Valley of Fire State Park is only 50 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
The city of Las Vegas in and of itself is the ultimate getaway for many Americans. According to MMGY Global’s 2013 Portrait of American Travelers, about half of U.S. leisure travelers say they are “extremely/very interested” in visiting Las Vegas in the next two years and, more immediately, the Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group indicates that the city is the top destination being booked for the remainder of 2013.
However, if your clients want a little getaway during their getaway, there are spectacular and world-renowned natural attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Hoover Dam and other scenic destinations that make for convenient day trips. Most hotels have a concierge or tour desk that can help you and your clients book these adventures, which can also be found and detailed at www.LasVegas.com
Grand Canyon: Paradise Found Tours organizes a one-day Grand Canyon South Rim Tour by motorcoach, complete with a restroom on board, custom windows, air conditioning, reclining seat, detachable arm rests, foot rests, video monitors and more. A driver and guide will be on hand to inform guests about the iconic sights and answer any questions that may come up during the tour. A hot buffet lunch is provided in Williams Arizona at the Grand Canyon Railway. The tour spends three full hours at the canyon. Pick-up is between 6:15 a.m. and 6:55 a.m. The tour returns to the guest’s hotel from 8:45 p.m. to 9 p.m., in time for a late dinner or some quality casino time. All-inclusive price is $80. LasVegas.com details a number of more elaborate Grand Canyon options, some including plane or helicopter transportation.
Zion National Park is open 24 hours a day, every day, year-round. Services and facilities include the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Backcountry Desk, the Zion Human History Museum and the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center. All visitors must buy a recreational use pass when they arrive at the park. The National Park Service may waive admission fees on select days throughout the year. Weekly passes start at $12, which admits one person with no vehicle into the park, including the Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyon areas. Visitors ages 15 and under get in free.
Valley of Fire State Park: Just 50 miles north of the city is Valley of Fire State Park, where rocks glow with an unusually bright crimson color. The area has some of the Southwest’s most vivid scenery, with colors splayed over some of the world’s oldest known natural rock formations. Valley of Fire is considered Nevada’s oldest state park, having officially opened in 1935. The park, which covers almost 36,000 acres, gets its name from its fiery red sandstone. The formations are the result of fossilized sandstone and sand dunes that formed more than 150 million years ago. The first inhabitants of the Valley of Fire are thought to have migrated to the region about 300 B.C.
Red Rock Canyon: Drive by huge, radiant sandstones, see Indian culture and visit a 520-acre ranch only minutes away from Las Vegas. This peaceful 13-mile scenic loop affords plenty of opportunities to stop and take pictures of Calico Hills’ colorful sandstone, limestone Indian roasting pits, Indian “hand prints” and pictographs at Willow Springs. The visitor’s center provides information on Red Rock’s history and various kinds of wildlife existing in the canyon. LasVegas.com offers a complimentary deli-style lunch beneath enormous trees at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, and, for clients who like to sleep in, a four- hour “PM” version. Good to know: Red Rock Canyon is popular with Hollywood filmmakers who have used it for scenes in movies such as Star Trek: Generations and Transformers.
Lake Powell: Papillon Tours offers helicopter specials, airplane and bus excursions. The tours mainly go through the Grand Canyon, but it also includes scenic views of Lake Powell and Rainbow Bridge. Papillon also provides pick-ups from many Las Vegas hotels. Plane tours last about 25-30 minutes. Prices start at $134 for adults and $114 for children.
Death Valley National Park: This 3.4 million-acre park in California has ghost towns, charcoal kilns, remnants of borax mines and more. Winter hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. A 20-minute park film is shown throughout the day. From November to April, tour guides offer walks, information and presentations about Death Valley. Additional programs are available at other times.
Hoover Dam: One of the most popular day trips for Las Vegas hotel guests, bus tours (from $69) and helicopter excursions ($210-$644) are available. The dam is open from 8 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. A Guided Powerplant Tour takes about half an hour, while the Dam Tour lasts approximately one hour. Adult admission fee (ages 17-60) is $11, while children get in free. For self-drive visitors, the parking fee is $7 per vehicle.
Las Vegas Happenings
Bally’s Offers $99 Jubilee Tower Rate To introduce its new Jubilee Tower rooms, Bally’s is offering special rates starting at $99 a night. These 756 rooms each measure 450 square feet and afford views of the Las Vegas Strip. The renovated accommodations sport neutral tones and pops of red visible throughout decorative accents and wall coverings. Geometric patterns create a contemporary feel. Room amenities include refrigerator, MP3 docking station, coffee maker and safe. Redesigned bathrooms have spacious porcelain showers with glass enclosures and standalone dark wood vanities. The suites in the tower are also being redesigned.
Mandarin Oriental Hosts ‘Shanghai Nights’ Every Tuesday, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas transports Mandarin Bar guests to 1930s Shanghai for the new weekly party, Shanghai Nights. Replicating the popular city when it was known as the “Vegas of Asia” with Shanghai-inspired tastes, cocktails and atmosphere, Mandarin Bar’s Shanghai Nights mirrors an Asianstyle speakeasy with era decor including adorning Oriental lanterns, red lighting, intimate seating and other elaborate touches. While appreciating Mandarin Bar’s views from the 23rd floor, guests will also enjoy the sounds of live jazz and contemporary music from the Shaun DeGraff Trio.
World’s Largest Ferris Wheel Takes Shape The outer wheel of the 55-story High Roller, part of what will eventually be the world’s largest Ferris wheel, is now in place. Already visible from all over the city, its presence will be even more noticeable early next year when it will be illuminated and begins operation. The High Roller will be 100 feet taller than the London Eye, top China’s Star of Nanchang by 30 feet and rise nine feet higher than the Singapore Flyer.
Bally’s Jubilee Tower room