“Oh, I could never live in Vegas.”

It’s a comment that Vegas local Sandy Knapp says she gets frequently when someone finds out that she lives in Las Vegas, a city that is notorious for tourists who are looking for a party.

But Sandy and other Vegas residents love their city for reasons that have nothing to do with the infamous Strip.

Sandy, who has worked for the past two years with Pink Jeep Tours as one of their popular tour guides, loves Vegas for its incredible outdoor scene.


“It’s a beautiful state,” says Sandy. “There is so much to see. And in Vegas, you’re never too far away from some really beautiful landscape.”

We talked to Sandy about some of her favorite outdoor Vegas destinations. As a Vegas local and outdoor enthusiast, she had plenty to contribute. So much, in fact, that we had to split her list up into two posts! Here’s our first group of Sandy’s suggestions.

Mount Charleston


First on Sandy’s list was Mount Charleston. Less than 40 miles from Vegas, this destination offers year round fun for many Nevada residents, with snow and skiing in the winter months, and beautiful hiking trails and scenery in the spring and summer.

“It’s a great escape from the heat,” Sandy says. “It’s just beautiful up there.”

There’s plenty of wildlife on the mountain; everything from wild horses and burros to bighorn sheep. The ski lodge features a restaurant, and there are a few other dining options in the area as well (but no gas stations, so fill up before your trip). You can also check out the Spring Mountains Visitor Center, a fairly new addition where you can learn some of the history of the area.

Sunset Park


Just 15 minutes from the Strip, Sunset Park provides locals with an oasis in the desert, featuring walking trails, playgrounds, a splash pad, and even a large lake on which visitors can fish (make sure you get a license beforehand). There are also sports courts, including tennis, volleyball, basketball, and baseball/softball.

“People come out for picnics, or to race remote controlled boats on the lake,” Sandy says. She mentions that it’s a definite local favorite, which is backed up by the fact that it is the five-time recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Park, as decided by the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Best of Las Vegas poll.

Bonnie Springs Ranch


Sandy brought up this unique old western town as a family-friendly destination that parents and kids will all love. Adjacent to the beautiful Red Rock Canyon, the town has a beautiful backdrop that anyone can appreciate (especially after the neon of the strip).

You’ll pay a small fee to enter the town, and then you’ll be able to enjoy all that Bonnie Springs has to offer. Eat lunch in the saloon restaurant, take a peaceful horseback ride, visit the blacksmith’s shop, or try your luck at the shooting gallery. Stop by the museum for a taste of Nevada history, and even witness re-enactments of shootouts and western melodramas.

It’s a step back in time, all within modern-day Vegas.

If you’re looking to explore the more “natural” side of Vegas, any of Sandy’s suggestions would be a great place to start. Or, take your outdoor adventure to the next level (and meet more Vegas area experts like Sandy) on a Pink Jeep Tour. With highly trained guides and incredible tour itineraries, you’ll see the very best that Vegas has to offer—even beyond the Strip.

Keep an eye out for Part 2, for more of Sandy’s recommendations!

3 thoughts on “What Locals Love About Vegas (Part 1)

  1. Las Vegas

    As a new resident to Las Vegas, I can validate that most believe that if you live in Las Vegas you must live on the strip as most who visit Vegas never go beyond the glitz and glam of the famous Strip. There is however so much more, Red Rock trails, Mount Charleston hiking, skiing, picnicking etc. There is Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, even the Grand Canyon within easy driving distance.

    And yes, the strip is always there for a wild night out of simply for a great meal and drinks.

    Thanks for the great article!!

  2. Las Vegas

    As a Las Vegas Local that never thought I would ever live near Las Vegas, never mind in Las Vegas, I must say that this town is surprising. It’s very family oriented with great private schools and tons of stuff to do. Love Vegas, the restaurants, the 24 hours everything, the strip, the shows, the Grand Canyon, the Park, Mount Charleston, etc.
    There is so much to do that you just need to come and find all of this out for yourself.

  3. Las Vegas SEO

    As a local, I highly recommend visiting the restaurant ‘Other Mama’. The food there is outstanding and it’s filled with locals. Only the fortunate ones know about this place :-)

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