Why Go: Las Vegas is an exciting destination, but sometimes families need an escape from the bright lights and fast pace of the Strip. Luckily, travelers can take a break from the action in nearby Henderson, Nevada, a relaxed, family-friendly town with plenty of activities to entertain kids of all ages. Spend a day (or two) away from the bustle and explore Henderson’s beautiful parks, educational museums, and family-friendly accommodations.
Get Your Bearings: Henderson is located southeast of the Las Vegas Strip, and its boundaries include a wide swath of land from Lake Las Vegas to Green Valley. This is a sprawling, suburban community that is best explored by car. However, you’ll find plenty of places to stretch your legs. Henderson is home to many parks, walking trails, and playgrounds. If you feel like exploring further, continue on US-93 to the historic town of Boulder City, which is home to Hoover Dam.
The family-friendly Westin Lake Las Vegas (101 Montelago Blvd.) is a quiet retreat that welcomes travelers with comfortable, spacious rooms. Parents can visit the Moroccan-inspired Spa Moulay. Kids will love the lake activities like paddleboarding and kayaking. On-site dining options include the poolside Sandsa Bar & Grill and the kid-friendly Rick’s Café.
Another family-friendly accommodation option is the affordable Residence Inn Las Vegas Henderson (2190 Olympic Avenue), a property that offers something for every member of the family, including complimentary breakfast and a kitchen/kitchenette to accommodate family who want to save money on food or simply prefer home-cooked meals.
Things to Do:
The charming Clark County Museum (1830 S. Boulder Highway) combines traditional, indoor museum exhibits with outdoor displays and historic homes. Inside the museum’s main building, interpretive displays teach visitors about the history of Southern Nevada, from its mining days to its mid-century casino culture. Venture outside to visit the museum’s “heritage street,” which is home to several historic homes that have been transplanted to the museum grounds and are decorated with historically accurate décor. Before you leave, don’t forget to take a look at the train depot and the reconstructed ghost town.
Best Early-Morning Adventure:
Families who love the great outdoors will want to add the Henderson Bird Preserve (350 E. Galleria Dr.) to their Henderson itinerary. Bring your binoculars and arrive early. In addition to desert species, visitors to the preserve will also see migratory waterfowl, thanks to the park’s nine ponds. Fall is perhaps the best time of year to visit, thanks to the nice weather and the large number of migratory birds.
For further outdoor fun, Acacia Park (50 Casa del Fuego St.) offers kids a great place to run, climb, and play. This park has it all - a playground, splash pad, dog park, walking trails, and lots of wide open spaces. The park’s demonstration gardens aim to prove that even water-conscious landscaping in the Mojave Desert can be beautiful.
Best Water Park:
The relatively new Cowabunga Bay (900 Galleria Dr.) is home to water slides, pools, splash features, a lazy river, and a 35,000-square foot wave pool. For younger children, the Cowabunga Kids Cove features smaller slides and water features. Hours vary by season. Visit their website for more information.
Best Self-Guided Tour:
For a sweet treat, visit the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden (2 Cactus Garden Dr.). Take a brief tour of the factory and enjoy a free sample. Purchase some candy as souvenirs in the Ethel M. store before taking a stroll through the cactus garden. Along the winding paths, you’ll see a wide variety of desert plants, including cacti and succulents. During the holiday season, the garden becomes even more magical thanks to an impressive display of Christmas lights.