A beautiful lake and beachfront with watersports, 40 minutes from the Strip.
Lake Mead is a manmade lake (it's the Hoover Dam which acts as a stopper to it), but don't let that put you off, because it's extraordinarily beautiful. It's also huge - covering over 1.5 million acres of land - but luckily for Veags visitors, one of the main entrances is just past Boulder City, about 40 minutes from the Strip, on the way to the Hoover Dam.
There's plenty to do down by the lakeside, with a small beach, a marina that's teeming with fish, and various watersporting equipment for hire. You can kayak, canoe, fish, or - if you really want a break from the Strip - hire a houseboat for the night and pootle about the lake - driving right up to the back of the Hoover Dam - at your own leisure.
If you don't have time for a full on activity, though, I really suggest you stop for a little while on the way to the Hoover Dam. Even looking at the lake up close is extraordinary - it's the sole source of water for the surrounding desert (including Vegas), and you can see how swiftly the water level is dropping from the chalky white deposits on the cliff faces. It really gives you a measure of just how isolated, and against nature, Vegas is.