United States- South West

Nevada-LAS VEGAS!!! We have been to Vegas many times and every time is so different- there is so much to do in Vegas it is insane- each hotel itself even has a lot going on.

We love staying on Fremont Street. This is in old Vegas. Its is off the strip and where the locals go. There is a dome over the strip that you can zip line. Its pretty awesome. Now they are superman style which was not offered when we did it. We always stay at the golden nugget. https://www.goldennugget.com/las-vegas/ They have a great water slide that goes through the aquarium! Also the largest golden nugget in existence, and the second biggest ever discovered. They call it the Hand of Faith and you can see it at the hotel. You can also get gold bricks out of the machine if you fancy.

Here is a YouTube video of our Dad Daughters trip through Vegas, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Antelope Slot Canyon & Bryce Canyon https://youtu.be/n1mM7puPbJQ (Oct 2016)

We have attending 2 Vegas weddings! The first one Jess and Vinnie rented out a house with a huge backyard which including a pool, hot tub and grill area. This is where they got married. Their families stayed at that house and they also rented the house across the street for friends. They had a taco truck come to the house & had the best photo booth- we had a blast. The night before they rented a Double Decker bus that took us through the strip and to Fremont Street. They did their wedding photos at the Neon Museum. These two will be together till the end of time- way too perfect together đź’— https://www.neonmuseum.org/ (July 2011)

Second Vegas wedding was on Halloween in a Vegas wedding chapel- (October 2016) Elvis married them and they were dressed as John & Yoko-we were all dressed in Halloween costumes and it was so fricken fun! My dad and sister even got to attend and my dad was like I cant believe I am at a real Vegas wedding haha! happy to report they are still together and so perfect for each other!

Meow Wolf– Las Vegas- Omega Mart- (January 2022) I wasn’t sure if this Meow Wolf would be as cool as the original in Sante Fe but it so was- highly recommend – you wanna book tickets in advance https://tickets.meowwolf.com/las-vegas/

Valley of Fire- Nevada– (October 2014) an hour away from Vegas is the Valley of Fire- its an easy getaway if you need some time in the desert- which we all do! It is known for its bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops & petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years! Check out the wave and elephant rock- It is $10 per vehicle per day. Overnight camping is $20 per night. http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire

Red Rock CanyonNevada– (January 2022) 30 mins from Vegas- free with national parks pass or $15 per vehicle – reservations required – you can make them online – this is a quick easy drive out of the craziness that is Vegas and relax in the desert – we even took a nap in the sun to recharge and it was perfect!

Hoover DamNevada-(October 2016) 46 min from Las Vegas is the Hoover Dam- you can book a tour and go inside- or you can walk around outside- which is what we did- It is $30 per person for the tours https://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/

Death Valley National ParkCalifornia– (January 2022) 2 1/2 hours from Las Vegas- we did this as a day trip so only had time for 3 sections- this is one of the largest national parks – it’s the hottest, driest and lowest place in the United States- we stopped at Artist’s Palette, Badwater Basin and Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes- we did sunset at Mesquite Flats but recommend seeing it when the sun is not setting so the sun can light up the whole dunes- also Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level- walk out the whole way to see the salt formations- it may look like its not gonna be that white you see in photos but just keep waking!!

Artist’s Palette
Badwater Basin
Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes

Grand Canyon WestArizona– (October 2016) 1 hr 42 min from Hoover Dam- Grand Canyon West is the closet canyon to Vegas- it is the smallest part of the Grand Canyon but still cool. I highly recommend Grand Canyon South, I still need to check out Grand Canyon North- North is the least busiest. The drive is beautiful and you get to see Joshua trees. If you have never been for sure go- but if you have been to Grand Canyon North or South skip this cause you wont be as impressed. The Grand Canyon West is the one with the sky walk. There are several different entrance packages- with general admission starting at $56- it is owned by the Hualapai Tribe so the America the beautiful pass does not work here. We took our dad here as part of our father daughters trip and we were wowed! I still remember us driving and starting to see the colors of the canyon and the all of us in the car yelled WOAH!!!! https://grandcanyonwest.com/

Grand Canyon SouthArizona-(April 2019) it is 3 hours and 42 min away from Hoover Dam. Grand Canyon south gets crazy busy but it is spectacular. There is so much to do from hiking, rafting, or just walking the rim. There are a lot of parking lots. Just find one that is not full and start your walk! It is $35 per vehicle good for 7 days or free with the America the Beautiful pass.

From Grand Canyon South you can go south towards Sedona in Arizona or swing up and around through Utah stopping at Monument Valley, Antelope slot canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park- if you don’t have time then head down to Sedona and back to Las Vegas. Or swing up to Zion National Park and then back to Vegas. We headed to Monument Valley.

Monument ValleyArizona/Utah– (April 2019) We LOVED Monument Valley- i love the energy here. We stayed at a hotel that had a sunrise view over Monument Valley- it was magical. It is $10 person to enter Monument Valley- the road is red dirt and when we went it was not busy at all. It is a 17 mile loop around the park- and it is a one way road. They call Monument Valley – where earth meets the sky https://navajonationparks.org/tribal-parks/monument-valley/

Antelope Slot CanyonArizona– (October 2016) it is about 2 hours away from Monument Valley- you need to book a tour for Antelope Slot Canyon- you can not explore it on your own. you can book a tour here https://antelopeslotcanyon.com/– it will be busy prepare for it to be crowded- they are slot canyons with people going both ways through the canyon. Joe was very overwhelmed and not expecting such crowds (April 2019) I should of warned him better. When i went with my sister and dad it was just as busy but we were the first group who went to it was not as bad

Horseshoe BendArizona– (October 2016) 20 min from Antelope Slot Canyon-you can do this before or after your Antelope Slot Canyon tour. So amazing how the Colorado River carved through. It is 20 min walk from the parking lot. It has always been free when I have gone but now cost $10 per vehicle. As Horseshoe Bend becomes busy they have built a new parking lot with a shuttle that takes you to the main parking lot

Bryce CanyonUtah– (October 2016) 2 1/2 hours from Horseshoe Bend. Elevation is high so you might wanna grab your hoodie and jacket for this one, it can get cold. There are many sections of this park- you will be given a trail map and you can explore the hoodoos, sand pillars and rock formations. This park is small- one day is enough- but if you plan on hiking a lot take 2 days. Make sure to check out Sunrise Point, Sunset point, Inspiration point and Bryce Point. $35 per vehicle or free with America the Beauty Pass

Zion National ParkUtah– (April 2019) haven’t had the chance to explore much here but would really love to do the Narrows

So if you have time to add Arches National Park, Canyonland National Park, Dead Horse State Park and Capital Reef National Park to this trip then add it after Monument Valley- but if you do not then add Zion or Bryce and all these parks to your next trip from Las Vegas.

Arches National ParkUtah– (September 2017) located 7 hours from Vegas- 5 hrs from Zion- 3 & 1/2 hrs from Salt Lake – Arches is an incredible national park- we like to fly into Vegas and rent a car cause Vegas is just all around cheaper than Salt Lake or even Denver. We usually can get car rentals out of Vegas for $350 for almost 2 weeks. There are also lots of flights in and out of Vegas where Salt Lake has only a couple. It is worth the drive cause you can add Zion and Bryce or even Capitol Reef National Park to split up the drive. Once you get to Arches National Park in Moab- stay at a camp ground- the stars at night are fricken incredible! The park is $30 a vehicle or free with the America the Beautiful pass. This park gets busy- like super busy- so expect crowds at any time of the day. Hike around and explore it all- and for sure make sure to take the hike to Delicate Arch- it is a little over a mile each way

Here is a YouTube video of our Arches, Canyondland, Colorado, Mesa Verde trip https://youtu.be/0pOYv8OTCd0

Canyonlands National ParkUtah– (September 2017) we really really loved Canyonlands! it was much quieter and so cool. We did not plan anything here- just got the map and drove and hiked around. We ended up in the Island in the Sky, Horseshoe Canyon were we saw rock art and petroglyphs and did sunset in the Needles. $30 per vehicle or the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

Capital Reef National ParkUtah– (September 2017) we didn’t visit cause didnt know it existed! haha! but someone told us about Dead Horse State Park and we caught the sunset there after a day at Arches. It is 30 mins away-It was quieter and a great place to end the day. It is $20 per vehicle to enter the state park

New Mexico– (October 2021) we love New Mexico and Taos and Santa Fe are favorites- we stayed at the cutest bed and breakfast in Taos with our own fire place in the bedroom https://adobepines.com/

We walked around and shopped and ate everything in Taos- there is also a ski mountain here that Joe really wants to check out https://www.skitaos.com

Santa Fe New Mexico– (October 2021) lots of food, art and shopping here- the Georgia O’Keefe museum is here- it was sold out when i went to book tickets- so book a bit further in advance if you can- it is $18 and under 18 free. Also check out Meow Wolf – Santa Fe is the original Meow Wolf and it was amazing! Highly recommend it https://meowwolf.com/visit/santa-fe

Roswell, New Mexico-(October 2021) this place was perfect – just the right amount of aliens and information with so much fun and good Mexican food- right when we entered Roswell we made sure to stop at the welcome to Roswell sign- there is a great pull over spot for your car- we also checked out Alien Zone where you can take photos with aliens for 5 bucks. Just pay at the counter and head to the back after- we laughed so hard taking photos with aliens- the grilling photo was our favorite – don’t miss The UFO Museum- which I liked a lot- I thought it had some really great history and ancient alien info. For 5 bucks we also went to the Planetarium which was such a treat- I love Planetariums- all in all Roswell was super fun and I would so go back https://www.roswellufomuseum.com

Carlsbad CavernsNew Mexico– (October 2021) 1 hour and 45 min away from Roswell we did this as a day trip. You can take the elevator down into the cave or walk down- walking adds an extra hour or so to the adventure- you will take the elevator back up at the end as it is a one way in- all in all it is about a 3 hour adventure- it’s beautiful though- Mother Nature sure blows your mind in here- free with the parks pass or $20 adults $10 children

White Sands National ParkNew Mexico– (October 2021) white sands became a national park in 2019- Gypsum is what makes the sand all white and it looks like snow! The sand feels so good on your bare feet and it is solid which makes it super easy to walk on. They have trial makers cause it is very easy to get lost out here – it’s not tall like the Great Sand Dunes so once you walk over a dune you can not see where you came from- so stay on the trail if you plan to hike far – there are 5 trials you can hike – we chose the longest trail which was the Alkali Flat Trail- it is a 5 mile round trip hike- we just hiked out for a mile and then hiked back- we enjoyed laying and playing in the sand

Petrified Forest National ParkArizona– (June 2003) we explored this park way back in June 2003- I never imagined that wood stumps can turn to stone!!!! This place was so cool

Saguaro National ParkArizona– (October 2021) we had never seen Saguaro cactus and were wowed by this place- we loved it- these cactus are so old and so tall- they go out as far as your eyes can see – it’s amazing. Once you hit Tucson Arizona you start to see Saguaro everywhere- we stayed in the coolest hotel called hotel McCoy – https://hotelmccoy.com so much art, a salt water pool, oatmeal breakfast bar for free and they give you a free drink chip- stay there if you get a chance – it is about 20 min from this hotel to the welcome center at Saguaro NP- we explored most of the park cause the walking trails are short and the cactus are incredible- it does get hot so we plan for the heat- When we went in October it was not super hot