After spending a month in the area, we have compiled a list of free family things to do in Las Vegas and the surrounding area. We stayed in Las Vegas at the end of 2020 and into the new year. It was a lot of fun, and we explored some off-the-beaten-path adventures that didn’t break the bank.

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Jeep Trails

The Rainbow Gardens trail is within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. (ACEC is where special management attention is needed to protect important historical, cultural, and scenic values, fish and wildlife, or other natural resources.) Rainbow Gardens has mountain and canyon landscapes and beautiful views of the Las Vegas city skyline.

The Jean Dry Lake is a vast dry lake with miles of trails in and around the lake. Roach Dry Lake is south of Jean Dry Lake. Many movies and music videos are filmed here, including The Hangover, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Casino. Here’s a music video that was filmed in Jean Dry Lake bed and did a great job showing you the landscape.  

Jean dry lake bed is one of our favorite  family things to do in las vegas

Burro Wash Trail takes you from Boulder City and ends at Lake Mohave in the Black Canyon area of the Colorado River. The trail follows a powerline road, and this is relatively smooth. It does get steeper and very rocky after you get over the mountain and start to follow the Burro wash to the water. We don’t have a lift (yet) and made it okay on this trail with minor scraping.

Road Trips

Don’t look up Area 51 on Google Maps because it won’t show up. HAHA! However, you can look it up by looking for Homey Airport. We turned right out of the Alien Research Center Gift Shop on the Extraterrestrial Highway. We drove for about 20 minutes to the Black Mailbox, took Mailbox Rd to 51 Rd, and drove for about 20 minutes to the spot where we saw the sign to go no further. If you look close (zoom) in the photo you can see the white truck on the far right. It’s behind the two little trees under the right side of the big tree next to the sign.

area 51

Extraterrestrial Highway is 100+ miles with weird supernatural attractions. We took our photo with the highway sign!

extraterrestrial highway sign

Alien Research Center is 110 miles from Las Vegas to the Alien Research Center gift shop. The spot we stopped when searching Area 51 is about 30 to 45 minutes from this location. 

alien research center gift shop

Other fun family things to do in Las Vegas

Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam with a 660 feet thick base, and it’s wide enough at its crest that traffic used to drive across. 

7 Magic Mountains is a large, colorful art installation southwest of Las Vegas. It’s right off of I-15 near Jean Dry Lake. 

7 magic mountains family things to do in las vegas

The Volcano at the Mirage has fireballs and explosions set to music every day from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. 

volcano last vegas

You can see the Fountains of Bellagio in front of the Bellagio Hotel. The Fountains of Bellagio show happens daily, every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the day of the week. Make sure you check out their website for exact schedules. Also, at Christmas, they play Christmas music, and it’s extra special. 

bellagio fountains family things to do in las vegas

The Flamingo is one of the oldest casinos on the strip.

flamingo las vegas

Trump Tower is the tallest residential building on the strip with 64 stories.

Did you know the beam of light from The Luxor can be seen from 275 miles away?

Caesar’s Palace is massive!  “Did Caesar live here?”

Seasonal

The House on Robindale Christmas light show was synchronized to music. The girls loved this!

New Years’ Eve Fireworks on the strip is EPIC! Even a year that most of the fireworks were canceled Las Vegas people put on the best show ever.

What we are digging

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous is an animated series about six kids stranded on an island with dinosaurs.

The kid’s Challenge Sheet is a list of things to accomplish for a specific reward. One big goal with lots of challenges. Some things like (Read 3 Chapter books) can be done fast. While other things take much longer, Lexie had don’t bully your sister for the entire day and she has 25 of these boxes.

Jack Carr Podcast includes special guests from all walks of life, hosted by author and Navy SEAL(ret.) Jack Carr.

The RV Trip Wizard is an excellent tool for trip planning. This is a must – check it out and buy it. You won’t regret it.