I understand why Las Vegas has become such a huge draw for so many people. I've been there dozens of times in my lifetime and I'm sure I'll be back many more. My first trip was long, long ago when the Strip was more of a mirage than a reality and the population of the city was a tiny fraction of what it is today. It's grown and grown and grown, the Strip, of course, and the huge metropolis that sprawls in all directions around it. No place in America over the past few decades has grown faster than Las Vegas, and as an icon of entertainment it looms larger every year in the public consciousness. The city stars in movies and television series and throngs pour in from all over the world to be dazzled by its neon spectacles and become part of the show. Meanwhile, amidst all the allures of Vegas' illusions, most of us miss the very real splendors right nearby. I recommend taking time away from the indoor worlds of the vast hotels to venture out of town and into the vast outdoors of the surrounding state of Nevada and its next door neighbors, northern Arizona and southern Utah. The air is fresh, the scenery is great and it's a nearly sure bet you'll be more than satisfied with the diversion.