AAA Four Diamond Hotel South of Las Vegas Strip
Less than 10 miles south of the Las Vegas Strip, Green Valley Ranch cuts an imposing figure, with Spanish-style architecture, tiled roofs, and grounds covered with towering palms. You don’t have to worry about transportation to the city’s main corridor, thanks to a complimentary shuttle that runs back and forth from the Strip four times a day (it also makes runs to the airport). There’s a lot to do right at Green Valley Ranch, too—the sprawling resort encompasses restaurants, pools, a casino, and a movie theater. Frommer’s calls the AAA Four Diamond property “flat-out fabulous,” noting that “you can stay here with your parents or your kids, and every age group should be happy.”
In the upscale casino, exposed stone columns support towering arches and a vaulted ceiling. Gamers can try their luck with 2,200 slot machines, a poker room, race- and sports-book areas, and more than 55 table games such as blackjack, craps, and roulette. Spend your winnings at one of eight onsite restaurants, including Hank’s Fine Steaks & Martinis and Terra Verde, an Italian eatery with housemade pasta dishes and an extensive wine list.
The resort’s outdoor recreation area stretches across more than 8 acres outfitted with manicured lawns, private cabanas, and infinity-edge dipping pools. You can indulge in a massage, facial, or mani-pedi at the onsite spa, which was named one of the city’s best hotel spas in a poll of Las-Vegas Review-Journal readers. At night, slip into one of the lounges or bars for a nightcap.
Henderson, Nevada: Thriving Suburb Close to the Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas suburb of Henderson is conveniently close to the Strip but far enough away to be an escape from the bustle. Livability.com named it a top family vacation destination, highlighting the city’s culture scene, which includes art galleries and outdoor symphony concerts. At the Clark County Museum, visitors can trace southern Nevada’s history via a timeline exhibit. The museum campus also has several historic buildings—including a decades-old barn and a wedding chapel—as well as a walk-in mining trail.
The Hoover Dam—one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders—lies about 20 miles east of town. Take the guided tour if you want to learn more about the dam’s history and get a look at inner passageways. Nearby Lake Mead is a good spot for kayaking and fishing; it’s surrounded by mountains with trails for hiking.
Shopping is another draw in Henderson. The town is home to one of the most popular malls in the area, Galleria at Sunset. Here you’ll find more than 140 shops and five department stores amid Southwestern decor such as fountains, palm trees, and topiary animals in the food court. The District at Green Valley Ranch offers an outdoor shopping experience along a pedestrian-friendly promenade lined with boutiques and restaurants. On Friday and Saturday nights from May through October, musicians entertain shoppers with live shows.