01 Jun Beyond Las Vegas: Three Undiscovered Destinations
Located just outside the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas are three Southern Nevada destinations relatively unknown to most travelers. Primm, for example, is located just forty minutes south of Las Vegas and has three casino hotel properties with big-name entertainers, swimming pools, golfing, restaurants, conference rooms, and amusement park rides.
On the way to Primm, alongside Interstate 15, you will find a nearly 30-foot high outdoor sculpture— Seven Magic Mountains. This features seven gigantic pillars of stacked boulders painted in bright neon colors. The surrounding desert hues create a natural background causing the colors of the towers to appear even more brilliant. Swiss artist, Ugo Rondinone, has various outdoor works of art around the world.
At Whiskey Pete’s Casino Resort, the original car in which Bonnie and Clyde met their untimely death is on display in the lobby. Known as The Death Car, its bullet holes are still visible, and a 24-hour documentary video can be viewed along with original news clips of that fateful day.
Across the highway, a monorail transports guests to The Primm Valley Casino Resort. The Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas are located here with over 70 brand name stores such as Vanity Fair®, Charlotte Russe®, and Skechers® as well as a food court. A miniature steam train ride is offered for children and adults to enjoy in the indoor mall. Next door, Buffalo Bill’s Casino Resort has amusement rides for all ages and a buffalo-shaped swimming pool— a great place for the kids to cool off.
Driving northwest of Primm, take a quick off-the-beaten-track trip to Goodsprings. The original Pioneer Saloon building is still in business, and we enjoyed a hearty breakfast with strong cowboy coffee. As this was where Clark Gable waited for the final report of Carole Lombard’s fatal airplane crash, a memorial wall of photos and newspaper articles is dedicated to the famous couple.
From Goodsprings, a one-hour drive will bring you to Boulder City. This spunky little city was meant to be a home for the 21,000+ workers who constructed Hoover Dam from 1931-1935, but when the dam was finished, enough people stayed on to form a sizable community.
Today, many successful family-owned businesses keep things interesting. There are several antique stores, an old-fashioned candy shop, and eateries, and special festivals occur throughout the year.
At the popular World Famous Coffee Cup Café, scrumptious breakfasts and lunches are served. The ceilings are decorated with dozens of water skis, and the walls are loaded with photos of family and friends. Their Pork Chili Verde Omelette was the specialty that drew Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to stop by for a famous visit.
A little-known fact is that Boulder City is the home of Fisher Pens. Paul Fisher invented the unique pen for NASA, and it was used by Apollo 7 astronauts. It has the unique ability to write upside down as well as underwater, and over 80 models are available for purchase with the Chrome Bullet Pen being their number one seller.
Stop at the bright yellow kiosk of Mom’s Hot Dogs and meet Denise, a lovely lady with a big East Coast personality. She’ll serve you a Vienna Beef® hot dog with your choice of trimmings and Del’s frozen lemonade— a perfect duo.
Across the street, Denise’s daughter Jill opened Chilly Jilly’z. You would need a week to sample the scrumptious culinary fare offered from the extensive menu, which includes Broasters® chicken, fish and chips, Dole Whips, brined pastrami, homemade dressings, and frozen custards with dozens of sweet toppings. Jill and her husband take great care to ensure that every menu item is top of the line.
Located off the main street, Fox Smokehouse BBQ has mouth-watering brisket and ribs that has locals filling up the restaurant on a daily basis. Owner Dan Fox started in a food truck and quickly grew into a brick and mortar building with a loyal following. The dry rub seasonings and in-house barbecue sauce along with the numerous trophies attest to their award-winning recipe.
With the many festivals and events, Boulder City has to offer, a longer stay may be necessary. The historic Boulder Dam Hotel, built in 1933 and restored to its original beauty, is just the place to stay. Its original purpose was to accommodate visiting dignitaries, several presidents, and celebrities such as Will Rogers, Shirley Temple, and Boris Karloff, who came to view the dam. An excellent museum on the top floor displays the personal storyline of the workers (known as the 31ers) who labored on the Hoover Dam.
The city of Mesquite also has unique attractions worth experiencing. The Camel Safari on the 176 plus acres is owned by Guy Seeklus, a man passionate about the camels he has acquired over the years. Guy and his loyal staff offer camel rides to the public and happily show off their collection of exotic creatures. Some of these include armadillos that are as friendly as dogs; the upside down hanging sloth; a miniature opossum; and Thorn, the female porcupine.
Primm, Boulder City, and Mesquite contain a charm all their own, and with more than enough history, attractions, and food options, these three undiscovered destinations should be included on any visit to Southern Nevada.
All accommodations, meals, and transportation were provided at no cost for this review.