Southern Nevada's diverse landscape consists of expansive arid desert, craggy mountains, and fantastic canyons such as the Red Rock Canyon (west of Las Vegas), a national conservation area protecting such wildlife as burrows and bighorn sheep. North of Vegas is 12,000-foot Mount Charleston, an oasis of coolness in the summer, and a snow-sport recreation area in the winter. Northeast of Las Vegas along I-15 is Valley of Fire State Park, defined by bright red sandstone sculpted by the wind into beautiful formations, some bearing prehistoric Indian petroglyphs.
In Las Vegas, known as the "entertainment capital of the world", the stimulus is virtually non stop. In addition to the neon lights and massive resort and themed casinos, there are unlimited activities such as shopping in boutiques and sprawling malls, sight-seeing, visiting quality art and historic museums, dining, gambling, endless entertainment, golf, and rock-climbing.
Other Southern Nevada attractions include Boulder City, a quiet community originally established in the 1930's to house the workers who built nearby Hoover Dam, the 726-foot high Colorado River dam, which formed Lake Mead (the largest manmade lake in the nation.) The lake is part of a popular recreation area that offers fabulous boating, water-skiing and other water-related recreation opportunities. Also on the Colorado River at the southern tip of the region is Laughlin, once a small fishing spot, and now a bustling resort and water-recreation town with world-class hotel-casinos, entertainment and restaurants.