5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

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stilllurking
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5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by stilllurking » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:00 pm

I'm thinking of planning a trip to visit family in Las Vegas but also thinking about seeing the Grand Canyon. We'll be coming from the Philly area. 2 adults, 2 kids under 10.

Looking for suggestions on things to do around the area.

We were thinking about flying into Phoenix and driving to the Grand Canyon and then head to Las Vegas and maybe go even as far west as Los Angeles.

Right now, I have some flights booked into Las Vegas but still have another 12 hours to cancel with no fees.

What are some sites you would recommend? We want to do Grand Canyon early because we would try to meet up with some folks there. LA would only be for Disneyland should the kids wish to wait around all day.

What's the weather like in this area in mid-April?

Thanks!

NewOldGuy
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by NewOldGuy » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:27 pm

check out canyon, check out hoover dam. spend other 4 days drinking and gambling and over eating. ;)

Bruce T
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Bruce T » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:28 pm

If you drive up from Phoenix and head to the eastern end of the GC, then the Sinagua settlements near Flagstaff are quite interesting (if you are into archeology) ... Walnut Canyon, Wupatki, Montezuma well and castle ... also Sedona area is stunning (once you get out of town) - great for hikes... of course that would not be the most direct route to Las Vegas and probably not conducive to getting to LA as well! Flagstaff was fun to walk around ... perhaps a bit college/beery vs. young kids... very best steak I ever had was at Horseman Lodge just NW of Flagstaff after day hikes at Grand Canyon... it was so awesome...

Near Las Vegas, we enjoyed:
1. Hoover Dam (take the whole Dam tour)
2. Valley of Fire (if you like hiking)
3. Go Cart rides in the dunes (Sunbuggy.com, mini-Baja chase) ... not sure if there are age restrictions on that - our boys were late teens.
4. We went over to Death Valley - if you go toward the south end, the China Ranch date farm is pretty neat... taste test the 20 or so variety of dates...
5. Bryce and Zion NPs are "close" to LV ... (by western standards) but the wrong direction vs. going to L.A... and possibly snow bound in April (as could be the GC north rim).

Note: We avoided downtown LV itself - not our thing ... so no comments on that.

IMHO Phoenix->LV->LA would be way too much road miles/time for 5 days ... but I don't like to drive... lots of pretty country to see though (if you can get the kids to look at it instead of their screens! :)

carruthers209
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by carruthers209 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:49 pm

You probably want to scratch LA off your list from Las Vegas. It's a good 5-6 hour drive one way and pretty much will consume a whole day of your very short five days. Usually the first and last day of your trip is all about arriving, getting your rental car, going to the hotel, etc. And you have kids. I don't really think going to the Grand Canyon is going to be an awesome experience for them. (I felt like Chevy Chase looking at the Grand Canyon and being ready to go on to the next stop). (What was breathtaking and awesome was driving across Utah and seeing all those national parks-I had no idea they were so spectacular but that was a 10 day trip). I would maximize your time in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas-getting from casino to casino will require a lot of walking-and then when you go into the casinos they are like small cities-vast more amounts of walking. The Luxor with its Egyptian theme might be fun for your kids-it's definitely atmospheric. The Mandalay has an aquarium of interest. New York, New York has roller coaster rides on the roof if I remember correctly and the Stratosphere has a wild ride on swings over the top of the hotel-looked very scary to me- It's hard to judge distances but Las Vegas has a lot in the area-Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, etc. Oh yes, and don't forget to get your picture taken at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign-they have Elvis impersonators too. Have a grand time.

livesoft
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by livesoft » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:20 pm

If you are not going to do any camping in the Grand Canyon, then there is really not much to do there except take a look and either be impressed or bored.

It is a 90 min drive from Flagstaff.

You can hike along the South Rim trail which is next to a bus line, so you can bail out at any time by getting on the bus. The view will be to the north into and across the canyon which will be stunning and awesome and impressive, but after about 30 minutes of that the kids will be bored.

There are a few small exhibits to see.

But I think the real thrill is to hike down to the river and back up. Or hike down to the river, up to the other side to the North Rim, then back to the river, and back up to the South Rim. Campground reservations required. The first hike would take 2 days for most people or 1 day if you are in shape, but want to ruin your knees. The second hike could be done in 6 days for regular folks.
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SoAnyway
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by SoAnyway » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:49 am

stilllurking wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:00 pm
I'm thinking of planning a trip to visit family in Las Vegas but also thinking about seeing the Grand Canyon. We'll be coming from the Philly area. 2 adults, 2 kids under 10.

Looking for suggestions on things to do around the area.

We were thinking about flying into Phoenix and driving to the Grand Canyon and then head to Las Vegas and maybe go even as far west as Los Angeles.

Right now, I have some flights booked into Las Vegas but still have another 12 hours to cancel with no fees.

What are some sites you would recommend? We want to do Grand Canyon early because we would try to meet up with some folks there. LA would only be for Disneyland should the kids wish to wait around all day.

What's the weather like in this area in mid-April?

Thanks!
Keep the reservations in/out of Vegas. Ditch the LA idea - You probably don't have time. Grand Canyon for sure with kids that age, whether helicopter, ground, or (I recommend) both. Hoover Dam for sure, and the full tour as someone upthread said, if your kids are of age to appreciate the engineering marvel that it is. If you can spring it, hang out at a Lake Las Vegas resort for a day afterward, once you've gotten the history on how it was created as a result of the Hoover Dam construction. Once back in Vegas, there's a TON of BH-friendly (read: Free), family-friendly attractions inside/outside the hotels on the Strip. Here's a starting point for you.

P.S. Weather in the area in April is delightful, esp. if you're coming from whatever Mother Nature is abusing Philly with at that time period.
Safe travels to you and your family, and Enjoy!! :sharebeer
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quantAndHold
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:10 am

It’s a long way from place to place in the west. Anaheim (where Disneyland is) is 5+ hours from Las Vegas, more when there’s traffic. The south rim of the Grand Canyon is 4 1/2 hours from Las Vegas. The north rim is even further, and is closed in April. If it were me, I would pick things to do that don’t require so much driving.

I would stick to things within a couple of hours of Las Vegas. Death Valley, Zion, Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon. Spend half the time in Las Vegas, then pick one of the others and spend the rest of the time there. You don’t have time to see the entire desert. Pick one place and focus on it. With only a couple of days, I would pick Zion. It’s amazingly beautiful,one of my faves, and small enough to do in a couple of days. Death Valley is also amazing, but big enough that a couple of days really isn’t enough time.

msk
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by msk » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:00 am

Most fun for the kids would IMHO be to just stick to Las Vegas and "do" a casino a day. There are that many interesting ones.

rich126
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by rich126 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:07 am

If you are flying into Phoenix, I'd strongly suggest stopping for a day or two at Sedona. Then go onward to the canyon. Roughly its 2 hrs from the airport to Sedona, then a good 2+ hrs to the Grand Canyon (depending where you are going) and then 4-5 hrs to LV from there.

Rupert
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Rupert » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:40 am

It's only about an hour longer to drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from Vegas relative to Phoenix. (Only the South Rim will be open in April). So I would keep the Vegas flights and use Vegas as your base. It is a rather long drive (5ish hours) so I would book a room somewhere near the Grand Canyon and make a two-day trip of it with stopovers at Hoover Dam and maybe some of the touristy stuff off Route 66. There's also lots to do in/around Flagstaff. You might find a room at one of the Canyon hotels. They'll be booked already for April but cancellations happen. (Other possibilities for rooms include Tusayan, Williams or Flagstaff.) That way you could see sunrise/sunset over the Canyon, which are awesome. Do you hike? If so, you'll have no trouble filling a full day at the Canyon. You need to get in the Canyon to get away from the tourist throngs. The overnight mule trips to the Canyon floor will likely have been booked for a year by now, so that's probably not an option.

JediMisty
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by JediMisty » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:49 am

carruthers209 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:49 pm
You probably want to scratch LA off your list from Las Vegas. It's a good 5-6 hour drive one way and pretty much will consume a whole day of your very short five days. Usually the first and last day of your trip is all about arriving, getting your rental car, going to the hotel, etc. And you have kids. I don't really think going to the Grand Canyon is going to be an awesome experience for them. (I felt like Chevy Chase looking at the Grand Canyon and being ready to go on to the next stop). (What was breathtaking and awesome was driving across Utah and seeing all those national parks-I had no idea they were so spectacular but that was a 10 day trip). I would maximize your time in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas-getting from casino to casino will require a lot of walking-and then when you go into the casinos they are like small cities-vast more amounts of walking. The Luxor with its Egyptian theme might be fun for your kids-it's definitely atmospheric. The Mandalay has an aquarium of interest. New York, New York has roller coaster rides on the roof if I remember correctly and the Stratosphere has a wild ride on swings over the top of the hotel-looked very scary to me- It's hard to judge distances but Las Vegas has a lot in the area-Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, etc. Oh yes, and don't forget to get your picture taken at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign-they have Elvis impersonators too. Have a grand time.
+1

spitty
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by spitty » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:41 am

Grand Canyon south rim is about 7000 feet elevation so it could be cold and even snow. LV should be warm and perfect, Phx hot!

Shallowpockets
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Shallowpockets » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:11 am

msk wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:00 am
Most fun for the kids would IMHO be to just stick to Las Vegas and "do" a casino a day. There are that many interesting ones.
I second this. You have 5 days. 5 days. Think about that. Phoenix is 4:30 hours drive to Vegas. If you have never been to Las Vegas there is lot to see. Better than the Grand Canyon might be a visit to Hoover Dam.
Does your 5 days include the flight days?
If you really want to do the Grand Canyon, then go for it. You probably won't camp. You probably won't get a spot in the G.C. Itself, so you need to get a place just outside the park, unless you are thinking of doing it in one day, round trip. Ugh.
Be realistic. Unless you want your whole time to be going and coming.
If I was to visit Philadelphia I would not be thinking I want to pop up to Boston and maybe even Maine for a lobster. Taking in NYC also. Oh, and on the way back I'll do D.C. too.
I don't understand when people take shorter vacations and try and fit in far flung destinations they see on a map.
Staying in Las Vegas be aware that the hotels there have those "resort fees". Usually in small print.

livesoft
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:17 am

It is realistic to stay the night in Flagstaff, drive 90 minutes to GC, hike some of South Rim, putz around, hike down South Kaibab Trail 0.9 mi, 600 ft lower to Ooh-aah Point(if no ice and snow on the trail, otherwise microspikes needed) and 0.9 mi back, then drive back to Flagstaff to eat dinner and stay the night.

Flagstaff is 2 hours drive from the Phoenix airport.
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CardinalRule
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by CardinalRule » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:44 am

I may have misunderstood your point, but there is really little difference between Las Vegas and Phoenix, climate wise.
spitty wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:41 am
Grand Canyon south rim is about 7000 feet elevation so it could be cold and even snow. LV should be warm and perfect, Phx hot!

Thegame14
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Thegame14 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:55 am

I would fly into vegas, rent a car and head to the grand canyon, on the way there you can hit the hoover dam and do the Dam tour and take all the Dam pictures you want. Then prob another 4ish hours to get to the Canyon, eat dinner, go to bed early and get up at like 5AM, eat breakfast and hike the south rim. With kids you wont make it all the way to the River, but you can probably make it about Indian Garden, or if you are in good shape Plateau Point on the Bright Angel trail. Then I would eat dinner and drive back to vegas. Vegas with 2 kids that age, means not a lot of gambling time, but maybe they can stay in the room for a couple hours so you can gamble some. I would hit the buffets, and there is one famous breakfast place to eat I think, Hash House a Go Go. I would take the kids to see the locations of a few TV shows like Pawn Stars and it used to be on TV, Rick's Restorations. Bachi Burger, Naked City Pizza, and of course you have to see a show or three. I think Britney just took a break from her Residency due to her father's illness. There is a mall and outlets nearby the strip and you can always walk around and see the free outdoor shows like the Pirate ship and the water fountains. I know they suck, but id do a timeshare presentation, as they are during the day, when Vegas is quieter and usually you can get a free dinner or buffet and show tickets, just tell them you are there for the free stuff and have no money or interest in buying and they should leave you alone.

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midareff
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by midareff » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:29 am

I'd fly into Vegas and rent a car there. Grand Canyon is about a 6 hour drive. Definitely make reservations where you can, which can be cancelled. About ten days in advance of arrival the National Park Service (unknown if shutdown effects this) puts the in park cancellations up on the web. It's much better to be in the park. Find out when sunset is and if staying at El Tovar or the next Inn to the west you can make reservations for the dining room to experience sunset at the Canyon... just beautiful. If not, the Arizona Room about two inns to the west is also on the rim and does not take reservations so walk-ins can also get a seat at sunset with a bit of luck. Back in Vegas Canyon of Fire and Red Rock Canyon (and lots of others) are an easy drive from Vegas.... the Petroglyphs in some of the Canyons are amazing.

Fly into Vegas early so the drive to the canyon is not all dark. Dinner there, explore the next day, drive back next day and then look for other interesting Canyons and sights in the remaining two days.

adamthesmythe
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:37 am

Theoretically LA is 5-6 hours away from Vegas. In practice you may end up with a few extra hours in traffic. Ask me how I know.

Other national parks (Zion, Bryce) are very accessible from Vegas, and may be a more interesting experience than the Grand Canyon rim.

Ice on the upper part of the Canyon trails can persist very late into spring, making even a short hike into the Canyon impractical.

ModifiedDuration
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by ModifiedDuration » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:30 am

I don’t know if the kids are too young for this, but we adults really enjoyed this tour of an old gold and silver mine (about 45 minutes outside Vegas):

http://eldoradocanyonminetours.com/mine-tours.html

hicabob
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by hicabob » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:50 am

This is an interesting place in Vegas to spend a couple hours

https://nationalatomictestingmuseum.org/about/

Hikes_With_Dogs
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Hikes_With_Dogs » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:20 pm

Valley of Fire state park is fantastic. Skip Red Rock.

spitty
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by spitty » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:41 pm

CardinalRule wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:44 am
I may have misunderstood your point, but there is really little difference between Las Vegas and Phoenix, climate wise.
spitty wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:41 am
Grand Canyon south rim is about 7000 feet elevation so it could be cold and even snow. LV should be warm and perfect, Phx hot!
Temp may be hotter in Phx vs LV mid-April; by June 1 they'll both be hot. Just my experience. OP it really is worth seeing the GC while you're out west and Flag is a good overnight base. Pictures just don't do it justice. And Hoover Dam is on the way from Phx (highway 93), do the full tour if possible. We visited Red Rock Canyon (W of LV) last year and though it was nice hiking, I wouldn't call it a "must see".

shawndoggy
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by shawndoggy » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:03 pm

Red Rock is fantastic, but can seem lame if all you do is drive around the loop because it can get pretty crowded. Consider driving a couple of miles past the conservation area and hiking oak creek. Pretty cool, fewer peeps. Just the drive out charleston to Calico Basin / RR / Spring Mountain Ranch / Blue Diamond is pretty neat. Guaranteed you'll see a couple of wild burros.

Valley of fire is also totally worth it and very close (by Nevada standards anyhow). Fewer people than redrock and a great place for kids to zip around on the sandstone. one thing to note is that it's super grippy so kinda easy to climb up pretty steep stuff and get in trouble. Not a big deal but just something to keep in mind if your kids are active.

The Dam is worth seeing, though the tour isn't what it was pre 9-11.

For young kids, IMHO, the grand canyon is totally just going to look like a big hole in the ground. not worth the effort.

There's a mob museum and a neon museum that are pretty cool.

The strip/casinos themselves represent everything that is wrong with america, but that's another thread.

lazydavid
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by lazydavid » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:10 pm

Thegame14 wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:55 am
There is a mall and outlets nearby the strip and you can always walk around and see the free outdoor shows like the Pirate ship and the water fountains.
The Pirate ship show at TI closed permanently 5.5 years ago, and wasn't really family-friendly since 2003.

DaftInvestor
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:11 pm

Personally with young kids I wouldn't go to Las Vegas. I'd go to the Grand Canyon but then head in the other direction. I'd see the Meteor Crater, Petrified National Forest, Painted Desert, 4 Corners, Canyon De-Chelly and Monument Valley. There are several smaller national parks/monuments on this little loop. Sedona is a nice stop if you are coming from Pheonix and driving up to Flagstaff - you can also make a quick stop in Montezoma (spelling?) Castle National Monument.
However, if you think your kids aren't the type to enjoy seeing all these sites and national parks - perhaps DisneyLand is more appropriate.

Rupert
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Rupert » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:29 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:11 pm
Personally with young kids I wouldn't go to Las Vegas. I'd go to the Grand Canyon but then head in the other direction. I'd see the Meteor Crater, Petrified National Forest, Painted Desert, 4 Corners, Canyon De-Chelly and Monument Valley. There are several smaller national parks/monuments on this little loop. Sedona is a nice stop if you are coming from Pheonix and driving up to Flagstaff - you can also make a quick stop in Montezoma (spelling?) Castle National Monument.
However, if you think your kids aren't the type to enjoy seeing all these sites and national parks - perhaps DisneyLand is more appropriate.
I have also been rather surprised by the number of people saying that young kids won't enjoy the Grand Canyon. There's nothing my young kids love more than a ranger talk or guided ranger tour. Throw in some cheesy roadside attractions (World's Biggest Ball of Yarn, etc.), and they're in heaven. Las Vegas is, to us, a place akin to the 7th or 8th circle of hell. Different strokes, I guess.

psteinx
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by psteinx » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:31 pm

If you're coming from Phoenix, consider the musical instruments museum in Scottsdale (depending on your kids' ages and your family's interests...)

DaftInvestor
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:41 pm

Rupert wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:29 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:11 pm
Personally with young kids I wouldn't go to Las Vegas. I'd go to the Grand Canyon but then head in the other direction. I'd see the Meteor Crater, Petrified National Forest, Painted Desert, 4 Corners, Canyon De-Chelly and Monument Valley. There are several smaller national parks/monuments on this little loop. Sedona is a nice stop if you are coming from Pheonix and driving up to Flagstaff - you can also make a quick stop in Montezoma (spelling?) Castle National Monument.
However, if you think your kids aren't the type to enjoy seeing all these sites and national parks - perhaps DisneyLand is more appropriate.
I have also been rather surprised by the number of people saying that young kids won't enjoy the Grand Canyon. There's nothing my young kids love more than a ranger talk or guided ranger tour. Throw in some cheesy roadside attractions (World's Biggest Ball of Yarn, etc.), and they're in heaven. Las Vegas is, to us, a place akin to the 7th or 8th circle of hell. Different strokes, I guess.
Yup. I don't get "doing a Casino day" with kids. Do you walk them through smoke-filled gambling halls with very little for them to do? Maybe they marvel at the cheesy decor and bright-lights at night? Not to mention the kinds of things you see happening on the strip when walking between Casinos. Vegas is fine for couples and sales-conferences - doesn't really cater to children in my opinion - not compared to all the other things you can do with children. But to each their own...

DrGoogle2017
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:53 pm

We did this trip in Dec, when it was cold and snowy. Plus we took the train from Williams to the Grand Canyon, we did enjoy the train ride. The reason for not staying inside the Grand Canyon is that these places are always booked to the hill, same with the Zion and Bryce Canyons so we stayed outside as much as possible. Plus hotel prices were not as competitive and we liked to see what’s it like, the rest of America, how other people live, outside the tourist area.

MDfan
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by MDfan » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:10 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:10 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:55 am
There is a mall and outlets nearby the strip and you can always walk around and see the free outdoor shows like the Pirate ship and the water fountains.
The Pirate ship show at TI closed permanently 5.5 years ago, and wasn't really family-friendly since 2003.
There's really not much "family-friendly" in Vegas no matter how hard they try. I've been to Vegas twice. Took our 20-something kids this past year. Nobody has any real desire to ever go back. Hoover Dam is cool. Lake Mead is nice (there's a nice hike from the lake to Hoover Dam). I say do more time at Grand Canyon and less time in Vegas.

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FlyAF
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by FlyAF » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:47 pm

I make many trips to Vegas every year as I'm a pretty big gambler. If I sprinkle in enough nice meals and shows, my wife likes it too. We can get pretty rambunctious and like that nobody will bat an eye. I will never understand why anyone would want to take their kids there though. It is quite literally the side of adults that I wouldn't want kids to see, but again, I'm no parent. Seeing couples walking their young kids down the strip at 2am, dodging passed out homeless and guys peddling escorts is not only a buzzkill, but really makes me question what kind of "parenting" is going on. Legalization has just made that aspect of it even more glaring if you're from a state where it's still illegal.

I would actually be curious to hear from people with minor kids that have taken their kids out on the strip. What was the end game? What did you expect your kids might take away from it?

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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:47 pm

Rupert wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:29 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:11 pm
Personally with young kids I wouldn't go to Las Vegas. I'd go to the Grand Canyon but then head in the other direction. I'd see the Meteor Crater, Petrified National Forest, Painted Desert, 4 Corners, Canyon De-Chelly and Monument Valley. There are several smaller national parks/monuments on this little loop. Sedona is a nice stop if you are coming from Pheonix and driving up to Flagstaff - you can also make a quick stop in Montezoma (spelling?) Castle National Monument.
However, if you think your kids aren't the type to enjoy seeing all these sites and national parks - perhaps DisneyLand is more appropriate.
I have also been rather surprised by the number of people saying that young kids won't enjoy the Grand Canyon. There's nothing my young kids love more than a ranger talk or guided ranger tour. Throw in some cheesy roadside attractions (World's Biggest Ball of Yarn, etc.), and they're in heaven. Las Vegas is, to us, a place akin to the 7th or 8th circle of hell. Different strokes, I guess.
Sure, but you get to enjoy it as a spectator. Even Dante liked that.

livesoft
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:15 pm

Rupert wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:29 pm
I have also been rather surprised by the number of people saying that young kids won't enjoy the Grand Canyon. There's nothing my young kids love more than a ranger talk or guided ranger tour.
I am not surprised that folks are not recommending the GC for young kids. It is difficult to get to and essentially undeveloped except for a relatively minor area around the Visitor Center which is one of the least informative national park visitor centers that I have ever been to. My family spent an entire day there, but started in Flagstaff and returned to Flagstaff. My kids were impressed in the first 30 minutes, but after that boredom.

But if you are backpacking and have a few days to spend hiking down to the river or even to Plateau Point and back, then it is definitely worth it. I spent an entire week there without the fam, but was on the South Rim for a brief few hours before hiking north. And yes, it snowed, and yes, one needed microspikes on the icy trails heading down/up from/to the South Rim.
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YoungLion
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by YoungLion » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:24 pm

Valley of Fire and Hoover Dam for the reasons already listed.
I would make an effort to hike below the rim, even if it is a only mile. I think there is a big scenery difference between looking at the canyon from the rim and being in the canyon. I prefer the South Kaibab over the Bright Angel. If you could get to Skeleton Point, that would be awesome. If you only get a mile down the trail, that would still be better than the same amount of time looking at it from the rim.

Cash is King
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Cash is King » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:25 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:10 am
It’s a long way from place to place in the west. Anaheim (where Disneyland is) is 5+ hours from Las Vegas, more when there’s traffic. The south rim of the Grand Canyon is 4 1/2 hours from Las Vegas. The north rim is even further, and is closed in April. If it were me, I would pick things to do that don’t require so much driving.

I would stick to things within a couple of hours of Las Vegas. Death Valley, Zion, Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon. Spend half the time in Las Vegas, then pick one of the others and spend the rest of the time there. You don’t have time to see the entire desert. Pick one place and focus on it. With only a couple of days, I would pick Zion. It’s amazingly beautiful,one of my faves, and small enough to do in a couple of days. Death Valley is also amazing, but big enough that a couple of days really isn’t enough time.
+1, and add Hoover Dam tour.

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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:37 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:47 pm
I make many trips to Vegas every year as I'm a pretty big gambler. If I sprinkle in enough nice meals and shows, my wife likes it too. We can get pretty rambunctious and like that nobody will bat an eye. I will never understand why anyone would want to take their kids there though. It is quite literally the side of adults that I wouldn't want kids to see, but again, I'm no parent. Seeing couples walking their young kids down the strip at 2am, dodging passed out homeless and guys peddling escorts is not only a buzzkill, but really makes me question what kind of "parenting" is going on. Legalization has just made that aspect of it even more glaring if you're from a state where it's still illegal.

I would actually be curious to hear from people with minor kids that have taken their kids out on the strip. What was the end game? What did you expect your kids might take away from it?
We did take our kids to Las Vegas couple times when they were younger. We were staying in the Venetian hotel, my husband was with them the whole time riding the gondola. I got to do a bit of gambling. None of my kids inherited the gambling gene that I have. My sister and my mom never ever gambled. My kids have turned out well, except for the fact they did go to Harvard or graduated from there, so there’s no need for anyone to question our parenting skill. Even my sister has commented on well they turned out. I’m not sure spending a few days in Las Vegas would affect them that much. Even when the oldest child was older, she did go to Las Vegas with her sorority friends mostly to celebrate someone’s birthday, and for drinking lots of alcohol, but again no gambling ever.
Now we don’t even go there, my kids don’t even go there even. No long term affect I can see of. I gamble once a year in Indian Casino in California, mostly on my birthday, I go for the buffet and a bit of poker. I lose less than $50 and call it a day.
Last edited by DrGoogle2017 on Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:16 pm, edited 4 times in total.

researcher
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by researcher » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:40 pm

livesoft wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:15 pm
Rupert wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:29 pm
I have also been rather surprised by the number of people saying that young kids won't enjoy the Grand Canyon. There's nothing my young kids love more than a ranger talk or guided ranger tour.
I am not surprised that folks are not recommending the GC for young kids. It is difficult to get to and essentially undeveloped except for a relatively minor area around the Visitor Center which is one of the least informative national park visitor centers that I have ever been to.

But if you are backpacking and have a few days to spend hiking down to the river or even to Plateau Point and back, then it is definitely worth it.
Completely agree with this.
Unless you are hiking down to the river, the South Rim is rather boring (even as an adventuresome adult).
There is very little to do there, and after about 30 minutes with kids, they will have had their fill of the view.

I wouln't make the drive unless you plan to hike, camp, raft, ect.
Instead, book a helicopter trip out of Vegas.

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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by MJS » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:14 pm

psteinx wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:31 pm
If you're coming from Phoenix, consider the musical instruments museum in Scottsdale (depending on your kids' ages and your family's interests...)
+1. The MIM is great for kids who like to bang on things, and the bagpipe collection is fun.

Um, do your kids really like 6 hour drives? If not, consider going to just one town and explore it. Phoenix, LV, Flagstaff/GC each offer plenty to do for 5 days. Late April is much warmer than early April, but evenings will still be cool.

+1 to taking the helicopter or train to the Grand Canyon instead of driving.

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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:42 pm

If you are contemplating a hike into the canyon

The Hermit and Grandview trails are mule-free. There are two problems with mules, and I think you know what they are.

The Grandview trail has parking you can drive to (the last time I was there).

livesoft
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by livesoft » Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:46 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:42 pm
The Hermit and Grandview trails are mule-free. There are two problems with mules, and I think you know what they are.
I thought the mules would be a problem as well, but I had delightful conversations with the mule wranglers that I met on the trails which enhanced my entire GC experience. I even recognized the same mule 3 times. Yes, there are two problems (same for humans), but also the mules get up early, so if you are camped near their corral, you will be woken early, too.
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Northern Flicker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:55 pm

It is just a 4 hour drive from Las Vegas to Zion Natl Park. One of the routes allows for a stopover at Lake Mead and/or the Valley of Fire. You also could include Bryce Canyon. You will spend less time on travel and more time doing things in a park with such an itinerary vs the Grand Canyon.
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Random Musings » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:04 am

Death Valley is a very interesting place and April would be a good time to visit. However, in the other direction, the Zion/Bryce area is a great area to visit but Bryce will be cool as elevations reach 9,000 ft. There are great hiking routes in both parks, plus other areas around there to visit (like Kodakchrome). For the 4 to 4 1/2 hrs drive, I would do that over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (I prefer the North Rim as the crowds are smaller, but that is closed once the snows close the roads). Sedona is also a good choice. Regardless, make a plan and get your accommodations and itinerary ready. Vegas with kids for five days is something I would not do, but that's me. I would spend perhaps a day there, seeing the sights, taking in a show and having a good meal.

RM
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Cash is King » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:04 am

jalbert wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:55 pm
It is just a 4 hour drive from Las Vegas to Zion Natl Park. One of the routes allows for a stopover at Lake Mead and/or the Valley of Fire. You also could include Bryce Canyon. You will spend less time on travel and more time doing things in a park with such an itinerary vs the Grand Canyon.
FYI, Zion Natl Park is just over 2 1/2 hours from Vegas and Bryce Canyon is 4 hours. :sharebeer

goodlifer
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by goodlifer » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:17 am

Although it is too late to change the OP's reservations, I would like to chime in. As others have said, 5 days probably isn't enough time to see all that you want, unless you are like my husband and just want to march around nonstop just to say that you have been there and seen that. You could easily spend 5 days in LV or AZ and not see all that there is to see. I think the easiest route would be to make LV your home base and take tours to the GC and whatever else you want to see. I'm pretty sure there is a day tour from LV to Hollywood, too. I have been to the GC during spring break. You do not want to be there at that time if this is your first trip there. It is packed to the gills and people get short tempered due to lack of parking. It is also surprisingly cold and windy. A tour bus would be a big plus since they know how to get around and where to go. Plus, people tend to move faster when a bus is on their tail. It is also nice to get out of the wind for a while. Other than that, we love it. My daughter especially loves it, but we are into nature and fossils and everything.

There are a ton of things for kids to do in Vegas, and you can easily spend 5 days just on the strip. I don't know why people would say there isn't, unless they are confusing The Strip with downtown. You probably don't want to take the kids downtown unless things have drastically changed since the last time I was there. Just google "things for kids to do in Vegas" and all kinds of websites pop up. Circus Circus was my nephew's favorite place on Earth, but it can be a money pit for parents. Treasure Island has a Marvel Avengers exhibit, if your kids are into that. It is also pretty kid-friendly but I think the room are more expensive there.

If you choose to make AZ your base, I suggest tours for everything. We missed a lot our first time there because we didn't know where to go. We took the Horseshoe Bend/Antelope Canyon tour and saw a lot of places to stop for our next trip. Then we decided to just drive all over on our next trip, which may not be ideal with young kids, but we saw a lot and had a lot of fun. Flagstaff would probably be your base for tours. Also, if you go to Horseshoe Bend, hang on to your kids. There is no fencing and they could get bumped from the edge. Ask me how I know! I don't really recommend HB because it is crowded and it looks exactly like the pictures. If you have seen one picture of it, you have seen all there is to see of Horseshoe Bend.

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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:14 pm

goodlifer wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:17 am
I have been to the GC during spring break. You do not want to be there at that time if this is your first trip there. It is packed to the gills and people get short tempered due to lack of parking.
I spent a day in GC on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Absolutely packed then as well. But 2 days later on the Monday after Thanksgiving, it was like a ghost town.
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by Random Musings » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:32 pm

stilllurking wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:00 pm
I'm thinking of planning a trip to visit family in Las Vegas but also thinking about seeing the Grand Canyon. We'll be coming from the Philly area. 2 adults, 2 kids under 10.

Looking for suggestions on things to do around the area.

We were thinking about flying into Phoenix and driving to the Grand Canyon and then head to Las Vegas and maybe go even as far west as Los Angeles.

Right now, I have some flights booked into Las Vegas but still have another 12 hours to cancel with no fees.

What are some sites you would recommend? We want to do Grand Canyon early because we would try to meet up with some folks there. LA would only be for Disneyland should the kids wish to wait around all day.

What's the weather like in this area in mid-April?

Thanks!
How old are your kids? If they are older, Knott's Berry Farm is a park that may appeal to them more. The original Disneyland is nice (but may be crowded).

With respect to the national parks, have to be flexible due to the current partial gov shutdown.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ

CurlyDave
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by CurlyDave » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:57 am

Around 25 years ago I was stuck near there with an engine failure and while waiting a couple of days for parts went to visit the Grand Canyon Caverns.

At the time the advertising signs made me suspect that it was the worst sort of tourist trap and I was very skeptical, but desperate for something to do.

Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised and think it might be worth while to visit, especially if you have extra time on your hands.

Of course, this was quite a while ago and things may have changed...

DrGoogle2017
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:26 pm

Las Vegas is suggested because sometime you can have dirt cheap rooms there, we booked at one place for $49 per night for nice 4 stars hotel. But lately I avoid Las Vegas for reasons I shall not mention here.

FinancialRookie
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Re: 5 days. What to do in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

Post by FinancialRookie » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:47 pm

stilllurking wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:00 pm
I'm thinking of planning a trip to visit family in Las Vegas but also thinking about seeing the Grand Canyon. We'll be coming from the Philly area. 2 adults, 2 kids under 10.

Looking for suggestions on things to do around the area.

We were thinking about flying into Phoenix and driving to the Grand Canyon and then head to Las Vegas and maybe go even as far west as Los Angeles.

Right now, I have some flights booked into Las Vegas but still have another 12 hours to cancel with no fees.

What are some sites you would recommend? We want to do Grand Canyon early because we would try to meet up with some folks there. LA would only be for Disneyland should the kids wish to wait around all day.

What's the weather like in this area in mid-April?

Thanks!
Scrap the whole idea and go to Zion National Park in southwest Utah instead!!!

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