Our hometown is famous for busy city life and extravagant parties, so you might not think “nature-filled” when you’re looking for ways to spend a family day close to home. However, our area actually offers so many amazing experiences based in nature. Nearby mountains, deserts, lakes, and more translate to various opportunities for hiking, swimming, and just taking in the beauty of nature.
Still, if you don’t know where to look, finding nature-based activities can feel more stressful than fun. That’s where Crème de la Crème of Las Vegas (Farm Rd.) comes in. We’ve put together this list of outdoor places to appreciate nature, without traveling far from Las Vegas at all. When you’re looking for inspiration for a day out in nature with the whole family, make sure you check out the must-see places on this list.
Red Rock Canyon
“Red Rock Canyon State Park” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by RuggyBearLA
Searching for a getaway in nature without traveling far from home? Red Rock Canyon has you covered. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area offers a break from bustling everyday life in Las Vegas, and it’s only around 15 miles from the city.
Even if you don’t have tons of time to devote to a day out, you’ll want to check out this nature wonder. Just drive along the 13-mile route that takes you past some of the best scenery out there. You’ll likely find yourself wanting to pull over and take pictures time and time again thanks to the breathtaking rock formations and unique landscape this area offers.
You can also easily spend a lot more time at Red Rock Canyon if your family is in the mood for a day out in nature. From rock climbing to hiking, there’s something for everyone here. Pro-tip: Go for an easy stroll in Calico Basin. Kids and adults alike are sure to be delighted by this picturesque spot.
Whether you want to fill your time in nature with swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, or cycling, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Lake Mead. Known as America’s first and largest national recreation area, Lake Mead and its surroundings boast gorgeous waters and striking landscapes sure to please every member of the family. From mountains to canyons, valleys to vast lakes, this is one location not far from Las Vegas you’ll want to add to your list of places to explore.
Lake Mead itself is about 24 miles from Las Vegas. The manmade body of water was created when the Hoover Dam was constructed. Outdoor enthusiasts will have tons to enjoy here thanks to an abundance of trails ideal for hiking and biking. One highlight? The River Mountains Loop Trail, which runs for 35 miles along the River Mountains. You can even rent bicycles here if you don’t want to bring your own.
Of course, there’s tons of water-based fun at this lake. In addition to swimming, canoeing, and kayaking, you can also go scuba diving or reel in fish like bass or bluegill. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is also ideal for an outing to view nature. You can get here from Las Vegas in less than an hour, making it the perfect place to indulge in the outdoors close to home.
Head over to Black Canyon if you’re looking for some solitude on the water. Black Canyon is the section of the Colorado River under the Hoover Dam, and it’s easy to access from Las Vegas as well.
If you’re looking for inspiration for an outdoor family adventure, renting kayaks here is a great choice. Try kayaking downstream from the Hoover Dam to Willow Beach, just about 12 miles away. The huge, steep canyon makes for some truly breathtaking surroundings while you paddle. The water is fairly mellow, so this is a great activity even if you’re not all expert kayakers.
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
Yet another easy-to-access natural wonder, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area serves an oasis away from big city life. Locals know Spring Mountains National Recreation Area better as Mount Charleston. No matter what you call it, the 316,000-acre area is set to astound thanks to majestic, snow-capped mountains surrounded by desert landscapes.
More than 50 sensitive animals and plants call this unique area home. In fact, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is the only place on the planet where you can find some of these species! In other words, if your kiddos are into nature, they’ll be clamoring for a trip to this amazing place.
You’ll find Spring Mountains National Recreation Area within the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest — at 6.3 million acres, the national forest is the biggest in the lower 48 states. Even better? You can drive to Mount Charleston within around 30 to 45 minutes from Las Vegas. There’s something to do here year-round, so you can keep coming back for more. Horseback riding, fishing, and hiking is just the start. In the cooler months, you can also look forward to snowshoeing, snowboarding, and skiing.
Valley of Fire State Park
With 40,000 acres of Aztec sandstone outcrops in vibrant red, Valley of Fire State Park will etch itself into your family’s memories for years to come. You’ll find petroglyphs that date back over 2,000 years along with ancient petrified trees.
Stop by the Visitor Center to contextualize your visit with the exhibits about prehistory, history, ecology, and geology, or take advantage of one of the many campsites and hiking trails. The area features trails of varying difficulty levels, so you’re sure to find the perfect activity for your group. The kids will also enjoy searching for intriguing rock formations with fun names like Arch Rock, White Domes, and Mouse’s Tank.
That wraps up this list from Crème de la Crème of Las Vegas (Farm Rd.) showing you some great nature-filled experiences just a short drive from our city. Whether you want to sit back, relax, and observe the inspiring world around you or you’re searching for an activity like swimming or biking, there’s so much to explore close to home. Does your family have a place you love that we missed with this list? Drop us a line so we can add your recommendation!