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The Best Weekend Mini-Retreats Near Vegas

Brice Canyon
photo credit: ChrisMo2005 via photopin cc

Las Vegas has it all in a one-stop shop vacation destination – from lights, casinos, world-class sports, dining, theater, music, shopping and dazzle.  Even so, if you are a local resident, getting away from it all has its own attraction.  Beyond the lights and sizzle of the Strip, you can find some spectacular retreats within driving distance of Las Vegas.

Mt. Charleston

Less than a two-hour drive from the Strip, Mt. Charleston sits as the antithesis of the Las Vegas culture.  You will be surprised how quickly you can leave the casino lifestyle and find yourself embracing great ponderosa pine trees.  The trail to Cathedral Rock is a three-mile circle hike with a moderate 1,200-foot ascent.  You will find high desert aspen trees interspersed with fragrant pines along the trail until you reach the Cathedral Rock summit.  From the summit at 8,000 feet, you will enjoy a 180-degree view of the valley below.  Mt. Charleston is approximately 34 miles northwest of Las Vegas proper.

Lake Las Vegas

Lake Las Vegas is a 300-acre lake a short drive west of the Strip.  With three elegant hotels, a casino, an Italian fishing port themed esplanade, Lake Las Vegas offers a relaxing retreat from the hustle of the city.  Montelago Village offers dining and entertainment, art shows, outdoor farmer’s markets, wine tastings, concerts on the lake and movies under the stars.  In addition, the resort area has excellent golf courses and a tranquility that belies its proximity to the Strip.

The Lodge at Bryce Canyon

In operation since 1925, the Lodge at Bryce Canyon, in southwestern Utah, was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood. He also worked on the lodges at Yosemite, Old Faithful and Grand Teton National Park.  The rustic ambience of the lodge, the peaceful hiking trails and the tranquility of the surrounding wilderness are just a short drive away from Las Vegas.  In addition to the Lodge, the facilities include Bryce Amphitheater – created within visually dazzling rock formations that date back many millennia. The Lodge has a restaurant, pizzeria and espresso bar.  The gift shop sells and displays stunning Native American art and jewelry, and the General Store offers groceries and camping supplies.

San Diego, California

Billed as America’s Finest City, San Diego is just a four-hour drive south from Las Vegas and is an entire mini-retreat from the Strip.  Families will enjoy the range of activities that include SeaWorld, The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, Legoland, stunning beaches, sailing, surfing, skating, fishing, biking and the Del Mar Fair. Plus, the city has a wide range of hotels and restaurants in any price range.

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