I’ve always wanted to do the drive from LA to Las Vegas, and frankly hit some of the top nature destinations surrounding Vegas. This year when Cosmoprof invited me to their beauty conference (beauty lovers you should know about them, it’s the worlds biggest and best beauty trade show), I decided to drive from LA and partnered with Volvo to test out the S90 for the week — skip to the bottom of this post for the full review. Sans traffic it’s about a 4 hour drive and a beautiful drive surrounded in dessert, mountains and Joshua Trees — or at least it is when you hit Nevada. Once you’re there isn’t a shortage of natural wonders and national parks and recreations. With only a few days in town we opted for day trips about 30 minutes to an hour outside the city. It’s amazing how quick you can go from Sin City to natural wonder.
Seven Magic Mountains (30 minute drive)
It took 4 years to build this $3.5 Million public art installation by Ugo Rondinone which is 7 pillars of color blocks in the desert. It’s a visual paradise and fashion bloggers dream for a backdrop. It’s an easy drive 20 miles south — about a 30 minute form Las Vegas, free and open to the public without restriction.
Lake Mead (40 minutes)
Lake Mead is the closest body of water to Las Vegas and a beautiful drive through the national park. It’s roughly 25 miles east (about 40 minutes) and is on the way to The Hoover Dam which is 5.2 miles away (about an extra 10 minute drive North).
The Hoover Dam (50 minutes)
The Hoover Dam is well known and a huge tourist attraction. The concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, sits on the the border between Nevada and Arizona. You can walk or drive on the top of it or just admire it. It’s 33 miles from Las Vegas and about a 45minute drive direct, but goes through Lake Mead and worth the stop.
Bonnie Springs + Red Rock Canyon (35 minutes)
About a half hour out (22 miles east) you hit Bonnie Springs, an old western style town that reminds me of Pioneertown, CA. Set in a beautiful mountain landscapes as a backdrop, we even saw donkey’s on the side of the road! The Old Town, opened in 1974 and revisits the site’s history and follows the layout of traditional 19th century towns and even offer horseback riding and pony rides and allow visitors to experience Red Rock Canyon as it once was. We definitely recommend driving through Red Rock Canyon National Park!
Charleston Peak (1 hour)
Charleston Peak, specifically Mary Jane Falls (44 miles and roughly an hour outside of Vegas), was one of our favorite destinations. There’s an incredible 2.5 mile steep hike that ends in the water fall, which you can drink from, stand under and a cave you can go inside with a great view of the canyon below,
I’m a huge Volvo fan, I tested the Volvo XC60 last time I was in California, which I surprisingly preferred over the S90, even though I generally prefer smaller cars (I’m still dreaming about that SUV). That said, the Volvo S90 is an amazing car with really cool details and a gorgeous, practical, clean design and is very smart. It’s everything I could want in a luxury sedan and strikes the perfect balance between comfort and performance. Fancy without being pretentious and all around my speed. The rear view mirror shows you which direction you’re going (see photo above, I was driving South West!), the side mirrors blink red if a car is in close proximity, you can adjust the temperature digitally with a touchscreen for the driver and passenger separately. It also features a 360 degree surround view camera, retractable view mirrors and a gorgeous in design from the perforated seats to the wood paneling across the front. It sits low and felt a little wide, but is as comfortable as they get. It’s autonomous drive still needs some work (the again it’s technically “semi autonomous drive”), but that isn’t a feature I look for in a car and a little trippy the way it follows the line of the street and curves with the road. Overall though, it’s pretty impossible to not feel like a total bad a$$ behind the wheel of this beauty. And how chic is this Mussel Blue Metallic color? From power housing around LA to driving through the desert this is definitely the car that looks the part for any occasion.
Going back to road tripping in Vegas, if I had more time I would have done Mojave National Preserve but it’s further out. If you’re willing to go more than an hour out (I was a little pressed for time this trip), Thrillist listed some pretty cool destinations that are on my radar for next time!