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The 15 best Las Vegas parks

Head to these Las Vegas parks with kids or solo to get sun, relax, picnic and enjoy the outdoors and lush green spaces

Photograph: Shutterstock

If you’re under the impression that Las Vegas attractions only reside inside the best Las Vegas casinos, think again. The valley is home to many outdoor spaces ideal for hiking, cycling, running, picnicking, relaxing and getting sun. From ancient petroglyphs to modern playgrounds, there’s plenty to see at each one of these Las Vegas parks. Round up a few friends, grab an iced latte at one of the best coffee shops and cafes in Las Vegas and spend the day on these lush green spaces.

Best Las Vegas parks

1

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

This blaze of ruddy rock just west of Las Vegas is a destination for tourists, athletes and adventurers. Visitors can hike its many trails, bike the undulating scenic loop or simply drive the 13-mile road through the park, pausing to take in the sights—all best enjoyed outside the scorching summer season. To do Red Rock right, however, you’ll have to rope up. The canyon is home to some of the best climbing in the U.S. 

For a walking tour of Red Rock Canyon, click here

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West of the Strip
2

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Yes, the water level at this man made reservoir is at record lows. Yes, the so-called bathtub ring around the edge of the lake is a troubling reminder of how the West is drying up. It’s all very dire and scary, but you know what? Lake Mead is still a wonder. It’s still full of enchanting slot canyons and remote beaches. It’s still a glorious place to rent a kayak or pontoon boat, check out the imposing facade of Hoover Dam and spend a day exploring the shoreline. Seven million people a year still pay Lake Mead a visit, and for good reason.

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3

Valley of Fire State Park

In the right light, this park's curving red sandstone indeed looks like flames rising from the dirt. An hour northeast of Vegas, Valley of Fire pulls visitors for its stunning geology and scenic trails but modern hikers aren’t the only ones to appreciate its beauty. The park is also home to 3,000-year-old petroglyphs made by Native Americans who were enjoying the sights long before there were casinos down the road.

For a Valley of Fire Buggy tour, click here!.

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4

Sunset Park

This central valley park packs something for everyone into its 300-plus acres. On weekends, you’ll find families picnicking or grilling, sports leagues competing on the softball diamonds or soccer fields, friends chucking frisbees on the disc golf course, pups romping in the dog park and folks fishing in a small pond. Want more? How about sand volleyball and tennis courts, five playgrounds, a splash pad and several miles of trails. If you can’t find something to do at Sunset Park, you should probably just stay indoors.

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5

Clark County Wetlands Park

Drive to the eastern edge of the Vegas Valley and you’ll suddenly hit it: a lush microclimate where the suburban stucco and desert scrub give way to bubbling creeks, tall reeds and plentiful wildlife. Arrive early in the morning to beat the blazing sun and spot coyotes, turtles and hundreds of species of birds enjoying the aquatic environment.

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6

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

Smack in the middle of Las Vegas, Springs Preserve’s 110 acres are equal parts natural retreat and educational experience. Guests can check out live gila monsters and gray foxes, learn about flash flooding and stroll through the botanical garden and butterfly habitat. The campus also includes the site of the Las Vegas Spring, the city’s original water source and its namesake. Las Vegas means “the springs” in Spanish.

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West Las Vegas
7

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Once owned by Howard Hughes, this former working ranch is now a state park where you can take a quick hike, bond with some wild burros or enjoy a picnic lunch. But by far the best reason to visit it is Super Summer Theatre, which takes over the lawn on summer evenings for musicals performed by local casts. Grab a bottle of wine, some snacks and a patch of grass and prepare to be entertained. When the sun is setting over the canyon walls, there’s no better seat in town.

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8

Hemenway Park

This Boulder City park on the way to Lake Mead wouldn’t warrant much attention if it weren’t for its VIP guests. Desert big horned sheep from the River Mountains herd have made Hemenway their unofficial headquarters, descending from the desert hills on hot afternoons to munch on cool grass and take shelter in the shade. Accustomed to spectators, the animals often get quite close to the small crowds that gather, but don’t push your luck. Those big horns aren’t just a stylish accessory.  

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9

Springs Preserve

Smack in the middle of Las Vegas, Springs Preserve’s 110 acres are equal parts natural retreat and educational experience. Guests can check out live gila monsters and gray foxes, learn about flash flooding and stroll through the botanical garden and butterfly habitat. The campus also includes the site of the Las Vegas Spring, the city’s original water source and its namesake. Las Vegas means “the springs” in Spanish.

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West Las Vegas
10

River Mountains Loop

Completed in 2012, this 34-mile paved trail forms a loop around the River Mountains and connects Henderson, Boulder City and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Popular with hikers, runners and cyclists, the trail offers plenty of opportunities for interesting detours (try the five tunnels of the Historic Railroad Trail), scenic outlooks, wildlife encounters (think bighorn sheep and desert tortoises) and welcome breaks (a pint at Boulder Dam Brewing Co.). Take it on as a full loop or sample individual sections for more manageable mileage.

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11

Desert Breeze Park

Sports fans, meet your new home base. This westside Vegas park has facilities for nearly every athletic activity you might want to play: soccer, baseball, football and softball fields, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, a roller hockey rink and a swimming pool at the affiliated recreation center. Want to shred? There’s also a skatepark where you can usually find local kids working on their kick flips and grinds.

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12

The Park

Sandwiched between casinos, the Strip and the T-Mobile Arena, this pedestrian-only stretch of real estate includes desert plantings, local sandstone, mature trees and art installations—including Bliss Dance, a 40-foot sculpture lit by almost 3,000 LEDs. An urban retreat, the Park is a welcome break from ringing casino slots, but it’s a fun place for a night out, with a lineup of casual restaurants, nightly live music and monthly painting events. 

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13

Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs

If the greenery of this northern valley park feels out of place in the desert, that’s precisely what makes it unique. Throughout its history Tule Springs has attracted Pleistocene mammals, Native American tribes and ranchers. Today, it’s popular with bunnies, peacocks, local families who celebrate around its grills and picnic areas and fishermen who cast lines into its stocked ponds.

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14

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Historic Park

It’s hard to imagine it now, but the glittering city of Las Vegas dates back to this simple adobe fort, built by a group of Mormon missionaries in 1855. While only one part of the original building remains—the rest has been reconstructed—this state park takes you back to the early days of Vegas, when Paiute Indians called the oasis home and there was nothing sinful at all about the city. 

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Downtown
15

Exploration Peak and Exploration Park

For the adults, there’s a 2,800-foot peak criss-crossed by trails with panoramic views of Las Vegas at the top. For the kids, there’s the Exploration Park with playgrounds and a water area modeled after an Old West town where youngsters can play pioneer as they splash, climb and slide. For everyone, there’s Gelatology gelato shop just down the road, where a cone of something cool and creamy is just the thing you need after a few hours on the mountain.

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