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By:    On: 2010-12-09

Did you know that you can visit Las Vegas without going to the strip? Did you know there is a lot more to do in Sin City than gambling and seeing the shows?

Lodging wise, if you plan to stay in a hotel, stay in a off strip casino, which are generally well maintained and cheaper then non-casino properties. A few recommendations of such properties include: Station Casinos, Sams Town and Silverton.

If you desire to camp, there are a number of great campgrounds in and near the city. Many of the casinos have an RV park, there are a few privately ran ones in the city swell. Also, there are many outside the city such as at Red Rock Canyon State Park, Mt. Charleston and Lake Mead National Recreational Area that are within a short drive of Vegas.

Now to the heart of this post, things you can do without visiting the strip.

vegas strip

In the city...

Check out the Spring Preserves. There is a small per person fee if you want to check out the number of museums on the property. You can wander around the outside areas for free, but you still need to go to the booth where you pay to get a ticket for the trails.

If you get off the 95 freeway at the Downtown Exit, Las Vegas Blvd, and head north you will find a number of museums to include the Children's Science museum, the Natural History Museum, the Old Mormon Fort which is in the parking lot for Chashman Field (the minor league baseball team stadium which is also used for other events).

If you go into downtown, this area is an older part of town and parking is expensive in parking garages only. There are a number of non-casino things to do downtown including: Freemont Experience, the outlet malls (which has free parking), and the new Mob museum.

Out of town on south side...

Take the 95 freeway out of town, about 30 minutes from main part of the city, you will find Boulder City. There are a number of museums, small shops, parks, hikes, etc to do. You can also access Hoover Dam, and south end of Lake Mead easily from Boulder City.

Out of town on the east side of town...

Go to Lake Mead National Recreational Area and Hoover Dam. Lake Mead is huge and has a small per vehicle entrance fee, but you could easily spend a week here and still have things left to do. There is a per person fee to wonder around the Hoover Dam visitor center which includes the tour into the dam. However if you just go to dam and the overlooks, those are all free. While at the dam you will also be able to see the new bypass bridge.

If you follow the main road around the lake, to the north / north east, you will find the entrance to Valley of Fire State Park, or you can keep going and check out the small towns around Logendale where the Clark County Fair Grounds are.

Out of town on the other side of town you can find...

Red Rock State Park, which has a small per car entrance fee which gives you access to the whole park including the visitor center. The park is composed of a 13 mile loop with lots of things to see, hikes to go on, and picnic lunches to be had. The area is also popular with rock climbers.

Mt. Charleston is the only forest near Vegas. There are two roads up the mountain the closest is about 30-45 mins out of the city on highway 96 heading north. During the winter there should be snow and skiing on the mountain. During the summer there are plenty of hikes to do. There are no lakes or major streams. There is a hotel, as well as a lodge with cabins. Also, there are a number of campgrounds and picnic grounds.

Going farther up highway 95 past the roads to Mt. Charleston you will find the Desert Wildlife Range. This is a large wildlife refuge of sorts. Most of the park is accessible to off road vehicles only. There is a small area with a few old buildings, ponds, wildlife to see, hiking, etc. The park is free to visit for the day.

I have only touched the surface on things you can do without entering a casino. I hope it helps you. If you can think of anything I have not included please feel free to added it as comments below.

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