The economy may finally be improving, but for many people, a lavish holiday vacation just isn’t in the cards this year. Luckily, there are several quick getaways within a couple hours of Las Vegas that feel worlds away—some are even close enough to have you home in time for dinner. Whether you’re looking for a snowy winter wonderland, a soothing spa escape or just a chance to reconnect with nature, these five destinations prove that you don’t have to travel far (or spend a lot of money) for a memorable holiday vacation.
boulder city


Boulder City, NV
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
3150 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 892-0711

Located 20 miles from Las Vegas and just minutes from the Hoover Dam, Boulder City is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the Strip. The laid-back town offers visitors a quiet environment to unwind in, complete with quaint gift shops and plenty of art galleries and museums. It’s also a recreation lover’s dream, with golf, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking. For thrill-seekers, Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon offers more than 1.5 miles of zip lines that run through Bootleg Canyon Park, treating adrenaline junkies to breathtaking views of Lake Mead, the Las Vegas Strip, Mt. Charleston and the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. For a more laid-back sightseeing experience, Lake Mead Cruises offers daily 90-minute Mid-Day Sightseeing Cruises throughout December (Dec. 24 and 25 excluded) aboard its authentic, three-level Mississippi-style paddlewheeler, the Desert Princess.

LV Ski

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Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort
6725 Lee Canyon Road
Lee Canyon, NV 89124
(702) 385-2754

Forget Colorado—there’s plenty of snow to ski or snowboard in right here in Nevada. Located roughly an hour from downtown Las Vegas in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort is the perfect place for Las Vegans to escape to when they want to play in some fresh powder. Boasting 212 inches of average snowfall each year and 445 acres of total terrain, the cool attraction initiated a $35 million master development plan in 2011 to expand its total number of trails to 50 and lifts to 10 over the next 10 to 12 years. Recent developments include 16 new trails, one new chairlift and a new rooftop bar and lounge scheduled to open in late December. Don’t want to deal with driving to the property? New for the 2013/14 season, the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort will be offering VIP transportation for up to six people in a private SUV from any Las Vegas location for $200 round trip.


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Laughlin, NV
Laughlin Visitor Information Center
1555 Casino Drive
Laughlin, NV 89029
(800) 452-8445

Located 90 miles south of Las Vegas, Laughlin offers guests a more affordable Vegas experience, complete with lodging, dining and entertainment options along the Colorado River. With temperatures in the 60s during the holiday season, it’s not surprising that water activities still rank high among the area’s most popular things to do. Several hotels offer jet ski rentals year round for guests to enjoy, or visitors can opt for a relaxing sightseeing cruise. If you really want to get into the holiday spirit, be sure to visit Christmas Tree Pass and Grapevine Canyon, located just seven miles west of Laughlin on Highway 163. Although you won’t find any festive Christmas lights, there are hundreds of petroglyphs decorating Grapevine Canyon’s walls that are sure to take your breath away. Other area attractions include the Laughlin Outlet Center and the free Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Collection, featuring more than 80 rare, antique and historic automobiles, trucks and motorcycles.


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Mesquite, NV
Nevada Welcome Center
460 N Sandhill Blvd.
Mesquite, NV 89027

Located 80 miles north of Las Vegas in the Virgin River Valley, Mesquite combines a small-town atmosphere with an array of big-city attractions. Boasting more than 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s the perfect place to reconnect with the great outdoors thanks to its close proximity to Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks and Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, Valley of Fire. Mesquite also scores a hole-in-one with golfers, as it is home to seven championship golf courses. Spa goers, meanwhile, love Mesquite for its soothing (and affordable!) retreats, like The Spa & Salon at CasaBlanca, which boasts two outdoor heated mineral pools for guests to relax in before or after their service.

Related: Best Golf Courses Around Las Vegas


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Primm, NV
31900 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Primm, NV 89019
(702) 386-7867

Located 35 miles south of Las Vegas on Interstate 15, Primm offers guests a wealth of activities to enjoy, from gambling (California state lottery tickets) to golf. Probably best known for its shopping, the Nevada/California border town is home to the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, which houses more than 100 designer outlets. Guests can save up to 75 percent off at such popular stores as kate spade new york and Puma, making Primm well worth the trip for those still needing to do some last-minute holiday shopping. It’s also home to one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in America, Desperado, which reaches speeds of up to 85 miles per hour. For an affordable entertainment option, be sure to check out who’s playing at the Star of the Desert Arena; Primm Valley Casino Resort recently began offering $9.95 tickets to all shows, including The Ultimate Doo-Wop Show on December 27 and 28.

Related: Best Shopping Malls In The Las Vegas Area

When she’s not interviewing some of Hollywood’s biggest celebs, Heather Turk can often be found visiting some of Las Vegas’ most popular restaurants and spas for She also covers the Las Vegas market for a variety of other media outlets, including Allegiant Air’s in-flight magazine, Sunseeker. Her work can be found at