Viva Las Vegas to California Dreamin Part One

We mapped out our West Coast family road trip destinations by starting with Las Vegas then Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Next stop at the Hoover Dam, then on to Williams, Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. Southern California was week two (part two) and we choose San Diego, Long Beach/Venice Beach, Universal Studios and Hollywood. Of course, no family vacation is complete without the mouse! So our final stop was Disneyland in Anaheim, before flying back to the East Coast. Here are some of the ups and downs of our road trip and the beautiful pictures, my husband, Brian took on our adventure.

Flamingo Hotel : 3555 Las Vegas Blvd,  Las Vegas, NV : July 2nd - 4th 

This hotel is currently under construction which was very disruptive throughout our stay. The lights in the room flickered or didn't work, the shower pressure was awful and the shower and tub faucets go on together. There is only one elevator for one floor, so plan on a long walk to your room.
The pool for kids and families was under construction. My kids said the pool was small but had a cool slide. Pool hours are only 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The pool for adults 21 and older was much nicer.  
There is a great inexpensive pizza place, Terrace, located near the Flamingo Hotel gardens that cost under $30.00 for large one topping pizza, garlic bread, wings and four sodas. The garden with Koi and albino fish, flamingo’s and various birds was cute especially while we ate.

The parking garage was horrible even though self parking was free on the 3rd floor. The first two floors are reserved for valet but there really was no direction on which way to go when parking, which causes you to have to backup when driving too far. I am surprised there aren’t more accidents in that garage. When checking in and out, the line was long, but there is a speedy check in machine and it was very easy to use. It didn’t seem like many people knew about the machine.
Overall, I felt very lost at this hotel and there were not many hotel staff to assist with questions.

You can take the tram to Bally's Hotel and Casino but it will cost you $12.00 for a round trip ticket or $15.00 for an all day pass. You can buy a pass at the hotel’s ticketing machine.  

The next day we drove downtown to the parking garage next to Hard Rock. It was only $3.00 for 24hrs parking. We walked through M & M museum, which was cute and FREE. We even watched a 3D M&M movie. We walked on the connecting bridges from New York Hotel to Excalibur, Tropicana, and MGM. Free trams from Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay hotel are available. The Mandalay Bay hotel has a shark aquarium that cost about $18.00 per adult. We parked for free in the Bellagio and saw the beautiful garden, chocolate fountain and watched the 4th of July water show.

About 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon. The Canyon is absolutely beautiful and so quiet. Kids can rock climb there and we saw the cutest owl! Also, right off the highway, you can visit the office of Animal Planet’s “Tanked” reality show.  Admission is free and you can talk to the cast and take pictures with them.

On July 5th we drove to Willams, Arizona. On our way, we got off Exit 2 toward the Hoover Dam and it was definitely worth the stop. It was beautiful!

Grand Canyon Hotel: 235 N Grand Canyon Blvd, Williams, AZ : July 5-7th

This hotel was very nice and you can get more information if you click on the name above. It is in a great location and also offers a train to the Grand Canyon.  My kids loved the indoor pool. Parking is also free.  In walking distance, you’ll feel like your in an old western movie on Historic route 66. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping. 

My kids enjoyed zip-lining which is only minutes from the hotel. The cost is $12.00 per ride/per person.  Also, about 10 minutes from the hotel, you can go to the outdoor drive-thru wildlife       park, Bearizona.The Grand Canyon is only about an hour away from the hotel and you can take Route 66 all the way there.  

On the way, you must stop at Flintstone Village. Themed with the Flintstones, you can pay $5.00 per person and go through the maze of Flintstone furniture and take pictures.

Arriving at the Grand Canyon, you can’t even imagine how beautiful it is. The cost to get in is $25.00, once you park, there are bathrooms and you can pickup maps and hike if that is something you like to do. Otherwise, there are plenty of views you can snap breathtaking pictures.

Check out Part Two at or email Largay Advisor, Toni Carusone, for more information about her family vacation. 

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