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After taking multiple trips to Las Vegas we finally left the strip to see what else Nevada has to offer. The year prior we flew into Las Vegas to start our Southwest road trip and did it via an RV. We had so much fun we decided to rent an RV in Las Vegas again to do our Nevada road trip. Here is how we spent our six days in Nevada.
Nevada Road Trip: What City Should You Fly Into?
To kick off this Nevada road trip it makes the most sense to fly into Las Vegas International Airport. The airport constantly has flight deals (see the best websites for flight deals here). It’s also the closest airport to the cities visited on this road trip as you’ll see from the map below.
What’s The Best Time of Year for a Nevada Road Trip?
Once summer hits Nevada gets hot, I mean really hot. I once visited in July for my annual mommy daughter trip (read that itinerary here) and temps hit over 100°F daily. We would wake up really early to go out, come back inside by 10:30AM and not go out again until the sun was setting. It’s like this June-August so while it is dry heat I’d avoid it during this time if you won’t want to explore midday with such high temps.
This time we visited in October when it’s still warm, with an average high of 82°F, but cool in the evenings. I would avoid December-January as the high is only 58°F with lows of 39°F. Late November and early February are also quite chilly but March-early May and September- early November will have the best weather.
Day Zero: Arrival into Las Vegas and RV Pick Up
If you choose to do this Nevada road trip via RV like we did you’ll pick it up upon arrival. We rent from Outdoorsy, we’ve done so three times and love them! You can sign up here to save $50 on your first rental. On this RV trip my parents were joining us so there would be a total of four adults and two kids, making this RV perfect for us.
After picking up the RV we hit the grocery store to get food for our trip. This is important as the first two days of our itinerary had us not so close to any major stores. We got all the essentials like water, breakfast food, sandwich supplies, and things to make dinner. Everything we bought could be made stove top as oven cooking isn’t that easy in an RV, although many RV parks do have grills!
Depending on the time you arrive in Las Vegas you can start your Nevada road trip right after your pick up and stock your RV or you might want to spend the night in the city. If you do, I recommend staying at Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort. It’s ten minutes from the strip and if you’re looking for a place with a lot of amenities this is it. They have a cafe onsite and concierge service so you can book show tickets, tours, and make restaurant reservations. There is a pool, an 18-hole golf course, fitness center and more. Rates start at $49/night and you can read more reviews here.
Day One of Our Nevada Road Trip: The Lost City Museum and Valley of Fire State Park
After a good night’s rest, recovering from jet lag we left Las Vegas to start our Nevada road trip. First stop was the Lost City Museum. It’s 65 miles from the city and takes about an hour and 20 minutes 1 to get there. It’s open daily from 8:30AM-4:30PM except on New Year’s Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving when it’s closed. Children 18 and under and free and adults cost $5. Here we learned about the ancestral Puebloans and saw a replica of what the Native American communities looked like. Expect to spend an hour max here, the museum is small. You can book a small group full-day tour of Valley of Fire here.
Knowing there wouldn’t be anywhere to eat once we got into Valley of Fire State Park we stopped at La Fonda Mexican Restaurant on the way. It was just ten minutes from the Lost City Museum and 15 minutes from Valley of Fire. The service was great and the food was good.
Where to Camp Inside Valley of Fire State Park
Once we got into Valley of Fire State Park, we headed straight to the Atlatl Rock Campground. This is because the campground doesn’t take reservations and is first come first serve and there are only 44 spaces! Check out is at 12 pm so that is a good time to arrive to scout out a spot, even though check in is technically not until 2pm. Half of the sites have full hookup for electricity and water costing $20/night. The other half are dry camping and cost $10/night.
In addition to the campsite you’ll pay the $10 park entrance fee. If you’re dry camping in a tent or in an RV but couldn’t snag a full hookup spot there are still toilets and shower available at the campground for us. Another option is the Arch Rock campground inside the park which has 29 campsites but they only accommodate smaller RVs.
Things to Do Inside Valley of Fire State Park
After securing our sport we headed to the Visitor Center. It’s a great place for those extremely hot parts of the day where you need to avoid the sun. Inside are exhibits on the animals in the park along with the park history. It’s open from 9AM-4:30PM and has a small snack stand and souvenir shop.
Once it cooled down we went to Rainbow Vista, the prettiest road inside the park in my opinion. You can climb up the rocks here for an aerial view of the road and park. The colors are gorgeous if you get here during golden hour. In this area we even saw a huge pack of Rams roaming around.
We headed back to the campground where we relaxed for the rest of the evening.
Day Two of Our Nevada Road Trip: Valley of Fire State Park and Lake Mead
Hiking Trails at Valley of Fire State Park
Thankfully on our second day it was much cooler and the perfect hiking weather. We first hiked the Fire Wave trail. This hike takes an hour round trip and is easy for people of all ages and activity levels. My five year old hiked both ways on her own and my 54 year old parents also had no issues. This half-day guided hiking trip takes you through petroglyphs and to peaks and plateaus in the Valley of Fire State Park.
Next we headed to the White Dunes Trail in hopes of finding the slot canyon. Unfortunately for us I think we went the wrong way as we never made it to the slot canyon. However, we also didn’t get to finish the hike as we had to leave for our helicopter tour. Even though we didn’t see the slot canyon we still enjoyed the views from the part of the trial we did explore.
If we had more time we would have loved to explore these points of interest as well:
- Mouse’s Tank Trail 0.8 mile hike
- Elephant Rock Trail 0.3 hike
- Petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock- you’ll walk up a set of stairs to see the petrogylphs
Lake Mead/Hoover Dam Helicopter Tour
Back in the RV we left Valley of Fire and headed to Boulder City, 90 minutes away. We had a reservation with Papillon Helicopters for the Black Canyon Heli tour which goes over both Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. The helicopter ride is short, only ten minutes, but it feels quite long and the view is stunning. I’m so thankful we got a chance to complete the ride as our first attempt on our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii our tour got cancelled due to weather.
In the evening we had a Lake Mead dinner cruise booked but while we had great weather for the helicopter tour it turned poorly later. The winds picked up so much our dinner cruise was cancelled. Since it’s only offered Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays we unfortunately couldn’t reschedule. As we didn’t get to do it I can’t provide feedback but you can read reviews from others here.
Since we wouldn’t be getting dinner on the cruise we ate at Desimone’s Steakhouse. It’s inside of a casino and probably the most upscale restaurant in Boulder City. As a steakhouse it is expensive but it was so good and we knew it would be the only time on the trip we’d eat at such a nice place.
Our Stay at Lake Mead RV Village at Boulder Beach
After dinner we checked into Lake Mead RV Village at Boulder Beach. Like the RV park we camped at in Huntington Beach, CA it has tons of spots with lake views and we got one. Waking up and having breakfast in front of Lake Mead was gorgeous. The lakeview spots are $50/night but non-lake view spots are as low as $34/night. Included in the rate is WiFi and cable plus there is a laundry room, you can read more reviews here.
Day Three of Our Nevada Road Trip: Ziplining and the Hoover Dam
Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon
Today we would be splitting up a bit due to the activities we were doing. The guys went ziplining at Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon. While the kids did go ziplining on our trip to Costa Rica this zipline company doesn’t allow you to go with a guide so each person has to be at least 75lbs but no more than 250lbs. There are four runs and the tour lasts two and a half hours. They’re open 365 days a year and have 5 tours a day including a sunset tour. When there is a full moon they add a 6th, moonlight tour at 8PM.
Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum
While the guys screamed, I mean zip-lined their hearts out my mom and I took the girls to the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum. It’s a free museum that goes over the history of the Hoover Dam and even though it’s small it gives a lot of information and we all enjoyed it. There is a video you can watch along with three areas you walk through.
Grandma Daisy’s Candy Store and Ice Cream Parlor
Since we still had time until the guys finished zip-lining we walked over to Grandma Daisy’s Candy Store and Ice Cream Parlor. Think of any candy you enjoyed as a child and they have it! Rock candy, Whatchamacallit Bars, literally everything. The ice cream is just as good, we loved the Superman flavor.
The Hoover Dam
After we rejoined the guys and we all went to the Hoover Dam. It was nice visiting after going to the museum so we knew more of the history around it. We didn’t do a tour since we went to the museum and some of us had previously done the tour on our trip to Las Vegas with toddlers three years prior.
Canyon Trail RV Park
To be closer to the activities we were doing the next day we relocated to Canyon Trail RV Park. While the park was clean and does have some amenities like a pool we weren’t fans. It was just a big parking lot and barely any space in between each space. There was no space for the kids to run around or even any picnic tables, something we’ve had at every other RV park we’ve ever stayed at. The rate did include Electric, Sewer, Water, Cable and WIFI but at $48/night plus $10 extra for any RV with more than 2 occupants we should have just stayed at our lake front spot for $50/night.
Day Four: Eldorado Canyon Mine, Nevada Southern Railroad Museum and Rail Explorers
Eldorado Canyon Mine Tour
Did you know that Nevada has/had 82% of the gold in the US! Well the oldest, richest and most famous one is Eldorado Canyon Mine, just 30 minutes from Canyon Trail RV Park. They offer three tours a day at 9am, 12pm and 2pm, lasting one hour and ten minutes. Be aware they need four adults to run the tour so definitely call a head of time to confirm there are people signed up. Adults are $15, kids 5-12 are $10 and kids under 5 are free. Bring a jacket because inside the cave is a bit cold.
Besides touring the cave and learning about the history of how this gold mine was used the owner collects a lot of “junk”. This junk is pretty cool though with tons of old antique cars, planes from movies, and other random things! If you’ve paid for the tour you can take pictures but if you haven’t they do charge for photoshoots! Be sure to have directions pulled up before leaving town as there isn’t service on most parts of the road on the way.
Nevada Southern Railroad Museum
We ate lunch and then headed to Nevada Southern Railroad Museum. Here you can walk through train cars from different eras which were used for different purposes. Seeing the car in which the wealthy stayed in when traveling from one place to another was insane. They had full homes with a room for their personal butler!
Before or after looking at the old train cars you can take a ride on one of the operating cars. For an extra fee of $35 those 5 and older can ride in the caboose of the train with the conductor. I sat up here with my eldest while my younger daughter, husband, and parents sat in the passenger area. While my daughter enjoyed getting to sit in the conductor seat for a minute and honk the horn I wouldn’t necessarily recommend sitting up here. If you’re short like us you won’t have a good view of the space around you as the train is riding. The rest of our family had some nice views where they say and more space and it was much cheaper at $10 per adult and $5 for children 4-11. Train rides are offered at 10:00, 11:30, 1:00, and 2:30 Saturday and Sunday but the museum is open 9:00-3:30 seven days a week.
Our next adventure, a sunset ride with Rail Explorers, was also at the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum. We had an hour to kill so we walked over to Chill Jilly’z. They sell lots of goodie but are known for their Dole Whip, something we were introduced to and fell in love with on our trip to Honolulu. We hadn’t had any since then so it was a nice refreshing treat.
Back at the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum this time for a sunset ride on the train tracks with Rail Explorers. It’s a pedal powered vehicle that you ride down for about 4 miles. At the end of the ride you get to relax in a chair provided in an open grass area and watch the sunset. After about 20-30 minutes the train arrives to bring you back to the museum to go home. There are two seaters and quads but they can be linked to accommodate larger groups, the six of us rode together. My youngest daughter was 3 at the time and enjoyed it even though she didn’t help us pedal as she couldn’t reach them! There are seat belts to strap everyone in.
While we did the sunset ride, they offer a total of three tours a day, also having a day tour and evening lantern tour. The tandem explorer which seats two riders is $42.50pp or $85 total and the quad explorer, up to four riders at $37.50pp or $150. Even though they break the tour price down to per person you have to pay for the entire explorer even if it’s not occupied. Single riders can do a VIP ride, sitting next to a tour guide for $45.
Day Five of Our Nevada Road Trip: Discovery Children’s Museum and Springs Preserve
Discovery Children’s Museum
After checking out of Canyon Trail RV Park we made our way to Las Vegas. Boulder City is just 30 minutes away so we arrived quickly. We took the kids to the Discovery Children’s Museum which they loved. The museum is three stories and the kids did not want to leave, literally they had to be escorted out when it closed! One of their favorite sections was the career area. They were able to learn about different careers, dress up like that career, do that careers job, and earn a paycheck. Later they could cash their check at an ATM and use the money to go shopping in a different section of the museum.
Besides the career section they loved the innovative area where they were able to build things. On the first floor there is a playhouse and theater where they can dress up and perform on stage. There was also an art room where they could color and paint. It’s open Tuesday from 10-6, Wednesday-Saturday 10-5 and-Sunday 12-5. It’s closed Monday’s unless it’s a holiday or school break and admission is $14.50 for anyone 1 year and older.
Springs Preserve originally served as the original source of water for Native Americans living in Las Vegas thousands of years ago. Today it’s a preserve to protect and manage the cultural, natural and water resources with tools to provide a vision for a sustainable future. Springs Preserve has museums, galleries, a botanical garden, playground and more. Since we stayed at the Children’s Discovery Museum for so long we missed seeing the Springs Preserve prior to it being transformed for the special Haunted Harvest event.
We visited close to Halloween when the Preserve transforms Friday-Sundays in October from 5-9PM adding a haunted hay maze, trick or treat stations, carnival games, live entertainment, a petting zoo, “haunted” train rides and more. My kids absolutely loved it and we had an amazing time. If you visit in October definitely add this to your itinerary and if you don’t just visit the Springs Preserve during the day! Triple A members receive $4 off ticket prices!
Las Vegas Accommodation Options
Once back in Las Vegas you can choose to keep your RV and camp at Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort again or try a new one. You can also choose to return the RV, rent a car, and stay in a hotel. If you do one of my hotel recommendations off the strip is the Tru by Hilton.
We’ve stayed here on our trip to Las Vegas with kids and as a newer hotel it’s very modern and clean. The room rate includes free breakfast and parking is complimentary, with plenty of space to park an RV. You can check out other reviews of the hotel here and make your booking here. To save on our hotel booking, we booked via the Dosh App. They give up to 40% cashback on hotels and the prices are the same that you’d find directly on the hotels website. In 2019 we got back $780 on bookings!
Day Six: Downtown Container Park and Magic Mountain
Downtown Container Park
For the last day of our Nevada road trip we kicked it off by visiting the Downtown Container Park. It’s an outdoor shopping area with restaurants, a playground and stage which hosts shows and concerts. Like the name suggests everything is made from old shipping containers, art in itself.
Art District Las Vegas
The Downtown Container Park is located in the Art District. You should definitely check out the area, either by driving or walking around. You’ll see some beautiful art murals on the walls of buildings.
Seven Magic Mountain
Seven Magic Mountains is an outdoor art installation created by Ugo Rondinone’s. It’s basically 7 “mountains” made out of huge rocks which have been painted in neon bright colors. Opened in 2016 it was supposed to be up for only two years but it’s popularity has extended the display until at least the end of 2021.
Sadly it was the end of our Nevada road trip. We returned the RV from Outdoorsy and headed to the airport for our red eye flight back to Miami. If you have more time in Las Vegas itself check out my article on things to do in Las Vegas from our previous trips to the city. Check out our other RV trip itineraries for Southern California and the Southwest USA. Did you find this article helpful? Please share it! Below is a video highlighting our trip.
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