About 12 years ago, my husband and I forgo-ed a traditional wedding (and all the stress that goes with it!), grabbed some family and a few friends and headed out for a destination wedding in Las Vegas!

Did we get married by Elvis in a drive through chapel?  Did we get married in one of the famous Vegas hotels?  Did we waltz the streets in our wedding attire relishing all the “Congratulations”, “Woop Woops!” and looks our way?

No, No, and Maybe.  (ok, that last one is a yes!…but in our case some people were congratulating us on prom??!  Come on, I had on a big wedding dress and 4 other girls wearing the same exact dress?  What high school girls would wear the same dress to prom on purpose??  But that’s a story for another day!)

So we didn’t get married by Elvis or in a hotel….or even on the strip.  Instead, we got married here:

This beautiful place is about an hour off the strip in Overton, Nevada in the Mojave Desert.  Valley of Fire State Park is a wonderful place to take the kids when you’re ready to give their senses a break from the lights and sounds (and sights?) of the strip.

It gives the kids a chance to…

Run around,

look at all that wide open space!

climb on rock formations (only some of them!! some areas don’t allow you to climb on them since they may break and not be there for future visitors to enjoy),

kids (okay and me!) love playing hide and seek in these holes
Beautiful Arch Rock…this is one you can’t climb on!

See petroglyphs that were made by people 4,000 years ago,

Use their imagination, build rock sculptures (that will totally stay there forever and have people oooing and ahhhing over your talent for stacking so many rocks on top of each other without them falling for years to come…..or at least that’s what my son had fun doing 😉 )

and maybe even see a desert tortoise or a big horned sheep (we didn’t though)!

*Fun fact- The sandstone formations were created during dinosaur times- 150 million years ago!  So if your kids are into dinosaurs at all, you can tell them these rocks might have been around to see or touch them!

Not to mention you’ll come away with some awesome pictures!

We took the opportunity to do a couple re-makes of our wedding day!

They even have a small “museum” and gift shop in the visitor center.  If your kids like creepy crawlies, there was even a snake and lizard on display in the visitor center too (behind a glass case).

Tips For Visiting:

– Bring food or snacks, they don’t really have any there.
– This is the desert- bring water!  Especially if you’re there during warmer weather.  Summer gets well       over 100 degrees!
– Try visiting during the week in the morning when there will be less people.
– You most likely won’t have cell service starting about 20 mins away from the site.  Make sure you           have your GPS going before then if you think you’ll need it.  (But there are signs and like one road,       but hey, if you’re like me, you could still probably find a way to get lost)

You can check out their website for more information.

Have you ever been to the Valley of Fire?  I’d love to hear what you liked about the area as well!!