Here’s a list of what’s re-open outdoors! I’ll cover activities to enjoy off the strip with consideration to Phase 2 Covid-19 re-opening in Las Vegas. It’s hot and the weather changes weekly. For instance it reached 106ºF this week and tomorrow it drops to the 90s then the 80s in the days to come. That will be nice. I am a fan of warm summer evenings so I grabbed tickets to the Neon Museum next week. While I am cautious of getting back out there, especially to indoor venues or crowded places, I am inspired to go through my bucket list this summer. These are ones enjoyed by the locals and often overlooked by tourists who know nothing other than The Strip. The Las Vegas Valley is beautiful. You will truly enjoy these if you can time it right to escape the heat.
1.) Neon Museum
Off the strip… sort of. Catch twilight around 7:45pm – 8:30pm. The museum is open during the day, too. You must buy tix in advance for social distancing and they are only $10 for locals.
2.) Red Rock Scenic Route
A hop and a skip from Summerlin and just 17-miles from the strip you will find find Red Rock Canyon was designated as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area and is an area of worldwide geologic interest and beauty. It is now open for driving and hiking. The 13-mile Scenic Drive through Red Rock Canyon is incredible on bike or vehicle (with the air on blast!). Visitors experience the highs and lows of the canyon with scenic stops to take in the view, access the many trailheads and view ancient sites like the hieroglyphs. The visitor center, camping and picnic areas remain closed and limited capacity parking may keep you on the drive only. Dogs are allowed!
3.) The Farm
A farm animal rescue run by a heroic woman and volunteers. Food costs run $7k+ month and they’ve been impacted by the shutdown, painfully. The main source of revenue used to be school field trips. They need media, they need donations and they need visitors. You can pick up fresh honey and eggs, too. For some reason piggies have always made me smile.
4.) Mt. Charleston
When it’s 100ºF in the Vegas Valley, it’s 60ºF on the mountain. With most hiking trails now re-open it’s a pretty, scenic escape. The website is useful and informative for planning your trip. On our way up we visited Mt. Charleston Lodge during the winter and the restaurants was undergoing a remodel. The window walled room offer incredible views. I bet it’s something to see now. However, if like me, you are not quite ready for indoor dining there is a nice patio where dogs are welcomed and they serve a special menu. As for Mt. Charleston in general I will warn you it is smaller than expected, there’s not a walkable village, dining is sparse, and currently parking is limited with the visitor center is closed for Covid-19. We discovered that you hit a dead end at the top of the mountain. Oh, and I should mention mountain lions! If all else fails you’ll leave enjoying a beautiful drive. I guess I had higher expectations similar to Idyllwild or Tahoe.
5.) Valley of Fire
This place is famous for its magical insta-worthy landscapes. It’s a bit of a drive from the strip or from Summerlin but a must-see on any travelers bucket list. I only know because I’ve mapped it then wasn’t able to visit with the shutdown. Valley of Fire consists of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone mountains. It’s a state park with a website that doesn’t seem up-to-date with Covid-19 changes.
See the FAQ for general Covid-19 Nevada State Park guidelines for an idea of what to expect. Or call.
“All Nevada State Parks are open for day-use: Some parks have limited hours of operation and may close at varying times throughout the day once they reach a capacity that still allows for effective social distancing.
Most Nevada State Park visitor centers, museums, and gift shops have reopened. Within Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, the parking lot at Memorial Point and the Tahoe East Shore Trail between Memorial Point and Sand Harbor are closed until further notice. All group-use areas are closed until further notice.”
Trip Advisor is a nice resource for planning your visit.
6.) Drive-in Las Vegas
In the time of Covid this local drive in theater has become a legend. Known as Drive-in Las Vegas, officially West Wind Las Vegas Drive-in. They fought to stay open while meeting tight restrictions, including closing down the snack bar. The drive-in succeeded at keeping guests safe while providing a much desired entertainment outlet. Needless to say they have won the hearts of Vegas locals forever. Take it from their excellent Yelp reviews. I’m an architecture buff so what I am most excited to see are the golden arches and lit up retro signage. Arrive early because tickets cannot be purchased in advance. There are no pets allowed! (Although I did see some Yelp reviews sneaking puppers under a blanket… reminds me of my childhood shhhh)
Waiting for Re-Opening
The Springs Preserve is on my bucket list so we’ll be watching for the re-opening plans. As of writing this it is still closed for Covid-19. Commonly known as the “birthplace of Las Vegas,” the Springs Preserve is a 180-acre cultural institution designed to commemorate Las Vegas’ dynamic history and to provide a vision for a sustainable future.
Let’s Not Mess This Up
Fact: 44% of Covid-19 spread has been caused by people without symptoms. Up to 80% of people infected are unaware they have the virus. (Source)
Be considerate and please wear a mask to protect you and to protect me when out in public. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors it doesn’t matter if other people outside your household are nearby. You can prevent the “second wave” to keep Nevada successfully open.
When it comes to dog etiquette do not pet strangers’ dogs. At least for now during this fragile stage of recovery. While dogs cannot get infected they can carry the germ on their fur like any other surface. Just like shaking hands. We’ve mastered a parade wave and awkwardly decline well mean, polite strangers by simply replying “she’s nervous coming out of quarantine, yes she bites.”