10 Alternatives to the Las Vegas Vacation

San Diego, Calif.
A peacock struts his stuff at the San Diego Zoo. He wouldn't look too out of place at the glitzy and colorful casinos. © Chase Swift/CORBIS

San Diego is an obvious destination for foodies, outdoorsy folks, sun bathers, hipsters and artsy types. Museums, galleries, funky shops, beaches and fine restaurants abound. And so, it turns out, do casinos.

With San Diego's notable Native American population -- 18 tribes residing on expansive reserves -- gaming is big business in the southern California region [source: SDTA]. About 30 minutes from the city center, on independent tribal grounds, the gambling industry thrives [source: SDTA]. These Native American-owned casinos offer pretty much what Vegas does -- slots, blackjack, roulette, poker and lots of other ways to quickly give away your cash. Some establishments include dining, lodging, golf, art museums and spa services, while others are all about the bet [source: SDTA].

When you make it back to the city, don't forget to hit the zoo. There are only 1,600 giant pandas left in the world, and the San Diego Zoo has four of them [source: San Diego Zoo].