Where and What to Hire
Las Vegas has an enormous choice of car rental companies from which to hire a vehicle. U Save, Exotic Cars, Dream Car Rentals, Discount Rental and Enterprise all operate from Las Vegas Airport. Car hire companies in the city centre include, E Z Rent, Thrifty Dollar, Hertz, Avis, Epic Car Rental, Enterprise and Advantage, all located along the main Las Vegas freeway. Enterprise, Avis, Dollar and Hertz are situated along the boulevard. This being Vegas, almost every type of vehicle is available to hire, from the usual two-door and family sized cars to luxury limousines, Cadillac’s and all manner of vintage, sports cars and even campervans and caravans.
Driving in Las Vegas can be stressful depending on the place and time. Driving along the Strip is not usually recommended as it is prone to severe gridlock at all hours of the day, particularly later in the day. The 2 miles between Spring Mountain Road and Sands Avenue is the location of most of the major casinos and hotels so is also best avoided. Frank Sinatra Drive runs behind many of the casinos and is an alternative route. The Desert Inn Road was built to bypass the Strip and is also a better option. Virtually all major casinos on the Strip, and downtown, offer free parking. On Friday and Saturday nights, the self-parking lots fill up quickly but splashing out on a valet will mean avoiding having to circle for hours to find a space yourself. Drive carefully on the long stretches of freeway which encourages speeding. Multi-car pile-ups and sudden braking are not uncommon and it will take at least 30 minutes for assistance to come in the event of an accident. The Las Vegas heat, with temperatures often reaching over 40 degrees, means that drivers should always shield their windows from the sun, leave windows open, use air-conditioning and carry driving gloves in case of the steering wheel getting too hot.
Parking in Las Vegas is stress free at the major hotels and casinos who offer a free valet service. Just a small tip is required, usually $2-5. Free parking is limited in the centre of Las Vegas, particularly in Downtown. The other option is both public and privately run garages and metered on-street parking. Parking costs start from $2 per hour form 8am to wither 6pm or 8pm and from 8am to 5pm at weekends. Garages start from $3 per hour up to 6pm, then a flat rate of $7.50 for parking after 6pm and on Saturdays and Sundays. Free parking at most of the hotels can be used if you are eating, gambling or staying on the premises.
Where to Go and What to See
Having a hire car in Las Vegas is almost essential for the sheer size of the area and for exploring the vast landscapes that surround it. Approximately 4 hours by car is the jaw-dropping beauty of the mighty Grand Canyon – an absolute must of a day trip from Las Vegas. On the way to the Grand Canyon is the equally spectacular Hoover Dam in Boulder City. Outdoor enthusiasts should throw their hiking boots into the back of the car and head for the Spring Mountains, just an hour and a half west of Las Vegas. With majestic mountains, alpine scenery, stunning lakes and plenty of snow in the winter months, this makes a wonderful cooling escape from the sweltering heat of Las Vegas. For anyone wanting to ski all year round, the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort is just 45 minutes from the Strip and a great day out for the whole family. Bootleg Canyon or Blue Diamond, just 30 minutes from the city centre are fantastic places for mountain biking with trails suitable for all ages and abilities. Two hours west by car is the formidable Death Valley. A visit here must be carefully planned but there are areas for camping that provide all necessary facilities in order to enjoy this unique and breathtakingly magnificent landscape. For those looking for more creature comforts, they don’t come much better than in Los Angeles. Just a 4 hour drive from Las Vegas is the City of Angels with every mod-con and comfort you could imagine including celebrity homes, stunning beaches, high-end gastronomy and arts and museums. The drive from Las Vegas to LA takes in beautiful views of the Mojave Desert, as well as towns like Baker and Barstow.