by Meg McDaniel, Senior Manager of Extended Destinations
Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority
Located 90 miles north of Las Vegas awaits Mesquite, Nevada, a relaxing small town with an array of big city attractions. Home to stunning scenic vistas and red mesas, Mesquite’s desert landscape flows into Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and six other breathtaking national and state parks. Known for its gaming, live entertainment, and golfing activities, Mesquite is also home to various outdoor treasures perfect for families, friends, and the solo adventurer.
Those who prefer sandstone for their outdoor escapades should head to Valley of Fire State Park, a historic Aztec sanctuary just a short drive south of Mesquite. The 40,000-acres of bright red sandstone offers the ultimate outdoor playground, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, biking, and more. Inspired by the area’s petrified trees and petroglyphs that are more than 2,000 years old, the Visitor Center provides exhibits on the geology, ecology, and the rich Aztec history of the stunning state park. The natural desert rock formations, such as Seven Sisters, Elephant Rock, and Arch Rock make Valley of Fire a must-see for adventurers of any age.
With an incredible amount of desert wildlife, Mesquite and its surrounding areas have established numerous preservations and refuge’s to protect the natural habitats of the area’s native animals. The Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge has tirelessly worked to save the endangered Moapa dace, a small fish common to the headwaters of the Muddy River. Visitors to the refuge can also volunteer for habitat restoration projects to maintain the upkeep of the beautiful desert conservation area that is home to the Moapa dace.
Situated between the picturesque Virgin River and the vast mesas of the Great Basin is Mesquite’s Camel Safari. The 176-acre farm is home to more than 30 camels and many other exotic animals, including a two-toed sloth, armadillos, a zedonk, llamas, and an African crested porcupine. While entertaining for children and families to befriend the animals and tour the farm, the Camel Safari also offers opportunities for solo travelers and couples to discover the gorgeous surrounding desert scenery. Visitors can trek through the Nevada desert atop one of the majestic camels, soaking in beautiful views of the Virgin Mountains and Virgin River.
Thrill-seekers in search of a faster-paced version of Mesquite’s desert oasis need look no further than one of the destination’s newest attractions, Adventure Time Tours. Visitors can take a journey on premium Polaris RZR vehicles throughout the desert where the wildlife of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada meet. For the committed explorer, Adventure Time Tours offers an overnight voyage where guests travel more than six hours a day into the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to soak in views of one of the country’s most majestic natural wonders.
Visitors looking to hit the green will find an outdoor golfing oasis with more than eight courses within 10 minutes of Mesquite’s luxury resorts. Since opening in 2000, golfers from all over the world have traveled to Wolf Creek Golf Club to experience its challenging course and one-of-a-kind views. The vibrant emerald green fairway with its brilliant white sand bunkers inspired a feature course on EA Sports Tiger Woods and the Rory McIlroy PGA Tour video game. In 2011, Wolf Creek also won the prestigious Fan Choice Award naming Wolf Creek the favorite golf course to play by golf fans worldwide. The stunning course is continually recognized as a must-visit amongst others, including Pebble Beach, Black Wolf Run, and Bandon Dunes.
For a relaxing post-adventure hideaway, Mesquite is home to many luxurious resorts and casinos with a plethora of entertainment, dining, and spa offerings. Best Western Mesquite Inn and Holiday Inn Express are both close to the destination’s top restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping centers for endless entertainment. Those looking to relax and recharge after a long day in the sun can treat themselves to Mesquite’s world-class spas. The Spa at CasaBlanca Resort and Casino, and Spa at Eureka Casino Resort offer a variety of refreshing treatments for a solo getaway or romantic retreat, including therapeutic massages, wraps, scrubs, nourishing facials, and a full-service salon.
CasaBlanca, Eureka, and Virgin River Hotel and Casino also offer guests a wide variety of gaming options, featuring video poker and slot machines, along with blackjack, craps, roulette, and race and sports books. While some may get their hearts racing at the 24-hour casinos, sports enthusiasts can play to win at Rising Star Ranch Resort’s park-like recreation center, with a refreshing pool, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, and pickleball courts surrounded by breathtaking views of the Mesquite desert.
Mesquite’s striking desert landscape offers a wide variety of unique activities and great weather year round. The relaxed pace and small-town feel make for an easily accessible family, couple, or solo getaway at affordable prices. From the adventurous family to the single desert wanderer, Mesquite offers a customizable outdoor vacation for every type of traveler.