Henderson, NV


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Henderson is Nevada’s second-largest city after Las Vegas. In fact, this town of more than 250,000 is a suburb of Sin City. Yet while Henderson has its own share of casino action, local attractions focus more on outdoor activities than the gambling and glitz of Vegas.

Henderson is green with eight golf courses and lush foliage. Yet it is actually an arid corner of the U.S., made more inviting by abundant irrigation systems. Henderson attractions celebrate this desert habitat, and you can learn quite a bit about how wildlife survives and thrives in such a thirsty climate.

Visitors to Henderson can explore the surroundings in an extraordinary way with Las Vegas ATV Tours. Guides accompany visitors on all-terrain vehicles through the scrub and back country surrounding Henderson. While they offer in-depth commentaries on the local ecosystem and wildlife, tourists are treated to unforgettable views from various elevations.

Henderson visitors can continue this environmental focus at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. This unique habitat has nine ponds surrounded by trees, reeds and grasses, which draw all kinds of avian life. Guests are apt to see shorebirds, ducks, warblers and even roadrunners. Loaner binoculars are part of the deal.

Henderson has another cool neighbor: Lake Mead National Recreational Area. A visit to Lake Mead affords opportunities to see hundreds of bighorn sheep grazing in beautiful canyon country. Lake Mead is a great place for fishing, boating, water skiing, kayaking and canoeing.

A highly popular Henderson attraction is Lake Las Vegas, where visitors can enjoy a spectacular man-made lake, marina, shopping center and fine restaurants. Several luxury hotels are located here, making it a central place for lodging in Henderson.

On Friday and Saturday nights, The Village at Lake Las Vegas residential complex offers free music. Just bring your own blanket and enjoy music under the stars. There is plenty to do here during the week, as well, such as wine tastings offered every Tuesday at Sunset and Vines.

Henderson visitors who are adventurous will find Dig This to be one of the more unusual attractions around. The attraction is a grown-up sandbox complete with bulldozers and excavators for adults to play with.

The words "cactus" and "chocolate" begin with the same consonant, but the similarity typically ends there. The tasty exception is the brainchild of Ethel Mars, who combined the two in a delightful and delicious tourist spot: Ethel M's Chocolate Factory Tour and Botanical Cactus Garden. One part of the tour takes visitors through the chocolate-making process; the other showcases more than 100 varieties of cacti.

A key attraction in Henderson is the pedestrian-friendly layout. The city boasts 37 miles of walking trails, putting it ahead of San Diego and just behind Seattle. Visitors can lace up their sneakers or hop on bikes and safely explore for hours.

No big town in Nevada is completely without casinos, and visitors to Henderson will find 26 of them. The gaming centers are highly rated for their friendly service, low-key environment and great food.