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Las Vegas: Exploring the desert paradise

Friday, August 3, 2012 3:08:35 PM

Even the most seasoned travelers associate Las Vegas with casinos, nightclubs, restaurants and shopping centers; the neon lights from the Strip are the first thing you’ll see as your airplane begins its descent into this exciting destination. However, if you think you might like a break from the constant action, serene nature preserves and breathtaking views are just a short drive from downtown. By spending just 15 minutes in your Las Vegas car rental, it’s easy to escape to a desert oasis that feels like it’s far removed from the dizzying constant of crowds and bright lights.

Floyd Lamb State Park
It only takes about 20 minutes to drive in a Las Vegas rental car from the Strip to Floyd Lamb State Park, but you’ll feel worlds away from the notorious Vegas lifestyle. This park spans over 2,000 acres, and boasts picnic facilities throughout. After spending time sitting in a casino or taking in live Las Vegas shows, you might want to stretch your legs on the walking trails or challenge your travel partner to a game of volleyball or horseshoes. Or, if fishing is one of your favorite sports, you’ll be excited to try your luck at catching a rainbow trout in one of the park’s four stocked ponds.

Red Rock Canyon
Take your car rental in Las Vegas on a 13-mile drive through this national conservation area and enjoy the breathtaking geology and plant life that is indigenous to this part of the country. Red Rock Canyon is located just a few minutes west of Las Vegas, and the 3,000-foot-high sandstone cliffs offer a unique vantage point from which you can survey the entire Strip and beyond.

Mount Charleston
Escape the sizzling heat and use your Las Vegas rental car to transport you to Mount Charleston, where temperatures average 20 to 30 degrees cooler than downtown Las Vegas. It might be difficult to imagine snow-capped mountains less than an hour away from downtown, but Mount Charleston is home to Lee Canyon resort, a small ski resort that offers the challenge of black diamond trails along with bunny slopes for beginners. During the summer, Mount Charleston is a picturesque hiking destination, and the Mary Jane Falls Trail is popular for its seasonal 100-foot waterfall.

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