Visit Las Vegas and nearby areas 2 weeks May 2013
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Jan 29, 2013 8:21 AM Last Post By: zeldasdad
Jan 28, 2013 1:31 PM
Visit Las Vegas and nearby areas 2 weeks May 2013I've never been to Las Vegas but me and my SO want to go there, my dates can be very flexible but he can only get them in May because of his job, will have have about 12-14 days and I don't want to spend the whole time in just Las Vegas. We were thinking of renting a car at least part of the trip and hop to different places.
I went to Yellowstone park when I was a kid and loved the place, but I don't know if it will be open so early in the year, I still don't know which weeks in May will my SO be free so it could be either first or second half of the month. If the park is open it would indeed be a plus to visit it before kids are on vacation to avoid the crowds. If you took a leisurely drive to Yellowstone from Vegas, how long would the trip take? I don't like rushing things Griswald style.
The places we'd like to visit have not been really planned out yet mostly because I don't know what the weather will be like in the Rocky Mountains at that time of year, my family toured the place when I was a kid in the middle of the summer. My SO was kind of interested in seeing Mount Rushmore, but driving all the way to South Dakota would take forever when the time could be better used to see all of the cool stuff nearby.
I always wanted to go to Colorado Springs and see the awesome deserts and see the Valley of the gods and maybe even a reservation if there's any nearby, I've also never been to Arizona so I haven't seen the Grand Canyon either. It would also be fun to visit San Francisco, never been there either but again I'd rather visit fewer places and enjoy things than rush everywhere and always be in a hurry. Plane tickets haven't been purchased yet but perhaps we could enter the country from one city and return to Mexico City via some other major city and avoid driving in a stupid circle.
I'm not interested in going to casinos to lose money, I'm more interested in Vegas for the good shows and the legendary buffets, I've heard the one at the Bellagio is one of the best in town. I don't know how many days would be enough to enjoy Vegas, don't know any specific good day trips except the Hover Dam (never seen it either, would like to if it's not too far) either. Would perhaps 3 or even 4 days be enough?
Would visiting perhaps some of Utah be a viable option for good nature parks and city strolling? I don't know if cramming all the way from Vegas to Utah and south to Arizona in 12 days would make much sense or just do one or the other which is why I'm asking the questions here for the best suggestions. Knowing how cold or hot in May would also be an uber plus. Thanks!
Jan 28, 2013 3:18 PM
1Are you familiar with US distances? A loop beginning and ending in Las Vegas that takes you to Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mt. Rushmore, and Colorado Springs (The Garden of the Gods) is a bare minimum of 40 hours of driving plus all stops and side trips. That is probably 5 of your 12-14 days staring at a highway. Add that to 4 days in Las Vegas and it leaves you with only 3 to 5 days to see anything. May is also early for Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Park.
On the other hand, you have plenty of time to see the natural wonders nearer Las Vegas. Start with an overnight trip to visit Grand Canyon National Park. Death Valley is a day trip from Las Vegas. So are Zion and Bryce. From Las Vegas, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands are an easy 3-4 day side trip. There are dozens or lesser known national parks and state parks that are also within a day or two of Las Vegas. You may want to spend some time on Google and with a large Rand McNally road atlas.
Las Vegas to Colorado Springs and back is 24 hours of driving "Griswold Style."
San Francisco and back to Las Vegas is 17 hours of "Griswold Style" driving.
"Stupid circles" are generally much cheaper than one-way car rentals. You would be seeing new vistas the whole way on a circle as well as a one-way trip.
People's stays in Las Vegas vary according to the amount of money they are willing to spend and their affinity for the diversions and amusements offered there. There is plenty to do that has nothing to do with gambling. If you limit yourself to only what is "free," two days are enough.
Sothern Utah abounds in great national parks. "City Strolling" not so much. You'd have to travel 400+ miles north from Las Vegas to the Salt Lake City area to do any serious "City Strolling."
The area you are describing is much too large to make any sweeping statements abbot weather or temperature. Elevation is the more dominant factor anyway. I suggest you go to one of the weather sites such as Weatherunderground or Accuweather for specifics.
Have a great time.
Jan 28, 2013 5:31 PM
2Given your interest in "awesome deserts," I second the above recommendation to focus on southern and eastern Utah (Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches) and the Grand Canyon. If time allows, you could extend the drive into southwest Colorado (Mesa Verde National Park) and into northern New Mexico (Bandelier National Monument and Santa Fe.)
Jan 29, 2013 7:46 AM
3Thanks for the tips everyone! I was also wondering about Yellowstone being open so early in the year and you guys confirmed it would still be too cold and filled with snow to make any sense driving there. I'll go take a look at some of those national parks in southern Utah and see what interesting activities and sights are available. Never heard of La Mesa park in Colorado though, what about Valley of the gods is it a very long drive as well?
If you guys suggest driving in a circle by staying close to Vegas would be a better bargain then I could stick to entering and leaving the US via Vegas, Mexico offers several quality budget airlines that are actually more luxurious than the major US carriers. Roundtrip tickets to Vegas-Mexico City if bought soon enough can go as low as only 260 USD!! I'll just have to ask my SO to ask around when are his vacation dates so that we can purchase the tickets well in advance to take advantage of the huge savings.
Jan 29, 2013 8:21 AM
I believe you may be refering to The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO. The Garden of the Gods has weird rock formations on a much smaller scale than Monument Valley. Never the less, they are still quite scenic and worthy of a stop.
There is a place called Valley of the Gods about an hour and a half north of Monument Valley along US-163. It has less spectacular sandstone buttes similar to Monument Valley.
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