One night in Las Vegas, NV–Tucson for Christmas trip

We visited Las Vegas in December 2023 as part of our Tucson for Christmas trip.

the Strip from Gypsum Ridge
the rainy Strip, from Gypsum Ridge

Where to spend a night between Death Valley and our next stop northwest of Phoenix? Well one option that we never expected to Airstream to is Las Vegas! It’s an easy drive from Death Valley, just a couple hours, and we were able to book a last-minute campsite not too far from the Strip and then cram in a bunch of stereotypical Vegas touristing. We hadn’t been to Vegas in about 15 years and it’s changed a lot!

Campground

our campsite at Oasis RV Resort

There’s an RV campground on The Strip, behind Circus Circus, and for location that was our first choice. Everyone else’s too: it was completely booked through February. So instead, we stayed at Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort, just off I-15, minutes from the airport, and depending on traffic, maybe 15 minutes from The Strip and 20 minutes from downtown. Drive a few blocks in either direction to fast food (Starbucks, In-n-Out, Panera, Einstein Bros) and shopping (Target, groceries).

Oasis is enormous–700 campsites! Four desks at check-in! It has all the usual amenities, of course, plus a few unusual ones: an 18-hole grass putting course, a separate adults-only pool, a restaurant, and a security gate. Our site was nice enough, but we didn’t really spend any time there. The campground has several small off-leash dog runs, and there’s also a no pets section of campsites if that’s more your thing.

What we did

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign

Bugsy and the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Bugsy was not impressed by the sign

Bugsy loves to have her picture taken in front of a touristy sign! And so does every other Vegas visitor! There were a million people waiting in line at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign so we grabbed a photo from the back of the crowd and vamoosed. There’s convenient (although I think I was lucky) parking at the sign, and it’s just ten minutes from Oasis.

Dinner, drinks, and gambling

Then we humans got sort-of dressed up (we didn’t really bring appropriate clothes for Vegas as we hadn’t expected to be stopping there) and headed into the action. And were immediately irritated by the traffic. I made a mistake and sent us to a cocktail bar too far from dinner to walk, so we had to drink fast and take a second Uber to a different hotel. Oops.

hallway in the Venetian
the hallway in the Venetian

We had a drink at Juliet Cocktail Room in the Venetian before dinner. It’s a neat lounge with a dark and sophisticated feel, except for the football game turned up loud on two big screens, which only half our party was into.

christmas decorations at Aria
Christmas decorations in Aria

The next Vegassy activity on the docket was a fancy dinner. We sat at the bar at Cathédrale in Aria and it was super impressive all around. Our dishes included an omelet very similar to the one in The Bear: incredible.

We capped our Strip experience off with a little blackjack and went home to Bugsy.

Hiking

hiking Gypsum Ridge with Bugsy
hiking Gypsum Ridge

It was raining in Arizona in the morning so rather than looking for hikes on the way to the Phoenix area, we hiked before leaving town. Red Rock Canyon, probably the best hiking near Las Vegas, was a bit too far away for our timetable, so we tried Gypsum Ridge, only 20 minutes from home.

hiking Gypsum Ridge with Bugsy
hiking Gypsum Ridge

Gypsum Ridge is a four-mile loop with pretty red bluffs and views of the Strip. It starts with a climb, and then it’s mostly flat, and while it’s not the most scenic hike (there’s some old junk here and there, and part of the trail goes behind houses) it was pleasant and convenient and the three of us enjoyed it.

To do

Will we take the Airstream back to Las Vegas? Not sure. The Strip felt much more chaotic than we remembered–probably because we’re 15 years older. Having to be in a car so much is a chafe too. Our friends in Reno told us all the good stuff–restaurants, bars, and better blackjack odds–is now in Downtown Vegas, and there’s a poorly-rated but convenient RV campground near downtown, so maybe we’ll try a night there on a future trip out west.

And then we left for Arizona! It was a whirlwind visit but we were excited to move on to our next campground in White Tank Mountain Regional Park northwest of Phoenix, 4.5 hours away down the Joshua Tree Parkway!

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