Celebrate National Parks Week with an RV Camping Trip!

With America’s National Parks Week just around the corner, it’s time for RV camping fans to start planning for national park camping. For one hundred years, the National Park Service has managed our country’s most beautiful destinations. In honor of their centennial, from April 16-24, 2016 they’re waiving entrance fees for all national park visitors.

With more than four hundred destinations to choose from, finding the perfect national park for your April camping adventure might seem difficult. Never fear! We’ve gathered tools to help our readers locate national park campsites and attractions from Acadia NP in coastal Maine to California’s Joshua Tree National Park. Ready to plan?

How to Pick Your Next National Park Camping Destination

One of the things we like best about America’s National Park Service is their visitor-friendly attitude. Since 1916, they’ve been refining their outreach to national park visitors to make it easy for anyone to access information on NPS-managed locations.

Finding a park that suits your interests, travel schedule and camping style is simple, with several ways to search and access national park information. The first is through the FindYourPark.com website, a community-engagement resource where national park fans can share information, search for national park locations and learn about ways the NPS connects with communities.

Another excellent resource for national park RV campers is the National Park Service National Park Service website itself. You can search for NPS-managed locations, including national parks, heritage areas, historic sites and monuments, state by state, by using their easy-to-understand search tools. Once you’ve located one or more possible National Parks Week camping destinations, click on each park’s link to access information such as driving directions, things to do, places to see and campground amenities.

What to Expect RV Camping at a National Park

Never camped at a national park campground and wondering what to expect? National Park Service campgrounds run the gamut from no-hookups ‘dispersed camping’ to full-hookups, amenity-rich developed campsites. One note for those who plan to camp during National Parks Week—entrance fees are waived, but campground fees will still apply.

Here are some examples of national park campgrounds, to give you an idea of the range of amenities.

  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area, that water sports wonderland on the Arizona/Nevada border, offers both developed campgrounds run by concessionaires and NPS-run campgrounds with water and dump stations but no hook-ups.
  • The campgrounds at Everglades National Park also offer a range of possibilities, from sites with electric hook-ups only on Florida Bay to ‘dry camping’ sites in a pine forest.
  • Yosemite National Park’s ten campgrounds are located amidst magnificent scenery, but plan ahead because hook-ups aren’t part of the camping amenities.
  • Maine’s vast and scenic Acadia National Park gives RV campers the choice of primitive campsites, electric sites and electric/water sites.
  • The large campground at Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park is a beautiful spot without RV hookups but with easy access to the cave’s entrance and miles of above-ground hiking trails.

Ready to Go National Park Camping?

Keep in mind, no matter where you camp in America’s national parks, you can expect scenic wonders, outdoor adventures and interesting people you might never have met otherwise. Don’t those all sound like fantastic reasons to go RV camping during National Parks Week?

One more tool  for planning to camp in your RV at a national park—Recreation.gov offers a wealth of ideas and information on national park vacations, and for those campgrounds that allow reservations, this is the place to reserve your campsites before you go.

Let’s celebrate our country’s National Park Centennial by doing what we love best—camping in a motorhome or trailer.  And be sure to let us know about your national park camping experience in the Comments Section below!

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Planning an RV Vacation so All Goes Smoothly

You want your RV vacation to be the best that it can be for everyone.  After all, a vacation is supposed to relieve all the stress built up from living day-to-day in your workaday world.  But if you are not fully prepared, you will be adding stress to your vacation days.  Let’s see how we can prepare you for your RV vacation and have a worry-free getaway.

Florida Keys, Florida USA

Florida Keys,

First, you need to know your destination and how you’ll get there.  You will find El Monte RV Rentals all over the United States where you can obtain the ideal motor home for your trip.  We offer free “RV Camping Itineraries” that provide  mapped-out courses and destinations for your convenience.

You can either “fly-drive” to your destination or pick up your motor home locally and enjoy the drive and adventures along the way that only RV travel can offer!  Don’t forget that in many cases you can take advantage of our free airport shuttle service in major airport cities.  Check our website for availability.

Here’s a possible RV Travel Itinerary:  you can rent an RV from El Monte RV Rentals in Orlando, find a nice camping spot, visit some Orlando sights, and then head to the Keys for more fun.  On the way to the Florida Keys there are plenty of sights to see and you’ll want to allow time to stop and enjoy them all.  You may want to refer to previous postings on our Monty’s Musings blog to learn about many exciting destinations to visit in Florida in your RV.

From Orlando, you could head east to Fox Lake Sanctuary, then south on Interstate 95 to the Florida Keys and beautiful Key Largo.  For a winter vacation, you really can’t beat the Keys.  You will meet creative types who spend their time making unique art, beachcomber types who relax all day along the sandy beaches, and swim with the dolphins.  Use Google and maps on the Internet to plan your route and everything you want to see on the way.

If you don’t want to bring your pets along, you can contact a pet-sitter or the kennel in advance to ensure they have an opening for your time away.  But if you prefer keeping Fido with you, it’s good to know that El Monte RV is a “Pet-Friendly” company and supports taking the family pets along!  Also remember to check out the weather forecast for that area for the time you will be there.  It is surprising how accurate these weather forecasts can be.  You will then know what to pack, or even if you should put off your vacation for a few days to miss a storm.

You will want to prepare your smartphone and laptop for the trip.  Download some apps to make your vacation more exciting.  You can find apps online and pick the ones you’ll use the most.  Perhaps you’ll choose the one which forecasts weather down to the hour or perhaps the one which identifies animal tracks.  There are many to choose from.

Now begin to pack for your trip.  First make a detailed list of every item you want to bring and as you pack them, mark them off.  This way you’ll forget nothing.  Remember, when packing clothes, roll them instead of folding.  This prevents wrinkles.  There’s lots of storage in motor homes, so taking “it all with you” is usually not a problem!

When you prepare and plan out your trip, you will find everything less stressful and more enjoyable.  Have a great RV vacation!

El Monte RV Official Logo

El Monte RV Official Logo

For information on renting an RV in or near Orlando, Florida – CLICK HERE or if you need to rent a motor home outside the state of Florida,  -CLICK HERE

Picture credits: The photo of Florida Keys was found on Flickr Commons. It is licensed under the Explore/Creative Commons license.

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Travel over the High Sierra from San Francisco to Reno in an RV

Picture of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

Begin a real RV adventure from the west coast of California and travel into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to experience some beauty and history like you wouldn’t believe. Starting out in San Francisco, you will take Interstate 80 all the way. But before embarking on your journey, be sure to enjoy the City by the Bay to the max. You can visit the zoo, wander the Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens and attend a symphony in the evening.

One of the best ways to see all San Francisco has to offer is to take the historic Barbary Coast Trail. This walking tour will bring you to all of the city’s most famous sights, including Fisherman’s Wharf, Telegraph Hill, Union Square, Chinatown and much more. You will also get to see the Coit Tower and Ghirardelli Square, where you can buy exquisite chocolates.

Picture of California's State Capitol Building in Sacramento, CA

California’s State Capitol Building in Sacramento, CA

Okay, ready or not, we begin our trip. Drive to Sacramento, our wonderful California State Capital. A tour is in order before you browse the shops, eat in a fine restaurant or view Gold Rush attractions. Don’t miss Old Town, where history prevails and friendly people wander happily taking it all in.

While in Sacramento, stop at the Sacramento Zoo, a great place to take the kids but a wonderful experience for adults too! All sorts of animals, reptiles and birds! Certainly you will have fun watching the giraffes watching you. Another treat is to see the new Sumatran tiger cub that was just born in March. You will only see this baby if you are here in June, though. But the recently born Wolf’s Guenon is on exhibit now with its mom and dad.

Now head into the foothills and make your next stop Auburn, California. This is one place you won’t want to miss on your trip over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A true Gold Rush town, Auburn offers an intriguing Saturday morning Farmer’s Market where you can stock up on some fresh fruits and veggies. Camp out at the Auburn Gold Country RV Park. The air is fresh in this foothills town and there is a lot to see. You simply must drive over the Foresthill Bridge on the east side of town. This is reportedly the tallest bridge in California. See wonderful views of the American River.

Now as you head east on Interstate 80, you will go higher and higher into the Sierra Nevada, overcome with the spectacular views as you go over Donner Pass. Then you will come to Donner Memorial State Park. Stop here and have a picnic by the lake, and bask in the sunshine while you watch the boats and water skiers. Check out the museum for some fascinating historical facts about this region.

Reno Nevada SignFinally you will reach exciting Reno, with its amazing nightlife, entertainment and gambling. Festivals happen all during the year and you are bound to find one going when you arrive. Even if you don’t, there is plenty to do to keep you busy. What a great trip! San Francisco to Reno! You’ll have to do it again sometime.

Picture credits: the picture of San Francisco is from the Wikimedia Commons. The picture of California’s State Capitol Building is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. It is in the public domain. The picture of the Reno sign is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is in the public domain.

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Find Adventure in an RV Vacation to Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Picture of Lake Mead from the Hoover DamA vacation in an RV offers such great opportunities for families to enjoy the sights and activities at any destination. Nevada and its mountains, vast plateaus and dry desert basins are one getaway destination that many head to so they can enjoy some outdoor fun and a little adventure.

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area has been the favorite of travelers for many years. With recreational opportunities abundant, outdoor lovers always find time to make their way to this region. No matter your preference, whether it is fishing, boating, hiking or sightseeing, Lake Mead National Recreation Area has it all. It is open all year through, every day, all day.

Scenic driving around Lake Mead couldn’t be better. There are several roads that take you places most tourists never discover. Lakeshore Scenic Drive is an 11-mile drive with incredible views, inviting you to break out your camera equipment and start shooting. Stop at the scenic viewpoints to absorb the best this recreation area has to offer. Another popular drive is Northshore Road which gives you the chance to enjoy the bright colors of the rock formations. Before embarking, however, always check road conditions.

There is no shortage of RV campgrounds around Lake Mead. Each provides plenty of amenities for RV campers. Boulder Beach Campground is a great place to camp and you are right close to a boat launch so you can get your boat into the water. You are able to step right outside your door and begin your explorations for the day.

Fishing at Lake Mead provides a catch that you may not be able to find elsewhere. Of course, trout is popular, but you may also hook a green sunfish, largemouth bass or blue gill. Some of these you will find more prevalent in the upper arm of the lake. Don’t forget to get your fishing license for the state you are in, Nevada or Arizona.

Lake Mead Marina is the perfect place to launch your boat, or rent one if you didn’t bring your own. Maybe you would like to rent a fishing boat to get out on the lake and try your luck. You can also find cruises that will take you to Hoover Dam. This is a fun trip and scenic too!

While here, be sure you do make your way to Hoover Dam, preferably driving there. The dam is open all year. Tours are available and you wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to see the workings of this engineering marvel. This is what created Lake Mead and made all this fun possible!

Take your time to enjoy all the sights and sounds of Lake Mead Recreation Area. There is no place quite like it anywhere else. Go hiking, watch the wildlife and breathe air that is fresh and clear and healthy. This is bound to be one of the best vacations ever, and a convenient one, too, when you take an RV.

Picture credits: The picture of Lake Mead is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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New RV Rental Location in Las Vegas, Nevada

El Monte RV is pleased to announce that we have opened a new RV rental location in Las Vegas, NV. This brings to two the number of RV Rental Locations that El Monte RV has in the Las Vegas area to better serve your motorhome rental needs. The two locations are:

El Monte RV Rentals & Sales (the new location)
3800 Boulder Hwy
Las Vegas, NV 89121
Phone: (702)269-8000
Toll Free: (888) 337-2214

El Monte RV Rentals & Sales
13001 Las Vegas Blvd So
Henderson, NV 89044
Phone: (702)269-0704
Toll Free: (888) 337-2214

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An RV Trip to Lake Tahoe is a Sierra Nevada Adventure

Picture of Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe from the East Shore

An adventure in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is really fun to plan, particularly when taking an RV trip for your time away from home. Of course, Lake Tahoe is one of the premier destinations in the Sierras, and no matter the time of year, this is the place people go for a wealth of activities and events.

Lake Tahoe is split down the middle by the Nevada and California border, and has two areas to accommodate the traveler. One is the North Lake Tahoe area with all sorts of activities, attractions and events throughout the year. The other is South Lake Tahoe, with outdoor activities galore, such as biking, hiking, boating and more. Play all day and play all night at Tahoe. RV camping is abundant. One place you may like to stay is at the Lake Tahoe KOA, a great home base while you explore the beauty of Lake Tahoe.

On the South shore, you should be sure to stop in to see Vikingsholm, a castle at the head of Emerald Bay. Originally built as a summer home in 1929, it is an architectural beauty. There are plenty of hiking trails here, the favorite being one where you can hike to Lower Eagle Falls. Another South shore attraction is Pope Beach with a mile-long stretch of sand. Perfect for families!

When you want to add a little excitement to your vacation, it is suggested you try a balloon trip. At Balloons Over Lake Tahoe you’ll find a thrilling balloon ride awaits, taking you over the tops of the trees with a bird’s eye view of the lake. Soaring more than 3,000 feet high, you will be overwhelmed with the experience, but at the same time you will be perfectly safe. All the pilots are experienced and certified.

All summer you can experience Valhalla at Lake Tahoe Arts, Theater & Music Festival. Get involved in the arts and enjoy the music in the best setting imaginable. It is held at the Tallac Historic Site, another must-see. You can explore this site and really get the feel of what it was like living in the mountains in the 1900s.

Before leaving the South shore, go to Tahoe Keys Marina for some water fun. You can rent boats or water equipment. Take a private charter or do some sport fishing. The activities are plentiful, like scuba diving, jet skiing, sailing or tubing. The fun never stops. Then head for the North shore for more! Hopefully you arrive while the Lake Tahoe SummerFest is being held. Discover the music, arts and theater celebration that is an eye-opening experience to young and old alike.

Also on the North shore, you will find the Ehrman Mansion where guided tours are captivating. The Gatekeeper’s Cabin Museum is where you really find out all about Tahoe history. There is so much to see and do at Lake Tahoe, but if you are ready to head home, be sure to first stop in Truckee for some shopping, and at Donner Lake for some more boating and perhaps water skiing. This will be the perfect ending to a perfect RV vacation.

Picture credits: The picture of Lake Tahoe is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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A Scenic Journey to Nevada’s Ruby Mountains on an RV Vacation

The Jewel of the Ruby Mountains is a trip not to be missed. Nevada is an enticing spot for an RV vacation, with its glacier-carved canyons, tall peaks and flowered meadows. This scenic journey will start in Elko, Nevada and take you into Lamoille Canyon to your final destination – Road’s End and a picnic to remember.

If coming from the East, you will take Interstate 80 West, through Salt Lake City and to Elko. Stop in Elko, Nevada for a meal in a nice restaurant before beginning your adventure into the wild outdoors. When you begin your RV trip, take Lamoille Highway (Route 227) south, passing through Spring Creek. Before you reach Lamoille, Nevada, you’ll see signs for Lamoille Canyon Recreation Area, and you’ll turn on Forest Service Road 660, which is Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway.

Now you are entering the canyon area of the beautiful Ruby Mountains. You can follow the interpretative signs for your own self-guided tour. The Ruby Mountain Wilderness encompasses more than 90,000 acres and here you’ll find many outdoor activities to keep you and your loved ones busy the whole day through. Don’t fail to stop at the many overlook spots along the route. You’ll marvel at the spectacular views.

Lamoille Canyon contains sights much like Yosemite National Park, with hanging valleys, towering mountain peaks, lakes and meadows. You will no doubt look in awe at Ruby Dome, where climbing and mountaineering are popular. Wildlife consists of mountain lion, elk, bighorn sheep, coyote and mule deer. You can fish the lakes and streams to catch rainbow and brook trout.

Those who love to get out and stretch those driving-weary muscles will enjoy the many trails that take you into the backcountry. You’ll discover your favorite trail among the 100 miles of trails in this region. When far enough along Lamoille Canyon Road, you’ll be in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest with a long list of day hikes to enjoy within the Ruby Mountains Ranger District. Hike part of the Ruby Crest Trail or the whole 40 miles if you feel up to it.

Camping is available, with the Thomas Canyon Campground offering RV camping for vehicles up to 45 feet. Picnic on the natural terraces, fish in Lamoille Creek, and relax in the shade of the cottonwood and aspen. A trail from the campground will take you past a couple of lovely waterfalls and through an alpine meadow.

When you come to Road’s End at the very end of the byway, you can spread a picnic lunch while contemplating all the fun you’ve had so far in the great outdoors. If you head back to State Route 227 and continue south, you’ll come to Lamoille, Nevada, another charming stop to put on your itinerary. As long as you are so close, it is well worth the few extra miles. In the winter this little town is alive with skiers hitting the Ruby Mountain slopes for some fun. In the summer, it’s a great place to visit as a gentle re-entry point to day-to-day life.

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An RV Camping & Casino Vacation in Laughlin, NV

Suffering from winter doldrums? An RV camping and casino vacation in Laughlin, Nevada is the cure! This town on the Arizona/Nevada border is custom-made for winter camping fun, thanks to its thrilling casinos, beautiful riverside setting and comfortable RV campgrounds.

Here’s a quick guide to Laughlin to help you start planning your trip. As you plan, let us know if an RV rental is in the picture; our Las Vegas El Monte RV Rentals office is just ninety miles from Laughlin!

Laughlin NV – Camping and Casinos
One thing all Laughlin RV campgrounds have in common is an exciting setting. Laughlin KOA, for example, is right across the street from the fabulous Avi Casino and Resort, and camping guests share all the resort’s amenities. You’ll save money by camping in your RV while in Laughlin, and that means more fun at the casino’s Vegas-style gaming tables, slots and poker room.

Here’s another interesting choice for Laughlin RV camping – the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino offers more than seven hundred full-service RV campsites right next door to Laughlin’s original casino. Poker, slots, table games and non-stop entertainment make this venerable gaming center one of Laughlin’s favorites.

Did we mention that year-round pleasant weather is one of the top reasons millions of visitors come to Laughlin each year? Another reason is the surrounding beauty of the Mojave Desert, bisected by the vibrant blue of the Colorado River. Both natural wonders provide plenty of outdoor recreation – fishing, boating and hiking are great ways to get to know the area. The RV campground at the Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area is minutes from Laughlin gaming venues, and gives a front-row view of the river.

But let’s get back to Laughlin and the non-stop gaming excitement available to RV campers. One casino you’ll want to save time to visit is the Colorado Belle, a replica paddle-wheeler riverboat with six restaurants and hundreds of casino games. Another amazing place to play, right in the heart of Laughlin’s Riverwalk entertainment district, is the Aquarius Casino, where slots, table games and sports book gambling go on twenty-four hours a day.

These are just four of a dozen gaming venues that make up the heart of Laughlin, Nevada. For more information on the city that rose from the banks of the Colorado, click here. Don’t simply sit and dream about camping this winter…make your way by RV to Laughlin, Nevada, the city that entertains RVers day and night.

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Winter Travel Idea – RV Camping in Death Valley!

Picture of Lake Badwater in Death Valley National Park

Lake Badwater in Death Valley National Park

Did you know the camping season opens at Death Valley National Park in autumn? With three million acres of one-of-a-kind wilderness, this national park on the California/Nevada border is one everyone should add to their winter RV camping itinerary.

Our readers may wonder “Why on earth would I want to camp in the desert?” The answer lies in the unique beauty of Death Valley. Immense salt flats, wide, rocky stretches populated by desert plants and animals and lush, unexpected oases are all a part of Death Valley.

And the history! The mysterious splendor of Scotty’s Castle, rising elegantly in Grapevine Canyon, is just one of the historic sites RV campers will remember from their visit to Death Valley National Park. When you come to Death Valley, you’ll also learn where the Timbisha Shoshone tribe makes their home, how Chinese mine workers left their influence and the role played by Japanese Americans interred in the Valley during World War II.

But how will you spend your time outdoors at Death Valley? Whether you love to hike rugged trails, photograph desert wildlife or bike Death Valley’s hundreds of miles of roadways, it’s sure to be a singular experience. Trails ranging from quiet desert strolls to backcountry wilderness routes wind for hundreds of miles through the Valley.

Another spot RV travelers award high marks is Furnace Creek Resort, where the National Park Service operates an RV campground adjacent to a first-class desert resort. Visit the museum that tells the story of Furnace Creek’s role in the borax industry as you enjoy exceptional amenities in the middle of the desert. It’s also centrally located to area trails, natural wonders and historic points of interest.

Nearby Attractions for Death Valley Visitors
There’s enough to see and do at Death Valley National Park to fill your vacation days, but just in case you’re looking for a side trip or two, here are three suggestions:

  • Amargosa Opera House at the tiny town of Death Valley Junction offers a walk into the world of art and theater in a remarkable setting.
  • China Ranch Date Farm in Tecopa, CA is a lovely oasis in the Mojave Desert where visitors can tour the museum and farm, hike wonderfully scenic trails and purchase delicious California dates.
  • Tecopa Hot Springs Resort offers not only the benefits of a natural hot springs but an RV campground, easy access to Amargosa Gorge and Dummont Dunes and a fascinating arts community, as well.

Sounds like a great way to escape the cold of winter, doesn’t it? Death Valley RV campgrounds keep your trip affordable and the comfort of motorhome camping keeps your trip to the Mojave Desert enjoyable. You’ll find our El Monte RV Rentals office in Las Vegas, NV within a couple of hours’ drive of Death Valley Junction, eastern gateway to the national park. Come find why our readers rate Death Valley National Park an excellent venue for winter RV camping.

Picture credits: The picture of Lake Badwater is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Posted in CA, CA RV Camping, CA RV Vacation, CA Vacation, nevada vacation, NV RV Camping, NV RV Vacation, RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | Tagged | Leave a comment

Top 10 Places to See in Las Vegas

Folks who go RV camping like to take their vacations off the beaten path. But if you’ve never considered a Las Vegas RV camping trip, it’s time to take another look. Look through our Top 10 Places to See in Las Vegas; we think you’ll find plenty of reasons to take your own RV trip there soon.

  1. Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge just an hour and a half north of Las Vegas thrills visitors with the chance to see species found nowhere else on Earth.
  2. Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory and Botanical Gardens – treat your sweet tooth to a tour of Ethel M’s, minutes away in Henderson.
  3. Golf in Las Vegas is a popular way for RVers to spend time. With more than two dozen golf courses in Las Vegas, there’s no end to the challenge.
  4. Hoover Dam – This architectural wonder is one all Vegas visitors should see. Hoover Dam tours from Las Vegas are easy to arrange. Here’s a tip: if you’re looking for out-of-the-ordinary, see Hoover Dam by helicopter or take a smoothwater float trip down the Colorado River to see the dam from a unique perspective.
  5. Las Vegas Motor Speedway – exciting races, car shows and other special events make the Las Vegas Speedway a favorite with RV campers.
  6. Lied Discovery Children’s Museum – let your kids learn in a fun environment at more than one hundred fascinating exhibits in this Downtown Vegas museum.
  7. Mount Charleston – just thirty minutes north of The Strip, is a wonderful place to hike and explore the Spring Mountain Range.
  8. Pinball Hall of Fame – Feeling nostalgic for pinball? Come visit one of the world’s largest collections of pinball games. You can even play the games that made pinball famous!
  9. Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area is only twenty miles away and a stunningly beautiful place for plant and wildlife lovers to spend a day.
  10. The Casinos! If you haven’t experienced the Vegas casinos, there’s a world of excitement waiting. And we aren’t just talking about gaming – attractions like NewYork-NewYork’s roller coaster and the MGM Grand’s CSI Experience keep RV traveling families entertained.

Come see us for Las Vegas RV rentals, and be sure to take advantage of close to the action RV parks like Las Vegas KOA at Circus Circus and Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort.

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