I have wanted to go back to Las Vegas since our trip last year. We weren’t there long enough to do much, so I knew we had to plan another vacation to make up for it. My only requirements were that we travel between April and May for the cooler weather and do everything we didn’t have time to do last time. Simple, right?
Pricing was the first challenge. April and May are popular months because of the bearable temperatures, usually 80° during the day and 65° at night. Amazing for Nevada standards. Airlines raise their prices for this exact reason. All of the kids are headed to Vegas because of hormones and testosterone and everyone else just wants to get away for a while (because work is hard).
Trying to cram everything into a short trip was another obstacle. You want to have an enjoyable vacation, please everyone, and get the most bang for your buck. Which is why we looked to Groupon for most of our planning woes. We definitely saved more money booking activities this way than booking directly.
We booked our flight, hotel, and rental car through Orbitz. We got the rental car so Mike could take photos in Valley of Fire, an hour drive from Vegas. It was an added expense, but we ended up using the rental car more than we thought. It also allowed us the freedom make plans without worrying about bus schedules or shuttles.
This was our itinerary.
The Fremont Hotel & Casino was central to the Fremont Street Experience. It made planning our first night really convenient, since we arrived so late. All we had to do was clean ourselves up and follow the music out to the canopy. So much people watching.
FYI – The hotel was valet parking only. Might be an issue for some, but we didn’t have a problem.
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire was something on Mike’s list of things to see. After a little hangover recovery, we hopped in the car and drove an hour to the state park.
Elephant Rock is a must see, whether or not you decide to walk the entire trail. It’s an easy hike if your just interested to see the elephant, which we definitely were. I mean, come on, it’s an elephant! For a complete change of scenery, we followed that up with a visit to White Domes and the Fire Wave Trail. White Domes was a 3 mile hike that we decided not to do, but by default, that meant we had to complete Fire Wave. It was a great way to finish our short-lived desert experience. Visit this park!
Machine Gun Experience via Groupon
I was nervous going into this but was put at ease once we met our instructor. He took us into the range, taught us about the guns we’d be shooting, and made sure we were comfortable. When it came to shooting the MP5, I felt pretty badass. It was semi-automatic so I was done in about 10 minutes, but I had a complete adrenaline rush. When it was Mike’s turn, he reveled in the experience. He was finally able to live out all of his secret service/double agent dreams. They let us keep our targets at the end. The rainbow skeleton man with sunglasses didn’t stand a chance.
I bought our tickets as package deal with the Neon Museum ($79 for 2 people). We walked in with zero expectations and walked away wishing we had more time. The museum was informative, interactive, and surprisingly fun. This was a great place to spend some time and learn a little about Vegas in it’s early years.
FYI – This is a self guided tour. There is a lot of information and video, so take your time. You do not need to reserve a specific time.
The Neon Museum Boneyard was the end to our first official day in Las Vegas. We went on the 8PM tour to see the signs lit up at night. While I enjoyed seeing the vintage signs at night, I think this would be a great tour any time of day. Perfect for couples and families.
FYI – All tours require a tour guide. There are no self guided tours. You are also prohibited from bringing any additional camera equipment. That includes tripods and lenses. You must reserve a time slot when buying tickets.
Hoover Dam / Lake Mead
Great views of Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam and it only took 45 minutes!
After a nap, we took a bus from Fremont Street to the Strip. We ate lunch at Wahlburger’s across the street from Caesars. Food and drinks were great but they tried to sell us photo keepsakes of our awkward faces.
The Bellagio was amazing. Everything was beautiful, from the casino floor to the botanical gardens. My opinion might be biased since we won money on their slot machines, but take my word for it. Caesars and The Venetian were also nice, definitely a few steps above casinos in AC. They had great shops that neither of us could afford (together) so we window shopped (and cried a little).
FYI – Day passes for the bus cost $8/ person. They can be purchased at the bus stop across from the Fremont Hotel & Casino.
High Roller via Groupon
We couldn’t visit Sin City without taking a ride on the world’s largest observation wheel! You can’t beat the view and you definitely can’t say no to a deal that offers an open bar. We timed our visit perfectly for sunset at the top of the wheel. It was a great way to end our little trip to Las Vegas. Check out Groupon and see what deal works for you!
I loved every minute of our mini-vacation. Although I still have things on my list of activities to do, I’m satisfied for now. There is so much to do in Vegas, you can never do it all in one trip (BUT you can certainly try). Until next time!
(This is not sponsored by Groupon, I am just really enthusiastic about savings!)