Las Vegas, the dazzling city of lights and entertainment, may not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a family vacation. However, if you think a Las Vegas family vacation is all about casinos and nightlife, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. Now, before you side-eye me and say, “Really, Vegas is NOT for kids!”, hear me out. During a recent solo trip, I discovered an array of family-friendly activities and attractions that made me see the city in a whole new light.
From thrilling amusement parks to mesmerizing aquariums and interactive museums, a Las Vegas family vacation offers parts that the entire family can enjoy, along with some things you’d want to overlook. Dive into this guide to uncover the hidden gems and family-oriented experiences that can make your Las Vegas family vacation unforgettable!
I saw cheap tickets on sale in December and decided we’d spend my birthday in Vegas. I then carefully planned out every detail of this adventure. Now, I’m ready to share everything I learned so you can have a great family vacation in Las Vegas too.
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When to Visit Las Vegas
If you can stand a little chill or just don’t want to sweat it out your whole vacation, then the winter months are far more family friendly. Not just because of less people but also better prices. A few days in January or February works much better than July or August on the pocketbook.
You could opt to stay in Vegas the entire time, do a few day trips to nearby parks or the Grand Canyon, or make a weeklong trip of traveling to Utah or Arizona to see some bucket list worthy sites. Seven days is just enough time for the perfect Las Vegas to Page, AZ itinerary.
What to Pack for a Winter Trip:
Check the weather before you go!
- Light sweater or Heavy sweater depending on your normal needs.
- Pants, Joggers (great for hiking), Jeans
- Long sleeve shirt and short sleeve shirts (especially ones that can be layered)
- Hiking boots or comfortable walking shoes (tons of walking)
- A light scarf helps to keep your throat covered or dust/wind out of your face/mouth
- Sunscreen – that sun is no joke!
- Sunglasses – a must.
- Chapstick!!! ( You can always pick these up in a convenience store as well.)
Getting a Las Vegas Budget Car Rental
Car rental availability and rates can be easily affected by conventions going on at the time you travel. Always book early and try to compare rates on the kind of car you want. Remember these tips to save you money and time on your car rentals:
- Loyalty programs help you skip the line as long as you have accurate details including license and credit card loaded into your account.
- Avis Preferred loyalty gives you rewards. If you rent often enough, you could be earning towards your next free rental.
- Credit cards are preferred and equal less hassle at pick-up. Some credit cards even protect you while driving, saving you money on insurance from the rental company (your personal policy may not cover all liability). Get a good understanding of what is covered from your personal policy including a low limit policy versus a more expensive valued car rental.
- Using a credit card at pick-up also typically requires less of a hold authorization than using a debit card.
- Always check the rental company directly to see what offers they may have on their “Offers” page.
- Additional partner programs that could save you money on a car rental are Amazon, AAA, AARP, & NCHS if you are a member.
Las Vegas Family Resorts
Finding family-friendly resorts is actually pretty easy in Las Vegas. There are options for both on and off the strip. Things to look for in accessing family-friendly accommodations will depend on your own family’s style and needs but typically includes:
- Kid-friendly pool.
- Easy parking access.
- A refrigerator instead of only a mini-bar.
- Services on hotel grounds such as quick bites to eat, kids club, or babysitting service.
- Large rooms, preferably suites.
- Kid-friendly channels and tv programming.
5 Good Bets for a Family Friendly Stay in Las Vegas:
- Hilton suites are available in 1, 2, and 4 Bedrooms. The Conrad features large rooms with 1 and 2 bedroom suites available. Crockford’s is the most expensive of the 3 with suites also up to 4 Bedrooms. Free parking, outdoor pools, restaurants, street food, and quick bites available with easy ordering and in-room delivery.
- High-rise views over the strip with outdoor pool and options ranging from studios to 4BR suites. Pets not allowed.
- All large suites with separate living rooms, outdoor pools, gondola rides, and the Grand Canal Shoppes. Read more about the Palazzo in my Review.
- A dog-friendly, all suite hotel with options up to a 2 bedroom suite. Signature pool complex for SIgnature guests only.
- Stay in a home away from home with generous one to three bedroom villas, activities for kids, outdoor pool, parking, but pets NOT allowed.
Looking for 2 Bedroom Suites in Las Vegas?
Some additional properties that have 2 Bedroom Suites:
- Aria Sky Suites are available in 1 – 2 Bedrooms.
- Vdara has 1 – 2 Bedroom lofts and suites.
- New York New York has 1 – 2 Bedroom suites.
Things for Kids to do in Las Vegas
Besides enjoying a resort vacation by the pool (maybe not in Winter though), there are plenty of things to do with the kids in Las Vegas. Your beginner foodie may enjoy trying something new at the plethora of Celebrity restaurants and eateries or they may just want some good old-fashioned fast food from their normal faves. Hell’s Kitchen fans might not want to splurge but can find a British fast food experience at Gordon Ramsey Fish and Chips or eat American style at Gordon Ramsey Burger.
A stop at M & M World will get the family free samples. May as well head over to the Coca-Cola Store a few feet away while you’re there. Make it a Kids Fun Foodie Tour by crossing over to the Hello Kitty Cafe, then circling around to Hershey’s Chocolate World, and the Replica of the Statue of Liberty at New York New York Hotel.
Figuring out where to park if you are driving may be the hardest part. Use parking apps like spot hero to help you but still check where you might be parking. One nearby garage that had a great price on SpotHero also had really bad reviews of break-ins so we opted to park at a nearby hotel where the parking was fairly similar pricing but felt like a wiser and safer choice.
3 More FREE Things to do in Las Vegas with Kids:
Walk through the Bellagio Conservatory & Fountains, perfect timing during the winter will bring you to a spectacular Lunar New Year Festival in the gardens. Park for free at the Venetian or the Palazzo and journey from one to the other through the Grand Canal Shoppes. Stop and have an impromptu family fun photoshoot by the LOVE letters or several other instagrammable spots.
Visit Ethel M. Chocolates for a factory tour, a free sample, and a hot chocolate walk through the gardens. Again your perfect timing could put you in the gardens just as they prep for the season of Love (Valentine’s Day).
Head to the Town Square Children’s Park in the center of the Downtown Container Park, probably one of the coolest places in Las Vegas. Let the kids climb the treehouse and burn off any leftover pinned up energy from your drives while you sip, eat, or shop the many finds there from Wafflelato to the Las Vegas Chocolate Bar, the Sugar Shop and funky boutiques. The Downtown Terrace even offers $16 bottomless mimosas, bloody mary’s, and bellinis.
You may also want to stop at the nearby Fremont Street Experience, the vision light shows start at 6 PM so you may be able to catch an early evening one.
Not FREE but FUN – Discovery Children’s Museum
Again with the timing – we happened to be planning our trip just as a new exhibit was opening and were treated to several dances from local native tribes as the temporary Native American Pop-Up Exhibit opened. This exhibit only runs until February 28, 2021 but always be on the lookout for temporary exhibits when you travel. If you are already a member of a children’s museum through the ACM (Association of Children’s Museums), you could receive a 50% discount. Don’t forget to check Groupon, currently as of Feb 2022, there is a groupon for $85 or $145 membership that will get you into discounted museums all year long.
What’s in the museum? A 70-foot tower with 12 levels for exploration; future thespians will love time in the Fantasy Festival where they can practice their dramatic moments on a life size pirate ship or medieval castle; they can try out future careers in the Eco City; Toddlers have their own Town; and there’s plenty of room for the Young at Art to create.
Places to Visit Near Las Vegas by Car
I’m not even going to mention a day trip to the Grand Canyon because you already know that. But, where else could you go? There’s more canyons near and far and even a ghost town. 4 places you should visit that are under an hour away from Vegas:
7 Magic Mountains
- Go at sunrise. You’ll beat the crowds, take a cup of coffee, and just enjoy the peace and sun rising in the distance. Depends on where you’re staying and when you leave as to how soon you’ll get there. GPS through google maps worked fine to get us exactly to the right spot.
Red Rock Canyon
- Depending on the time of year, you will need to book a timed entry ticket. If you don’t want to book too early because of wanting to stay flexible, I recommend periodically checking the tickets to see how they are filling up as your expected date approaches. When I saw that it looked like I didn’t have much to worry about to get next day tickets, I waited.
- If you have the U.S. National Parks America the Beautiful Pass, you will get free entry. You will need to pay $2 online for the reservation and show your pass upon entry, while saving $15. (Only purchase this $80 pass if you plan to visit more parks within the year. For instance, Zion National Park in Utah is $35 or free with the pass.)
Valley of Fire State Park
- To see bright red Aztec Sandstone amongst gray and tan limestone, head about 45 minutes Northeast of Vegas to the Valley of Fire State Park. A non-Nevada resident will pay $15 per car to enter the park. There are several worthy hikes to enjoy and you can even pay for park WiFi access.
Nelson Ghost Town
- A little south of Boulder CIty lies Nelson, Nevada and the few remains of some original buildings and a once notorious mine (Techatticup) for disputes and wild west style retribution.
- This might be a stop for the fearless and truly adventurous as it’s an old western playground which means you need to be very careful. The shopkeepers/owners will gladly warn you about what to look out for with photo evidence including rattlesnakes and teddy bear cholla ( a jumping cactus that doesn’t seed but instead detaches and rolls around freely to take root and form a new planting).
- To take the photo tour, you’ll need to stop in the shop to pay a $10 per hour fee and you’ll get access to some behind the scenes spots.
- Ah, but the fearless shall prosper in a desolate haven of weather-worn buildings and machinery. Just don’t step on or touch the cactus.
- Yes, you can take the kids, if they know how to behave. But, If they are extra rambunctious and free-spirited, this may not be a good idea.
- Learn more about El Dorado Canyon’s history and the Techatticup Mine at Travel Nevada.
No matter how you choose to explore Vegas with your family, you’re sure to have a good time. They may see things you’d rather they didn’t if you tend to keep them pretty secluded from the outside world. But, even then, there are ways to limit it. Enjoy the fun, family friendly spots on the strip during the day. Head outside of the strip for things locals might enjoy. Do day trips. Rent a car for the most flexibility in getting around. Choose your day trips with your own budget, likes, and family in mind but don’t be afraid to try something new either.
Want to read about more things to do in Vegas besides gamble?