Drive just an hour or so out of Las Vegas and you’ll quickly find yourself transported from one fantasy land to another. Gone are the nonstop neon-lit playgrounds, and in their place you’ll find rock-cut ravines, ethereal slot canyons, and lakeside party scenes to rival the most raucous pool bars.
Before Vegas was Vegas, this corner of Nevada had been baked by the southwestern sun and hewn by nature’s tempestuous forces over millennia. The desert was here first. Everywhere you look, it makes its presence known. No trip to the Strip is complete without hiring a car and getting out of the city. Even better, use the Verizon Visa Card once you hit the road, to earn rewards on purchases anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Valley of Fire
Forget the glow of the city lights from the top of the High Roller; you’ve not seen an unforgettable sunset until you’ve seen the rocks blaze in Valley of Fire State Park. As the sun dips towards the horizon, and as it rises in the morning, the Aztec sandstone smolders from amber to ochre.
The rock formations date back some 100m years, while the area was first inhabited around 11,000 years ago. You can still see 2,000-year-old petroglyphs carved into the rocks by pre-ancestral Puebloans and the scattered remains of an ancient petrified forest.
It’s only an hour’s drive to get here from Vegas, leaving you plenty of time to explore. The park covers 40,000 acres (16,187ha) and there’s lots to see, whether you hike to wind-whipped Arch Rock or geek out on geology at the Beehives, where the grooves of cross-bedding were formed by layers of ancient silt.
Some of the best spots to snap pictures are the viewpoints overlooking White Domes Road, also known as Mouse’s Tank Road, and amid the candy-stripe formations of the Fire Wave.
It’s unlikely you’ll exhaust the Vegas party scene, but if you do, head to Lake Havasu, Arizona’s beer-fueled lakeside playground that’s just over two hours’ drive away.
Getting out on the water here is the main attraction. Keep it chill on a moored cabana boat — furnished with sofas, coolers, a BBQ, and a sound system — or hire a speedboat and motor over to rocky Copper Canyon cove, the backdrop to seriously wild Spring Break parties, but much more serene if you visit outside of a holiday weekend.
Boat-in restaurants are the lake’s other big appeal: shorefront dining that’s only accessible by water. Moor up, settle in for lunch out on the deck, and embrace the ultimate antidote to air-conditioned casino buffets.
If you get carried away splashing around on a stand-up paddleboard and diving off floating platforms, the good news is the fun doesn’t have to stop. Treat yourself to a hotel room using Verizon Dollars and head back to Vegas the next day.
Zion National Park
Strike out northwest on the I-15 for two hours and you’ll cross not just state lines but time zones, too. Leave a little after dawn and you’ll have only the first rays of sun for company as you speed through scrubland and twist around chicanes cut from sandstone bluffs.
What destination could possibly warrant such an early start after a late night on the Strip? Springdale, Utah, the entry point for Zion National Park. This park might be comparatively small, but its soaring red-rock cliffs and slot canyons have a movie-worthy magic, especially in the fall when the Fremont Cottonwoods shimmer in a thousand shades of gold.
Even with just a day to spare, you’re spoiled for choice. The easiest hiking routes start by taking the free shuttle from Springdale to the main park entrance, and from there the Emerald Pools trails range from a 1.2mi (1.9km) round trip to a slightly more strenuous 3mi (4.8km) loop — but it’s a shame not to venture further.
Angels Landing is the most famous hike in Zion National Park; the steep – and strenuous – ascent will see you climb 1,400ft (427m), clutching onto chains bolted into the cliffs as the valley drops away beneath you. You can up the adrenaline on guided half-day canyoneering tours, or soak up the scenery on horseback.
Given that Death Valley is famed for its extremes — clocking up the hottest temperatures in the country — its stark landscapes are surprisingly full of life. This is far more than just a barren expanse of desert, marked not just by dunes and mountains but some 1,000 plant species, which are scattered across the arid terrain.
With a day to spare, there’s a lot to take in. Badwater Basin, at 282ft (86m) below sea level the lowest point in the USA, is an undeniably cool spot to check off your travel bucket list. Get here early to stroll the salt flats and soak up the eerie atmosphere before the temperatures soar and the crowds build.
Equally fascinating are the dusty ghost towns from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Check out Harmony Borax Works, just two hours’ drive out of Vegas, which ceased operation in 1888 after only five years in action. Rhyolite Ghost Town, the largest settlement in Death Valley, has been uninhabited since a brief gold rush ended in 1914.
Even on a day trip, you should come prepared – the scorching heat and full sun are relentless – so pack plenty of water as well as your sense of adventure.
To learn more about the Verizon Visa Card and start earning rewards, visit verizon.com/verizonvisacard.
In partnership with Verizon, CT is offering a promo code of $35 to be used across Culture Trip for one year. Enter VERIZON35 at checkout to redeem.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.