Explore Las Vegas: Get Off The Strip

Usually when we think of Las Vegas, we think of flashing lights, shows and pool parties. Living on the East Coast, I love switching up my environment with the deserts of the West Coast. I've been to Las Vegas before and never seemed to really like it but this time exploring past the dazzling lights of the strip, I loved it! Las Vegas can actually be a very peaceful and cleansing trip, believe it or not. This was a spontaneous trip and turned out to be just the reboot I needed.


I found my flight on google flights for a total of $133 USD on American. I flew out less than 12 hours later from Miami International Airport to McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas). What I've noticed about flight prices during quarantine, especially domestic flights, is that the closer to departure the lower the prices seem to be. From the parking lot of the MIA airport to my gate took about 20 minutes total. Getting through Miami airport has never been that quick for me even though it was still busy. It was organized and everyone had masks on. Most of the restaurants were already open. This was weird to me since Miami had closed restaurants back down unless outdoor seating.

My temperature was never checked by airport staff or American Airlines staff. Some seats at the gates were taped off but not all gates.

In my humble opinion, I don't think American is doing anything extensive to protect their customers besides requiring you to wear a mask. If you read their website or some of their emails you would think they are doing top of the line protocol. The gate was packed. They boarded regularly unlike other airlines that have started to board back to front. There was no social distancing or order to get onto the plane. When I say no one was social distancing - I was amazed. Everyone was packed in like sardines. I don't think I was even on an American flight this packed before quarantine.

Personally, I feel like American is making their way down there with United and Spirit. I've noticed American having older planes with no TV, no outlet and smaller seats than newer planes. They gave me a bag as I walked on with a small bottle of water and a tiny packet of hand sanitizer. They are not doing regular service. No middle seats were blocked off or limiting how many people could be in each cabin.


I stayed in Las Vegas for 2 days. Since I had an 11pm flight, I booked my hotel for two nights. I booked the MGM Grand off of booking. It's typically around $349 USD a night before taxes but I got it for $310 USD for 2 nights after taxes and resort fees. They were on top of the new protocols. You had the option for contactless check-in, mask and hand sanitizer available to you everywhere and staff manning the floors to make sure people are wearing masks.

It was way busier than I thought it would be. On my first day there the pool was at capacity. They would add people to a waitlist using a QR code. The restaurant menus were on QR codes as well. The casino floor was bumpin’ like it was a regular day but the spa was not reopened. Bars and nightclubs are closed, but restaurants are open.


Instagram Worthy Spots in Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon: "Mankind could neva." The pure natural beauty of RRC is breathtaking. I loved every moment there, nothing but peace and serenity. The canyon is really large with a one way road that's about 15 miles going through it. It is $15 per car. There are multiple viewing points and parking lots at each one. There are also restrooms at some of the parking lots. Also, if you drive you have somewhere to place all the water you'll need. Please stay hydrated while out there, especially in the summer. We got there about 8:30am and it was already 109° and by the time we left it was 115°.

We drove but I would assume if you took an Uber/Lyft you wouldn't have to pay that fee as I saw multiple cyclists and walkers go in and out without being stopped. However, I wouldn't suggest this. In the canyon, you don't have cell service. It may be hard to order a ride back or you may have difficulty getting in contact with your driver even if you can put the request in.

You can camp or spend the night here. We didn't take advantage of that but that is definitely something I would look into in the future. There’s also horseback riding right outside of the canyon entrance if you’re looking for another activity.

Cost: $15 entry

Busyness: Low

Suggest Time to Go: Morning

Suggest Time to Spend: 1.5 hrs - 4 hrs

Seven Magic Mountains:

“Seven Magic Mountains elicits continuities and solidarity between human and nature, artificial and natural, then and now. What centers this amalgam of contradictions is the spiritual aspiration, one that bruises, elvates and transcends.” - Ugo Rondinone

SMM is a beautiful art piece standing alone in the middle of the desert. It is completely FREE to go to this location. There is parking and people are coming and going often. If you want the Insta pics, I'd suggest going early. When I was there, there was a food truck selling snacks, ice cream and drinks for low prices.

Cost: FREE

Busyness: Medium

Suggest Time to Go: Sunrise

Suggest Time to Spend: 30 mins - 45 mins


Do yourself a favor and rent a car. I saw rentals as low at $40 USD a day. There was a car rental directly in my hotel, like many of the hotels on the strip. We were able to get a car without a reservation very simply. Parking at the hotel was complimentary. Both of the destinations are about 30 minutes from the strip depending on which end you're on. They are in opposite directions of each other. I would suggest going to Seven Magic Mountains first. Many people go to take photos so if you don't want a lot of people in your photos go early.

This was my 3rd time to Las Vegas and honestly it's the time I've enjoyed the most. I look forward to my next trip out there and might do the entire trip off the strip, but it definitely won't be during the summer.

Until Next Time, Stay Trippin' & Stay Safe

Ariel Rose