Las Vegas Destination Guide

“We’ve said it before,” says Frommers, “and we’ll say it again: Vegas is simply not a good place to bring your kids.” Not the most encouraging words for a ‘Family-Friendly Hotels’ run-down, particularly  when you’re well into the twentieth hour of a long-distance driving stint toward the City of Sin, with five dusty, Death-Valley-ed-out tinies in the back of the car.

So is it true? Is Las Vegas, that century-or-so-old Queen of the Desert, really ruler of a realm reserved for those over the age of majority? Well, it’s certainly the case that 32oz margaritas are as abundant here as drunken stag partiers on a summer Saturday night. That trucks parade the strip promising ‘A Girl to Your Room in Twenty Minutes.’ That smoking is still legal – obligatory, even, if you’ve a blue rinse, a walking-frame and a cupful of quarters to pump into the Playboy slot machines.

But look at this Nevadan dame through the eyes of your children, and you’ll see that the tat, the tatts, the titty bars and the tequila shooters have all magically vanished. And in their place? There are warm desert winds. Luminous tanks filled with manta rays and jellyfish clouds. Strange blue men banging paint-covered drums, and trapeze artists performing to the sounds of Magical Mystery Tour. Dancing fountains, water slides, and white tigers. Le Tour Eiffel, Lady Liberty, the Sphinx and  the canals of Venice, all within merely a mile of each other. And a volcano. A huge erupting volcano.

So whilst ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ might still be the mantra for those poor drunken stags (and their new friends-in-less-than-twenty-minutes), what happens in Vegas will likely remain in the imaginations of the very young for a very long time.

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Personal Bests

  • Lounging with a mimosa at the Trump hotel whilst the little ones splash about in the pool (see STAY)
  • Munching sushi, kimchi, cake pops and pizza (all on one plate, naturally) at The Buffet at Wynn (see EAT)
  • Watching sharks and manta rays glide by at Shark Reef (see SEE & DO)
  • Stopping off for frozen custard at old-school pleaser, Luv It Custard (see EAT )
  • Wandering lanes of nostalgic neon at the Neon Museum (see SEE & DO)
  • Riding the New York, New York rollercoaster around a faux Manhattan skyline (see SEE & DO)

ORIENTATION

Most of what everyone comes here to see centres firmly on and around the Strip (S Las Vegas Boulevard), that legendary ribbon of asphalt running for some 4 miles, roughly between Russell Road in the south and Sahara Avenue to the north. But Las Vegas also has a very vibrant downtown (the original city site, before the Strip was even a twinkle in a planner’s eye), well worth exploring for great family eats, some fun bits of shopping, and some very worthwhile sights.  It’s located north of the Strip, around where S Las Vegas Boulevard meets Fremont Street.

SEE & DO

The only limitation to family-friendly activities in Vegas is your budget: costs can quickly mount up if you move from attraction to attraction. If you’re planning on participating in a few of the bigger-ticket activities, consider a “3 for $57” package, which allows adult entry to any three of a number of attractions, including the Bodies Exhibition, the New York, New York rollercoaster, Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden, and the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. Buy it at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden, the MGM Grand, New York, New York, or Mandalay Bay Box Offices. Also check the Tix4Tonight booths around town, to see if there are current discounts on the attraction you’ve got in mind, and look around online for discount coupons.

Welcome to Las Vegas sign

(Free) How can you pass up a snap of your little ones beneath this Vegas landmark? Designed by Betty Willis and erected in the ‘50s, it’s located at the south end of the Strip, at 5100 S Las Vegas Boulevard.

New York, New York Rollercoaster

Riding the rollercoaster that wraps itself around the New York, New York casino is these days as iconic as any Las Vegas experience gets. Get there early, or on weekdays, to avoid the queues; the ride opens at 11am during the week and 10.30am at weekends ($14 per person, children must be over 54 inches tall).

Discovery Children’s Museum

Beloved of Las Vegas families for twenty years, this hands-on museum in a brand new, improved location in downtown Vegas might not have the iconic status of other Las Vegas attractions, but if the sun, or the chaos, is beating you down, retreating to its more cerebral exhibits might be just what your younger charges need. Explore environmentally-conscious themes in the Eco City, let little ones loose at Toddler Town, and clamber the 12 enticing levels of The Summit, a 70-ft high treasure trove of scientific exploration (admission $12 ages 1-99; under 1s and over 99s free).

Shark Reef, Mandalay Bay

Trek through the immense public spaces of the Mandalay Bay casino all the way to the beautiful, bubble-filled Shark Reef, home to gliding manta rays, milling sea turtles, and a host of imitation habitats, all contained within 1.6 million gallons of water, which, with impressive conservation credentials, is more than just a pretty place (admission $18 adults, $12 children 5-12, under 5s free).

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Bodies Exhibition, Luxor Casino

Not necessarily one for the squeamish, but young biologists will delight in a trip to the permanent Las Vegas branch of the world-renowned Bodies exhibition at the Luxor at the [south] end of the Strip.

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

Oh yes, we all remember those two magicians: the one who looked like a tiger, and the one who was mauled by one….or something like that. But for the younger generation, “Siegfried and Roy” signify encounters with white tigers, white lions, leopards, panthers and bottlenose dolphins, all in permanent residence at the Mirage Hotel. If you’re feeling flush, there are a number of programs to choose from, including “Painting with Dolphins,” (must be 8 years old or over) “Yoga with Dolphins,” and “Trainer for a Day”  (basic admission $19.95, children 4-12 $14.95, 3 and under free).

The Neon Museum

One of the city’s lesser-known, and best, attractions, the Neon Museum (also known as the ‘Neon Boneyard’) is where Las Vegas’s incredible old neon signs go to retire. Tours must be booked in advance, and last just one hour – making it a possibility even with tiny ones in tow (bring hats and sunscreen, since it’s all outdoors). Under 6s are free; adult tickets cost $18 and are well worth the price. There are also stunning nighttime tours (advisable, they say, for over-12s) to see the boneyard all lit up.

Big-Ticket Shows

David Copperfield, The Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil…it’s not only the Manilows and Middlers that end up in Vegas for extended runs. If you don’t have your hearts set on one particular show, hop along to any Tix4Tonight discount ticket booth (there are 11 in town, including at the Fashion Show Mall and Planet Hollywood): you’ll get the day’s discount shows for a decent saving – particularly good news if you’re springing for tickets for the whole family. Their website also offers a printable coupon to save on ticket service fees, and discounts on dining and various Las Vegas attractions.

The Volcano at the Mirage

(Free) No trip to Las Vegas can be considered complete without ‘oohing’ at the erupting volcano outside the Mirage Casino, to a soundtrack that incorporates – of all things – music from The Grateful Dead. Eruptions begin at 7pm daily, and continue every hour, on the hour, until 11pm.

Fountains of Bellagio

(Free) Less exciting for most little ones than fireballs and gushing lava (see Volcano, above) this serene and restful display of leaping waters – set to classical music and showtunes – is nevertheless a  Las Vegas must. The waters do their thing every 1/2 hour from 3-7pm Monday-Friday and 12pm-7pm Sat, Sun and holidays, and thereafter every 15 minutes till midnight.

Stratosphere rides

Older children will love the ridiculously frightening rides on offer at the tippy-top of the Stratosphere casino’s tower.  Spin out on a mechanical arm 600ft above the city at forces of up to 3 ‘G’s, catapult yourself 1000ft into the air at a speed of 45 mph, and various other sickening, inimitable thrills – under 15s must be accompanied by an adult, so you’ll have to ride too.

Animatronics at Caesar’s Palace Forum

(Free) There was once a fountain at Caesar’s Palace that talked. Every hour or so, its marble statues would come to life, to tell the story of the Fall of Troy, in a quite astonishing animatronical way. Last time we checked, this fountain was being ‘overhauled,’ and, by all accounts, is being overhauled still. It’s worth, however, going by to check if the overhaul is over, since, in a slightly sinister way, it remains one of the best things we’ve ever seen in Las Vegas.

Wedding chapels

If you’d like your little ones to see you tie the knot, you can do it straight after breakfast at one of Vegas’s many 24-hour wedding chapels. A Little White Wedding Chapel (where your friends and family can watch from afar via webcam) and Graceland Wedding Chapel (where Elvis will escort the blushing bride down the aisle, though not 24/7) make popular choices.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

(Free) Flowers bloom in the desert at the Bellagio’s beautiful gardens, maintained by a huge team of horticulturalists. Check for free live music shows and seasonal exhibits at this sweet little escape from the heat and mayhem outside. Those with budding artists in tow might also want to drop into the Bellagio’s Gallery of Fine Art whilst on the premises, which hosts changing world-class exhibitions.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Children seem to be fascinated with the sinking of the Titanic, and this is the place to indulge their curiosity, with more than 250 authentic artifacts from the wreck on display. If you’re a homeschooling family or just feeling educational, the website includes a link to request free teacher’s guides and lesson plans.

Pinball Hall of Fame

The pinball wizards amongst you shouldn’t miss a trip to this amazing, retro museum, where you can actually play all the vintage pinball machines, and old-school arcade games, on display. Come armed with a bag of quarters and a thirst for some mean pinball…and all in refreshingly un-Vegas surroundings.

Fremont Street Experience

(Free) Occupying a whopping five blocks of downtown Vegas – including the area once known as “Glitter Gulch,” home to the city’s original casinos – this “experience” is a massive pedestrian mall with an immense four-block-long overhead canopy and the largest LED screen you’ll ever see. Come here to gaze at the old-time neon, or to experience one of the free nightly giant video shows (a particular plus if your children happen to be big Bon Jovi fans).

National Atomic Testing Museum

Probably of greater appeal to older children (aged around 7 or above works well) or those with a keen interest in history, science, or…atom bombs, this intriguing museum documents the history of atomic testing in Nevada over some five decades, and even allows visitors to experience a simulated atomic bomb blast. It’s well worth a visit.

The Mob Museum

Another one for slightly older children, this excellent museum sheds light on the shady Vegas dealings of such well-known names as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, as well as the men that brought them down. Listen to FBI surveillance tapes on real wire-tapping equipment or take a little FBI weapons training amongst the many interactive exhibits.

Springs Preserve

A botanical gardens with much more, the Springs Preserve offers a plethora of children’s activities, and lots to do, including a railroad, wildlife (gape at the Gila monsters), a museum, playground, and several miles of trails through 110 acres of desert scenery. Young naturalists will especially love the Nature Exchange, an international program whereby they can trade their own treasures – sticks, stones, tree bark, seashells and the like – for those of others.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

For children who can’t get enough of the natural world, this museum, particularly popular with locals, boasts dinosaurs,  Egyptian artifacts, plenty of taxidermy, real live sharks and stingrays, and some great interactive exhibits, including family science activities every weekend. At $10 for adults and $5 for children (free for the under-2s), it’s a steal by Vegas standards.

STAY

A good – if counterintuitive – tip for hotel booking in Vegas is not to book until a day before, or, if at all possible, on the day itself. Since hotels here are so huge, it’s unlikely you’ll find no availability (outside major public holidays), but you’ll avail yourself of excellent last-minute rates, especially if you shop around. And please, for your own sanity, ignore all sources suggesting you stay at “child-friendly” Circus Circus…unless you’re looking for the last word in Las Vegas luxury circa 1985.

Trump Hotel Las Vegas Our Vegas pick, the Trump’s all-suite accommodations are luxe, spacious and eminently family-friendly, nary batting an eyelid at accommodating a family of six or seven. Situated just off the Strip, a few minutes away from all the action, there’s no casino, no slot machines, no all-you-can-eat buffets and no smoking. Instead you’ll find gift bags for children upon check-in (love those Trump-branded sunglasses), roomy suites with sofa beds, equipped kitchens and deep bathtubs, and a laid-back vibe that manages to be chic without being forbidding for families. Splash out $50-or-so for a lounge bed beside the simple pool (no slides or wave machines here), large enough for a family of four, or even six, and with the perks of a fruit plate, mimosas, bottled water and plenty of shade.

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Four Seasons Las Vegas Oft considered the place to stay for families seeking a balance of excitement and solace whilst in Vegas, this city sanctuary has all the bells and whistles you’d expect of a five star Four Seasons (though, if you’re travelling with more than two children, you might find yourself forced to book two interconnecting rooms). Like the Trump at the opposite end of the Strip, the Four Seasons is a smoke-free, slot-free zone, offering spacious suites and plenty of little extras for children. Little gifts for children grace the rooms, baby amenities and popcorn are available on request, room service menus feature a decent selection for children, and babysitting can be arranged with just four hours’ notice.  Perhaps the biggest draw, however, is complimentary access to the pool complex at the adjacent Mandalay Bay resort, where families can while away the hours on a real sand beach and Lazy River. Be aware, however, that the Mandalay Bay pools are anything but restful, and some might find the relentless poolside action just a little too Vegas altogether.

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas Check-in gifts, pint-sized bathrobes, Playstations, bath toys and playpens are some of the perks offered at this top notch, casino-free option, situated mid-strip but away from the thick of the action. The pool might be small, and not particularly family-oriented (note there’s a section set aside for over-21s only), but if you’re seeking stylish respite from the heat and the crowds, there are few better options.

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Mandalay Bay It’s a bit of a conundrum. On the plus-side, many families love it: it’s huge, with a vast array of in-hotel dining options (28, in fact, including Lupo, a Wolfgang Puck, and Border Grill a fantastic Mexican restaurant – – see EAT below), the amazing Shark Reef aquarium (see SEE & DO above), Cirque du Soleil in the house, and  more than 11 acres of pools. On the minus, the cavernous public spaces remind us of an international airport: impersonal, vast and easy to get lost in. Accommodation here actually comprises three different hotels: the Four Seasons (see above), along with Mandalay Bay Tower Rooms & Suites, and THEhotel Tower Rooms & Suites, the latter being aimed more squarely at couples and singles out partying. Those with sitters may want to venture into the over-21s “European style” Moorea Beach Club, where bikinis are “Toptional.” Water wings need not apply.

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EAT

The Buffet at Wynn If you can only stand to eat at one casino buffet during your time in Las Vegas, this is the one. Though the dining areas aren’t nearly as impressive as the multicoloured, flower-filled lobby, the food options are extensive, the staff are friendly, and the whole fam-damnily – as they like to say in these parts – will swoon at the dessert area, made up to resemble an old-fashioned patisserie-come-candy store.  Reports from other families relate that the Bellagio casino buffet is good too, but that the queues are worse than for Disneyland’s Magic Mountain in August.

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Notably, most restaurants at the Wynn (including the buffet) are excellent for veggie and vegan options, especially Wazuzu   which offers lots of Pan-Asian dishes like nasi goreng and vegan pad thai, and which, whilst chic, is casual enough to bring the whole gang along.

The Border Grill at Mandalay Bay Scrumptious Mexican dishes, and a family-friendly vibe (there’s colouring for little ones) make this sleek place a grand spot for dinner, with a view from the patio of Mandalay Bay’s vast pool complex. Try the green corn tamales and the roasted potato rajas relleno…mmm.

Chin Chin  A solid Chinese-food chain at the New York, New York Casino, with other branches in LA and Beverly Hills, this place offers up yummy dim sum,  Chinese standards, a good selection of veggie dishes and a dozen gluten-free options. The children’s menu is pretty uninspiring, so it’s best to opt for the main menu. It’s open from 7am, in case a craving for Salt and Pepper Tofu awakens your little travellers.

Peppermill Restaurant Open 24/7, this 40-year-old diner is the place to head for a killer-sized breakfast of New York Steak and eggs, biscuits and gravy, or a half-pound bbq cheddar burger a little later in the day; in case you think it all looks a bit familiar, this place was featured in Scorsese’s Casino. Alternatively, the sedater, but equally popular Mr. Mamas is a great place to go for pancakes, breakfast burritos, cups of chilli, and mushroom-swiss burgers galore. Vegans great and small beware: no tofu scrambles grace these parts.

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Luv It Frozen Custard One of those Las Vegas institutions you and your little lovelies really shouldn’t miss, Luv It has been dispensing frozen custard for eons. Make sure you read the how-to-order instructions, to ensure they get your nine-year-old’s Banana Fudge Krumble sundae with no nuts and extra chocolate sauce just right.

Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues At $50 per adult and $27.50 per child, it’s quite a pricey all-you-can-eat brunch, but the musical accompaniment by an amazing gospel choir whilst you munch on brunch certainly makes it worth considering. Sundays, at 10am and 1pm.

Carmine’s If you’re out and about on the Strip and your gang’s starving, a sanity-saving option is child-friendly Carmine’s at Caesar’s Palace, an offshoot of a popular NYC Italian chain. Dishes are served “family-style” (read: massive), with one pasta dish and one salad being enough to feed yourselves and a couple of little ones. There’s a separate vegan and gluten-free menu, and the pastas, in particular, are delicious.

Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina   An upscale take on pizza, Wolfgang Puck’s place at Crystals offers delicious wood-fired pizzas (think wild mushroom, béchamel, fontina, thyme and arugula) with good old Margheritas and spaghetti with meatballs for less adventurous little palates.

Dona Maria Tamales A homemade tamale at this simple Mexican cantina might be just the remedy for one too many Vegas prime-rib buffets.  Try the nopal (cactus) tacos for just $3.15 a pop. Locals also pick out El Sombrero, another unassuming local joint in a seedy-but-safe part of town that has been doing business for decades, with prices that make yet another Vegas family lunch not quite so pressing on the wallet.

M&M Soul Food Café Don’t be put off by its strip-mall location: M&M dishes up smothered chicken, mac-and-cheese, yams, and fried okra galore. Beware there can be queues for a table.

Huntridge Pharmacy An old fashioned lunch counter – you know, the kind from the movies – lies hidden inside the Huntridge Pharmacy – you know, the kind that vends prescriptions. Bring the children for a root beer float on real diner stools at a real diner counter.

Shop

You’ll find pretty much all the mall shopping you could wish for on the Las Vegas Strip, with the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile (think H&M and Gap for forgotten luggage items)  and Caesar’s Forum (3100 Las Vegas Blvd; inside Caesar’s Palace hotel) having probably the vastest selections. For something more unusual, however, venture to Downtown to peruse the following.

William’s Costume Supply A Las Vegas staple for more than half a century, your little Show-girls and -boys in the making will love this place for all their bead, rhinestone, feather and tassel requirements.  In case you’re in town for Halloween, or in the market for a themed wedding, this is also the place for costume rentals.

Retro Vegas For a hint of bygone glamour, head to this vintage store with furniture and knick-knacks galore, along with an all-pink vintage kitchen. Look for the pink flamingos out front.

Rainbow Feather Company Purveyors of all things feather, this is a great pit-stop if you or your little ones are craft-orientated, or if anyone is in need of a new feather boa. Skip if you’re ticklish.

Charleston Antique Mall Little knick-knack lovers will delight in spending their pocket money in this 18,000 sq ft of vintage treasures. For busy toddlers, it has exciting bull-in-a-china-shop potential.

Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet For a truly local experience, browse this Swap Meet’s lanes on weekends, where the anythings-and-everythings on offer (collectibles; pets; firearms) make for a real slice of American life.

First Friday As the name suggests, the first Friday of every month sees several blocks of Downtown turned into an evening arts and crafts fair, with a free trolley, plenty of street eats (try the good old-fashioned funnel cake if you never have before) and live music. 

Skip

There’s plenty of obvious skips in Las Vegas; in general, try to avoid long buffet lines, spending too much time wandering the smoky, perma-dusk gaming floors, and taking long treks out along the Strip beneath the desert sun. In Vegas it pays to know where you’re going before you head out of your hotel room; aimless wandering in Vegas is no fun at all.

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Tips for Babies and Toddlers

  • Las Vegas being a desert city, it gets fiercely hot during the day and very chilly of an evening. Make sure your little ones are well hydrated and sunscreened for daytime excursions, and bundled-up snugly if you’re heading to the Strip to watch the leaping Bellagio fountains at night.
  • Though pavements are wide and unrutted, the crowds pounding them mean that a pushchair (stroller) can be hard work – especially if you’re heading in and out of casinos, some of which have staircases, escalators, and moving walkways. A baby carrier or backpack makes for easier maneuvering amongst the thickest of the crowds.
  • Plentiful restrooms in all areas of all casinos ensure your little toilet-trainer won’t get caught short, since they’re keen to have gamblers  drink themselves into oblivion, but less keen to end up with puddles on the floor.
  • Baby milk (formula), nappies (diapers), wet wipes and other essentials are all readily available at an abundance of pharmacies and supermarkets both at the south and north ends of the Strip. There’s also a CVS (3758 S Las Vegas Blvd) and a couple of Walgreens pharmacies (3765 & 3339 S Las Vegas Blvd) on the Strip itself.
  • Hotels without a smoky, squealy casino make for a far more restful stay with a tiny traveller in tow. Consider one of our non-casino Stays above for the calmest respite from the madness on your doorstep.

Call the Sitter

If you like a little flutter when the little ones are tucked up for the night, there’s no end to the gambling pleasures available on the Las Vegas Strip. But assuming you don’t, there are lots of spots worth shelling out for an in-room sitter and heading off together for a couple of hours. For an on-the-Strip sort of night, spring for pricey drinks and a million-dollar view of the city at the 23rd floor Mandarin Bar, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Then head down for steak-frites to either Bouchon at the Venetian (with a gondola ride for dessert…) or Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris, or, for something slightly fancier, Le Cirque at the Bellagio (fine French food with the benefit of a luscious veggie set menu) finishing off with a cocktail at the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar.

If, however, vou’re looking for something more unusual, start out with cocktails at Frankies Tiki Room (try a Nakalele Knockout or a Lava Letch),  then dine on steak or squash curry at the retro-chic Barrymore. Alternatively, for a glimpse of what Vegas once was, try Battista’s Hole in the Wall: uncomplicated Italian food (think ziti, manicotti, and free wine with dinner) and surroundings chock-full of memorabilia, or Pamplemousse, whose owner has been running the joint for 35 years, and where you’ll get all the escargots and canard your hearts desire (so long as you don’t forget to reserve).

Or finally, for a more eclectic evening, sip on a bacon martini the Double Down Saloon, ‘Vegas’s finest dive bar,’ then seek out  the Lotus of Siam (don’t be put off by the unassuming location: the Thai food here is incredible) and stop in for nightcaps at the leather-and-gilt Artisan Lounge, a popular choice for after-hours partying.

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Out of Town

If you’re planning on doing some serious exploring of Nevada’s natural wonders – which are many – it’s easy as pie to rent a car in Las Vegas; shop around for rates online, and check whether the rental shop will deliver to (and pick up from) your hotel door. Both the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam are within striking distance, though unless you’re taking a swish helicopter tour of the Canyon from the city itself, it makes sense to stay overnight in Flaggstaff or in a lodge near (or at the bottom of) the Canyon before returning to Vegas.

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Death Valley National Park

Really, how can you not? Contrary to what its name suggests, there are a few easy hikes, incredible sand dunes, and a whole host of children’s activities, including ranger-led walks, both by day and by moonlight. Not bad for the hottest, lowest, driest spot in the whole of North America.

Techatticup Gold Mine

Around an hour’s drive south of the city, you’ll find this sweet little family owned gold mine, which offers mine tours and canoe or kayak rental, for a lazy paddle down the Colorado River (bring your swimsuits).

Red Rock Canyon

Just 19 miles from Las Vegas, there are easy, family-friendly hikes at stunning Red Rock Canyon, including the Lost Creek Children’s Discovery trail, where you’ll spot petroglyphs and a hidden waterfall.

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Spring Mountain National Recreation Area

Also known as the Mount Charleston Recreation Area, and part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest this gorgeous part of the country offers lots of recreation options: hikes for all family abilities,  picnicking, and scenic drives galore, for when you need a breath of fresh air to sweep you out of the city.

Clark County Wetlands

Little bird-spotters can hone their skills along the easy pathway hikes of this lovely large park, a stone’s throw (but don’t hit a bird) from the city.

Valley of Fire State Park 

Admire the petroglyphs and weird Mojave desert scenery at this stunning national park, about an hour’s drive from central Vegas. There are several easy hikes, perfect for little legs.

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When to Go

Las Vegas is great year-round, though summer sees soaring temperatures that mean you’ll likely not wish to move too far from poolside or air-conditioning during the majority of daylight hours. In general, it’s best to avoid public holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July) to ensure the shortest waits for attractions and the best room-rates; likewise, if you can plan your stay during weekdays (Sunday night to Thursday night) you’ll benefit both from a sedater pace and low – often negotiable, or at the least shop-aroundable  – room prices.

Transport

Ranked 25th of fifty cities in a 2011 study by Walkscore, suffice to say Las Vegas isn’t the best place to go for a little stroll. Even if you happen to be situated mid-strip, one attraction can be quite a distance from another, whilst having your own car is of little use in a city with a dearth of parking meters (and a corresponding wealth of pricey valet parking options). Best, then, is to plan your moves before setting foot outside your hotel suite, and take the bus from place to place. The Deuce bus runs around every 15 minutes right along the Strip (from the Fremont Street Experience to the Four Seasons and back again); there are passes available, if you’re going to be doing lots of hopping about.

Alternatively, ride the pricier Las Vegas Monorail ($5 per ride, under 5s free), which has stops at major casinos all the way up the Strip; pick up a better-value $12 day card if you’re going to use it more than there-and-back. Cabs are also abundant and reasonably-priced in Vegas. Large families beware, however, that Las Vegas taxis can carry no more than four passengers at a time, so those with three children or more will have to split up and travel in two. Also check whether your hotel offers a shuttle service to and from various points on the Strip; they’re often free.

Playlist

Billboard’s 13 Awesome Songs About Las Vegas is the perfect playlist whilst heading to the City of Sin, naturally encompassing Frank Sinatra’s Luck be a Lady, and Elvis’s rousing Viva Las Vegas, as well as some lesser-known tunes. To this we would add Dean Martin’s  live I love Vegas/Vegas Medley, if only for the line “A wife in Vegas, take my advice, It’s like going to China with a sack of rice.”

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