Steeped in history, Texas is often overlooked as a holiday destination – but it’s actually the perfect starting point for an interesting cocktail of history and fun. And Las Vegas can’t be beaten for a thrilling dash of hedonism.
Stay: Hotel Indigo in downtown Dallas will put you in the middle of all the action, thanks to the many bars, restaurants, shops (including ones specialising in cowboy boots) and public-transport hubs. Feel like a cocktail without stepping outside? It’s also home to 1933 Bar & Bistro.
Experiences: Make your way to one of the many steakhouses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to eat the best ribs of your life, before heading to a rodeo in the cowboy capital, where you’ll be able to rub boots and sing the national anthem with the locals. When you think you’re almost ready to call it a night, get yourself to Billy Bob’s Texas – “the world’s largest honky tonk” – for some good old-fashioned Texan fun (think bull riding and line dancing).
For those after a historical, political or conspiracy-filled experience, no trip to Dallas would be complete without a visit to The Sixth Floor Museum. Stand on the Grassy Knoll (Dealey Plaza) outside and pay your respects to John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States.
Follow the major highways that point you in the direction of Las Vegas, through Native American country to learn about Navajo culture, and past Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Spend at least two nights at the latter.
Stay: Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino is smack in the centre of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, within walking distance of Caesars Palace, The Venetian and Treasure Island. This carnival-themed hotel features its own buffet, steakhouse, oyster bar, ice-cream parlour and Starbucks – so you’ll never go hungry.
Experiences: You’ll need at least five days to see everything Las Vegas has to offer, from amusement parks and shopping to gambling and partying. If Bellagio’s fountain show is on your list – and let’s face it, it should be – the best way to see it is from the air. From USD$26.95 you can secure yourself a spot on High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel, where you’ll be able to see front-row-style views of the fountain show and get a heap of pictures of the strip’s bright lights.
After that, head to Fremont Street and be amazed by the lights while taking the SlotZilla zipline over the crowds. Take a look inside the famous Pawn Stars shop Gold & Silver Pawn, and watch Elvis marry two lovebirds at the Little White Chapel. No Vegas trip would be complete without at least one game of blackjack – take your pick of casinos inside shopping centres, hotels and even the airport.
- Jessie Nielsen, Travel Consultant, Flight Centre Oxley, QLD