When I tell people that one of my favourite places to vacation with my family is Las Vegas, the reaction is always the same. A mix of scepticism, shock, and probably a little bit of judgement. I know this is rooted in the belief that ‘Vegas’ is all about showgirls, gambling, booze, and partying – but I am happy to help people get to know the other side of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas.
We have been to Las Vegas a few times now, and when we travel with kids we stay on the south side of the strip past the airport. We are fortunate enough to have friends that have a timeshare and we stayed at the Grandview Resorts At Las Vegas. I won’t spend a lot of time covering accommodations, because there are literally hundreds to choose from, but we do like the Grandview because it is just far enough down the strip to be quiet and resort-like away from the crowds. The biggest selling feature for us though was the full family room and kitchen with the suites. For a family of four it can be quite expensive eating at restaurants for 7 days, so we went grocery shopping on the first day and ate many meals in the comfort of our suite. They also have a terrific pool area where we spent lots of downtime reading, swimming, and enjoying the gorgeous October sun.
We have always travelled here in October, I am a retail manager and cannot go on any holidays from November to mid-January, so a Canadian Thanksgiving trip south has just always been the best time for us to get away and recharge before the craziness of the holidays. We have never been let down by the weather in Las Vegas in October. Dry, sunny, and hot (but not so hot that we have to worry about the kids in the heat).
There are so many incredible things to do in Las Vegas, the sights on the strip are endless, but we usually only go once or twice in the week we are there to visit the Bellagio, ride up the Eiffel Tower, watch the gondoliers at the Venetian, have a nice dinner, or go to a show.
The absolute best parts of our trip to Las Vegas, though, are the places we visit in the surrounding area and a few super family-friendly spots along the strip.
My Top 5 Family Vacation Activities near Las Vegas:
- Hoover Dam – is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression. About an hour drive from the strip, it is well worth renting a car for the day. Our kids weren’t feeling overly jazzed about going for the full tour, but it really wasn’t necessary. Simply walking the bridge above and taking in the sights on either side was absolutely spectacular. It’s impossible to stand atop the dam and not be completely blow away by the scale of it all.
There are lots of places to visit along the way, and we did stop for a while at Lake Mead. It’s a popular spot for boating and camping, but we only spent an hour or so driving around and snapping some pictures. The kids had lots of fun though at the Lake Mead conservation building checking out some giant cacti.
- Red Rock Canyon – A close drive from the strip, you can be at Red Rock Canyon within 20-30 minutes of any hotel in Las Vegas. The landscape here is like nothing I have experienced before. Rugged, dramatic, and the rock really is a bright red set against the bluest skies. We toured the area from the car and hopped out at a few vantage points for some looking around and to take some pictures. This is one place you don’t want to mess around with your family safety. Take this advice seriously, bring lots of water, wear sensible shoes, and keep your kids close. It’s so worth it though, this place inspired me to want to expose my family to more outdoor adventures.
- Mount Charleston – About an hour Northwest from the strip is a gorgeous mountain peak and visitors center that you should not miss. Mount Charleston is the name of the town as well, and to say this spot is quaint is putting it lightly. The population was 357 at the 2010 census. Mount Charleston, is the highest point in Clark County, and is an area noted for its hiking trails, and for the Mount Charleston Lodge, a rustic hotel. At an elevation of approximately 7,500 feet, temperatures are much lower than in Las Vegas, making it a popular place for Las Vegans to vacation – the average high temperature is about 20 degrees F cooler than in Las Vegas. We packed a lunch, stopped at the visitors center and just spent the afternoon enjoying the sights.
- Fremont Street Experience – On the old strip in historical downtown Las Vegas, Fremont street has a different vibe than my other vacation activities but is lots of fun and a different nighttime activity to do with the kids. Every evening there is a free light show that covers the old strip, over a million lights are set to music and create a show that you can stand and enjoy every 30 minutes in between other activities. What I really enjoy about the Fremont Street Experience is that it has become a bit of an artists haven. All along the street are buskers and performers that have some incredible talent and just feels a bit more authentic and artsy than the glamour of Las Vegas Boulevard.
- Linq High Roller – An attraction attached to the new Linq hotel, the huge enclosed ferris wheel takes you far above the strip and gives you an incredible view of the area. You enter an enclosed pod that is decked out with some comfortable seating and a screen giving you some info about what you are seeing at each elevation. The kids had an awesome time and we loved the experience of slowing down for a bit and just taking in the sights from high above.
okay, I actually can’t stop at 5:
- The Bellagio – I can’t visit Las Vegas without stopping at The Bellagio. There is something just so moving about the spectacular water fountains. Its the movement of the water, the lights, the right music, the beautiful settings, something about this combination just gives me the feels. Many times I have had tears in my eyes as I watch this spectacle, and I love being able to share that with my family.Inside the Bellagio is just as incredible, walk under the blown glass art ceilings in the lobby, through to the Conservatory and spend some time in their with your loved ones. We always are there during the fall setup, and every year we have been there it’s been just breathtaking. If anything, stop in just for a great family photo – the soft filtered natural light and colourful displays make for some really great family pictures.
Safe and happy travels,