We've seen lots of changes over the years, new hotels, old hotels demolished and the airport seems to be closer to the strip every time we visit. Our longest stops have been for a week, the others have been a couple of days on our way either from Phoenix, Arizona or San Francisco, California on a drive that has taken us through Death Valley, Reno and up to Oregon to visit family and back along the West Coast and down to Hollywood.
This trip was just the 2 of us, the year before we brought MIL with us and stayed at The Monte Carlo, flying in to Phoenix and a drive past the Grand Canyon. Every trip to Vegas has involved a drive out to Hoover Dam, where we'd watched with interest the building of the new road bridge. And on this trip we ventured up into Utah, where you can't buy alcohol on a Sunday and they looked at us rather strangely when we tried to buy beer in a supermarket.
We stayed at The Parisian, one of the many themed hotels on the strip. All the rooms seem to have 2 Queen beds and the views have never disappointed us. There is plenty of shopping in every hotel and numerous malls to explore. The pool is not on the ground floor.
On the evening news we heard that the new bridge had been opened that day by President Obama, so the following morning we decided to take a drive over the new bridge, the walls were very high and I was disappointed not to get a view, but then on our drive back I saw heads bobbing around the other side of the wall, so we took the first exit and found a car park. There were no signs but we climbed up some steps leading from the car park and found ourselves on a walk way. There were a few families milling around and we discovered that the walkway wasn't open to the general public just yet, only to family and friends of people who had worked on the project so we made friends with an engineer and his family and while hubby learnt about how the bridge was built I took literally 100's of photo's
Straddling the time zones between Nevada and Arizona
Every year we've visited we've noted how the water levels are continuously dropping and it's actually rather alarming to see.
The view of the new bridge from the old which is now closed to traffic.
My 7 Top Tips for visiting Vegas
- search for the best hotel deals online and be prepared to move hotels during your stay to maximise keeping the costs down. We had 2 nights at the Bellagio in 2003 for £60 per night for the two of us.
- you'll need a car in Vegas as it's at least 1 mile from the front of each hotel and it gets very hot as don't forget it is built in the middle of a desert, so don't be afraid to stay off the strip and travel in and out.
- It's possible to drive out to the Grand Canyon and back in a day, calling in at Hoover Dam on the way back. Death Valley is also possible there and back in a day.
- Take plenty of water with you when driving, you'll really push the limits of your air con driving in temps of 45c+ below sea level, you may need it to refill the water in the radiator as well as plenty to drink, although you'll find plenty of fuel and rest stops on your route.
- Despite what you hear, kids are very welcome in Vegas and there is plenty for them to do. Just remember anyone under 21 can only walk through the casino floors in the hotel they are staying in to get to the hotel rooms if entering the casino from the front door and not the car park. The carpets are marked, very wide and it's a straight route through.
- If you do decide to gamble, only take with you what you can afford to lose, leave your wallet and cards in the hotel safe. When you're gambling, even at the slot machines, you will be offered free alcoholic drinks.
- For the best views of the strip visit the Voodoo Lounge at The Rio hotel, it's the pink and purple building off the strip, visit before 10pm and they'll let you pop up to catch the views, be warned you do climb a spiral stair case that goes round the building. Another must is the Stratosphere at the end of the strip. Enjoy a buffet, take in a show and visit the top of the tower and if you're feeling brave enough go on the Big Shot, where they'll strap you in your seat and shoot you 160ft in the air at 45mph. After the ride I fully understood the use of the word Awesome.