Our USA Holiday Part 3 – Vegas & LA

We only planned one day in Vegas, partly because people said it wasn’t that great to take kids to, but mainly because we saw it as a good stop over on our way home to LAX. We planned for half a day and one night and thought with that arrangement we could see enough to say we had been and get a feel for it, and if it wasn’t so great, we were only there for a few hours before heading out to Cali for our flight home!

It turns out however that Vegas is mint! And, not only did we love it, but Ethan still says now that he wants to live there! We actually wish we had scheduled in a couple of days there, and had been able to do a lot more, because we all totally loved it.

Yes, of course it was rather sketchy in places, very busy and smelt like weed in most places, but mostly it was absolutely fabulous! We were all amazed by the strip – it was like nothing we have ever experienced, and as such, we really hope that we can return again in the not too distant future!

We stayed in the Hotel Rio which is located off the strip, but still in walking distance to it. This hotel is MASSIVE! And even had a zipwire you can pay to go on across the two buildings. The rooms were also massive (considered more as “suites”), and ours had twin queen beds, a corner sofa, dressing area, bathroom and lovely views! It was £76 for the night for all 5 of us, and we also had to pay a resort fee of £35 upon arrival which is normal to all Vegas hotels! It wasn’t the cheapest, but was certainly value for money when you compare like for like in the UK!

Vegas with kids 

I get that to some people may see doing Vegas with kids is not doing it right! But we have always been of the opinion that our kids will not stop us from seeing the wonders of the world. To us, having kids along for the adventure just means you get to see it from a different angle! So here is what Vegas looked like for us with our 3 kids!

Pool – Most hotels have pools in Vegas, but for us this was a must to feel like “a proper holiday”! The pool at hotel Rio was great for all of the kids as it gradually got deeper, and the waterfall feature added a little extra fun! Once we had checked in, it was getting on to 5pm so I took the kids down to the pool whilst Nathan did online check in, in preparation for the next day. It was cooler than we hoped, but warm enough for a good hour or so in the pool to play and chill after the long drive down from Utah.

Strip by night – after we had bought some budget pizzas from little caesars for dinner (we were skint by this point and this was where we saw the shady side of Vegas), we drove down the whole strip to show the kids what Vegas was all about! They were going nuts (We all were) and absolutely loved it as we passed by each enchanting theme and part of the world!

Driving down the strip at night was busy, but nowhere near as busy (or worrying) as if we had walked it. It worked well driving because it meant we could cover it all in a shorter space of time, and also meant that all 3 kids were tucked safely in the car and we could see everything without worrying about where they were in the crowds. Vegas is so cool by night with all of its fancy lights and nightlife and, even seeing it by car is a fun experience!

Walking the strip in the morning – Before we set off to Los Angeles the next morning, we decided that we wanted to get closer to some of the famous spots on the Las Vegas Strip that we had seen the previous night. Nathan wasn’t as bothered as Ethan and I were (he was keen to get to LA), and so he waited in the car with Alice down near the Luxor and we (Ethan, Megan and I) hopped out at New York, New York and walked a little bit of it!

It was about 7.30am and whilst there were a few people around (some rather questionable), it was a really good time of day to explore with the kids, because it was so quiet and not too hot! We saw New York, New York, Hershey, Excalibur (apparently where we are staying next time?!) and Luxor (which I loved)!

It’s like a giant toy town, and was quite the little adventure and a great goodbye to our flying Vegas stay!

Shows – We planned on taking the kids to see the light show at The Mirage, but due to time restraints, tired kids, and us choosing to drive the strip instead of walking it, this didn’t pan out! This and others are on our bucket list for next time!

M&M’s – We love M&Ms and hoped we would have time to see the huge shop too, but as we were late getting into Vegas with the traffic (there was an accident), we were sad to not do this either, but from what we heard before we went, and saw from a distance, I think it would be great for kids!

On to LA…

From Vegas to L.A we had just a 4 hour drive. Our flight wasn’t until 5pm, and so we had planned on an early start with hopes of getting there by lunch, and thus giving us enough time to see a few things before making our way to the airport home to London! It was the last leg of what had been an epic road trip, and so was quite easy going, and as we hadn’t had chance to see much on our very first day due to rain, we hoped to squeeze in a couple of famous sights when we made it to Los Angeles. It was this excitement that kept our feet heavy to the pedal and helped us make good time!

The journey was fine, and after we made it to L.A. we of course got stuck in so much traffic! Apparently traffic in Hollywood is bad at the best of times, but it was also Spring break and so we were going nowhere fast! In the end, we only managed a quick cruise through Hollywood, some snaps of the sign, and that was all!

It was Ethan that noticed the sign first but we were all super excited to see it in real life – such an iconic place and we were there – It was brilliant!

The flight home was fine (minus a meltdown on take off from Alice), and jet lag hit us hard, but Air New Zealand were fab and this holiday was completely wonderful!

We hoped to see the Ocean and famous beaches of LA, the Hollywood Boulevard and more friends in Utah. And whilst this was a little disappointing, we look back on all of the things we saw and experienced; all of the beauty of the desert, canyons and mountains, and all of the people we hugged and spent time with.

We look back on all of the sunshine we had, the snow storms and the yummy treats we enjoyed during our 2 weeks in the states and wonder how on earth we could ever be disappointed? It was an incredible adventure, filled with memories to last a lifetime. And so, until next time America – farewell!

From California to Arizona, through the Grand Canyon and on to Utah, and back Via Vegas, we drove over 2,000 miles, listened to “The Greatest Showman” Soundtrack 100’s of times and had an epic road trip together! Of course we want to return and do more of what we loved, and see all of the things we didn’t get a chance to see (and more), but for now we are still loving talking about our adventures in America, and are all so grateful to have enjoyed such a wonderful family holiday Stateside!


  1. May 27, 2018 / 11:01 am

    Las vegas vacation sure looks like fan. The photos are worth a thousand words… you all had so much fun.

  2. August 19, 2021 / 8:33 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It was an interesting read.

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