip: Wear clothes you’re okay to get dirty in. You will get dusty!
We’ve seen these in multiple places but finally got a chance to try it here in Las Vegas. We were nervous since we don’t have much experience when it comes to watersports, but our intructor ensured us that if we can stand, we can fly! He was right.
This was so much fun and they do an amazing job at walking you through it. After we finished, we asked the pros to show us a thing or two and it was so cool to watch in person as they soared to crazy heights and dove underwater.
Local Tip: If you’re going to head out to Lake Las Vegas, give yourself extra time to enjoy the restaurants and boutiques too. If you’re looking for more time in the water, you can rent SUPs, kayaks, electric boats, and there’s even a cable park and aqua park.
You’ll find a few different ziplines on the strip, like this one at the LINQ Promenade, but if we had to recommend one zipline, it would be the one in Bootleg Canyon. Something about soaring through the desert landscapes is magical. Plus you get to check out some gnarly mountain biking trails from above.
Pro Tip: Wear pants. They tend to be more comfortable and you won’t have to worry about your good showing when you’re instructed to spread your legs. Hiking shoes are always a good idea as well!
Shoot guns on this huge 160 acre property. They have all types of guns to try and they have a world-class 17 station sporting clays course. To really spice things up, you can also shoot at exploding targets or a run-down vehicle. Everything is customiziable!
Local Tip: They can help you charter vehicles, buses, or helicopters to pick you up from wherever you’re staying.
One of the biggest reasons we moved back to Vegas is because we started rock climbing after we left. We quickly learned that Red Rock Canyon has spectacular climbing.
Even if climbing isn’t your thing, there are fun hikes, a scenic drive, and plenty of picnic spots for you to check out. Plus, you’ll regularly see people biking the scenic loop.
Local Tip: Weather is always a tad cooler here than in town.
Have you heard of a star party? It’s where a group of amateur astronomers get together to observe the sky. We definitely had no idea what it was until a friend of ours threw a party. It was a lot of fun to nerd out over all the cool stuff and see the stars and planets with their powerful telescopes.
Valley of Fire is probably our favorite outdoor spot to photograph in the Las Vegas area. If you look at the photos, you’ll probably recognize some of them from Instagram. In-person, they look just as spectacular and most of the hikes there are short. Check out our guide here.
Local Tip: The visitor center is a great resource to get started, for bathroom breaks, and a break from the sun if you need it.
8. Enjoy Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Whether you want to play on the water or hike a trail, Lake Mead National Recreation Area has a ton to offer. You can rent a boat, kayak, or SUP and enjoy your time on the water, which is perfect for the hot summer weather. Or when the weather is cooler, check out hikes like the Historic Railroad Trail.
Local Tip: Lake Mead covers a huge footprint so do some research before heading there to decide what you want to do. We’ll work on a guide for it soon!
9. Hike in Mount Charleston
Mount Charleston is the perfect getaway during the summer heat since it’s always cooler up there. We go up there to rock climb and there are some great hikes, like Mary Jane Falls Trail and Lee Canyon. In the winter, it’s the closest spot to ski and snowboard.
Local Tip: Cell service is hard to get up there so be sure you know where you’re going before heading there or don’t close your google maps.
If you’re looking for an adventurous hike and reward yourself with some relaxation time, check out the Gold Strike Hot Springs Trail. There are sections where you have use ropes to get up and down and of course you get to soak in natural hot springs.
Local Tip: If you go past the hot springs you can hike all the way down to the Colorado River.
If you love nature and don’t want to rough it, the Springs Preserve is a beautiful 180 acre spot with nature, exhibits, trails, and attractions perfect for the whole family. Their facilities are beautiful and it’s a great way to spend the day outside with all the comforts close by.
Local Tip: Locals get a discount and if you plan on visiting often, become a member!
Zip, zag, and zoom over rough terrain and sand dunes just norht of the city. Dune buggy tours are a great way to get the heart pumping. The only thing that will slow them down is you, so if you can keep up with the pros, you’ll be flying through the desert.
Local Tip: Don’t bring unnecessary loose items with you. They do have lockers int he office where you can store your stuff.
If you’re looking for a free activity that is relaxing, head over to the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Gardens. We always love strolling through the garden and checking out the over 300 species of desert plants. Plus, it’s always nice to drop into the chocolate factory to get some samples :P. Check out our guide here.
Local Tip: During the holidays (Christmas + Valentine’s) they dress up the garden with a bunch of lights making it extra magical.
Nelson’s Landing is a local favorite during the summers. Thrill seekers go there to cliff jump while others are there to cool off in the water.
Local Tip: While you’re there, make time to check out Nelson’s Ghost Town. It has a ton of amazing photo ops.
15. Mountain Bike Bootleg Canyon
Although we have yet to get into it, we have friends who have been trying to get us to start mountain biking. If you love exploring on two wheels then you need to check out Bootleg Canyon. There are 20+ mountain bike trail for all skill levels, including some of the most gnarly ones we’ve seen.
Local Tip: If you’re visiting and don’t want to bother with bringing your own bike, there are plenty of options to rent too.
Map of the Best Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas
- Summers get extremely hot (easily over 100°F and sometimes as high as 120°F). Keep that in mind when planning your activities.
- Most people get surprised that it actually gets cold in the winter in Las Vegas. It can drop to freezing temps especially at night.
- Whether it’s summer or winter, it’s dry out here and it will catch up to you if you’re not careful. Always hydrate! We love this self-cleaning water bottle.
- A daypack is always handy when you’re out. We love this one especially since you can add an inflatable camera cube too.
- Sunscreen is a must. Don’t forget to reapply.
Best Places to Stay in Las Vegas
What outdoor activities have you done in Las Vegas? Which of these do you want to try next?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.