When you think about traveling to Las Vegas, naturally it’s the famous “Strip” that comes to mind. Featuring several of the most spectacular casino resorts in the world, as well as innumerable restaurants, show venues, bars, clubs, spas, and pools, it’s something of an entertainment Mecca, both for the United States and the world. This is why Las Vegas ranked in the top five most visited U.S. cities in 2017 (behind only New York, Los Angeles, and, thanks to Disney World, Orlando).
That said, people’s opinions on Vegas are changing a little bit. It’s as well-known for its shopping as its late night clubs these days, for instance. And more importantly, the very nature of casino gaming has changed, with a flood of online options making it less necessary for people to travel to gamble. There are even Vegas-specific mobile casino platforms, putting forth glitz and glam and a more adult vibe as opposed to the usual fruit icons or cartoonish characters. This is not to say people get the same experience online and needn’t visit Vegas. The casinos are still doing quite well. But the idea that they’re not the only draw does seem to be opening more people’s eyes to additional attractions in and around Vegas.
As it so happens, a lot of those attractions actually involve the great outdoors. Las Vegas may be a city of resorts in the middle of the desert but it’s also near various national parks and landmarks, and has become a highly regarded destination for hikers and adventurers. Accordingly, there are several great camping activities in the area, which can be great to check out either as a full vacation or as a way to mix things up before or after spending time in the city.
These are three of the best camping options to consider near Las Vegas:
Cathedral Gorge State Park
Cathedral Gorge State Park is a beautiful place to explore, full of caverns and miniature canyons, as well as dramatic rock formations jutting into the sky. Featuring a roughly 5-mile hike, it’s also known for a very casual, accessible campsite. You can pay for a spot overnight for less than $20 and set yourself up for a peaceful and picturesque night out in the Nevada desert.
Valley Of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire State Park is where Nevada most closely resembles some of its neighbors in the American Southwest. That is to say you’ll see some of the same red rock landscapes you get in the areas around Bryce Canyon or the Grand Canyon. It’s a popular camping destination as well, most notably because of the Atlatl Rock Campground. It’s a first come, first serve base for exploring Nevada’s oldest and largest state park.
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
This is more of a high elevation retreat that a lot of people use specifically to cool off and unwind from all of the Vegas activity (and heat). Five campgrounds (Fletcher View, Hilltop, Kyle Canyon, McWilliams and Mt. Charleston) are located in the Spring Mountains where you can hike to the peak of Mount Charleston, over 3,600 feet above sea level. It’s certainly a different look, and once you’re among the mountaintops and tall, green trees, it’s almost hard to believe how close you are to Vegas and the desert.