Roaring ATVs charge up Southwest Desert sand dunes in a storm of golden particles. Miles away, intrepid explorers rappel down the sheer cliffs of the Valley of Fire. Elsewhere, kayakers drift across the placid surface of Lake Mead in the sunset, and passengers inside a helicopter witness the majesty of the Grand Canyon from the breathtaking angle normally reserved for sightseeing birds. These seemingly disparate adventures have one thing in common: the people who imagined them. Each trek was dreamed up by the founders and guides of Awesome Adventures, who see the landscape of Nevada and Utah not as harsh and wild, but as a source of endless entertainment and education. The enthusiastic staffers—who specialize in recreations ranging from rock climbing to whitewater rafting—encourage visitors and locals alike to step outside the bounds of the city and explore exciting new vistas.
It's exhilarating—the rush of adrenaline as you jump from 13,000 feet, free fall, and then glide beneath a parachute back to Earth. Less than a half-hour drive from the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip, Sin City Skydiving creates this experience daily. With more than 12,000 skydives each, the company's FAA and US Parachute Association-certified instructors are the perfect team to plunge newcomers into the sport. They strap themselves to novices during tandem flights and dive out of Cessna aircrafts, controlling every second of the jump while simultaneously setting the record for world's longest hug. For committed students, they lead a combination of ground-based and in-air training that teaches divers to jump on their own.
Extreme athletes banded together to design Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Vegas Xcursions conveniently packages adventure in the form of tours, rides, games, and eats across swaths of the scenic southwest. Two hours at Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix entices with speeding circuits around four go-kart tracks and rides on four family-friendly attractions. Between photo finishes and rubberneck traffic jams, visitors can nosh on a complimentary medium specialty pizza, 10 hot wings, and a large drink.
Instead of the cookie-cutter décor of a regular hotel, Bonnie Springs Ranch offers a variety of room themes, allowing guests to determine their own style. Lovebirds can experience the Far East in the Wild West with a Chinese-inspired room. Likewise, guests planning a role-playing retreat can live out their trail-traveling narrative on a Bonnie Springs bed that doubles as a covered wagon. No matter which theme you choose, your spacious retreat will include a luxurious Jacuzzi tub. If you're traveling with the whole pack, the overnighters' calico-West-themed rooms welcome children as well as pets.
Fremont Street Flightlines sends aerial daredevils on a zip-line ride through the kaleidoscopic canopy of the Viva Vision light show at Las Vegas' Fremont Street Experience. The five-block long Fremont Street Experience is a pedestrian mall made up of a 90-foot-tall canopy displaying the world's largest big screen, Viva Vision. An hourly light show, bevy of attractions, and frequent performances make the area a veritable feast of visual and auditory stimuli. Flightlines’ customers are harnessed to the zip line and soar through the space at speeds of up to 30 mph, whizzing as close as 14 feet from the ground on their parabolic trajectory. Up to four can zip simultaneously, making an endearing start to a double date or an awkward end to the remains of a quadruple date.