Summer may seem to stretch before you as endless as an ocean when it first begins, but come the end of the season, there are always places you had wished you had visited with the family or experiences you wish you had shared. This is when day-trips or a last camping excursion, a fishing expedition or hike or even visiting a popular playground may be just what you need. Las Vegas is blessed with so many family-friendly destinations that some have already discovered while others may never have had the experience. Why not include these in your must-do list for the end of summer to create special memories with your family?
Container Park
707 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 359-9982

This highly-touted, family-friendly shopping center/courtyard playground is the perfect place to visit during the dog-days of summer. If you haven’t been there, you have to go in the late afternoon to early evening (once temperatures die down) to enjoy the preying mantis that actually blows fire as the sun goes down! Where else in Vegas can children play surrounded by structures built from shipping containers — hence the name — while parents chat and watch their antics? There are also some greats places to visit with free entertainment, movies and some delicious treats. Craving the best in gourmet chocolate? Check out Jinju Chocolates! Are the kids clamoring for a hot dog, popcorn or pizza? They have that covered, too. Vegans say that this is one of the best places in town.

Mount Charleston
Las Vegas, NV 36314

Mount Charleston has to be the best natural retreats within an hour of Las Vegas for families seeking relief from the oppressive heat. But it’s also one of the most beautiful places to visit as fall approaches, with crisper weather and the changing of the leaves to their fall colors. You can go for nature walks, guided or casual hikes, take photos or even camp and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings before the reality of school once more hits. If you prefer organized events you can also find them in abundance. This is one place that has to be relished during all the seasons because of its proximity to town.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Boulder City, NV

Fishing, hiking, camping, nature walks and more: Lake Mead has all the amenities families enjoy within just a few minutes of Boulder City and half an hour from Henderson, Nevada. This lake spans the borders of Arizona and Nevada, with each part of the lake offering unique experiences. You can even rent a houseboat if you prefer that to camping, or just make a day trip of it and enjoy the shoreline and shaded spots for a picnic. Even if you aren’t used to “being one with nature,” there’s something magical about introducing the experience to your family and sharing a multitude of photo-ops in the great outdoors.

Related: Free Fall Activities For Families In Las Vegas

Springs Preserve
333 S Valley View Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89107
(702) 822-7700

The Springs Preserve is so much more than galleries and botanical gardens — though they are beautiful and the Origen Gallery is well worth a visit on its own! This 180-acre piece of land gives you ample room for exploring, hiking, photographing nature, bird-watching and so much more. The desert habitation and gardens offer a unique view into the desert and its flora and fauna that just can’t be experienced elsewhere in Las Vegas. Children love the hands-on experiences while parents and grandparents enjoy the displays. The wealth of information inside the museums and galleries and the wonders of being outside as the weather slowly turns to fall makes it a natural fit for anyone with curiosity and appreciation for the natural world…in a more cultured setting. Open up your children’s world and give them a head start for the school year.

Gilcrease Orchard
7800 North Tenaya
Las Vegas NV 89131
(702) 409-0655

An orchard in the desert? You bet! Gilcrease is a family experience that simply cannot be missed. As fall nears, you can pick apples and pears from the trees in the orchard, dig up some produce to bring home or just visit the stand and snack stand to savor the delectable apple-cinnamon donuts. Pack up the kiddies in one of the wagons they provide and make the excursion to get your hands dirty and to show them  how it’s done. They will love picking fruit or grubbing in the dirt for carrots or potatoes, picking sun-ripened tomatoes or finding the best pumpkin in the patch. Make sure to visit at least once in spring and fall for the best healthy experience in town and take lots of photos to enjoy afterward. It’s win/win all the way but early morning visits may be best considering it’s still pretty warm here in fall.

Related: Top Water Slides In Las Vegas

Sharon Damon is a preschool specialist, avid reader, passionate writer and creative baker/ cook. She has been a cooking instructor at a local Rec Center in Henderson, NV since 2011, and has written for Examiner and other publications since 2010. She knows her way around the keyboard and the kitchen! Sharon moved from a small city in Canada to Las Vegas 6 years ago, to marry the love of her life, and has since been swept up in the whirlwind known as Sin City. Her work can be found at