Las Vegas/Hoover Dam advice wanted

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My family and girlfriend are planning on going to Vegas on June 20 through the 24 and I could use some help from people that have been there before. The main thing I could use some advice on is a good bus tour from the Vegas Strip to the Hoover dam that is about half a day and not too expensive. We are staying at the Treasure Island Hotel. Any advice anyone has will be welcome and of course my camera gear will be along for the ride.
 
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I've been to Las Vegas many times, and Hoover Dam several times. I've never taken a bus, so I can't offer any advice there. But I will throw out a suggestion, that might be of some help. If you don't have too many people in your group, I would really think about renting a car, for the trip to Hoover Dam. It is only about an hour drive, and quite easy to get there. There is a rental car company (Dollar) in the Treasure Island Hotel, so it would be very easy to do, and quite likely cheaper than taking the bus tour. Just be sure to make a reservation so they will have the car waiting for you at the Hotel, when you arrive. You could simply rent it for one day.

The problem, of course, is if you have a lot of people in your group, a rental car would not be practical.

Good luck and have fun!

Edit: Check here, about halfway down the page, for a link to Dollar Rental Car.
 
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I've been to Las Vegas many times, and Hoover Dam several times. I've never taken a bus, so I can't offer any advice there. But I will throw out a suggestion, that might be of some help. If you don't have too many people in your group, I would really think about renting a car, for the trip to Hoover Dam. It is only about an hour drive, and quite easy to get there. There is a rental car company (Dollar) in the Treasure Island Hotel, so it would be very easy to do, and quite likely cheaper than taking the bus tour. Just be sure to make a reservation so they will have the car waiting for you at the Hotel, when you arrive. You could simply rent it for one day.

The problem, of course, is if you have a lot of people in your group, a rental car would not be practical.

Good luck and have fun!



Edit: Check here, about halfway down the page, for a link to Dollar Rental Car.

Thanks for the suggestion, with only 4 of us it shouldn't be a problem and I will look into it.
 
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Be sure to stop at the Bypass overlook. It is about two miles before the dam and you will be on a walkway 800 feet above the dam. The view is unbelievable. If you can get the car for a second day, go to Red Rock Canyon. It's about 13 miles from the strip on West Charleston.
 

JusPlainCrayzee

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I second David's suggestion about renting a car and driving to the Hoover Dam. He's right; it's only about an hour away. If there are no vehicles available at your hotel, then rent one from the airport. McCarren is literally...what...5 minutes or so from the Strip? In fact you can see some of the hotels on the Strip from certain windows in the airport.

Red Rocks is also another recommendation that is spot on, as well as Lake Mead and Boulder City. Boulder City is a neat small town where, believe it or not, gambling is illegal! Great photo ops, all!
 
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Be sure to stop at the Bypass overlook. It is about two miles before the dam and you will be on a walkway 800 feet above the dam. The view is unbelievable. If you can get the car for a second day, go to Red Rock Canyon. It's about 13 miles from the strip on West Charleston.
I will defiantly keep the bypass outlook in mind thank you.
I second David's suggestion about renting a car and driving to the Hoover Dam. He's right; it's only about an hour away. If there are no vehicles available at your hotel, then rent one from the airport. McCarren is literally...what...5 minutes or so from the Strip? In fact you can see some of the hotels on the Strip from certain windows in the airport.

Red Rocks is also another recommendation that is spot on, as well as Lake Mead and Boulder City. Boulder City is a neat small town where, believe it or not, gambling is illegal! Great photo ops, all!
We only will have about half a day to go visit the Dam so we might be limited on what we will be able to see. It does seem like the car might be the cheaper option.
Keep the advice coming. Any good places to go for pictures would be helpful and any good buffets to eat at are all welcome.
 
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Any good places to go for pictures would be helpful and any good buffets to eat at are all welcome.
Anywhere along the Las Vegas Blvd (the strip) or Fremont Street (downtown) is good for pictures, both at night, and during the day. The Las Vegas Design Center and the building next to it, The Center for Brain Health (at the intersection of I-15 and Bonneville Ave), are interesting examples of architecture, that I would love to photograph some day. I would also love to get to the Neon Museum. If you want desert/nature, then Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park are great choices. Getting to some of those places will require a car, however. There is so much to see and photograph there, that four days are just not enough!

As for buffets, they can be very subjective. Most of the casinos have what I consider to be a"decent", or "acceptable" buffet. The Wynn and the Rio (seafood buffet) consistently get high marks, but they are not cheap (have not checked in a while, but I'm guessing $25-35 for dinner). Even though there are still some good deals on food in Las Vegas, for the most part, since corporate America moved in years ago, the prices have skyrocketed. Typically, it is not practical to shuttle all over town, looking for bargain prices on food. For instance, it doesn't make economic sense to take a $15 cab ride, to a specific hotel, just to get the $7.99 special on the dinner menu. :biggrin:
 
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just rent a car !
my parents went there last year and said bus tour was not very appealing to them so they just rented the car and drove there
Renting a car seems to be cheaper, easier and quicker than a bus tour. I am going to start looking into the rates more.

Anywhere along the Las Vegas Blvd (the strip) or Fremont Street (downtown) is good for pictures, both at night, and during the day. The Las Vegas Design Center and the building next to it, The Center for Brain Health (at the intersection of I-15 and Bonneville Ave), are interesting examples of architecture, that I would love to photograph some day. I would also love to get to the Neon Museum. If you want desert/nature, then Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park are great choices. Getting to some of those places will require a car, however. There is so much to see and photograph there, that four days are just not enough!

As for buffets, they can be very subjective. Most of the casinos have what I consider to be a"decent", or "acceptable" buffet. The Wynn and the Rio (seafood buffet) consistently get high marks, but they are not cheap (have not checked in a while, but I'm guessing $25-35 for dinner). Even though there are still some good deals on food in Las Vegas, for the most part, since corporate America moved in years ago, the prices have skyrocketed. Typically, it is not practical to shuttle all over town, looking for bargain prices on food. For instance, it doesn't make economic sense to take a $15 cab ride, to a specific hotel, just to get the $7.99 special on the dinner menu. :biggrin:
We will mostly be walking everywhere with maybe taking a bus to some places. I am going to be looking into excuses to put my new 12-24 into good use so I am going to try mostly architecture shots.
 
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+1 for the Wynn and Rio buffets. The Wynn is our favorite place to stay.

The Gold Coast across from the Rio has an excellent buffet, that is very reasonable.

Take a tripod with you and walk the strip at night for some great shots.
Make sure you see the water show at the Bellagio, it's great!
 
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Oh yeah, take good waking shoes. I think Las Vegas has the hardest damn concrete sidewalks in the world! :biggrin:
 
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Its mostly been said, one more point: The bus tours will not be in the places you want to be at the right time. Mid day won't be the time to photograph much. Rent a car, a good one with properly working air conditioner.......:wink:
 
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I noticed you have half a day. Go early. After the bypass lookout continue to the dam and take a tour. It lasts about 45 minutes. Then spend sometime on the dam. You can eat at the dam or in Boulder City which you pass through.

Enjoy,

Les
 

JusPlainCrayzee

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We will mostly be walking everywhere with maybe taking a bus to some places.
Vegas has some of the longest blocks I've ever seen, and you would be surprised at some of the distances between hotels, even though they're right next to each other. Also, Muonic is right; those are some hard concrete sidewalks. Check things out for yourself once you get there; you just may end up rethinking the "walking everywhere" option...
 
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Vegas has some of the longest blocks I've ever seen, and you would be surprised at some of the distances between hotels, even though they're right next to each other. Also, Muonic is right; those are some hard concrete sidewalks. Check things out for yourself once you get there; you just may end up rethinking the "walking everywhere" option...
Last time I was there when I was young we took the tram that ran along some of the hotels to cut down on the walking also.
 
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If you rent a car to the Hoover Dam, you will first get to a checkpoint. After they pass you through (or check you out) you can drive over the Dam and into Arizona. Start looking for parking on the Arizona side since it is free there (it costs money on the Nevada side).

Go earlier in the day, too. Otherwise you will not find parking in the Arizona side.

You can walk back to the Nevada side after you park. Do not park illegally since there are cops driving around all the time looking for suspicious activity. Illegal parking will get you a ticket.

Good luck and have fun.
 
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Bryan, you and your group are gonna have fun! My GF and family went there a couple months ago. Believe it or not, I have some advice:

1) Yes get a car. Public transportation 'out West' is non-existent at best, and completely frustrating at worst. Sure you can get to Hoover Dam via bus, but that bus will not get there when you want, and certainly won't leave at a convenient (to you) time!

2) Don't worry about getting a car with AC. They all do. In late June it'll be 110 in the shade.

3) Take the dam tour. It's fascinating in there. It may seem expensive ($35 for the short tour, $60 for the 3 hour one) but the best parts of the dam are inside!

4) Walk around on top of the dam. Lots of details, check out the solar system model, the giant angels, the overflow ducts (so big they suck you into them!), the bronze workmen, the gift shop! and the whole art deco look of the place. Here's a taste:

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


5) On your way back to Vegas, check out the historical district of Boulder City. It's beautiful. Sit in the city park for a few minutes. See if you can leave.

6) Check out the marina at Lake Mead. Interesting and in it's own way, surreal. The lake is the lowest I've ever seen right now. See the white ring all the way around it?

7) Cruise the strip and downtown in Las Vegas at night. Like ... wow.

8) Catch a show. Any show - they know how to entertain in that town!

9) Take some money that you have no good use for and gamble it away. Even $10, it's fun and who knows ... somebody has to win!

10) check out the pictures from my recent trip there:
11) Above all else - HAVE FUN!!
 
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Bryan, you and your group are gonna have fun! My GF and family went there a couple months ago. Believe it or not, I have some advice:

1) Yes get a car. Public transportation 'out West' is non-existent at best, and completely frustrating at worst. Sure you can get to Hoover Dam via bus, but that bus will not get there when you want, and certainly won't leave at a convenient (to you) time!

2) Don't worry about getting a car with AC. They all do. In late June it'll be 110 in the shade.

3) Take the dam tour. It's fascinating in there. It may seem expensive ($35 for the short tour, $60 for the 3 hour one) but the best parts of the dam are inside!

4) Walk around on top of the dam. Lots of details, check out the solar system model, the giant angels, the overflow ducts (so big they suck you into them!), the bronze workmen, the gift shop! and the whole art deco look of the place. Here's a taste:

http://homepage.mac.com/cheilman1/images/photos/film/hoover/topofdam3.jpg

5) On your way back to Vegas, check out the historical district of Boulder City. It's beautiful. Sit in the city park for a few minutes. See if you can leave.

6) Check out the marina at Lake Mead. Interesting and in it's own way, surreal. The lake is the lowest I've ever seen right now. See the white ring all the way around it?

7) Cruise the strip and downtown in Las Vegas at night. Like ... wow.

8) Catch a show. Any show - they know how to entertain in that town!

9) Take some money that you have no good use for and gamble it away. Even $10, it's fun and who knows ... somebody has to win!

10) check out the pictures from my recent trip there:
11) Above all else - HAVE FUN!!
Oh, that reminds me....due to the great snowfall this past winter, the lake is supposed to come up 30 feet this year. :smile:

It has been pretty low a couple of times in the past, too. Lake Mead Historical Water Levels
Thanks for the advice everyone. I saw a program on the history channel that if the water level falls another 10ft then the water level will be below the intake tubes for the power plant and they are having to build a lower intake pipe to bring water to Las Vegas.

We are going to be seeing the Mystere show at TI and with our reservation we get a $100 in free slot play. We still have some planning to do in the coming weeks so we will see what happens. I have gotten some great advice that should make it great. Keep it coming everyone it has been great so far.
 
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Oh, that reminds me....due to the great snowfall this past winter, the lake is supposed to come up 30 feet this year. :smile:

It has been pretty low a couple of times in the past, too. Lake Mead Historical Water Levels
Thanks for the link! NPR had a story on about the water level and the large runnoff base this morning. Makes me think they monitor the Nikon Cafe for ideas! :Wink:
 
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