New York to Las Vegas = 5 1/2 hours
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to stand on high moral ground in a city as debauched as this one. Start by getting out of the casinos and into the sunlight: Explore herb and rose gardens, archaeological sites, and scenic wetlands at the 180-acre Springs Preserve ($18.95; 333 S. Valley View Blvd.; 702-822-7700); a one-hour bike rental is $8. Tour the nonprofit Neon Museum ($15, by appointment only; 702-387-6366), a graveyard for Sin City’s iconic signage, then comb the racks at two-year-old thrift store Dinosaurs & Roses (6029 W. Charleston Blvd.; 702-277-3752); proceeds benefit local charities. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, volunteer with Clean the World (cleantheworld.org), a nonprofit that collects and sanitizes discarded soap and shampoo bottles from hotels and distributes them to people in need. Twice a year for Restaurant Week, upscale eateries donate a portion of their proceeds to Three Square, the area’s primary food bank. But Tao Asian Bistro at the Venetian (3377 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-388-8338) and Lavo Italian Restaurant at the Palazzo (3325 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-791-1800) offer philanthropic prix fixe menus year-round ($55); to date, the restaurants have raised enough money to provide 32,800 meals to struggling Nevadans. And while nearly every hotel has charity ties, sleep easier knowing that the M Resort Spa Casino (from $115; 12300 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; themresort.com) is an official partner of Goodie Two Shoes, a nonprofit providing footwear to disadvantaged kids, as well as Joy Prom, often held on-site for teens and adults with cognitive or physical impairments.