Vegasuncovered’s Weblog

Vegas Uncovered a guide to the Las Vegas Strip

Day Trip from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is only 35 miles South East of Las Vegas and half a day is plenty enough time for a trip. The actual tour of the Dam unless you are a real engineering geek you may well find as boring as hell, engineering freak or not the Dam is well worth a Dam Visit 😉

We left Vegas at about 8am and drove straight out on US93 heading for the Hacienda which is the closest Casino to the Dam, we always stop here either en-route to Dam, Laughlin or on the way back from the Grand Canyon. We had the buffet breakfast its good not great but cheep and filling and then as per usual fall for the trick that the hope you fall for and stick a few dollars in the slots and some of these still use coin so it’s a real old time treat. AS we came out of the Casino we saw a sign saying Helicopter rides from $29, we thought that this would be a nice treat and seemed a good price. When we investigated of course just like everything in Vegas its not really $29 for what you want, the $29 flight only went over Lake Mead to fly over the Hoover Dam was $59 each but we could have the helicopter exclusively, we decided that this was worthwhile so after being weighed and asked if we had any weapons a car took us up a steep hill to get aboard the Helicopter. We both sat in the back and up we went, it was a very unnerving feeling and we seemed to do some “blue thunder” manoeuvres between an electricity pylon and the mountain as we swooped past the new bridge that they are building and on towards the Dam. The view was great we flew over the Dam and then after a another couple of combat loop the loop type manoeuvres we were over lake Mead and on our way back, about 6 minutes after taking off we were safely back on the ground. For me this was one of the highlights of our trip I loved it and it was worth every penny, although I was not completely happy when in the chopper it was going through my mind whether to go on it again 😉

We drove on to the Dam which was only about 15 minutes including the security check and then parked in the car park at the Visitors centre which is just the Vegas side of the Dam. It is $7 to park here and well worth it sure there are a few lay bys on the Arizona side of the Dam but it is hit and miss if you can get a place and also it can become a fair walk to the Dam and gift shop etc. The gift shop is well stocked and reasonably priced but the café I thought was quite expensive and the food not so good, we were pleased we had filled up at the Hacienda.

I think that we spent about 2 hours or so at the Dam this included walking over it and back taking a stack of photos and having a good look round the gift shop and taking a coffee. It’s a good day and the size is something that can not really be realised from photos or the television and I think that it’s worth the investment of ½ a “Vegas” day.

When we had finished at the Dam we carried on to Laughlin for the rest of the day and got back to Vegas about 10pm.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Casinos, driving, events, grand canyon, Holiday, hoover dam, Las Vegas, national parks, news, Travel, Uncategorized, Vegas, vegas tips | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Self drive day trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon

We had many friends out in Vegas for our wedding in September 2007 a few of us decided that we wanted to go to the Grand Canyon and as money was short the best way to do this was by car. I hired a 7 seater people carrier from Dollar which cost me £36 on a pre book including a tank of fuel a sat nav, all taxes and insurances for both myself and my Dad.

We picked the car up at 7.30am from MGM Grand and loaded everyone in it, myself, my bride to be, my brother in law, my mate and my elderly parents by time we got going it was about 0830. We headed out on the 95 and soon to the 93 we got to the Hoover Dam we stopped very briefly for photos and then headed on. We stopped for a healthy brunch of burger and chips somewhere on the Historic Route 66 in a sort of hardware come general store come cafe the food was good but the toilets were a little scary in a sort of deliverance way but not unclean, it may have been called the Roadkill Cafe. Slowly we boarded our trusty steed and carried on to the canyon.

We arrived at the gate and parted with our $25 that allowed unlimited entry for the next 7 days (useful NOT) and drove to Mather Point for our first view of the amazing natural wonder. We got back to the car as it started to rain and then the clouds opened we had thunder lighting and rain drops the size of golf balls we drove round to Yavapai Point I was the only one stupid enough to get out of the car I go drenched but managed to see the lightning coming down on the canyon this must for most people be a once in a life time experience. The rain stopped as abruptly as it started and the others came out to join me and had the joy to witness a most amazing rainbow stretched over the canyon. We got back to the car and drove to the Grand Canyon Village we parked up and sadly could not get a disabled parking space so had to park some way back but had another great view over the canyon, whilst we were viewing the canyon some kind souls in our group went into the bar at Bright Angel lodge and commandeered some tables. We had a few drinks and relaxed before heading back to Vegas.

We stopped to get some fuel and some candy bars and then headed back down the 93 night came upon us long before we were stopped at the Hoover Dam security and by this point the whole party was getting very hungry. We stopped at the Hacienda Casino just over the Dam on the Vegas side and saw the buffet was $7.49 when we went to pay it was half price $3.75 including soft drinks! What a bargain this was, there was a carvery section, pasta, Mexican, chicken, salads, and huge array of deserts, don’t get me wrong its not Bellagio but it was clean, fresh and tasty and I would most certainly head there again if in that part of the World. After eating we had a quick burn on the tables and slots and then headed back to Vegas we arrived back at about 11pm and after seeing my parents safely to their room us young uns hit the casinos.

It was a long day but a very good one on top of the car hire the divided costs for fuel and park entry were about $12 each the only thing I would say is that next time whatever car we took we would allow an extra space as it was a little cramped.

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Casinos, driving, events, grand canyon, Holiday, Las Vegas, MGM, MGM Grand, national parks, news, sport, Travel, Uncategorized, Vegas, vegas buffets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Should I rent a Car in Vegas ? Tips on driving and renting cars in Las Vegas

THe Strip outside TIMany people ask me whether it’s worth renting a car whilst in Las Vegas and I think that the answer depends on how long you are in Vegas and what you want to do on your trip. I mean if you are going for 2 nights and your plan is to drink and party until 8am then its pointless, if you are there for a week and want to see some sites then it probably is. Coming from the UK the shortest time I am ever going to stay in Vegas is 4 nights at least half a day of my trip will involve shopping. Being a person who does not want to spend one penny more than I have to on anything the majority of this will take place at the factory outlet stores which is some distance from the Strip and as I don’t like busses and are not so keen on cabs then car is the best option.

Only a short distance from Las Vegas are some amazing natural beauties which are only accessible by either car or organised tour, not only is going by car cheaper but it allows you to create your own itinerary and move at your own pace. A car is useful for going to visit downtown, or if you are staying at Luxor say and you fancy going to Wynn then again car is the best option. I always hire a car its not expensive and I know that even if its sitting in the car park that I can go where I want when I want, I like having that freedom. I generally book from www.dollar.co.uk this I have found to be the cheapest rate that includes all the necessary insurances for UK drivers, it’s worth looking at Expedia as they compare Hertz, Alamo. Budget and National this good for Americans and other nationals alike.

Driving in Vegas
Our rental car in Vegas Driving in Vegas is not easy for the US but it’s a positive breeze compared to London in rush hour. The Strip has between 3 and 5 lanes each way and you need to pay attention to the signs as it’s pretty easy to be in the wrong lane to the annoyance of other drivers. You also need to look out for pedestrians just stepping into the road and other drivers just pulling out, there is so much to see and to draw attention off of the road and this causes many accidents.

Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip) is usually busy, at weekends it can be near gridlock to avoid this instead of driving down the Strip use Industrial Road which runs parallel West behind NYNY, Monte Carlo, Bellagio Mirage etc or Koval or Paradise that run parallel to the West behind MGM Grand, Ballys, Flamingo etc this will save you mountains of time.

Top driving and car rental tips for Las Vegas

1. We get a cab from the airport to the Hotel when we arrive and collect the car from a hotel desk the next morning and drop it back the night before we leave and get a cab back to the airport. The costs are slightly cheaper but more importantly its quicker to walk to the desk in the hotel to collect and drop the car back than mess around on the courtesy bus at airport and the lines are always longer are the airport

2. Unless you take a rate that includes a tank of gas always return it full otherwise the rental agency will charge you way above normal rate for gas.

3. Pre-book your car in Vegas, not only is this cheaper but they often run out of cars.

4. All of the casinos one the Las Vegas Strip offer free garage and valet parking, unless it’s a Friday or Saturday night use the Valet you need to tip them when they return your car $2-$5 is fair.

5. If you are travelling from outside the US pre book a rate that includes all of the insurances and taxes this will save you a lot of money. Generally US citizens personal auto insurance will cover them fully comp on a rental.

6. Unless specifically stated at a junction, if its clear you can turn right on a red light

7. Nevada is pretty relaxed but don’t drink and drive you will go to jail.

8. Pay attention, its easy not to as there is so much to see but there enough pedestrians not paying attention all ready so if drivers don’t as well there will be more injuries


June 16, 2008 Posted by | bellagio, Casinos, driving, entertainment, events, Excalibur, grand canyon, hotel upgrades, Las Vegas, Luxor, MGM, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, national parks, news, shows, tipping, Travel, Treasure Island, Vegas, vegas events, vegas shows, Vegas Strip, vegas tips, vegas wedding | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment