Is Crystal River Worth Visiting in 2024

Is Crystal River Worth Visiting in 2024

Is Crystal River Worth Visiting in 2024?Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

In the heart of Florida’s lush landscapes lies a gem called Crystal River, a place teeming with natural beauty, wildlife, and adventure. If you’re wondering, “Is Crystal River worth visiting in 2024?” let me guide you through this enchanting destination and show why it deserves a spot on your travel list.

Why Crystal River is a Must-Visit Destination

The Manatee Experience

A gentle west indian manatee glides through the clear, turquoise waters of crystal river, its calm demeanor and curious eyes inviting admiration and a sense of connection with marine life.

At the forefront of Crystal River’s allure is the unique opportunity to swim with manatees. These gentle sea creatures, or “sea cows,” offer one of the most amazing wildlife encounters.

Swimming alongside these majestic animals in the clear, temperate waters of Crystal River is a thrilling adventure and provides an intimate glimpse into their world. The experience is available under respectful, eco-friendly practices, especially during the colder months from November to March when manatees seek refuge in the warm springs.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Adventure

A serene crystal-clear spring surrounded by lush greenery and diverse foliage, with sunlight filtering through the trees to illuminate the water's surface.

Beyond the manatees, Crystal River is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The area boasts pristine springs and rivers, perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, and diving into the underwater world through snorkeling.

Land lovers can enjoy the scenic trails of the Crystal River Preserve State Park, offering a closer look at the diverse Floridian flora and fauna. Crystal River’s natural playground is a testament to its unspoiled beauty, inviting visitors to explore and connect with the great outdoors.


Before jumping into the water  to swim with the manatees, there are precautions and rules to follow.  Consider using a professional tour company that provides wet suits, snorkel gear, and photographs.  Their expert guides will take you to the best places to swim with the manatees.

These are our recommendations for a fun manatee experience.

💧 Crystal River: VIP Manatee Swim with In-water Photographer

💧 Orlando: Manatee Encounter, Snorkeling, and Airboat Ride

Conservation Efforts and Educational Opportunities

A wooden boardwalk meanders through a landscape of tall palms and various native floridian plants under a clear blue sky, leading a visitor towards a conservation area in crystal river.

A visit to Crystal River is more than just an escape into nature; it’s a lesson in conservation and the importance of protecting our planet’s precious ecosystems. The community’s commitment to preserving the natural habitat of manatees and other wildlife is evident in the educational programs and initiatives available to visitors.

Through guided tours and interactive exhibits, tourists can learn about the efforts to safeguard the area’s natural heritage, enriching their visit with meaningful insights.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

Wooden stairs lead up a lush, grassy hill to an observation deck under a canopy of spanish moss at crystal river archaeological state park. A clear sky with scattered clouds looms above, adding a serene backdrop to the tranquil scene.

Is Crystal River worth visiting for its culture and history? Absolutely. The region’s past is as rich as its natural landscape, with sites like the Crystal River Archaeological State Park offering a window into the lives of ancient Native American civilizations.

These historical treasures add depth to the Crystal River experience, allowing visitors to appreciate the area’s cultural significance alongside its natural wonders.


Local Cuisine and Accommodations

Plump stone crab claws with black-tipped pincers are artfully arranged on a white square plate, served with a side of creamy dipping sauce and a lemon wedge, ready to be enjoyed as a fresh seafood delicacy.

Crystal River’s culinary scene reflects the Gulf Coast’s fresh flavor. Seafood lovers will delight in the local catch, served in various settings from casual eateries to upscale dining.

The hospitality extends to the range of accommodations, where visitors can find everything from quaint bed and breakfasts to eco-conscious hotels, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay.

Planning Your Visit

Crystal River is a wonderful place to visit any time of year. However, timing your visit with your expectations will ensure a pleasurable vacation.

While we think anytime is the best time to visit Crystal River, it is good to keep a few things in mind. 

Where is Crystal River, FL?

Simplified black and white map of florida highlighting major cities with red dots, featuring a gold marker on crystal river, and annotated with neighboring state names—alabama to the northwest and georgia to the north. The map is labeled

Crystal River is located on the Gulf side of Florida about 90 minutes north of Tampa, and about 90 minutes northwest of Orlando. Because of its convenient location, Crystal River makes a fantastic day or weekend trip from both locations.

When is the Best time to Visit Crystal River?

To fully enjoy what Crystal River has to offer, a bit of planning goes a long way. Some would say “Crystal River has two seasons: Manatee Season and Scalloping Season”. However, there are plenty of things to do throughout the year in Crystal River.

Known for its clear, spring-fed waters and as a haven for manatees, Crystal River shows its visitors how amazing and beautiful nature can be.


Manatee SeasonA snorkeler and two manatees swimming together through the clear blue waters over a sandy seabed, highlighting the peaceful coexistence of humans and marine life. Highlighting things to do in crystal river.

As the water in the Gulf of Mexico starts to cool, the manatees head for warmer water. From late November through mid-March, the springs in Crystal River are filled with these gentle giants. On a chilly winter’s day, it is quite possible to see hundreds of manatees huddled together.

Crystal River is the only place in the United States where you can legally swim with the manatees, making winter a fantastic time to visit!


Scallop Season

Hands are shown shucking fresh scallops over a large metal bowl filled with an assortment of shells, capturing a moment of seafood preparation, possibly during scallop season.

Scallop Season is a perfect time for family fun and adventure in Crystal River. Between July and September, the seabeds are ready for harvest. Imagine bringing home a haul of fresh scallops for dinner.

Since scallops are easily found in shallow water, scallop diving is fun for the whole family. It’s like gathering Easter eggs but in the water.​


Book your Scalloping Tour Today.

Half-Day Private Scallop Harvesting Snorkel Excursion

Fall and Winter in Crystal River

Temperatures are mild during the winter in Crystal River. The average daily temperature is a high around 70 and low around 50. Although there can be a cold snap, the weather is very comfortable.

Spring and Summer in Crystal River

This is Florida, so the weather can be sticky and humid. Ambient temperatures are in the mid-90s with lows at night in the 70s with a coastal breeze. The 72-degree springs are refreshing to swim in on a hot summer day.

Crystal River has so much to offer all year long! In short, any time is a great time to visit Crystal River, FL.

Lodging in Crystal River

Crystal River offers accommodations to fit everyone’s travel personality. There is a wide selection of hotels from well-known chain brands to a luxury golf course resort and motels with a vintage feel.

You may even find a home with a boat slip or a bungalow close to downtown that will better fit your traveling needs.


Where To Stay in Crystal River

Crystal River offers several hotel options from luxury accommodations to the cutest cottages.

You can’t beat this location!  The Port Hotel and Marina

We go for the cinnamon rolls!  Holiday Inn Express

For romance or relaxation:  Retreat at Crystal Manatee 

Do you require more space and a place that feels like home? Consider renting a private home for your stay in Crystal River.  Click for pricing and availability.

This rental has water access and kayaks!

This rental sleeps 10!

For RVers and Tent Campers, the Crystal River area offers a nice variety.  For everything camping check out RV Life Pro.  You can find reviews, photos, and booking information.

Advertisement for rv life trip wizard featuring a laptop with a trip planning map on the screen, placed on a yellow and white striped cloth with an rv in the blurred background. A red call-to-action button reads 'sign up now' alongside text proclaiming it as the '#1 rv trip planning tool'.

Conclusion: Is Crystal River Worth Visiting

White pergola with classical columns stands in a park, framing a whimsical metal sculpture of manatees in the foreground. The brick pathway leading to the structure invites visitors to enjoy a moment of leisure under the clear blue sky, surrounded by well-maintained shrubbery

So, is Crystal River worth visiting? Without a doubt, yes. From the magical experience of swimming with manatees to the serene beauty of its natural landscapes and the rich tapestry of its cultural and historical sites, Crystal River invites travelers to immerse themselves in its unique charm.

As someone who cherishes this beautiful corner of the world, I encourage you to explore Crystal River and discover its wonders for yourself. It’s not just a destination; it’s an experience that enriches the soul and leaves you longing for more.

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

Maureen and robb, the authors behind the stromads blog, sharing a cheerful moment in a sunlit setting with lush greenery in the background. Both are wearing sunglasses and smiling at the camera, capturing the essence of adventure and camaraderie.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Manatees and More: 25 Things To Do in Crystal River, Florida 2024

Manatees and More: 25 Things To Do in Crystal River, Florida 2024

Manatees and More: 25 Things To Do in Crystal River, Florida

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Exploring the many things to do in Crystal River, Florida is an exciting journey whether you are a local or just visiting. From encountering manatees to marveling at crystal-clear springs, these 25 activities listed showcase the town’s natural wonders.

Nestled in Florida’s Nature Coast, Crystal River has a tropical jungle ambiance, fascinating wetlands, and abundant wildlife, creating an enchanting backdrop for various adventures. Whether you’re boating along the rivers and bays or exploring the clear springs Crystal River offers a paradise for nature enthusiasts.

Crystal River has been a part of our lives for over two decades, and it continues to captivate us with its timeless charm and small-town feel. From our frequent visits for shopping, entertainment, and, of course, encounters with manatees, we can attest that Crystal River’s allure goes beyond its size.

While the town has retained its character, except for the recently demolished Crystal River Mall, the variety of things to do remains abundant.

So, pack your overnight bag, and let’s explore Crystal River, Florida. Welcome to a town where adventure and natural beauty come together.

Table of Contents

1.  Swim with Manatees

A snorkeler and two manatees swimming together through the clear blue waters over a sandy seabed, highlighting the peaceful coexistence of humans and marine life. Highlighting things to do in crystal river.

There is a reason that Crystal River holds the title “Manatee Capital of the World”.

Each winter as the waters in the Gulf of Mexico turn cold, these gentle giants migrate into warmer waters. It is not unusual to see hundreds of manatees floating in the Three Sisters Springs. The sight itself is captivating.

Manatees are docile, curious, and friendly water creatures. They are also a protected species under the Manatee Act which makes it illegal to swim, touch, or play with them. However, Crystal River is the ONLY place that it is LEGAL to swim (actually float) with manatees.

Visitors from far and near, agree that Swimming with Manatees is number 1 on the list of things to do in Crystal River.


Before jumping into the water to swim with the manatees, there are precautions and rules to follow.  Consider using a professional tour company that provides wet suits, snorkel gear, and photographs.  Their expert guides will take you to the best places to swim with the manatees.

These are our recommendations for a fun manatee experience.

💧 Crystal River: VIP Manatee Swim with In-water Photographer

💧 Orlando: Manatee Encounter, Snorkeling, and Airboat Ride

2.  Paddle The Waterways

A group of kayakers enjoying a sunny day on a calm blue waterway, with residential structures and lush greenery lining the banks, capturing one of the many things to do in crystal river.

The unique location of Crystal River makes for a kayaker’s paradise. Everyone can take to the water from expert paddlers to novice kayakers like me.

Kings Bay gives access to Three Sisters Springs where kayakers can paddle to view the stunning springs. More advanced kayakers may want to venture on to explore King Springs, which is a bit further down the bay.

On a calm day, paddlers enjoy launching from Ozello Park. This area is more remote making the Ozello Keys popular with locals. When you are on the water you may get a surprise visit from a family of dolphins or even some sea turtles.

While these waters are fascinating, I prefer the small quiet ponds and coves like Mullet Hole in the Crystal River Preserve State Park.

Whatever your preference and skill level, you can find paddling a super fun thing to do in Crystal River.


Before you run to the store to buy a kayak, consider renting one in Crystal River. Rental kayaks come equipped with Personal Flotation Devices and paddles. The attendants will even help you launch from the docks.

 💧 Crystal River: Kayak Rental

💧 Crystal River: Clear Bottom Kayak or Paddleboard Eco Tour

3.  Take a Dip in The Springs

How about a refreshing dip in crystal-clear water? Crystal River’s natural springs have a year-round temperature of 72 degrees F.  The water might feel chilly on a winter’s day, it provides a much-needed relief from the sweltering summer days.

Remember to bring your snorkel gear. Some of the best things to see lie beneath the surface.

Hunters Spring Park

Families and individuals enjoy a sunny day at a beachfront park with signage indicating 'no alcohol, no dogs allowed in park', amidst a backdrop of townhouses and palm trees.

Located at the edge of town, is Hunters Spring Park. The calm shallow springs invite visitors to a refreshing dip. The water temperature throughout the year is a comfortable 72 degrees.

Lucky swimmers may even feel a nudge from a curious manatee. Relax on the white sandy beach or jump in, the water’s fine!

Three Sisters Springs

A serene view of a crystal-clear blue spring surrounded by a forest with bare trees and lush undergrowth, reflecting nature's tranquility and the purity of untouched water sources.

For many, swimming into Three Sisters Springs is a magical experience. During the summer months, visitors enjoy snorkeling in the pristine springs. The tropical forest and turquoise water will make you feel like you are visiting paradise.


4.  Relax on a Scenic Boat Cruise

Passengers aboard the 'plantation adventure cruises' boat enjoy a tranquil river cruise at dusk, with waterfront homes and docks in the background, evoking a sense of leisurely waterfront living.

Leave the navigation to the professionals. Sit back and relax while scouting the waters for marine life and birds along the tour. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, alligators, dolphins, and manatees.

Expert guides may point out bald eagles, osprey, and cormorants as they dive into the water for their fresh catch.


Boat Tours are our favorite way to spend an afternoon.  These are our recommendations.

Crystal River Tiki Tour
Crystal River: Kings Bay Manatee Sunset Cruise
Airboat Tour

5.  Rent a Pontoon

What better way to enjoy the Crystal River than on a boat? Don’t have your own? No problem. Rent a pontoon or Skiff and head out on the water. Crystal River is 7 miles long joining Kings Bay with the Gulf of Mexico.

Whether you enjoy a quiet afternoon on the river or a sand bar party at Sandy Point, floating and boating is one of the best things to do in Crystal River.


Call for pricing and availability:

Manatee Swim Center



6.  Reel in a Fresh Catch

Three deep-sea fishing rods secured in holders on the stern of a boat, with lines cast into the serene blue ocean under a clear sky.

Crystal River is home to award-winning fishing. From charter tours to fishing off of a local pier, anglers will agree that fishing is one of their favorite things to do in Crystal River.

Imagine your fresh catch of cobia, mangrove snapper, trout, and grouper on the grill after your day of fishing. My mouth is watering thinking about it!

Grab your rod and prepare to bring home the big one! 


Book your Charter Fishing Expedition Here!

Half-Day Private Guided Inshore Fishing Charter on the Nature Coast

7.  Scalloping

A vibrant mural of a diver in a green sweater and black shorts collecting scallops into a net, with a striped fish swimming nearby. The backdrop is a stylized blue wave that creates the illusion of the diver being underwater.

Dive into a family-friendly underwater treasure hunt with scalloping! Snorkel in clear waters, find hidden gems, and create lasting memories while enjoying the thrill of the sea.

Scalloping is an exciting adventure for all to share and enjoy the rewards together. For me, the reward means a tasty dinner when the scallops are cooked with butter and garlic.


Book your Scalloping Tour Today.

Half-Day Private Scallop Harvesting Snorkel Excursion

8.  Explore Crystal River Archaeological State Park

3400 N Museum Point, Crystal River, FL

Wooden staircase ascending a historic native american burial mound covered with greenery, under a cloudy blue sky. An information plaque is visible at the mound's base, inviting visitors to learn about this sacred site.

Discover the wonders of Crystal River Archaeological State Park! Spend a fun and educational day, unraveling the stories within the park’s sacred grounds and celebrating the fascinating history of our ancestors.

The park encompasses 61 acres of walking paths, a picnic area, and river views. Here you can step into the past and explore ancient burial mounds with tales of Native American cultures from over 1,000 years ago.

Dive into history and experience the secrets of this archaeological gem.


9.  Hit The Trails:  Hiking and Walking

With natural paths through the forest and paved paths through town, hiking is a fun thing to do in Crystal River.

Crystal River Preserve State Park

Gravel trail meandering through a dense, sun-dappled forest with tall pine trees and palmetto bushes. A blue trail marker is attached to a tree, indicating a path for hikers to explore the tranquil natural surroundings.

Wander through the pine flatwoods, basin marsh and tidal marshes, wet hardwood hammocks, and basin swamps. With varying trail distances, hikers and will enjoy Crystal River.

Keep your eyes open, wildlife is abundant in the off-the-beaten trails.

The Crosstown Trail

If a short walk is your style, the Crosstown Trail is for you. The historic railroad bed has been converted into a paved walking path, For an added challenge, walkers can take advantage of the fitness stations along the way.

Kings Bay Riverwalk

For a leisurely walk, the Kings Bay Riverwalk may be for you. Enjoy Crystal River’s waterfront and downtown area, as the walkway winds past restaurants, shops, and scenic overlooks. There are benches to relax on while enjoying the day.

Gary Maidhof Walk to Nature

A serene nature walk on a wooden boardwalk amidst tall palm trees and lush greenery under a clear blue sky, with a lone person enjoying the tranquil environment at crystal river.

Enjoy a short walk into the mysterious Crystal River estuaries. Built in memory of local conservationist, Gary Maidhof, the accessible boardwalk was installed for viewing in the marshlands.

There is a viewing platform at the end, which I think would be a quiet place to paint or read a book.

10.  Sunbathe and Swim at Fort Island Beach

A serene sunset view from a sandy beach with the sun casting a warm golden glow across the sky. A lifeguard tower silhouette can be seen against the sunset, and the tranquil scene is framed by silhouetted palm trees, adding to the tropical ambiance of the setting. The beach appears peaceful and deserted, inviting a moment of reflection or relaxation.

The white sugar sand and calm gulf waters are a perfect combination for a day at the beach. Fort Island Beach is family-friendly with covered picnic pavilions and convenient restrooms.

This is a quiet area, known mostly to the locals. It is one of our favorite places to picnic and enjoy the main event. Sunset is mesmerizing as the sky lights up brilliantly when the sun melts into the Gulf.

When we are in town, you can find us here most evenings.

11.  Birding Is a Fun Thing To Do in Crystal River

Crystal River is a great spot for birdwatching because it’s where Florida’s warm weather mixes with the cooler temperatures of North America. With different habitats like freshwater, saltwater, and forests, Citrus County becomes a perfect home for birds passing through and those who stay year-round.

Be on the lookout for Bald Eagles, Cormorants, Pelicans, and Osprey. If you have a sharp eye you may even spot the elusive Florida Grasshopper Sparrow or Red-cockaded Woodpecker.


12.  Meet the Gorilla

A large, black gorilla statue with a humorous expression, standing on a platform with the text

With an outstretched hand, the Big Gorilla welcomes everyone to Crystal River. A quick stop and a photo with this guy create a fun long-lasting memory.

13.  Take Scuba Diving Lessons

An overhead view of a scuba diver in full gear, including a black wetsuit, diving mask, and yellow fins, exploring clear shallow waters.

Much of Crystal River’s magic lies in the deep springs and cave systems beneath the surface. Becoming a certified scuba diver gives you the confidence to explore these mysterious spaces.

A visit to Crystal River is a chance to check this bucket list adventure off the list.

For information on pricing and availability check out these reputable Scuba Instructors:

Bird’s Underwater Manatee Dive Center (352) 563-2763

Sea Daddy’s Adventures and Dive Center (352) 794-3452


14.  Unleash Your Inner Sea Creature

A person underwater in a swimming pool, wearing a mermaid tail and a patterned bikini top. The person is smiling at the camera, with arms outstretched, embodying the playful fantasy of being a mermaid.

Become a certified mermaid or merman.

In these training classes, you will learn to swim with a mermaid tail, mastering underwater moves and breath control. It’s a blend of swimming skills, creativity, and a touch of magic, offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

Call today!  

Bird’s Underwater Manatee Dive Center (352) 563-2763

15.  Fly The Friendly Skies

From the unique vantage point of the sky, the beauty of Crystal River’s natural wonders come alive, offering an unforgettable and thrilling adventure for those seeking excitement and awe-inspiring views.

Schedule an air tour today!

Crystal Aero Group (352) 795-6868


16.  Take an Art Class

Explore your creative self. Crystal River provides opportunities like painting and creating mosaics or glass artwork. Learn to perfect your skills and talents.

Paint The Town: 1808 NW Hwy 1
Glass Werx: 619 N Citrus Ave

17.  Shop Until You Drop

This image shows a street view of heritage village with a welcoming signboard in the foreground. The village appears to be a quaint, historic area with traditional houses featuring front porches and mature trees.

From specialty shops to galleries, there is something for everyone in Crystal River. Visit local artisans who capture the beauty of paintings and sculptures. Shop for the latest in fashion at trendy boutiques. Don’t forget seaside souvenirs for the family!

Be sure to check out the Heritage Village Shops. Remember, shopping should always include ice cream.

18.  Relax By The PoolA sunny view of an outdoor swimming pool area with blue canopies providing shade over poolside seating. A park bench sits in the foreground, framed by palm trees, suggesting a relaxed, recreational setting. The pool is equipped with marked lanes for swimming, a lifeguard stand, and appears ready for visitors to enjoy a day of aquatic activities. A sunny view of an outdoor swimming pool area with blue canopies providing shade over poolside seating. A park bench sits in the foreground, framed by palm trees, suggesting a relaxed, recreational setting. The pool is equipped with marked lanes for swimming, a lifeguard stand, and appears ready for visitors to enjoy a day of aquatic activities.

Bicentennial Pool is the place to be on a hot summer afternoon. Whether you want a quick dip to cool off or exercise with some laps, swimming is one of the many fun things to do in Crystal River.

19.  Cheer On Crystal River’s Little League

Bring the kids and Play Ball! Tryouts for baseball and softball leagues begin in January for ages 5-15.

Come cheer on the Home Team at Bicentennial Park.

20.  Play Pickleball

Grab your gear and join the latest craze, Pickleball. Playing this popular sport is not only a fun thing to do in Crystal River, but it is good exercise too!

If you are new to the area, check out the Crystal River Pickleball clubs in the area. If you are just visiting the area, you can enjoy Pickleball at these courts.

21.  Master Your Moves

Grab your board and head to Crystal River’s local practice skatepark. Located in Bicentennial Park, skateboarders have a dedicated space designed for focused sessions. This is a great place to perfect your tricks and elevate your skills without distractions.

22.  Take to The Fairways

A golfer in a blue shirt and grey shorts prepares to take a swing on a sunny golf course, with golf carts and other players in the background amidst scattered trees and palm trees under a partly cloudy sky.When visiting Crystal River, remember to grab your clubs. Take to the Fairway at the Plantation Resort. The Golf Course is open to the public seven days a week.

For those who are new to Florida’s favorite pastime, lessons are available at the onsite golf clinic.

23.  Celebrate The Strikes

Whether bowling with friends or enjoying solo fun, the joy of sending those pins flying is unbeatable. So gather your crew, lace up those shoes, and head to Bolero Bowling Lanes.

24.  Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Interior of a tavern with a humorous neon sign that reads 'waitress available sometimes', next to a vintage public telephone sign and a decorative ship model. The setting has a rustic charm with exposed brick walls and wooden beams.

You can’t completely enjoy Crystal River without a little food and beverage.

Best Places to Eat in Crystal River

Dan’s Clam Stand: This is our favorite place for beer and clam strips. We like to sit on the deck while enjoying the afternoon.

St. John’s Tavern: Great service and fantastic food. With a lively crowd and friendly staff, you can’t go wrong.

Best Places for Drinks in Crystal River

Copp Brewery and Winery: Enjoy a flight of wine or beer made in-house by Master Brewer and Wine Maker, Fran Copp. This venue brings everything together with food, drink, and live entertainment.

St. Johns Martini Bar: Sometimes the day calls for a martini. Look no further, and pop in for a Lemon Drop before dinner or a desert martini nightcap. Better yet, come for both!

Best Places to Be Merry in Crystal River

Crystal River is just as fun when the sun goes down. Many of the bars and restaurants have live music, karaoke, and dancing on the deck.

These are some of our favorites:

Crackers Bar and Grill

KC Wine and Koffee House

Norton’s Riverside Bar and Grill 

25.  Go Camping in Crystal River

Are you visiting Crystal River in your RV? No problem! Crystal River has several camping resorts. Come and stay the weekend or the season.

The campgrounds in Crystal River have a site waiting for you. For pricing, availability and full details be sure to check these options:

Sun Retreats Crystal River (352) 564-9350
Quail Roost RV Park (352) 563-0404
Encore Crystal Isles (352) 795-3774
Sweet Citrus Acres RV Resort (352) 230-5660

Where To Stay in Crystal River

Crystal River offers several hotel options from luxury accommodations to the cutest cottages.

You can’t beat this location!  The Port Hotel and Marina

We go for the cinnamon rolls!  Holiday Inn Express

For romance or relaxation:  Retreat at Crystal Manatee 


Do you require more space and a place that feels like home? Consider renting a private home for your stay in Crystal River.  Click for pricing and availability.

This rental has water access and kayaks!

This rental sleeps 10!

Is Crystal River Worth Visiting?

Crystal River is one of our favorite places in Florida. It is a quaint town with a lot to offer the residents and visitors.

Being close to Tampa and Orlando, Crystal River offers a quiet and convenient escape from the city. Its natural wonders, including pristine springs, scenic rivers, and a captivating blend of wildlife, make it a haven for nature enthusiasts and explorers.

Crystal River is a hidden gem and worth visiting.

When Is The Best Time to Visit Crystal River

Generally speaking, Crystal River is a great place to visit all year long. With that in mind, visitors are more likely to see the manatees during the colder months, November through late March.

Early spring and late fall are most comfortable and may provide a better swimming or paddling experience. However, the summer months can be unbearably hot and humid for visitors to the area.

Florida hurricane season is from August through October. This means that the conditions for hurricanes, tornados, damaging winds, and rain are prime. Unfortunately, weather patterns can change on a dime, and severe weather can devastate vacation plans.

Crystal River Events

A group of young adults lounging and smiling on the grass at a park, enjoying a warm, relaxed outdoor gathering with other people in the background.

Crystal River is host to many events throughout the year. The town comes alive with music, vendors, and fun for the whole family.

Florida Manatee Festival

Each January, Crystal River celebrates its beloved manatees with the Florida Manatee Festival. Listen to live music and snack on your favorite foods while visiting the local artists.

First Friday

Join the party in Town Square on the first Friday of the month. From 5-9, there is live music, food trucks, and lawn games. Bring on the weekend in Crystal River.

St Patricks Dog Parade

What could be more fun than a Dog Parade? Come join the St. Patrick’s celebration and vote for the Best Dressed pup in Crystal River. The parade begins in Town Square at 10 am.

4th of July Celebration

Head out to Kings Bay Park for Crystal River’s annual July 4th Celebration. Join the community in a red, white, and blue party. Bring the family for a fun afternoon of food, music, and fireworks.

Stone Crab Jam

November brings the dance party to the streets! Enjoy live music on six stages in this annual street festival. Shop with local vendors and of course feast on stone crabs a Florida delicacy.


Things To Do Near Crystal River

While spending time in Crystal River puts you close to several other towns with super fun adventures.

Homosassa, Florida

A serene river reflects the surrounding forest and clear blue sky, with sunlight filtering through the trees to dance on the water's surface.

Just 20 minutes south of Crystal River is the small fishing town of Homosassa. Known for its natural beauty and world-class fishing, there are a few must-dos while in the area.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

View the manatees in their natural habitat from inside the Underwater Observatory. Wander the paths throughout the park, while viewing the Florida black bear, panthers, and alligators. This park is a favorite.

Monkey Island:

Since the 1960’s Monkey Island has been home to a colony of monkeys. Although you can’t visit the island, you can observe them from the nearby restaurants. **Due to the damage of Hurricane Idalia in 2023, the monkeys have been temporarily relocated. Residents of the area are working tirelessly to repair damage and bring their beloved counterparts back home.

Find The Crack

Make your way down the Chassahowitzka River to the secret crack. This beautiful crystal blue spring is only accessible by paddle.

Bring your paddle craft or rent one at the launch. Don’t forget your bug spray and sunscreen.

Dunnellon, Florida

Visitors enjoy a sunny day at a clear, natural spring surrounded by lush greenery, with some people swimming and others observing from the wooden deck.

Only 20 minutes northeast of Crystal River, is the town of Dunnellon. This historic town is home to two of Florida’s beautiful rivers: The Rainbow River and The Withlacoochee River.

Besides kayaking and boating these rivers, there are also a few other things to do in Dunnellon.

Rainbow Springs State Park

When visiting the Crystal River area, Rainbow Springs is a must-do. The clear aqua-colored springs are one of the largest natural springs in Florida. Rent a kayak or bring your own for a paddle down the Rainbow River. You will be amazed.

The park has several trails and 3 waterfalls. Once you visit it is easy to understand why Rainbow Spring fills quite often. Simply stated, Rainbow Springs is that beautiful.

Beautiful Creatures Animal Ranch

Visit an exotic animal and wildlife rescue. Learn about alpacas, sloths, and a variety of other beautiful creatures.

Singing Boat Tour

Be serenaded on the leisurely boat ride down the Withlacoochee River. Witness the color-changing water where the Withlacoochee meets the Rainbow River.

This is one of my favorite tours and one I recommend all the time.

KP Hole Park

Tube down the Rainbow River, swim in the springs, or picnic in the park. This is a beautiful, family-oriented area to spend the day.


Things To Do in Crystal River, Florida: Conclusion

The Nature Coast is one of Florida’s hidden gems. Visitors may be surprised at all of the unique things to do in Crystal River and connecting towns. From the beautiful wetlands and wildlife to the clear waterways, it’s a magical place to visit.

The Crystal River area has a special charm that keeps drawing us back. Robb and I hope you have a great time during your stay.

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

Robb strobridge and maureen wright, the stromads.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Design Your Perfect 2024 Acadia National Park Itinerary

Design Your Perfect 2024 Acadia National Park Itinerary

Design Your Perfect 2024
Acadia National Park Itinerary

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

There is no one-size-fits-all Acadia National Park Itinerary. We all have different preferences, hiking abilities and areas of interest. Rather than try to fit you into a cookie-cutter plan, this article will help you build your perfect Acadia National Park Itinerary.

By suggesting must-see places, hidden gems, and proposed timelines, you will be able to understand much of what Acadia holds. We will include hiking trails for all levels, several beautiful beaches, scenic overlooks, and even a few suggestions for meals and fabulous picnic spots.

Building itineraries is what we do. Designing itineraries for curious travelers allows us to relive our travel memories and inspires us to repeat or find a new adventure. While some think researching and developing a plan of action is tedious, frustrating, overwhelming, or even unnecessary, we love doing it!

Like you, we are time-conscious and desire to make the most of our vacations and travel. Exploring Acadia National Park’s iconic sights and hidden gems requires a well-crafted plan to make the most of your visit.

Because we know you are busy and excited to plan your trip to Acadia we want to make our one and three-day itineraries available to you for free right now. Keep in mind, that some of them only scratch the surface of Acadia National Park. They will provide you with a good overview of the area and give you a great start to building your perfect Acadia National Park itinerary.

Free 1-Day and 3-Day Itinerary

Looking for a great way to get started planning your visit to Acadia? Download our 1-Day and 3-Day Itineraries.

Table of Contents

Acadia National Park Introduction

Official acadia national park sign.

Acadia National Park is like no other park on the National Park Registry. With breathtaking vistas and coastlines for miles, visiting Acadia is a bucket list adventure.

As you enter the boundaries of Acadia, it is easy to understand why it is the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast. Each year, over 4 million people visit Acadia National Park to explore and experience its magic.

From the first glimpse of sunrise to the massive tidal fluctuations, Acadia is fascinating. For hikers, there are 150 trails to explore ranging from expert to super easy. Acadia has historic driving roads, and quiet carriage roads for bicycling, or walking. The coastline views are extraordinary with both rocky and sandy beaches.

There are so many places to see, pictures to take, and memories to make that it makes sense to use a well-thought-out Acadia National Park Itinerary.


Guide along audio tour banner.

Acadia National Park Layout

Acadia National Park is comprised of four major areas.

  • Mount Desert Island
  • Schoodic Peninsula
  • Isle au Haut
  • Outer Islands: Little Cranberry Island and Baker Island

While much of Acadia can be explored by automobile, some remote areas can only be reached by boat. Visiting those areas may require reservations and back-country permits.


Mount Desert Island (MDI)

Mount Desert Island or MDI is where the most well-known areas of Acadia National Park are located. With famous attractions and hidden gems, it is easy to understand how quickly people fall in love with the area.

MDI is divided into two regions, east and west, which have different vibes.

East MDI

More than likely, this is where your Acadia National Park itinerary will begin. Not only will you enjoy the natural beauty of Acadia, but you can also explore the quaint seaside town of Bar Harbor. The area is beautiful and vibrant, as well as crowded with tourists. Like all of us, they come for the views.

Here you will enjoy exploring the well-known sights of Acadia. Here are some highlights you can schedule into your Acadia National Park itinerary.

Cadillac Mountain

Foggy view from cadillac mountain overlooking porcupine islands.

With an elevation of 1530ft above sea level, Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the eastern seaboard.  Here, you can catch the first glimpses of sunrise in the United States.

Cadillac Mountain gives stunning views of both the Cranberry Islands and Porcupine Islands.  There are several beautiful overlooks as you drive the Cadillac Summit Road.

Reservations are required from mid-May to late October.

Loop Road

This 27-mile scenic drive is where your Acadia adventure begins.  The Loop Road will give you the best of Acadia, and should not be missed.  Much of the road is one-way, so plan to stop often.

Many of the iconic Acadia views, trails, and points of interest are located on The Loop Road.  This area is magical, so take it slow and enjoy the ride.


Sieur de Monts

The Sieur de Monts Visitor Center in Acadia National Park offers a chance to explore the park’s nature and history through exhibits and ranger-led programs. It’s a great starting point to learn about Acadia’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife while enjoying the surrounding gardens and nearby trails.

While here, you can explore the Wild Gardens of Acadia, The Nature Center, and the Abbe Museum.


Sand Beach

Sandy beach with small waves and cliff side views.

Although Acadia National Park has many beaches, Sand Beach is the only sandy beach in the park. The cove is surrounded by towering cliffs and the beautiful blue sea in front.  Sand Beach is popular in the summer for swimming and relaxing.

There is ample parking with restrooms and showers available.  Sand Beach is often crowded, as visitors often stage here for many of the popular hiking trails.

Thunder Hole

Thunder hole a natural cavern catching thunderous  crashing waves.

Named for the thunderous sound of the waves, this is one of the best sights in Acadia.  The platform gives perfect views of the sea cavern below.  As the tide rises, the water rushes in, creating a loud crash like thunder.

Although this is always a beautiful spectacle, the loudest crashes happen about 2 hours before high tide.

Beehive Mountain Loop Trail

Mountain trail with wooden bridge overlooking the ocean.

Photo credit used with permission:  restless_rivers

Beehive Mountain Loop Trail is one of Acadia’s most popular hikes.  As the distance is just over a mile round trip, the trail can be quite challenging.

With large rock scrambles, open-face cliffs, and iron-rung ladders,  this hike provides an introduction to some of Acadia’s more difficult climbs.

Precipice Trail

Known for its rugged terrain, iron rungs, steep inclines, and descents this is Precipice Trail.   Although the trail is only 3.2 miles round trip, it is extremely strenuous as elevation rises 1000ft in less than a mile.

Be prepared to climb, scale along the open cliff faces, and witness some of the most amazing views that Acadia offers.

Boulder BeachBoulders on a beach.

Boulder Beach and Monument Cove, situated between Gorham Mountain Trail Head and Otter Cliffs Parking lots, offer captivating scenes for photographers. With striking sunrises, starry nights, and a beach adorned with smooth rounded rocks, it’s a unique spot.

While some articles may suggest easy access to the water, for some (like me), the descent down the steep and slick “nature paths” can be a bit challenging, so caution is advised.

Otter Point

Gravel walkway with views of the ocean.

As the Loop Road rounds the point, you will be treated to outstanding views over the sea at Otter Point.  The famous Otter Cliffs stand 110 feet above the ocean at this iconic Acadia scenic stop.  There is a path that leads to the beach and beautiful photo opportunities.

Little Hunters Beach

People exploring on a cobblestone beach.

Little Hunters Beach, with its million small stones, creates a soothing sound as the water recedes, making it a serene spot for relaxation.

Be prepared for some steps and a small stream crossing on your way down, but even from the platform, you can glimpse at this peaceful beach.  

Otter Cove

Scenic overlook with cove and three arch causeway stone bridge.

From the Fabbri Memorial, you can see stunning views of Otter Cove Beach and Causeway. With the sea on the left and a smaller cove on the right, high tide nearly covers the beach, revealing fun tide pools at low tide.

Though its stop board system, to encourage swimming, was never installed, the Causeway Bridge area makes for a great kayaking spot, maintaining a calm and inviting cove environment.

Jordan Pond and Jordan Pond Guest House

Guest tables on a lawn with lake view.

Spanning 187 acres, Jordan Pond is the second-largest and the deepest lake in the park, reaching 150 feet deep.  This pristine pond is a major source of drinking water for the area so swimming is not allowed but kayaking is.

From Jordan Pond, visitors can access various hikes and carriage roads.  Because this is a popular area, parking can be difficult.  Be patient, though, you will get a place to park.

The Jordan Pond Guest House does have a restaurant and snack bar.  For a special experience, enjoy an afternoon snack of popovers and champagne.  Dining on these special treats is a long-time tradition dating back to the late 1800s when the wealthy would visit Acadia in the summer.

Carriage Roads

Gravel road through a forest.

One of the most unique features of Acadia National Park is the 45 miles of intertwined carriage roads.  John D. Rockerfeller, Jr had these roads built so that visitors could travel throughout Mount Desert Island on horseback or in horse and carriage away from vehicular traffic.  Wandering the carriage roads will lead you to spectacular views, bridges, and waterfalls.

The gravel roads were built for foot traffic, horse and carriage rides, and bicycles.  Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the carriage roads.

Thuya Garden and  Asticou Terraces

Colorful azalea bushes in a park setting.

Nestled in Northeast Harbor, Maine, Thuya Garden and Asticou Terraces are gems worth exploring. Thuya Garden is filled with vibrant blooms, winding paths, and picturesque views of the Harbor. Adjacent to it, Asticou Terraces offers a unique combination of Japanese and English garden elements, featuring intricate stonework and captivating plant arrangements.

Both gardens provide a peaceful retreat, showcasing the natural beauty of Mount Desert Island.

Seal Harbor

Calm beach with summer homes in the distance.

Seal Harbor Beach is a quiet community with stunning views of the sea, where high tide occasionally covers the sandy shores. The gentle waves create a serene backdrop for relaxation or a refreshing swim. Convenient parking and restrooms are just across the street.  Although uncommon, you might spot some of Seal Harbor’s affluent residents, like Martha Stewart.

Interestingly, the beach is home to renowned restrooms, a thoughtful project funded by John D. Rockefeller and Edsel Ford so visitors wouldn’t have to resort to the forest to answer to nature’s call.

Hunters Beach

Lady on a rugged beach staring out to the sea.

Acadia National Park is full of hidden gems and Hunters Beach tops the list.

The trail, about 0.6 miles roundtrip, takes you through the forest and over a footbridge to this secluded beach. Whether you prefer exploring the rocks and cliffs or just chilling on a log “bench,” it’s one of the park’s most beautiful beaches. Although there are exposed roots, the trail is mostly flat, with a beautiful spongy mossy carpet in areas, making it an easy walk.

There is no signage or facilities in this area, only a small parking area.  I hope you enjoy this area as much as we did!

Compass Harbor Trail

Wooded trail with stone staircase.

Experience breathtaking views at George Dorr’s Pebble Beach, a hidden gem accessed via a flat gravel trail to a secluded cove and rocky shore. Listen to the magical sound of waves over pebbles. Explore the ruins and history of the Dorr homestead, which offers a glimpse into the family’s daily life in Acadia.

Legend has it that George’s spirit still roams the property and you may spot him peaking out behind a tree, adding a touch of folklore to this captivating spot.

Bar Harbor

Street view of a coastal town with colorful shops.

With quaint shops, fantastic restaurants, and luxurious accommodations, visitors can’t resist Bar Harbor.  This vibrant coastal town gives visitors stunning views and relaxing afternoons along the harbor trail.  From the docks, you can schedule a variety of boat tours, including a schooner and a real lobster boat.

During peak season, it can be very crowded as Bar Harbor is a popular port of call for cruise lines.  Don’t let the crowds deter you though, you can easily get around the town on foot to places like Town Beach and Bar Island Land Bridge.

Bar Island Land Bridge

Natural land bridge or sand bar at low tide.

Located in Bar Harbor, the Land Bridge is a phenomenal sight if timed right.  As the water recedes during low tide, the natural sand bar appears between Bar Harbor and Bar Island.  You can walk across to the island!  This was one of the craziest experiences we had in Acadia.

Our only word of caution is don’t get caught on the wrong side as the tide comes back in.  You will have to wait 8 hours to cross again.

West MDI

Often called “the quiet side of the island”, the western side of MDI has its own unique features. With a rocky coastline and million-dollar views, this lesser-explored area shouldn’t be missed.

On West MDI you can find these treasured areas:


White wooden footbridge over a small creek.

The charming town of Somesville is the oldest settlement on Mount Desert Island.  The Somesville Museum and Gardens provides a quiet break from the crowds as you stroll through the grounds.   The white wooden footbridge is one of the most photographed bridges in Maine.

Echo Lake

Still lake surrounded by rocky cliff trails.

Both calm and quiet, Echo Lake is a beautiful area to spend the afternoon.  The area has a few trails up and over the surrounding cliffs and through the forest for hiking and exploring.  The lake is perfect for canoeing and kayaking as well as swimming when the weather warms the water.

We found the beach to be quite empty on a warm autumn afternoon which was perfect for a quiet picnic lunch.  Because Echo Lake is off the beaten path, it is more popular among locals than tourists.


Rocky coastline of seawall, acadia national park.

For stunning sea views and crashing waves, Seawall is a must-do on your Acadia National Park Itinerary.  The ocean is a brilliant blue along the rocky coast.  Much of the coastline looks like the ocean trail on the Loop Road, but there are far fewer visitors to Seawall.

You can easily find parking and picnic tables with fire rings to sit back and enjoy a campfire and the mesmerizing views after a morning of exploring. Just pickup a bundle of firewood and lighter before you head out.  You won’t be disappointed. Restrooms are available here as well.

Wonderland Trail

Brilliant blue ocean with white cap waves crashing on a rocky shoreline.

The 1.5-mile roundtrip hike is one of the easier trails in Acadia as it is mostly flat and level.  The views are extraordinary as the lollipop loop brings you right to the water’s edge.

Named appropriately, this trail is truly is a wonderland experience.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Lighthouse on a cliff over the ocean.

As one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine, the Bass Harbor Lighthouse rests on a cliff side 56 feet above the sea.  Photographers gather daily to capture the setting sun.  This photo opportunity is highly sought after, making parking super difficult.

Pretty Marsh Picnic Area

Quiet road with pine and spruce trees.

The lush forest gives visitors you a feeling of seclusion at the Pretty Marsh.  Relax with a picnic lunch or go exploring down the staircase to the beach.   

With the tall pine trees and stunning views of the sea below this area is quite magical.

Schoodic Peninsula

Exploring the Schoodic Peninsula can easily turn into a full day of adventure. The scenic drive from Hull’s Cove Visitor Center to Schoodic Point is about an hour, making it an even less traveled area but well worth the ride.

Some of the highlights of the Schoodic Peninsula include:

Lamoine State Park

Quiet seaside park with mountain views.

With calm waters for swimmers and kayakers, Lamoine State Park is a nice alternative to the beaches on Mount Desert Island. Enjoy shoreline walks with picturesque views of Mt. Desert Narrows and Frenchman’s Bay.

Plan a relaxing afternoon with picnic tables by the sea and consider camping at Lamoine State Park for a memorable beachside experience in Acadia National Park.


Marlboro Beach

Gravel beach with coloring trees in the background.

The tranquil gem of Marlboro Beach is best accessed during low tide. Locals favor its calm, crystal-clear waters for swimming. The beach is renowned for its unique “mud flats,” which harbor vital ecosystems for local wildlife.

While walking on the sandy shores has the texture of Kinetic Sand, stepping into the mud may feel more like quicksand.

Tidal Falls Preserve

Change in tidal flow causing a reverse waterfall.

Tidal Falls Preserve is a perfect spot for tide-pooling enthusiasts, offering a stunning view of the dramatic tidal fluctuations, which can reach up to 20 feet.

The tidal changes create a unique phenomenon – a waterfall reversal where the water flows upward instead of downward. It’s a remarkable sight for those who appreciate the wonders of nature.  If you are interested in watching this be sure to check the tidal schedules and plan the right time for your visit. 

Schoodic Scenic Byway

Boulder engraved with

Highway 186 or Schoodic Scenic Byway runs from Hancock through Schoodic Point and ends in Prospect Harbor about 29 miles away.  On the drive you can expect views of Frenchmans Bay, seaside villages, and scenic overlooks.

Stops along the way to consider are Winter Harbor, Tidal Falls Preserve, Sullivan Winter Harbor, Schoodic Point, and Prospect Harbor.

Schoodic Loop

This 6-mile scenic drive will treat you to beautiful views of the sea, mountains, and coastal terrain.  Schoodic Loop is far less crowded than Acadia’s Loop Road making the drive relaxing and worthwhile.

 Schoodic Point

Coastline of granite and basalt slabs.

This scenic stop is at the tip of the Schoodic Peninsula and should not be missed.  Huge flat granite and basalt rocks invite visitors to explore this coastal area.  Although I only ventured out a short way, others did walk to what appeared to be the oceans edge with sea spray rising above their heads.

When I think of Acadia National Park, Schoodic Point is what comes to my mind.

Bartlett Maine Estate Winery

Signs for a winery in the forest.

Nestled back in the forest, the winery feels like something out of a fairy tale.

Although Maine is not known for its wine, Bartlett Maine Estate Winery has fantastic offerings.  Since grape growing is not conducive in this climate, the wines are made from apples, blueberries, and pears.

We found both the dry pear wine and dry blueberry wine surprisingly delicious as neither of us are fan of sweet fruit wines.  There truly is something magical about this area.  It is a fun and informative stop as you talk to the welcoming and knowledgeable hosts.


Isle au Haut

Lighthouse and walkway on a rocky shoreline over the sea.

Located 6 miles off the mainland, Isle au Haut is only accessible by boat. While half of the island is home to about 60 residents, the other half of the island belongs to Acadia National Park.

Visitors to the island can take the mailboat from Stonington which is about a 90-minute drive from Hull’s Cove Visitor Center.

Once on Isle au Haut, visitors can explore the town which consists of a post office, general store, and a school. For those with a passion for exploring remote areas, Isle au Haut has about 18 miles of intertwined hiking and biking trails.

Overnight primitive camping is permitted with advanced reservations. Although infrequent, there are times you can find a rental home for a short stay.


Outer Islands

Little Cranberry Island

Visitors can take the mailboat from MDI at Northwest Harbor or Southwest Harbor. The 45-minute boat ride will bring you to Islesford, where you can visit the Islesford Historical Museum.

Although the museum is the only area managed by the National Park system, the town has a few shops and galleries to explore.

Baker Island

Small cottage lighthouse and grounds in 1800s

Baker Island is an uninhabited remote island, only accessible by boat. This area is managed by the National Park system and is not open to the public. Ranger lead tours are the only way to explore Baker Island. The rocky shores and beautiful views are enchanting. During the tour, you will learn the history of the Gilley family who lived on Baker Island for 123 years, while exploring the ruins of the homestead.

Visiting Baker Island is fascinating and something to consider adding to your Acadia National Park Itinerary.

As you can see, it is impossible to visit all four areas of Acadia in a single day or even on a three-day vacation to Acadia. With this knowledge of Acadia’s layout and boundaries, you are better equipped to make itinerary decisions like what you will do and how long you will stay. 


Tips for Designing an Acadia National Park Itinerary

Reflective  pond with tall trees and clear water.

Designing the ideal Acadia National Park Itinerary involves numerous factors. Rather than having the length of stay determine your itinerary, we encourage you to delve deeper into the type of experience you desire.

Once you’ve pinpointed those preferences, determining the length of your visit becomes straightforward. Addressing these questions will sharpen your focus and guarantee an enjoyable Acadia vacation for everyone involved.

Set a Preferred Pace

Female hiker resting on a log in the forest.

Are you someone who enjoys a leisurely pace or do you prefer a more active and fast-paced exploration?

When shaping your ideal Acadia National Park itinerary, consider mixing up your activities. Try a bit of hiking, take in the sights, and add some leisure time to suit different interests. Factor in breaks to avoid exhaustion and allow time for relaxation, ensuring a more enjoyable experience.

If watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain isn’t your thing, no worries! Simply eliminate it from your itinerary. Instead, grab a coffee and breakfast in Bar Harbor before kicking off your day’s adventures.

A flexible pace which allows time for unexpected discoveries or changes in weather conditions, is key for a fantastic and enjoyable experience in Acadia.

Photography Interests

Ocean spray as waves crash into the rocks.

Are you an avid photographer looking to capture specific landscapes, wildlife, or sunrise/sunset shots?

Photographers gather on Cadillac Mountain and Boulder Beach to shoot the first sights of the sun rising. Others line up long before the sun sets at Bass Harbor Lighthouse to catch the sun melting into the water.  While they are beautiful captures, we prefer to photograph the crashing waves.

These photo opportunities are not easily obtained. To access Cadillac Mountain at sunrise, you may have to make a reservation.   May through October, tickets are limited and released in intervals. We tried several times to get sunrise tickets but were unsuccessful.

Likewise, the highly coveted sunset photo at Bass Harbor Lighthouse can be difficult to shoot. We arrived late in the afternoon and the traffic was at a standstill. There is no parking on Lighthouse Road and the parking lot is very small. After waiting in gridlock for 15 minutes, it was clear, that we would miss the main event.

If this is a must-do, plan accordingly. You might want to pack a picnic lunch and head there early to secure a parking spot.

Culinary Exploration

Charlotte's lobster pound restaurant.

Does trying local cuisine and exploring dining options factor into your itinerary?

Your Acadia National Park Itinerary might include feasting on lobster rolls, fried clams, and blueberry pie every day. There are plenty of restaurants in the neighboring towns. However, don’t dismiss the roadside lobster pounds for the freshest and most affordable offerings.

If you want to have an old-fashioned lobster boil at home, a trip to the docks early in the morning might be a great solution. Lobstermen return with their catch early. You can score live lobsters at dock prices if you are fortunate enough to catch the lobstermen as they come in with their haul. If not, check out the lobster co-ops for the best prices on live lobster.

Interests in Ranger Programs

Are you interested in participating in any ranger-led programs or educational activities offered in the park?

Ranger-led programs like hikes or talks are a wonderful way to learn about Acadia. Not only are the landscapes and seascapes diverse, but the park’s history is fascinating. Schedules vary, so preplanning is necessary.

Accessibility Considerations

Man on slippery rocks along the ocean.

Do you have any mobility considerations that might affect your choice of trails or activities?

The Acadia terrain is rugged. While the National Park system continues improving areas, accessibility in some areas may still be difficult. The granite and basalt slabs that make up much of the coastline may look inviting, but they can be super dangerous. Just a little ocean spray or rain can make them as slippery as ice.

Several of the hikes include ladders and iron rungs, unsuitable for service animals. Likewise, golf carts and motorized bikes may be prohibited on the carriage roads.

Family-Friendly or Solo Adventure

Are you traveling with family, and if so, do you need family-friendly activities, or is this a solo adventure?

This important factor cannot be overlooked. Hiking along the Ocean Path, Wonderland Trail and Bubble Rock are family friendly and fun for kids. However, Precipe and Beehive hikes are unsuitable for young kids because the exposed ledges make the hike dangerous.

Remember when designing your Acadia National Park Itinerary it should include a little something for everyone.

Fitness Level

Climbers scaling a cliff overlooking the ocean.

What is your fitness level, and how does that influence the difficulty of hikes or activities you might undertake?

Your fitness level may determine what and how much you can physically do in a day in Acadia. Although some have the stamina and strength to scale both Precipice Trail and Beehive Trail before lunch, others may find the steps and small creek crossing at Hunters Beach difficult.

Before using a general itinerary for Acadia, we suggest gathering information on hiking trails that fit your ability and curiosity. There are plenty of options for everyone in discovering the magic of Acadia.  We list a lot of these options in our Sample Itinerary downloads.

Rather than a strenuous hike, decide on one of the easier trails, like Wonderland Beach Trail or Compass Harbor Trail. Likewise, if hiking doesn’t interest you, then maybe a boat tour or wine tasting may be the perfect way to spend the day.

By incorporating these considerations into the itinerary-planning process, you can tailor your experience further to align with your unique preferences, interests, and goals. Exploring your wants and desires for your adventure will help determine how much time you want to spend in Acadia National Park.


When Is The Best Time to Visit

Acadia National Park?

Simply stated, the best time to visit Acadia National Park, is when you have the time and money to do the activities you want to do. While some seasons might be more comfortable than others, when to visit Acadia is a matter of personal preference.

Spring in Acadia National Park

Lush forest and swampy area.

As the last of the snow melts away, the buds and flowers begin to bloom. Temperatures can range from the high 20s to the mid-50s in April and early May. Springtime also brings a significant amount of rain.

While some of the park’s unpaved roads and carriage roads may still be closed, the crowds are thin making the highlight stops easy to access.

Although the cruise ships return to Bar Harbor in April, the town is far less crowded with Acadia tourists. Timing your visit to Bar Harbor on non-docking days can make your time less hurried.

Summer in Acadia National Park

Pristine pond surrounded by tall fir trees.

Summer is peak season in Acadia. With temperatures ranging from the mid-70s in the afternoon into the low 50s in the evening, many visitors come north to escape the sweltering heat of the Mid-Atlantic and southern states.  Although the seawater and beaches may be a little chilly, locals enjoy a refreshing dip in the pristine Acadia ponds.

Acadia is the 6th most visited National Park in the United States. Summertime hosts about 2 million visitors sometimes making parking horrendous and the roads in Acadia congested.

To alleviate traffic and parking issues on MDI, many visitors take advantage of the Island Explorer Shuttle Bus. Having convenient pick-up and drop-off locations throughout the island, this is a great alternative to driving.

Fall in Acadia National ParkBrightly colored autumn trees atop a mountain.

Fall is a beautiful time to visit Acadia. As the foliage turns from green to brilliant yellow, reds, golds, and purples the views from Cadillac Mountain are stunning. Nature has a magnificent way of painting the backdrop.

While afternoon temperatures hover in the high 60’s, evening temperatures can fall into the 40’s. Daytime is perfect for sweaters and daytime campfires. However, most campgrounds close in mid-October, so this is a huge consideration for many visitors.

Winter in Acadia National Park

Caution snowmobile sign.

For snow lovers, winter in Acadia might be for you. While most of the 27-mile Loop Road is closed to vehicular traffic, the roads are open for recreational use. Snowmobiling is permitted on unplowed fire roads, as well as portions of Loop Road and Cadillac Mountain Road.

The frozen ocean spray and snow-covered rocky coastlines are brilliant, against the clear winter sky. Temperatures can dip into single digits during the winter months.


How Many Days Do You Need in Acadia?

Considering all of the information in this article, you can make a pretty good determination on how many days you want to spend in the Acadia area. For some, a quick drive around the Loop Road will suffice. For others, a seven-day vacation is barely enough time to do everything they want to do.

To get the most out of your Acadia vacation, we suggest staying at least 3 days. This way, you can take a few hikes, see the most popular areas, and enjoy the local cuisine. Of course, the longer you stay the more you can add to your Acadia National Park Itinerary.


Best Places To Stay Near Acadia National Park

If this is your first trip to Acadia National Park, we recommend staying on Mount Desert East.   This area is closest to Cadillac Mountain, The Loop Road and Bar Harbor as well as many of the hiking trails.   MDI East is the center of the action with quicker access to the park entrance

Hotels in Bar Harbor

Staying in Bar Harbor gives you the best of Acadia.   The town is vibrant and close to the park entrance.  With restaurants and shopping throughout this quaint town, you can find plenty to do after a day of exploring.


Choosing a hotel just got easier.  These are our recommendations based on location, amenities, and overall customer satisfaction. 

For pricing and availability, click the links below.

 The Inn on Mount Desert

Hanscom’s Motel & Cottages

Canterbury Cottage Bed & Breakfast

Rental Homes and Apartments

Choosing a rental home for your vacation brings a comfy, family-friendly atmosphere, almost like having your own special retreat. Imagine having a good old-fashioned lobster boil together and enjoying a relaxed space where everyone can unwind.

It’s not just a place to stay; a rental home is your cozy spot for a laid-back and enjoyable family getaway.


Let us help you find the vacation rental of your dreams.  Based on location, amenities, and overall customer experience, these are our recommendations.

For complete descriptions including pricing and availability click the links below:

Dreamy Downtown Bar Harbor Oasis with parking, Sleeps 6!  

Secluded hilltop home with beautiful Cadillac Mountain views and multiple decks

Majestic Oceanfront Cottage with breathtaking views of Acadia Mountains & Ocean

Camping in Acadia National Park

Being full-time RVers, we think the best way to enjoy Acadia National Park is camping.   RVing allows us the best of both worlds, beautiful peaceful views and all of the creature comforts of home.  East MDI has several great campgrounds, serving both RVers and tent campers. 


Consider renting an RV for your Acadia adventure.

With an RV, you can immerse yourself in the forest, enjoy great views, and experience a laid-back atmosphere after a day of exploring. 

Check out Outdoorsy RV rental service a turn your Acadia experience into a memorable journey.

Outdoorsy RV Rental Service 

Getting Around In Acadia National Park

Getting around Acadia is key to maximizing your vacation. Whether by car, bike, or the Island Explorer shuttle, choosing the right transportation ensures you can easily explore the park’s wonders.  

Island Explorer  

With Acadia’s gain in popularity, visitors find parking challenging.  The Island Explorer is a FREE shuttle service with convenient stops at many campgrounds, hotels, and points of interest throughout the area. 

Unfortunately, the Island Explorer does not go up Cadillac Summit Road.  

Acadia GEM Electric Car Rental

The compact GEM electric car is a fun and convenient way to tour the park.  With a pickup location in Bar Harbor, it is just a few blocks from the cruise port. 

These little cars are fun to zip around the island and we saw a lot of people enjoying themselves in the eco-friendly machines.

Guided Tours

A guided tour in Acadia takes the stress out of planning, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes and rich history. With a knowledgeable guide, you gain insights and stories that go beyond guidebooks, enhancing your connection to this unique national park.

Enjoy a seamless experience, tailored to your interests, and make the most of every moment in Acadia.



Building your perfect Acadia National Park itinerary will take time and research. There are a lot of considerations to incorporate. With this guide to creating an experience, the must-see highlights of the park, and tips for making a balanced itinerary, planning is much simpler.

When planning your trip, make sure to choose those must-see places or activities that excite you, and set aside  time for them. Keep an eye on travel times, especially in busy seasons, to avoid feeling rushed and fully enjoy every moment of your visit. While hitting the well-known spots is great, adding in some off-the-beaten-path gems creates a truly well-rounded and enjoyable adventure. It’s all about making the most of your time in Acadia National Park!

Acadia National Park is a beautiful area with diverse landscapes, mesmerizing seascapes, and lush forests. One visit to this area, and you are sure to experience the magic it holds.

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

Maureen and robb, the stromads in acadia.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

RV Friendly Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park: 2024 Ultimate Guide

RV Friendly Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park: 2024 Ultimate Guide

RV Friendly Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park: 2024 Ultimate Guide

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Pre-planning your RV adventure is crucial, especially when searching for RV friendly campgrounds near Acadia National Park. RV sites tend to fill up quickly during peak times, and gathering camping information can be time-consuming and challenging.

Many websites provide limited information and don’t effectively showcase their campgrounds. Finding a great site can be frustrating, trying to uncover the genuine details while sorting through reviews. We understand how tricky it can be, because we are full-time RV nomads, traveling constantly.

As experienced RVers, we’re here to help you find great RV campgrounds near Acadia National Park. In this article, we’ll guide you through campgrounds near Acadia National Park and campgrounds near Bar Harbor, so you can plan your trip with ease and enjoy your time in this beautiful area.

We recognize the challenges of finding great sites to camp in and near National Parks. With size restrictions, there are limited big rig friendly campgrounds in Acadia National Park. The good news is there are several fantastic RV campgrounds near Bar Harbor and Acadia.

On a recent trip to Acadia National Park, we explored the trails, hidden gems, and beautiful beaches.

More importantly, we toured the nearby campgrounds. With an upcoming return trip with friends, our goal was to identify outstanding spots near Bar Harbor with stunning views and room for big rigs like our 40 ft. Renegade Verona LTS.

This article is your ultimate guide to finding the best RV campgrounds near Acadia National Park with some great tips for camping near Acadia.

Our first tip is, driver beware, not all of the Acadia roads are RV friendly. With the carriage roads running throughout Mt. Desert Island, there are underpasses and low bridges. Because many of the roads run through residential areas, it is not advised to “go off the beaten path” with your big rig. Follow your RV Safe GPS.

So, let’s go!

RV Friendly Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park

Finding campgrounds near Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, and on Mt Desert Island is our focus. Our criteria is simply that the park has to be big rig friendly.

In other words, we focus on campgrounds that welcome RVs over 35 feet in length. While there are more options for smaller units and tent camping, finding spacious sites that can accommodate larger RVs and campers can be challenging.

These are the RV Friendly Campgrounds Near Acadia National Park that we toured and feel confident recommending to you.

Rv life pro logo

Bar Harbor Campground

📍 409 ME-3, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

(207) 288-5185

Campgrounds near acadia national park-bar harbor campground.

Bar Harbor Campground

Bar Harbor Campground is big rig friendly and inviting. With spacious sites, you have choices between views of Frenchmans Bay or wooded sites. Also, you can choose sites with full hookups, partial with water and electric only, or no hookups.

There is an outdoor pool, horseshoe pit, basketball court, and shuffleboard for recreation. With convenient bathhouses, an onsite store, and a free shuttle service on the Island Explorer, Bar Harbor Campground is a great place to stay.

Unfortunately, Bar Harbor Campground does not take advanced reservations so we were a little hesitant to try this on our first visit.

However, after visiting the office gave us a hot tip: Checkout is between 9 and 10 a.m. with campers leaving every day of the week. They feel they can accommodate almost everyone, even if it is not your ideal spot the first day they normally have room for you to stay until a site you like opens. 

During peak season, this might not be the best option for a big rig, but there were plenty of open spaces during the fall.

Distance to Cadillac Summit Road: 8.8 miles, 18 minutes
Distance to Bar Harbor: 5.1 miles, 8 minutes

Smugglers Den

📍 20 Main St, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679

(877) 244-9033

Wooded campsite in smugglers den near acadia national park.

Smugglers Den Campground

Nestled among trees, Smugglers Den offers an intimate camping experience. The campsites are not only shaded but also spacious, with some full hookups, partial hook-ups, and primitive sites.

Take a refreshing dip in the heated pool or stroll to nearby Echo Lake using the convenient trail. The camp store, stocked with live lobsters, adds to the overall experience and ease.

For those seeking RV-friendly campgrounds near Acadia National Park, consider the tranquility of the island’s quiet side—Smugglers Den awaits your visit.

Distance to Cadillac Summit Road: 13.8 miles, 24 minutes
Distance to Bar Harbor: 13 miles, 18 minutes

KOA Bar Harbor / Oceanside KOA Holiday

📍 136 County Rd, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

(207) 288-3520

Sunset at koa bar harbor campground.

KOA Bar Harbor/ Oceanside KOA Holiday

Known for superior locations, service, and amenities, KOA campgrounds are the leader in the camping industry. KOA Bar Harbor/ Oceanside KOA Holiday is no exception. You will appreciate these big rig friendly sites, most with full hookups, and wifi throughout the park. There is even a cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Guests at the KOA Bar Harbor can partake in unique amenities like weekly lobster bakes, socials, a swimming pool, and water access for kayaking or swimming.

This is the only campground we visited with outstanding sunset views. Camp folks line the shore watching the sky turn vivid colors as the sun fades away. With amazing oceanfront sites available, you can be in the catbird seat for a sunset celebration.

Distance to Cadillac Summit Road: 13 miles, 23 minutes
Distance to Bar Harbor: 10 miles, 15 minutes

Narrows Too Camping Resort

📍 1150 Bar Harbor Rd, Trenton, ME 04605

(207) 667-4300

Roomy campsite with water view at narrows too campground.

Narrows Too Campground

Narrows Too Camping Resort is another great option for big rig friendly campgrounds near Acadia National Park. This campground has a more open feeling with waterfront camping sites available.

There are plenty of pull-thru sites designed for big rigs. Full hookups are available throughout the park and the sites even have connections for cable TV.

Campers delight in the heated swimming pool, social hall, and fire pits. The Narrows Too Camping Resort promotes a community feeling with activities such as potluck dinners, ice cream socials, and family entertainment.

With water access for canoeing and kayaking, Narrows Too Camping Resort may be the campground for you!

Distance to Cadillac Summit Road:14.2 miles, 25 minutes
Distance to Bar Harbor: 12 miles, 16 minutes


With convenient cabins and cottages on site, you can share your Acadia National Park adventure with family or friends.

Check here for availability and pricing.

Mt. Desert Narrows

📍 1219 ME-3, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

(207) 288-8106

Spacious campsite at mt. Desert narrows campground.

Mt. Desert Narrows Campground

In October of 2023, we had an enjoyable 7-night stay at Mt. Desert Narrows. Although the sites were a little tight, the views across the narrows more than made up for it. There are a lot of site choices from full hookups, waterfront, or even shaded sites.

If you are here at the right time of year you can take pleasure in the inground swimming pool and social hall. With 2 dump stations available, there isn’t a long wait at checkout if you don’t have full hookups. upon checkout. Check-in was super easy and the hosts were friendly.

What we loved about Mt. Desert Narrows, was the quiet atmosphere. No golf carts were running around or loud parties. We highly recommend this park, especially for the waterfront views.

Conversely, though, the full-hook-up sites were on a rather steep incline. Be prepared with leveling blocks if you don’t already have them.

Distance to Cadillac Summit Road: 12.6 miles, 22 minutes
Distance to Bar Harbor: 10 miles, 15 minutes

Wild Acadia

📍 233 Bar Harbor Rd, Trenton, ME 04605

207) 667-3573

Wild acadia, campgrounds near acadia national park.

Wild Acadia Camping Resort

As the name implies, Wild Acadia is just that: WILD!   This new RV resort campground near Acadia National Park is perfect for families that desire a little more action in their camping experience.

Wild Acadia features a water park complete with water slides, dump buckets, and a swimming pool. There is a rock climbing wall, mini golf, and a wild jump shot basketball court.

The sites are spacious and accommodating with full hookups. While some of the sites are quietly tucked into secluded tree-lined sites, others are in a more open area.

After being closed for several years, the park has been renovated and reopened, inviting you to enjoy the many amenities Wild Acadia has to offer.

Distance to Cadillac Summit Road: 19 miles, 30 minutes
Distance to Bar Harbor: 16 miles, 21 minutes

Lamoine State Park

Tree lined water view at lamoine state park campground.

Lamoine State Park Campground

Lamoine State Park Campground is located on the Schoodic Peninsula.  This campground has only a few big rig sites available and no hookups.  The primitive sites are wooded.  Many of them have beautiful ocean views. 

The park is quiet and inviting especially if you are looking for a break from commercial campgrounds.  With walking trails, bathhouses, and a dump station, Lamoine State Park is a nice alternative.

Distance to Cadillac Summit Road: 25 miles, 47 minutes

Distance to Bar Harbor:  22 miles, 38 minutes

Why Go Camping Near Acadia National Park?

Lobster dinner while camping.

Like many of you, we’ve embraced RVing as a way of life.  The joy of connecting with nature while still enjoying the cozy comforts of our RVs makes the perfect combination.  For us, RVing is about making travel not just an adventure but a genuinely enjoyable and relaxing experience.

Having explored Acadia National Park, we know the magic it holds. Camping in this region offers a perfect blend of exploration and relaxation. 

Imagine starting your day with the comforting smell of coffee and pancakes, then heading out to explore the hidden gems of Acadia and ending the night with the delicious sizzle of a lobster dinner and the warmth of s’mores while sharing stories around the campfire. 

It’s these moments that make camping in Acadia more than just a trip; it’s about creating lasting connections and memories.

Boondocking in Acadia National Park

No overnight camping road sign.

By definition, boondocking means RV camping without amenities like electricity and water. Most times, the term implies camping for free in dispersed areas or on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.   

Unfortunately, Acadia National Park and the Mt. Desert Island areas do not have boondocking areas like you would find in the west.  It is illegal to “camp” overnight in the parking lots, side streets, and overlooks in the Acadia area.  

For boondocking and camping on public lands, you may have to travel an hour or more to the park.  With the extra time and energy, plus the fuel cost, it might make more sense to choose one of the campgrounds near Acadia and Bar Harbor.


Check out HipCamp

HipCamp is a great alternative to commercial campgrounds.  Finding a one-of-a-kind campsite on private land can make for a fun experience.  HipCamp Hosts often have expert advice for exploring the area.  

Use this link to save $10 on your next HipCamp RV Site

Renting an RV

Father and son making s'mores camping.

Renting an RV for your Acadia National Park adventure brings a host of benefits to make your trip even more memorable. The flexibility of choosing an RV size and type tailored to your group ensures a comfortable and personalized experience. This is particularly valuable when exploring Acadia’s diverse landscapes, from the rugged trails to the scenic coastal drives.

If you are thinking about buying an RV, renting offers a risk-free entry into the lifestyle.  Renting an RV allows you to test the waters without the commitment of ownership. It’s a practical choice for occasional travelers.  You can enjoy the special perks of an RV adventure without the long-term responsibilities.

Additionally, renting gives you the chance to experiment with different RV models, helping you discover the ideal vehicle for your future camping journeys. With a rental you can experience the convenience and freedom of an RV customized to your liking, making your exploration of Acadia National Park comfortable and easy.


Renting an RV is like borrowing a cozy home on wheels for your family adventure! You get to choose the perfect size that fits your needs, making it super comfy for everyone. Plus, it’s way easier than owning one, saving you money and letting you try different RVs for each exciting trip!

Visit Outdoorsy for your RV Rental needs.
Click Here

Conclusion: RV Friendly Campgrounds near Acadia National Park

Nighttime in campgrounds near acadia national park

You won’t get this view in a hotel.

In closing, whether you’re an experienced RVer or just newly venturing into the RV lifestyle, Acadia National Park promises an extraordinary escape.

If you are looking for RV campgrounds near Acadia National Park for the first time, we strongly recommend considering the allure of Mt. Desert Island.

This locale not only positions you conveniently close to the park but also offers the added charm of nearby beaches, ensuring your RV adventure is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!

The Stromads

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The stromads, maureen & robb

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

23 Captivating Beaches in Acadia National Park 2024

23 Captivating Beaches in Acadia National Park 2024

23 Captivating Beaches
in Acadia National Park 2024

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!
The beaches in Acadia National Park are both captivating and mysterious. With tide fluctuations up to 12 feet, at times, the beaches can be completely covered by the water, while at other times, the rocky coastline exposes natural wonders.

📍Acadia National Park

Our quest to explore the beaches in Acadia National Park led us to some highly trafficked areas and remote hidden gems.  Even as non-hiker hikers, we were able to traverse a few easy hiking trails and discover stunning coastal views.

Beaches are typically defined as a sandy or pebbly area by the edge of an ocean, sea, lake, or river where land meets the water. It’s a place where people often go to relax or play while enjoying the sun and water.

The unique coastline of Acadia brings a broader definition of beach. For this article, we will include some amazing views although “not technically beaches”, I feel they fit into the Beaches in Acadia National Park category.

Whether you are looking for a romantic picnic spot, angry waves, or a quiet place to relax, the beaches in Acadia National Park are worth exploring in this article.

So, pack a lunch, and let’s go on a road trip! The Beaches in Acadia National Park are waiting for you!


Introduction to Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park beaches are simply beautiful, however, Acadia is not your typical National Park. Its boundaries are somewhat undefined due to historical development, where summer homes and roads were established before the park’s creation.

To protect the land from overdevelopment, landowners and conservationists generously donated parcels of their private land to the National Park System.

In 1919, these public lands officially became Acadia National Park, drawing over 4 million visitors annually. So, when you visit, you’ll discover some of these unique beaches both within and just outside the park, creating a special blend of nature and local life which makes Acadia even more enchanting.



Discover the magic of travel with Guide Along Audio Tour.

Guide along audio tours logo banner.

  We’ve personally found these tours to be an invaluable companion, offering engaging insights into our destination. To make the most of your travel time, check them out here:

GuideAlong Audio Tours

Beaches in Acadia National Park: Loop Road

The most familiar area and most visited part of Acadia is the Loop Road. The drive is only 27 miles, and there is a lot to see and do. Keep in mind, the Loop road is one way, so if you want to stop, don’t wait, otherwise you will have to come back around.

1.  Sand Beach

📍Visit Sand Beach

Sand beach is one of the beaches in acadia national park.

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park

Sand Beach, one of the scenic beaches in Acadia National Park, is a natural cove surrounded by tree-lined cliffs. Its tranquil waters and soft sand make it a favorite spot for families.

Lifeguards are on duty during the summer, ensuring a safe experience for water enthusiasts. Although the ocean temperature, hovers around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, visitors both young and old enjoy swimming at Sand Beach.

Convenient restroom facilities are available, and the beach is just a short stroll from the parking area, making it easily accessible for visitors. While there’s ample parking in nearby lots, the Sand Beach area can get quite busy, especially in the summer.

When you visit Sand Beach keep in mind it is a rare beach where the “sand” is largely made up of calcium carbonate particles which are broken shell fragments that make up one the most beautiful and fun beaches in Acadia.

2.  Thunder Hole

📍Visit Thunder Hole

Thunder hole in acadia national park.

Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park

Thunder Hole is a unique stop along the Loop Road. Although not technically a beach, this area fits the broader perspective and definition. From the lookout platform, visitors can marvel at the thunderous sounds of the water rushing into the cavern below. Although visitors are prohibited from swimming at Thunder Hole, the views are outstanding.

Along the path, cut-throughs grant access to the granite cliffs with spectacular views of the ocean. Nevertheless, proceed with caution as this area can be dangerous and slippery. The area around Thunder Hole is a beautiful place to relax and picnic while gazing out at the water.

There is a nearby parking lot, as well as parking along the right side of Loop Road. Because of the popularity of Thunder Hole, the area can become crowded. Be prepared to walk along Ocean Path and enjoy the views from above the ever-changing sea.

3.  Boulder Beach and Monument Cove

📍Visit Boulder Beach

Boulder beach from above with rocky coastline and cliffs.

Boulder Beach and Monument Cove, Acadia National Park

Boulder Beach and Monument Cove are located between the Gorham Mountain Trail Head Parking lot and Otter Cliffs Parking lot, past Thunder Hole.

This area is a favorite among photographers. With spectacular sunrises, dark skies, and a beach made up of smooth rounded rocks, Boulder Beach is a peculiar area. From the beach, you can often see rock climbers scaling Otter Cliffs.

Contrary to what I have read in other blogs, for some people (like me) accessing the water can be tricky. 

Unless we missed the well-traveled path to the beach, the only ways down were the “nature paths”. In other words, these paths were steep and slick, with not much to grab on for support. For more advanced and sure-footed hikers, the way down is probably a breeze.

4.  Otter Cove Beach

 📍Visit Otter Cove

Otter cove causeway bridge and cove.

Otter Cove, Acadia National Park

A quick stop at Otter Point provides gorgeous views of the Otter Cove Beach and Causeway. Upon approach, the sea is on the left and a smaller inlet or cove is on the right. At high tide, there is barely, if any, beach. At low tide, Otter Cove Beach is a fun place to explore tide pools.

A fun fact about the Causeway Bridge is its construction. Without going into great detail, the bridge was designed and built with a “stop board system”. In thought, the stop boards were to control the waters rushing into the cove, keeping the cove water warmer and calmer for swimming.

Unfortunately, the boards were never installed, but the cove does make a nice place to kayak.

5.  Little Hunters Beach

📍Visit Little Hunters Beach

Little hunters beach comprised of a million small coblestones.

Little Hunters Beach, Acadia National Park

Little Hunters Beach is made up of a million small stones. As the water pulls back over the stones, listen carefully to the crackling sound. The rocks seem to sing when the water rushes over them.

Be forewarned, there are a lot of steps that lead down and your walk may require crossing a small stream. Even if you don’t go all the way down to the beach, you can peek from the platform. Little Hunters Beach is a quiet beach where you can relax or explore.

Like many of the beaches in Acadia National Park, the natural shoreline is rocky. Although it might be tempting to take a smooth small pebble as a souvenir, removing any natural resource, mineral, plant, or animal from our National Parks is illegal.

To put the removal of stones in perspective, look at the beach and imagine what it would look like if 4 million people a year took even one stone home with them.

To quote John Muir:

“Take nothing but pictures
Leave nothing but footprints
Kill nothing but time”

6.  Jordan Pond

📍Visit Jordan Pond

View of jordan pond and lawn restaurant.

Jordan Pond and Jordan Pond Guest House lawn.

Reaching depths of 150 feet, Jordan Pond is the deepest lake in Acadia. Although the pristine waters are inviting, swimming and motorized boating are prohibited, as Jordan Pond provides drinking water to the neighboring communities.

Instead, take a stroll around the lake, or paddle your kayak on the water and enjoy the mountain views.

While here, be sure to visit the Jordan Pond Guest House. For over 130 years, guests of Acadia have been enjoying mouth-watering pop-overs and champagne on the lawn. This is your chance to dine like the Rockefellers.

While at the Guest House, take in the views from the deck overlooking Jordan Pond. The inspiring landscapes will leave you in awe.

Guidealong audio tour banner.

More Beaches in Acadia National Park 

7.  Hunters Beach

📍Visit Hunters Beach

Hunters beach a hidden gem near acadia national park.

Hunters Beach, near Acadia National Park

As one of Acadia’s best-kept secrets, Hunters Beach is spectacular. 

The trail leads through the lush forest, over a footbridge, along the brook, to a magnificent secluded beach. Whether exploring the rocks and cliff trail intrigues you or relaxing on the log “bench” is more your style, Hunters Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Acadia National Park.

Approaching Hunters Beach there is a small parking area at the trailhead.  Proceed slowly as there is no signage for the beach.  The trail to the water is about .6 miles roundtrip.  Since the trail to the beach is fairly flat, it is an easy walk.  

Exploring Hunters Beach was a highlight of our trip.  I hope you love it as much as we did!

8.  Seal Harbor Beach

📍Visit Seal Harbor Beach

Seal harbor beach is one of the popular beaches in acadia national park.

Seal Harbor Beach, Acadia National Park

Like most of the beaches in Acadia National Park, high tide sometimes covers Seal Harbor Beach.  The gentle waves in the cove and sandy beach make Seal Harbor Beach a beautiful place to spend the day.  Relax while enjoying the surrounding landscape, or take a swim in the shallow waters.   

Parking and restrooms are located just across the street for convenience.  Don’t be surprised if you see some of the rich and famous residents like Martha Stewart in the area.  After all, Seal Harbor Beach is home to the most famous restrooms in the country.  John D Rockefeller and Edsel Ford financed the facility so their visitors wouldn’t have to “find a tree”.

I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate a modern restroom. 

9.  Bracy Cove and Barley Beach

📍Visit Bracy Cove and Barley Beach

Rocky stretch of beach known as barley beach.

Barley Beach, Mt. Desert Island.

This lovely stretch of beach is easy to find, as it is located directly off Hwy 3 at the Little Long Pond Carriage Road.  The views are outstanding while the waters are still and calm.  The beach is mostly small rounded stones.  As the tide recedes, visitors enjoy tidepooling. 

Parking is across the highway at the Carriage Road entrance, another place in Acadia where you can enjoy an afternoon stroll on the quiet roads and gardens.

10.  Echo Lake Beach

📍Visit Echo Lake Beach

Fresh water beaches in acadia national park.

Echo Lake Beach, Acadia National Park

Summertime is especially fun at Echo Lake Beach, so bring your bathing suit.  Echo Lake Beach offers ample parking, restrooms, and a sandy lakefront, perfect for picnics. Visitors to Echo Lake can enjoy a full day of hiking and swimming or kayaking on the lake.  

We were fortunate to catch the stunning color pop as the leaves were reaching peak season.  Because it was “off-season”, the beach area was quiet and inviting.  Without a doubt, Echo Lake Beach made the top of my list of captivating beaches in Acadia National Park.  

Try not to miss this one! 

11.  Seawall

📍Visit Seawall

Rocky coastline of the beaches in acadia national park, seawall.

Seawall, Acadia National Park

Located on the “quiet side” of Mt. Desert Island is a world of its own. Seawall is a beautiful coastal area with views, angry waves, and magical landscapes. Many visitors to Acadia never make it over to this side of the island. We were talking to our neighbors in the campground, who had been visiting Acadia for years, and mentioned the area. They had no idea about the place! Seawall is a hidden gem.

We spent a lot of time around this area, exploring the trails, the pristine ponds, and the little towns. There are shipbuilders, galleries, and of course, the docks. If you time it right, you can buy freshly caught lobster from local lobstermen at dock price.

For us, the solitude and sounds of the waves made for an enjoyable afternoon picnic at Seawall State Park. With snacks and a bottle of Cabernet, we sat for a few hours, just loving life. Next time, we will bring firewood for a wonderful afternoon bonfire. They have convenient fire rings at the picnic area.

12.  Wonderland Trail Beach

📍Visit Wonderland Trail Beach

Rocky coastline along wonderland beach trail

Wonderland Trail Beach, Acadia National Park

Once you step into the forest, you will think you are in Wonderland. It is spell-binding with tall trees and winding paths. Before you know it, you are at some of the most breathtaking beaches along the coast.

Wonderland was one of our favorite trails, only about 1.5-mile roundtrip and mostly flat. The rocky coastal views are magnificent. We almost didn’t come out here. Thankfully, I stumbled across some photos on Instagram and I knew, we had to make time. We were not disappointed and you won’t be either.


13.  Hadley Point Beach

📍Visit Hadley Point Beach

Calm waters of hadley point, near acadia.

Hadley Point Beach, Mt. Desert Island

Hadley Point Beach is a favorite among locals on Mt. Desert Island.  With a public boat ramp, visitors can launch their small watercraft and enjoy a day on the bay.  The water is crystal clear with a beach made up of small pebbles.  

This is a great place for a late afternoon campfire while relaxing on the beach.  Parking is ample, but there is only a porta-potty for restrooms.  When it comes to irresistible beaches in Acadia National Park, Hadley Point makes the list!

14.  Hulls Cove Beach

📍Visit Hulls Cove

Hull's cove at high tide.

Hull’s Cove, Mt. Desert Island, ME

The tide fluctuations make Hulls Cove a fascinating beach to visit. At low tide, the water can recede capturing sea creatures in tidepools between the rocks.  At high tide, the seawater comes up to the highway completely covering the rocky beachfront.  

One of the best places to enjoy Hulls Cove Beach is the nearby Chart Room Restaurant.  Happy Hour on the back pier is a great place to see outstanding views into Frenchman’s Bay and the crazy tide activity.  


15.  George Dorr’s Pebble Beach (Old Farm)

📍Visit George Dorr’s Pebble Beach

Blue water cove surrounded by trees and rocky shoreline.

George Dorr Pebble Beach, Acadia National Park

Prepare to be amazed at the stunning views from George Dorr’s Pebble Beach.  The flat gravel trail leads to a secluded cove and rocky beachfront.  The views are nothing short of spectacular.  

Listen carefully as the waves rush over the pebbles.  The crackling sound is magical.  

Exploring the ruins of the Dorr homestead is equally alluring.  The front porch would have looked out into Compass Harbor, while the back and side porches faced the forest.  You can walk the staircase leading from the house to the beach for a glimpse of what the Dorr family experienced every day in Acadia National Park.

Folklore and ghost tales say that George still roams the property long after he died in 1944.    


16.  Lakewood Pond Beach

  📍Lakewood Pond Beach

Captivating beaches in acadia national park includes lakewood pond beach.

Lakewood Pond Beach, Acadia National Park

If a quiet secluded hidden gem is your ideal beach, then make your way to Lakewood Pond Beach. Although the road to the parking area is marked PVT (private) don’t be deterred. The recreation area is a designated part of Acadia National Park. There is ample parking at the end of the road and modern restrooms.  

The short walk down the dirt road will lead you to a quiet lakefront surrounded by forest. In the summer, Lakewood Pond is a favorite among locals for cliff jumping and skinny dipping. During the fall months, the lake is a perfect area to spend the day, away from the crowds and surrounded by a vast array of colors.  

Undoubtedly, Lakewood Pond Beach is one of the most exquisite beaches in Acadia National Park.  

Beaches in Acadia National Park:  Schoodic Peninsula

Plan to spend one day of your Acadia trip on the Schoodic Peninsula. There are hidden beaches, country roads, small towns, and a winery or two. Of course, you can find some local restaurants and lobster pounds along the way.

There is nothing commercialized on the Schoodic Peninsula and I hope they keep it that way. The natural beauty and relaxed feel are perfect for the soul.

17.  Schoodic Point

  📍Visit Schoodic Point

Slabs of basalt and granite make up the beach at schoodic point.

Schoodic Point Beach, Acadia National Park

Although about a 45-minute drive from the main entrance at Cadillac Mountain, Schoodic Point is still part of Acadia National Park. The area is quite remote and worth every bit of the drive.

The seascapes are breathtaking and you can walk out on the boulders and slabs for a better view. The scenic loop at Schoodic should not be missed when visiting Acadia. This is one of the most rugged and scenic parts of Acadia National Park.

18.  Beach – Lamoine State Park

📍Visit Lamoine Beach

Lamoine beach waterview with picnic tables on grassy lawn.

Lamoine Beach, Lamoine, ME

Lamoine Beach is an easy beach to find on the Schoodic Peninsula.  The calm waters invite swimmers and kayakers for an enjoyable day.   While walking the shoreline you will see beautiful views of Mt. Desert Narrows and Frenchman’s Bay.  

The lawn area and picnic tables are comfortable amenities for an afternoon by the sea.

Camping is available at the Lamoine State Park Campground.  There are waterfront sites as well as wooded sites.  When exploring the beaches in Acadia National Park, mark this one for sure!

19.  Marlboro Beach, Lamoine

📍Visit Marlboro Beach

A deserted beach in acadia national park, marlboro beach.

Marlboro Beach, Schoodic Peninsula

Like many beaches in Acadia National Park, Marlboro Beach is located in a quiet cove in the Mt. Desert Narrows.  This secluded beach is best accessed during low tide.  The waters are calm and crystal clear making it a popular swimming area for locals.  

Marlboro Beach is best known for its “mud flats”.  As the waters recede, the mud or silt holds intricate ecosystems that are important to the area’s wildlife.

Strolling on the beach brings to mind the texture of Kinetic Sand, in the way your feet gently sink into the ‘sand’ with a surprisingly spongy feel.  Conversely, walking into the mud may feel more like quicksand.


20.  Jones Pond Recreation Area – Gouldsboro

📍Visit Jones Pond Recreation Area

Located on the Schoodic Peninsula, you can find a freshwater favorite, Jones Pond.  Although there are no lifeguards on duty, locals and visitors enjoy swimming in the calm cool waters.  There are boat ramps, restrooms, and ample parking spots available.  

To be transparent, we did not make it to Jones Pond, so I can only go on what others say about the area and unfortunately, I have no pictures.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on the area!

21.  Tidal Falls Preserve, Hancock

📍Visit Tidal Falls Preserve

Tidal falls preserve , reversing waterfall.

Tidal Falls Preserve, Hancock ME

Tidal Falls Preserve is a beautiful park that is a great place to stop and see, especially if you like tide-pooling. One of the most extraordinary aspects of the area is the fluctuation of tides. They can rise and fall up to 20 feet.

Visitors are intrigued by the tidal changes The Tidal Falls Preserve captures. Timing your visit with the tides can give you a first-hand look at a waterfall reversal. That’s right, the waterfall flows up, rather than down—a pretty cool phenomenon.

Beaches Near Acadia National Park: Bar Harbor

22.  Town Beach

📍Visit Town Beach

Town beach, a cobblestone beach in bar harbor.

Town Beach, Bar Harbor

Town Beach is located within walking distance of the pier below Agamont Park, the focal point of Bar Harbor. Timing is everything in Mt. Desert Island as the tides are fascinating.

This rocky coastline has outstanding views and the most amazing sounds we have ever heard. As the waves hit the shoreline and pull back out to the ocean, the cobblestones crackle. It sounds like a bowl of Rice Crispies but louder. Robb and I were completely captivated.

23.  The Sand Bar or Land Bridge

📍Visit The Land Bridge

Sand bar at low tide between bar harbor and bar island.

Bar Harbor Land Bridge

No, there is no alcohol in this bar. During high tide, the entire area is submerged. Then like magic as the waters recede at low tide, the seas literally part exposing a huge sand bar or “land bridge” connecting Bar Harbor to Bar Island. This is acutally how Bar Harbor got it’s name.

Talk about a crazy experience. When planning your trip to Bar Harbor, walking The Land Bridge is one the best things to do!


Waterfront Accommodations

Now that we’ve shown you the captivating beaches in Acadia National Park, here are a few suggestions for waterfront accommodations.   Click the links to check pricing and availability.

Campgrounds with Waterfront Views

Lamoine State Park Campground

Bar Harbor KOA

Mt. Desert Narrows

 Hotels with Waterfront Views

Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Conference

Holiday Inn Bar Harbor Regency Hotel

 Final Thoughts: Beaches in Acadia National Park

The beaches in Acadia National Park offer a unique coastal experience that combines natural beauty with accessibility. From the serene shores of Sand Beach to the rugged landscapes of Boulder Beach and the hidden gems along the Schoodic Peninsula, these coastal wonders provide a range of picturesque settings for relaxation and exploration.

The ever-changing tides, the soft feel of rounded rocks underfoot, and the captivating skies make the beaches in Acadia National Park an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a beachcomber, or someone seeking tranquil moments by the sea, these beaches have something special to offer.

So, pack your sunscreen and your sense of wonder and embark on an adventure to explore the beaches in Acadia National Park for yourself.

The Stromads

Robb Strobridge & Maureen Wright

The stromads, robb and maureen.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

2024 Las Vegas Itinerary 5 Days? No Problem! Start Here!

2024 Las Vegas Itinerary 5 Days? No Problem! Start Here!

2024 Las Vegas Itinerary 5 Days? No Problem! Start Here!

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Las Vegas Itinerary 5 Days? No problem! We’ve got you covered!

Planning a trip to Las Vegas might seem like navigating a maze of glitzy lights and endless choices, especially if you’re a first-time visitor. That’s where having a well-crafted 5-day Las Vegas itinerary can truly be your saving grace. 

With our seasoned expertise as Las Vegas veteran visitors for over 20 years, we understand both the excitement and the potential overwhelm that comes with exploring this vibrant city. Fear not, fellow traveler, for we’ve got your back.  

Let us guide you through a meticulously designed itinerary that ensures you experience the best of Las Vegas without missing a beat. From iconic attractions to hidden gems, together we’ll uncover the city’s treasures and make your 5-day Vegas itinerary an unforgettable adventure. 

Let’s Go!


Explore Vegas like a pro! Find top hotels, thrilling tours, unforgettable experiences, and convenient rental cars for an epic trip. Let’s make your visit extraordinary!

Click To Explore Each Option!

Experiences and Tours
Car Rentals

Table of Contents

Las Vegas Itinerary 5 Days: Introduction

Las vegas vacation ahead.

While planning your Las Vegas 5-Day Itinerary, it’s important to remember that the initial excitement can lead to overexertion, especially on the first and second days.

It is tempting to embrace all the city has to offer, but pacing yourself is crucial to fully enjoy your entire trip.

Drawing from our experiences of exploring Las Vegas year after year since the late 90s, we are here to make sure that you strike the right balance between indulgence and relaxation.

Let’s craft an itinerary that allows you to make the most of your time without wearing yourself out, so you can treasure each moment of your Las Vegas adventure.



Las Vegas Itinerary 5 Days: Condensed

Elvis at las vegas sign.

Because there is so much information in this article, we want to give you a condensed 5-day Las Vegas Itinerary before we go into detail. We’ve also prepared a downloadable PDF so that it is easy to follow, print, or use digitally.

This 5-day Las Vegas Itinerary is jam-packed and you might find the schedule demanding. In designing the itinerary, we tried to keep the best points of interest close to each other so to save you time and money on transportation.

Feel free to switch the days or experiences around as needed.

Day #1

Hop On/Hop Off Bus
Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
Mob Museum
Downtown Las Vegas Arts District

Dinner and a Show
Show and Dinner


The Hop On/ Hop Off bus has convenient boarding locations for ticket holders on the Strip, Fremont Street, and Downtown.

Save time by pre-booking your ticket and avoid long lines at the ticket booth.

 Click for Pricing and Availability:

Hop On/ Hop Off Bus

 Mob Museum

Day #2

Seven Magic Mountains
Hoover Dam

Fremont Street Experience
Happy Hour and Dinner
Container Park
Atomic Liquors


Experience the 7 Magic Mountains and Hoover Dam small group tour with a dash of expertise and lots of comfort.

Your guide will take you through the highlights while you sit back and enjoy the ride.

Click for pricing and availability:

7 Magic Mountains and Hoover Dam Tour

Day #3

Explore Las Vegas Blvd The Strip
Lunch at Eataly-Park MGM
Luxury & Designer Boutiques
Happy Hour Hidden Speakeasy
Bellagio Fountains
The Linq Promenade- High Roller
Paris-Eiffel Tower

Las Vegas Helicopter Tour
The Neon Museum Evening Tour


Experience the Neon Sign Bone Yard come to life after dark.  This tour sells out quickly, so don’t miss your chance.

Click for pricing and availability:

Helicopter Tour and Neon Museum

 Day #4

Option #1:  Full Day Tour Grand Canyon National Park
Option #2:  Full Day Tour Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks
Option #3:  Half-day Tour Emerald Caves Kayak Tour
Option #4:  Pool Party-Day Club
Option #5:  Night Clubs


Leave the driving to the professionals.  See the sights, skip the lines, and arrive in style.  These are a few of the highest-rated tours for exploring the daylife and the nightlife.

Click NOW for Pricing and Availability:

Grand Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park

Kayak Emerald Caves

Las Vegas Pools and Day Clubs

Las Vegas Nightlife

Day #5

Area 15 Entertainment Complex

Celebration Fancy Dinner

Day #6

Time to go!

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!

Las Vegas Itinerary 5 Days:  Detailed

Paris hotel las vegas.

Las Vegas Itinerary Day #1:  Daytime


Big Bus Hop On/Off

The best way to see and get an overview of the city is the Big Bus Hop On/Off.  

The sightseeing Loop takes about 2 ½ hours to complete.  The tour will take you through the Downtown Arts District, Wedding Chapel Row, Fremont Street, and of course the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.  

The bus has multiple stops along the route, allowing you a convenient boarding point close to your hotel both on the Strip and Downtown.

Since our itinerary includes Fremont Street and The Las Vegas Strip, it is not necessary to hop off at these locations, until later.


Stop #1: 

The Welcome to Las Vegas Sign: 1 hour

Welcome to las vegas sign

Once onboard, we suggest you stay on the bus until you reach the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Since the sign is not within reasonable walking distance, the Hop On/Off is a good alternative to a pricey Uber ride.

Scammer Alert!!!:  There will be “nice” people around the sign offering to take your picture.  They will expect a “tip” of at least $5 and sometimes more.  Take your selfie stick or ask someone in line behind you.  Remember to offer your service back to them.  

Once you’ve taken all of your pictures, board the bus and continue your tour.  


Stop #2: 

Mob Museum:  2 hours

We suggest staying on the bus until either the Mob Museum Stop or ReBar in The Arts District.  

The Mob Museum is one of the most fascinating tours in Las Vegas. Explore the lives and legends of notable characters like Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, John Gotti, and more.

At the end of the tour, visit the Underground Speakeasy.  Try the “Bathtub Fizz” or a “Bees Knees”.  And remember to ask a guide for the password!


Stop #3: 

ReBar in The Downtown Arts District: 2 Hours

Greetings from las vegas wall mural.

By now, you are probably hungry and The Downtown Arts District is a perfect place for a quiet lunch. With vintage shops, wall murals, restaurants, and breweries, you can easily spend a few hours exploring Downtown Las Vegas Arts District.

📍 Casa Don Juan
📍 Esther’s Kitchen
📍 Good Pie

When you are ready, board the bus back toward your hotel near the Strip or Fremont Street drop-off points.   

This is a good time to rest and freshen up before you head out for the night.  


 Las Vegas Itinerary Day #1:  Evening


Nighttime view of the las vegas strip

Dinner and a Show or A Show and Dinner

Catch an early dinner and a late show, or an early show and a late dinner. The choice is yours. Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. From concerts to sports teams, it is all here!

These are our suggestions:

Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino
Bacchanal Buffet
Stanton Social Prime
Gordon Ramsey Pub & Grill

David Copperfield
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

Mad Apple by Cirque du Soleil
New York New York Hotel & Casino
Nine Fine Irishmen

Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino
Beauty and Essex


Las Vegas Itinerary Day 2:  Daytime


Collage 7 magic mountains hoover dam.

Visit 7 Magic Mountains and Hoover Dam (5 hours)

7 Magic Mountains is a highly popular art installation on the outskirts of town. The colorful boulders stacked 30 feet high, make for some amazing photos. Although you don’t need a lot of time here, it is definitely worth seeing.

The Hoover Dam is a must-see when visiting Las Vegas. Just 45 minutes from the city, stands the massive structure. Visitors can walk across the dam, explore the visitor center, or take a tour down deep inside the power plant.


Las Vegas Itinerary Day #2:  Evening

Party at the Fremont Street Experience

Fremont street experience is a las vegas party!

The party on Fremont Street is like no other. From live concerts, DJs, and street performers, the action never stops. Every night from 6 pm-2 am, the overhead canopy lights up in a magical display of music and imagery.

Although there is little outdoor seating on Fremont Street, there are a few good spots for people-watching and relaxing with a cocktail.

For people watching:
Whisker Licker Up
Four Queens outdoor patio

For dining:
$$$$ Oscars at the Plaza Hotel: Beef, booze, and broads, a Las Vegas icon.
$$ Whiskey Licker Up BBQ, burgers, and pub food.
$$ Evel Pie: We love the pizza and Evel Knievel memorabilia on the walls. It’s a total dive, but fun.

For cocktails:
Oscars for Happy Hour
Sand Dollar Lounge Live music 7 nights a week
Downtown Cocktail
Hogs and Heifers (cash only-prepare to be insulted by bikini-clad bartenders)
The Laundry Room (a speakeasy and you must have reservations)

Shark Tank at Golden Nugget

Stop into the Shark Tank pool at the Golden Nugget. You can see them circling, and if you time your visit right, you can even slide through the tank into the pool.


Slotzilla Zipline and Zoom Line

Slotzilla zipline on fremont street.

Want to fly 114 feet high above the party? Check out Slotzilla. This Zoomline experience is heart-pounding. As you fly above the crowd, the music plays and lightshow above will transport you to a whole different dimension.

Container Park

Container park art installation fire breathing praying mantis.


Container Park is located on the far end of Fremont Street, just a few blocks past the pedestrian-only outdoor and event space.   Upon arrival, you will be greeted by an enormous fire-breathing praying mantis.

Inside Downtown Container Park there are shops, restaurants, and several cocktail bars. Throughout the week, there is often live music or events. The entire facility is made from repurposed sea containers. It is a work of art and imagination.

Oak and Ivy is our favorite stop in Container Park.


Atomic Liquors & Bar

The last stop is Atomic Liquors, a Las Vegas tradition. As the oldest free-standing bar in Las Vegas, Atomic Liquors has been serving libations since 1952. Back in the day, the upper echelon would attend “rooftop parties” and watch the bombs detonate in the desert.

Not much has changed in the decor, and the floor is still sticky. However, the food is good as well as the drinks. 

It is worth a stop!



Las Vegas Itinerary Day #3:  Daytime

The Fabulous Las Vegas Strip

Las vegas spelled in huge letters

Your Las Vegas adventure continues here! Excitement fills the air as you step onto the dazzling Las Vegas Strip. Your heart will race with the thrill of what’s to come. It’s like entering a world of endless fun and bright lights, and you’re ready to dive right in.

If you are like us, you are ready to get your Vegas day started early.  This will be a busy day as you explore the Fabulous Las Vegas Strip!

Sightseers like us don’t want to miss being part of the action.  We want to see everything!  Implementing a methodical approach to exploring the Strip is important.  This itinerary will help you stay organized and keep you from running in circles.

The Strip continually evolves throughout the day. It is lively and a fun place to people-watch. Unless you have reservations or show tickets, today is a leisurely day to stroll along and through the beautifully decorated casino lobbies.

There are some notable sights along the way we will point out to you. The Strip is over 4 miles long and nearly impossible to cover in one day, much less an afternoon without a plan. So, go at your own pace.

Remember, Las Vegas is a 24-hour town, so there is no need to rush your morning.  There is a lot to see and do, so don’t be worried if you miss something.  We’ve left some open time on Day #4 and #5 for you to revisit those places of interest.


Las Vegas Blvd is over 4 miles long and although not impossible to walk, it might not be recommended.

Parking is expensive, at rates of $20+ per day at each casino/hotel. That means every time you move your car, you will pay this rate. The Wynn and Treasure Island still offer complimentary parking, but other than that parking is at a premium. There is no side street parking anywhere near the Strip.

For around $8, you can purchase a 24-hour transit pass and ride the Deuce bus to explore the Strip as well as Fremont Street. The buses run every 15 minutes making your ride hassle-free.

While you may not want to see the inside of every casino, we have outlined the “show stoppers”. The casinos are grouped in proximity to each other and have the most impressive architecture and allure.

Dress comfortably during the day. Las Vegas is a tourist town and the hospitality industry appreciates you. So unless you have an aversion to sneakers, it is okay to wear them.

Wynn Hotel and Casino

Beautifully decorated bar parasol wynn casino.

The Wynn is sophisticated and elegant. Walk through the botanical gardens and breathe in the beauty.

If you are hungry The Wynn has wonderful dining options such as:

📍 Wynn Buffet Brunch
📍 Terrace Point Cafe’
📍 Bar Parasol: Quiet and intimate, perfect for an early afternoon Bloody Mary or mimosa.

Things to do:
📍Lake of Dreams: Free Show: Every evening after dark, comes alive with a vivid imagery show.


The Venetian and Palazzo Casinos

Gondola ride on the canals of the venetian hotel.

Spend some time exploring Venice, Italy (Las Vegas style). As you wander through St. Marks Square, you can find plenty of shops, cafes, and gorgeous works of art.

Things to do:
📍Gondola ride through the canals
📍Madam Tussauds Wax Museum
📍LOVE art installation
📍Indoor Rock Climbing
📍Minus 5᷾°Experience

Get on the Duece and ride all the way down to Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay is a luxurious hotel in the center of the action during events at Raider’s Allegiant Stadium

Things to do:

📍Fan District:  If you are in town for a Raiders home game, this is the place to be. Eat, drink, and celebrate before or after the game.

📍1923 Prohibition Bar:  Go behind the bookcase and be transported in time to the prohibition era.  This is a great place to relax with a craft cocktail.

📍Shark Reef Aquarium
As you walk through the aquarium you will feel as though you are part of this fascinating underworld. The colorful fish delight all who enter their world. But look out! Sharks overhead, and to the side. You never know where they are lurking.

Luxor & Excalibur

If you are interested in a few great Instagramable pictures, take the FREE tram from Mandalay Bay to Luxor and Excalibur Casinos next door. There isn’t much to see inside either hotel, but the giant Pyramid and Sphinx make fantastic photo ops.

New York New York

New york new york las vegas casino skyline.

Exit the tram at the end and walk over to New York New York. The Statue of Liberty and The Brooklyn Bridge are popular photo spots along Las Vegas Boulevard. If roller coasters are your thing, then this is the best time for you to ride The Big Apple Coaster.

The Brooklyn Bridge is a fun place to listen to music on weekends. Other than that, I wouldn’t spend too much time here.

Things to do:

📍The Big Apple Coaster

Park MGM

16 foot dancing lady art installation park mgm.

Now would be a good time to take a rest, and maybe have a cocktail. You are in the Center of the Strip and have a lot of options.

Lunch suggestions:

📍  Eataly $: Every time I walk through Eataly, my mouth waters. The open-air Italian food court has everything from gelato to carbonara. There are plenty of tables or counter seating available. Take some time to relax while people watching.

📍  Primrose  $$: Park MGM: They have me at “Rose’ All Day”. Plus it is hard to resist deep-dish pancakes and eggs benedict. Primrose is a great restaurant to relax and be served.


Aria is a beautiful casino. A quick walkthrough is all you need if you desire. The restaurant and lounges are fantastic.

The Shops at Crystals

Step into the world of luxury at The Shops at Crystals, a haven of high-end fashion where you can find designer treasures from the likes of Balenciaga, Tiffany & Co, and Tom Ford. It’s a paradise for those who appreciate the finer things, offering a chance to explore and indulge in exquisite creations.

Whether you’re a fashionista or just looking to treat yourself, this upscale haven promises a shopping experience like no other.

Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino

Largest chandelier in the world.

The Cosmopolitan is our favorite hotel in Las Vegas. Combining an eclectic vibe with swanky decor, The Cosmopolitan has a host of hidden restaurants and bars, not to mention the World’s Largest Chandelier.

Enjoy a fabulous Las Vegas sunset at the Boulevard Pool in the summer or s’mores and ice skating in the winter. Slip into one of the secret speakeasies like Ghost Donkey or the Ski Lodge. Or, simply photograph the quirky art installations throughout the hotel.



Speakeasies are small cocktail rooms or secret parlors most of the time hidden in plain sight. Sometimes there is only a clue on the entrance door.  The Cosmopolitan is creative in disguising its hidden gems.  From a working barber shop to a high-end pawn shop, you never know what’s behind the wall until you ask.

These are three of our favorites:

📍Ghost Donkey: Shhh- it’s located behind the green exit door, near Hattie B’s Nashville Chicken.  There is a white donkey decal on the door.  Just come on in!

📍Ski Lodge:  Shhh-it’s located across from the Wicked Spoon Buffet.  Look for the door with a ski lift chair, or ask the hostess at Superfrico.  There is always something weird in here.

📍Secret Pizza: Shhh- it’s located on Level 3 between Blue Ribbon and Jaleo.  Look for the hallway lined with record albums.  Seriously, the pizza is perfect!

Bellagio Hotel and Casino

Bellagio fountains 1


The Bellagio sits center stage on The Las Vegas Strip and for good reason.

The hotel is both elegant and enormous.  However, the most impressive event is out front in full view of all: The world-famous Bellagio Fountains.


Things to do:

📍The Bellagio Fountains:  Every 30 minutes the fountains erupt in a beautifully choreographed dance. This show is not to be missed. Reaching heights of 400 feet, the dancing fountains are unbelievably beautiful.

📍The Bellagio Conservatory:  Step inside the Bellagio and wander through the conservatory. The installations are colorful and carefully curated. Walking through the gardens is a special treat.

📍The World’s Largest Chocolate Fountain:  Need we say more?  Well, if that didn’t do it, how about the most unique display of macaroons?  Simply delicious!

Caesars Palace

Replica statue of david.

Caesars Palace is a Las Vegas icon. Outside, statues line the plaza. Inside, the magic comes alive.

📍David:  Find the 18-foot replica statue of Michelangelo’s David in all of his glory.  If you can’t get to Florence, there’s always Vegas Baby!

📍Atlantis Show:  Stick around for the free Water and Fire Show, on the hour.  In the Great Hall experience the battle between the elements.  With effects of sight and sound, prepare to be spellbound for a few minutes.

📍Vanderpump Cocktail Garden:  For those who are intrigued with pop culture, stop by the Vanderpump Cocktail Garden. It is a whole different world.

Linq Promenade

Pedestrian mall at linq promenade las vegas.

The Linq Promenade is a pedestrian-only mall and outdoor party. There are plenty of restaurants bars and shopping in this area. Although the promenade is not necessarily a must-see, The High Roller Ferris wheel located here is.

High Roller

The High Roller is the tallest Ferris wheel in the United States and ranks 2nd tallest in the world. Standing 550 feet, the view from the top is outstanding. With panoramic viewing from the comfortable passenger pods, the complete ride takes about 30 minutes.

By timing your trip right, you can catch the city’s magical transformation from day to night, framed by the brilliance of a Las Vegas sunset, right from this towering vantage point.

Paris Hotel and Casino

Eiffel tower las vegas.

End your day with a breathtaking view from the observation platform of the Eiffel Tower. From 46 stories high above the Strip, the views are outstanding, especially after nightfall.


 Dinner Suggestions

Being in the middle of the Strip, your dining options are many! Every celebrity chef has a restaurant and they are outstanding.  Reservations are recommended.

📍Bacchanal Buffet:  Caesars Palace: Hands down, the most epic buffet you can imagine.

📍Giada:  The Cromwell:  Italian comfort food with style and flair.

📍Mon Ami Gabi: Paris:   Wine and Dine outside on the outside patio.


For a relaxing dinner away from the crowds, we suggest the iconic Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge.

The food is amazing, priced right with great service and the parking is FREE. However, if you are not driving, consider taking an Uber or Lyft to the front door of the restaurant. Otherwise, it may be a block or 2 from where the Deuce makes its stop.

This Peppermill has been featured in movies and videos, making it a Las Vegas favorite.

Las Vegas Itinerary Day #3:  Evening

Night-time Helicopter Tour

From high above the center of the action, see Las Vegas from the sky.  Las Vegas is a colorful town and begs to be seen at night.  What better way than to see it by helicopter?

The Neon Museum

Tour the neon museum in your las vegas itinerary 5 days.

An evening tour of the Neon Museum is a special treat, many of the vintage signs are all lit up! Hearing tales of the bygone era allows a glimpse into what “Old Las Vegas” was like back in the day.

Otherwise known as the neon boneyard, this museum holds Las Vegas treasures like the Hard Rock Guitar, The Stardust, and the Ugly Duckling to name a few.

The Neon Museum is a must-see and do on your 5-day Las Vegas itinerary.

Unless you are driving, take an Uber or Lyft to the Neon Museum. We do not recommend trying to walk here, especially at night after you’ve been out all day..


Book a combination night-time helicopter tour and Neon Museum Tour.  Seeing Las Vegas from the sky is extraordinary!  Give yourself another on your bucket list adventures.

For availability and pricing:

Helicopter Tour and Neon Museum Tour package

Las Vegas Itinerary Day #4: All-Day

Day #4 is a day filled with options. Las Vegas has so many things to do, besides gamble, it is impossible to do everything on a 5-day Las Vegas itinerary. If you have followed along, though, you have made a pretty good dent in covering the city.

There are so many day trips from Vegas, that it is hard to list them all here. Day 4 is a good time to take advantage of the beautiful National Parks or party like a rockstar!

Collage of natural landscapes mountains, emerald green cave kayak and hoodoos.


Option #1: Full-day Tour: Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is a few hours away and worth the trip, especially if this is your only opportunity. If you only have one day to visit, then we suggest a bus trip or helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon.

Option #2:Full-Day Tour: Bryce Canyon & Zion National Parks

Just a few hours north of Las Vegas are two of America’s most beautiful National Parks, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Relax in comfort as the motorcoach takes you to these extraordinary parks. Enjoy the views and many scenic overlooks throughout the parks.

Option #3:  Half-day Tour: Emerald Cove Kayak Tour

For those who are looking to connect with nature, a kayak tour might be your best option. You can relax in the morning, then take an early afternoon tour. Sunshine, beautiful scenery, and pristine water are the perfect amenities for an afternoon in this desert oasis.

Option #4: Party Like a Rock Star


Add a pool party or nightclub to your las vegas itinerary 5 days.

Pool Party-Day Clubs

Day clubs and pool parties are all the rage in Las Vegas. In true Las Vegas style, the parties are off the hook with tons of people. Grab your bikini, book a cabana or daybed, and dance the day away.



This is your night to fancy yourself up and hit a nightclub. Dance the night away in any of the Las Vegas hotspots. Immerse yourself in the music and light shows. Order bottle service and enjoy the party.

There is nothing quite like a Las Vegas nightclub. If this is your scene and bucket list adventure, don’t miss your night. Call to get on the guest list now!


Leave the driving to the professionals.  See the sights, skip the lines, and arrive in style.  These are a few of the highest-rated tours for exploring the daylife and the nightlife.

Click NOW for Pricing and Availability:

Grand Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park

Kayak Emerald Caves

Las Vegas Pools and Day Clubs

Las Vegas Nightlife

Las Vegas Itinerary Day #5: Daytime

Take some time today to rest and recover. Stay in bed for a few extra hours, order room service or book a rejuvenating spa treatment.

When you’re ready, head out to the Strip for shopping and last-minute souvenirs. This is a good time to check out the last few sights you may have missed.

Area 15

Post apocalyptic sign of welcome to las vegas

Area 15 is one of the newest hotspots in Las Vegas.  This HUGE entertainment complex combines art installations, eateries, and the most imaginative, immersive experiences.

Tour the Lost Distillery, shop in the super weird Omega Mart and experience the extraordinary at Illuminarium.

Las Vegas Itinerary Day #5:  Nighttime


Four glasses of wine.


Let your last night in Vegas be a celebration. You have uncovered more of this fascinating city than most because you followed along in this 5-Day Las Vegas Itinerary.

Tonight should be a special time to laugh and share your best Las Vegas moments. When we travel to Las Vegas with friends, we always set aside the last night for this occasion.



These are our suggestions for dinner:

📍Mayfair Supper Club
Prepare for an evening of entertainment and dinner beyond the ordinary. This is Las Vegas Baby! With the Bellagio Fountains as the backdrop, the entertainers will keep you dazzled while you enjoy a feast prepared for royalty.

This is more than dinner and a show, The Mayfair Supper Club is an experience.

📍Top of the World
For an over-the-top dining experience, The Top of The World is waiting. Enjoy a fabulous dinner with a view at 106 stories above the Las Vegas Strip at The Stratosphere. The panoramic views are outstanding as the restaurant revolves 360 degrees giving you Las Vegas in every direction.

📍Golden Steer
The Golden Steer is a Las Vegas icon. The ambiance makes us feel like we have stepped back in time and the Rat Pack might walk through the door. For over 50 years, The Golden Steer has been serving steaks, chops, and seafood.

Don’t be turned off by the outside appearance as it is located in a strip mall. The friendly staff and white linen tablecloths add to your dining experience. However, the food is the main event.

Before dinner, we enjoy having cocktails at another Las Vegas icon, The Mint right next door. Maybe you will too!

Las Vegas Itinerary Day #6 Bonus Day

Man entering an elevator with luggage.

Time to pack up and head for the airport! Remember to arrive 2 hours before departure if flying domestically. Sometimes, Harry Reid Airport can be a nightmare.

Remember to check all of the drawers, electric outlets, and behind the doors for anything you may have forgotten.


When is the Best Time to Visit Las Vegas?

The best time to visit Las Vegas is when you have the time and the money. Gone are the days of the $1.99 buffets and $2 cab rides. Everything costs money in Las Vegas.

Fall brings more comfortable temperatures, as well as the Raiders football and Golden Knights hockey games. Traffic can be horrendous.

Winter is chilly but dry. The few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are less busy, except of course during rodeo week.  The Holiday decorations are over the top, and definitely worth seeing.

Spring can be windy, but the temperatures are moderate. March seems to be one of the busiest months for Las Vegas tourism.

Summer is HOT. In fact, it is incredibly HOT, often reaching triple digits before 8am.

Best Places to Stay in Las Vegas?

City center las vegas.

With a vast selection of rooms in Las Vegas, the initial question arises: where to begin? The answer is clear – rely on advice from trusted sources like us.

From ultra-luxury to budget-friendly, you can find what you want.


 Best Places to Stay in Las Vegas: On The Strip

For newcomers and those who want to be in the center of the action, a casino hotel on the Strip will give you a full Las Vegas experience.

Keep in mind these sprawling hotels require significant walking, from check-in to your room. It is worth noting that the Strip can be on the pricier side.

📍MGM Park


Best Places to Stay in Las Vegas: Fremont Street

Opting for downtown Fremont might feel like a distinct departure from the Strip’s hustle and bustle.

If you’re a fan of serene mornings and lively nights, Fremont Street might be your ideal pick. Hotels here are more intimate and modest compared to their flashier counterparts on The Strip.



How To Get Around Las Vegas

Girls in a limousine.

Rental Car:
Renting a car in Las Vegas is super simple, with handy spots at Harry Reid Airport and lots of hotels. You’ve got options, from fancy sedans to rugged SUVs, and if you’re up for a special treat, you can go all out and drive something exotic like a Rolls Royce or a Lamborghini.

Ride Share:
Using ride share transportation such as Lyft and Uber can be a convenient, safe way to navigate the city. From the app, order your car and your driver shows up at the designated meeting place. Fares are determined at booking, so you don’t have to worry about inflated fees.

Elite Car Service:
Of course, there are always elite car service companies such as and Blacklane. Order a stretch limousine and cruise the Strip in style!

Taxi service is still a thing in Las Vegas. Most hotels have a convenient taxi stand with cabbies lined up to take you to your next location.

The Monorail
The Las Vegas Monorail is a fun way to explore the Strip. The route stretches from MGM Grand all the way to Las Vegas Sahara, with plenty of stops in between.

The Duece
Riding the Duece is both convenient and cost-effective. The double-decker city bus transports passengers from points on Las Vegas Blvd, to Downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street.


5-Day Las Vegas Itinerary Conclusion

Las vegas showgirls art installation.

For some, Las Vegas is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and destination “bucket list” adventure. For others like us, the first trip to Las Vegas will ignite a deep love affair causing us to visit as often as possible.

On a final note, stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, especially if you are drinking alcohol. It is too easy to become dehydrated in the desert.

We put together this video on surviving Las Vegas, we hope it helps.

Travel Safe and Adventure Often! Viva Las Vegas!!!


Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

Maureen wright & robb strobridge,  the stromads.


Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

40+ Fascinating Things To Do in Vegas Besides Gamble 2024

40+ Fascinating Things To Do in Vegas Besides Gamble 2024

40+ Fascinating Things To Do in Vegas Besides Gamble 2024

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Are there things to do in Vegas besides gamble?

The simple answer is YES, Las Vegas is a fun packed, 24-hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year crazy, beautiful, magnetic city, just waiting to host you.

Whether you’re embarking on your first adventure or you’re a seasoned local, Las Vegas has a world of exhilarating activities awaiting you beyond the casino floors. It’s a city that constantly reinvents itself, painting new scenes with each sunrise – unveiling fresh hotels, tempting restaurants, and captivating shows that keep the excitement alive.

Get ready to dive into the captivating realm of Las Vegas with someone who’s been soaking up its glitz and glamour for over 25 amazing years – and hey, I’ll let you in on a little secret:  we are not big gamblers ourselves. From dazzling shows to vibrant nightlife, we’ll take you on a journey through our favorite US hotspot, sharing the gems that have stolen our hearts.

Let’s experience Las Vegas together, minus the high-stakes bets, and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it just as we have!

As someone who’s familiar with the inner workings of this dazzling destination, get ready for a delightful surprise. Let’s dive into the non-gambling side of this desert playground and explore experiences that encapsulate the essence of Las Vegas without relying on dice or cards.

Let us show you that there are plenty of things to do in Vegas besides gamble!


Table of Contents

1.  Visit the Famous Las Vegas Strip

Night view of the las vegas strip.

Las Vegas Boulevard is home to some of the most iconic sights in Las Vegas.

Spanning 4 miles, there is action on every corner. The Strip journeys from ancient Egypt’s giant Sphinx to Italy’s Grand Canal. Catching sight of the Statue of Liberty or the Stratosphere in the distance will leave you in awe.

At dusk, Las Vegas Boulevard wakes up and presents itself in all of its glory! With huge marquees and colorful LED lights flashing, the Strip is magical. From the watchful eye on the pyramid to the colorfully illuminated Eiffel Tower, there is so much to take in on the Strip.

The city has made it easy for pedestrians with cross-overs, people movers, escalators, and elevators. There are street performers, live bands, restaurants, shopping and people, lots of people. People-watching is certainly one of the most fun things to do in Las Vegas without gambling. Day or night, walking the strip is fun.

However, the best way to experience the Las Vegas Strip at night is to cruise it. Whether you rent a car for the day or hire a limousine for a few hours, the drive down Las Vegas Boulevard is unique and unforgettable.

Elvis Presley summed it up best in Viva Las Vegas:
Bright light city gonna set my soul, Gonna set my soul on fire…
Viva Las Vegas turnin’ day into nighttime
Turnin’ night into daytime
If you see it once
You’ll never be the same again


Planning your trip to Las Vegas?  These are our favorite hotels on the Strip.  Located centrally, you can be right in the action!

Click Hotel for prices and availability:

Vdara Hotel (No Casino)

The Park MGM

Paris Hotel

2.  Visit The Eiffel Tower

Under view of the eiffel tower las vegas at night.

Standing in the center of the Strip you can’t miss the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Casino. Take the elevator to the observation deck at 460 feet above the strip. The view is especially beautiful as the Strip lights up in the evening.


You really should see the city from this view!

Skip the Line and make reservations for The Eiffel Tower Experience 

Click NOW!

3.  Enjoy the Fountains of Bellagio

Dancing fountains at bellagio casino.

As the music seranades, the fountains begin a captivating dance and create one of the most beautiful sights on the Las Vegas Strip.

These impressively choreographed fountains lead right up to the big finish as they shoot 460 feet into the air. The crashing water sounds like thunder!

4.  Explore the Beautiful Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino

The world's largest chandelier at the cosmopolitan hotel.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel is a gorgeous eclectic hotel that is worth exploring. Throughout the floors, you can find interesting seating areas, weird art, and the largest chandelier in the world.

During the winter months, the Cosmopolitan transforms the rooftop swimming pools into a huge ice skating rink, complete with fire pits and s’mores.

Plan to spend a little time here discovering the secret speakeasies, the amazing food court, and the Chandelier Bar. The Cosmopolitan is one of our favorite destinations on the Strip.

5.  Stroll Through the Park at MGM Park

Sculpture of lady dancing.

The Park is home to bars, restaurants, and shopping conveniently located center Strip. With outside seating at many of the eateries, it is fun to people-watch while enjoying a cocktail or craft beer.


6.  Listen to Music on the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn bridge in las vegas.

Thursday and Friday evenings are especially fun on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York New York Casino. Grab a bite and dance to the live music. There is outdoor seating, plus several bars and restaurants nearby.


7.  Join the Party on the LINQ Promenade

The linq promenade lv.

Photo Credit: Dawn Rose

This pedestrian-only area is lined with bars, restaurants, selfie spots, and a never-ending parade of people. It is a fun place to visit, especially when looking for things to do in Vegas besides gambling.

From Instagram-worthy photo ops such as the giant gummy bear chandelier and a replica “Welcome to the Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, there is so much to see and do on the LINQ Promenade. Soar above the crowd, take in breathtaking views at 550 feet, or let your imagination wander in virtual reality.

Wet your whistle with a Cotton Candy Martini, a specialty tequila flight, or a craft beer. And, of course, don’t forget the food. From sweet treats like macaroons or gelato to famous celebrity restaurants, there is something to please all palates. You can even find your beloved favorites like Starbucks, Dunkin, and In-and-Out Burger.


8.  Ride the High Roller

High roller giant ferris wheel.

Step into the massive Las Vegas Ferris wheel, the High Roller. For 30 minutes you will be treated to some of the most beautiful views of Las Vegas. With 360-degree views from the passenger pods, you can see for miles as you reach the top at 550 feet above the promenade.

Whether you choose a day package, night package, or open bar package, riding the High Roller is fun for everyone. 



Booking a ride at dusk gives you the best views of Las Vegas. The magical transition from daytime into nighttime is a Las Vegas experience like no other. The sunset turns the skies pink with purple accents creating a beautiful contrast against the Mojave Desert and the Spring Mountains.

Then, as the dark settles in the Las Vegas Strip lights up! It almost seems like someone flicks a light switch. The energy shifts and it is time to party!

Click here for pricing and availability

High Roller

9.  Party at the Fremont Street Experience

Group of friends partying on fremont st, lv.

The Fremont Street Experience is a pedestrian mall and entertainment district located in the historic downtown area of Las Vegas. It is known for its iconic overhead LED light canopy which covers a portion of Fremont Street, creating a vibrant and immersive visual display.

From FREE nightly concerts, millions of LED lights and people soaring high above on Slotzilla, you are sure to remember your Fremont Street Experience. Hotels, street performers, shopping, dining, and ziplining are all within walking distance in this five-block historic area.


10.  Zip Line High Above the Party

Slotzilla zipline on fremont street.

Ziplining offers a unique blend of adventure and exhilaration, making it a popular activity for those seeking an adrenaline rush and a fresh perspective on the world around them. 

Slotzilla on Fremont Street:  Fly like a superhero, under the lights on Fremont Street. This Zoomline is 5 blocks long and 114 feet above the party below!

Fly LINQ:  From 12 Stories high, soar above the promenade on an 1100-foot zip line. The people below never know when the next set of high flyers will cruise through!

Ride the Roller Coasters and Thrill Rides


Roller coaster and strat in lv.

11.  Roller Coaster at New York New York

Big Apple Coaster: How does climbing high above the New York skyline before dropping 203 feet at speeds over 67 MPH? How about adding a 180-degree heartline twist for good measure?

If this sounds like your idea of a good time, the Big Apple Coaster is your spot for fun!

12.  Thrill Rides at the Stratosphere

For crazy things to do in Vegas besides gamble, ride the thrill rides at the Stratosphere. At 108 stories above street level, you can ride two jaw-dropping, adrenaline-rushing, scary-as-heck super thrill rides:

X Scream: If being dangled 866 feet above Las Vegas Blvd excites you, then this is for you. XScream will leave you screaming each time it teeters you over the edge.

Big Shot: If the ride platform is not quite high enough for you, then the Big Shot will take you even higher. You and the riders will be catapulted reaching a height of 1081 feet, before dropping back to the platform. Just try not to scream.

Sky Jump

Man jumping from the strat in lv.

Photo used with permission: Our friend Zak jumping from the Strat!


If the line for the elevator is too long, you can always jump off the Strat. Literally! At 886 feet, you can jump off the Observation deck to the ground below. The Sky Jump holds a Guinness World Record as the highest commercial decelerator descent facility.

How’s that for a thrill?


Be careful now, the first step is a doozy!

Book your SkyJump Here!

13.  Discover Museums and Exhibitions

Original neon marquis from stardust casino and hard rock guitar.

Museums and exhibitions definitely fit into the things to do in Vegas besides gamble category. They are as diverse, sometimes quirky, and definitely as unique as the city itself. From fine art to punk rock, touring the many Las Vegas museums can keep you busy for a very long time.

Wander through the lit-up neon signs and get a glimpse into the days of old Vegas. Pinball machines, exotic cars, art, and special exhibits like the Titanic or Bodies: The Exhibition are just the tip of what Las Vegas museums have to offer.

If old Las Vegas sparks your curiosity, then visit the Neon Museum, the Boneyard for Neon Signs, and the Mob Museum. For those that love movie stars, try Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and for those of us that love selfies, The Selfie Museum is for you.



14.  Indulge in Extreme Experiences


Consider an extreme experience when looking for things to do in Vegas besides gamble. Las Vegas is the epicenter for extreme everything. Push the boundaries and embrace an adrenaline-charged adventure.

Turn your Vegas escapade into an unforgettable journey of the extraordinary, where the pursuit of thrill and excitement becomes your new favorite form of entertainment.


15.  Race a Luxury Sports Car

Things to do in vegas besides gamble: race a luxury sports car.

Photo Credit: Drew Cope, Dad-preneur

Satisfy your need for speed at Speed Vegas, the world’s largest supercar driving experience.

Choose a Lamborghini, a Porche, a Maserati, or any combination of luxury sports cars and accelerate in seconds to speeds of 140 mph. Dive into the 8 hairpin turns, hit the straight away, and do it all over again and again!


Ready to book your day at Speed Vegas?  Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

Check here for rates and availability.

16.  Shoot a Machine Gun


Man shooting machine gun at targets in a desert

Shooting a machine gun is something most people don’t do every day.

This is a high thrill bucket list experience and you can do it! Your instructor will brief you and prepare you for this mind-blowing adrenaline rush.

17.  Jump Dunes-Baja Style


Baja style racing in the desert.


Imagine the adrenaline rush you will have when you reach the dunes at 90mph and become airborne!

Baja racing is addictive and so much fun. With 15 degrees of banking, 3 jumps and 8 turns, your heart will pound with anticipation. So strap up and climb in!



Book your Baja Racing Adventure here.

Check for availability and pricing

18.  Fly a Fighter Jet

Cockpit of a fighter jet.

Take to the sky in an EXTRA 330LC, the highest-performance certified aerobatic aircraft in the world. Prepare to roll into aerial maneuvers, or outrun your opponent in aerial laser tag.

This is the time to put another check on your bucket list adventure!
SCA 2705 Airport Dr, North Las Vegas, NV


19.  Immerse Yourself in the World of Heavy Equipment Operation

Excavator on a rocky construction site.


Dig a ditch, move a pile of rock, or smash a car in an immersive aggression session. The Bull-dozers, Back Hoes, and Excavators are waiting for you.

Grab your safety vest, hard hat and head out to the construction site!

20.  Get Hitched

The stromads getting hitched in las vegas.

With over 120,000 weddings performed each year, Las Vegas is the Wedding Capitol of the World.  With statistics like this, it is apparent that getting married tops the list of things to do in Vegas besides gamble.

Getting a marriage license only takes about 15 minutes, and the office is open until midnight 365 days a year.  Whether it is a bucket list destination wedding with Elvis as your officiant, or a spur-of-the-moment “Will you marry me Right here, Right now” and roll through the drive-thru Wedding Chapel, a Vegas wedding has an allure.

With chapels lining the streets, it is easy to say “Let’s get hitched”!


Say ‘I do’ with ease and excitement in the glittering heart of Vegas! These wedding packages bring your dream celebration to life effortlessly, from Vegas venues to seamless planning.

Experience the thrill of a Vegas wedding without the stress.  Your day is meant to be magical with unforgettable moments for you and your loved ones.”

Simple Ceremony

Elvis Themed Ceremony

World Famous Drive-Up Wedding

21.  Join the Mile High Club

Join the mile high club.

The Mile High Club was once reserved for the private jet setters and the ulta-daring commercial flyers. Now, you and your lover can join the Mile High Club right here in Las Vegas. Your flight begins with champagne as you ascend to 5280′ above the city of Las Vegas.

Now, the rest is up to you to complete your membership. Don’t be shy, Love Cloud assures complete privacy for you and your lover.


22.  ​Stroll Through the Arts District


Wall mural dtlv

 Photo Credit: Dawn Rose

On any given day, you can find things to do in Vegas besides gamble. The Arts District is a fun place to explore with hand-painted wall murals, vintage stores, restaurants, museums, and bars.

Whether you want to enjoy drag brunch, a goth concert, or a craft beer and excellent food, you can find it here in the Arts District. As an added bonus, there are no casinos in this 18-block neighborhood.


The ENGLiSH Hotel is a beautiful addition to the Art District.  With exceptional service, you can relax in comfort and luxury.  Enjoy brunch by the pool, then a romantic dinner in the exclusive Pepper Club.  Leave behind the chaos and step into a whole new Las Vegas world.

Check here for rates and availability.

23.  Visit the Las Vegas Healing Garden

Entrance to lv healing garden dedicated to the victims of gun violence at a music festival.

Visit and reflect on those that were killed while attending a concert in one of the most horrific mass shootings we have ever known.

This peaceful space is beautiful and serene. As you walk through the path, notice the names and shrines dedicated to these fallen souls. The experience will not soon leave you.

24.  Go Golfing

Looking for more things to do in Vegas besides gamble? How about a round or two of golf?

 Pro Golf Courses 

Desert golf course with mountain in background..

Las Vegas has some of the best pro golf courses in the world. From ultra-exclusive private greens with multiple courses, you can find something to suit your playing level.

Beat the heat of the afternoon and play a quick 9 in the evening. Many of the courses have evening tee times with well-lit playing greens.

Top Golf

Golf simulator.

Top Golf is a popular entertainment complex that combines golf with a lively and social atmosphere. It offers a unique and interactive golfing experience that is suitable for players of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced golfers.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of games and activities related to golf. The complex features climate-controlled hitting bays where players can hit microchipped golf balls at targets on a large outfield. The microchips in the golf balls allow for accurate scoring and feedback on the distance and accuracy of each shot.

Top Golf is perfect for a night out when looking for things to do in Vegas besides gamble.

Mini Golf

Man playing mini golf.

In true Vegas fashion, there are a few fun mini-golf courses to play.

Some are family-friendly with glowing black lights and neon, while the soon-to-open “Swingers” will be adult-only with a cocktail bar, food, and DJ.

25.  Take in a Show

Burlesque dancer.

Las Vegas is the entertainment capitol of the world. From world-renown concert venues, like T-Mobile Arena and The Sphere, to smaller intimate venues like House of Blues and Counts Vamp’d, Las Vegas continues to host music royalty of all genres.

With huge music festivals right in the city, and concert venues galore, music is just the beginning of Vegas entertainment.

Magic and illusion set the stage for performances of a lifetime. Whether you prefer big illusions or sleight of hand trickery, Vegas has it all.

Of course, there are stage shows and more stage shows. From the very family-friendly shows to the super raunchy, Vegas has a stage show for you.

It is quite possible to see a stage show every single day in Las Vegas for years and never repeat one.

26.  Eat, Drink, and Be Merry


Lobster tail and filet mignon.

With over 2200 restaurants in Las Vegas, you can have just about anything at any time. From McDonalds to Dine in the Dark Experience, Las Vegas is a foodie mecca.

Dim Sum at 3am, no problem. How about an All You Can Eat Lobster Buffet? Absolutely. Maybe you would rather have brunch complete with champagne and a spectacular view of the Bellagio Fountains?

Did you say dinner and a show? Try one of the over-the-top famous Supper Clubs, like Delilah’s or Mayfair Supper Club. Thinking of something more family oriented? Try the Tournament of Kings. The jousting tournament will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Las Vegas is one of the best cities to indulge in a foodie tour. Visit some of the top restaurants in the city, and sample some amazing dishes with your local tour guide.


Bloody mary with crab legs, shrimp and cheese garnish.

In Las Vegas, you’ll discover a vibrant bar scene for all preferences. Whether you’re chilling with $1 PBRs, seeking a thrilling $10,000 ONO drink, or on a quest for the best Bloody Mary, there’s something for everyone.

Dive bar tours, speakeasies, and unlimited mimosas add to the mix. Enjoy cocktails with dazzling city views, relax by poolside bars, or dance the night away with live music. Classic casino bars offer a taste of history, ensuring a memorable time beyond the casino floor.


Explore Diverse Botanical Gardens

Visiting a botanical garden allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, gain knowledge about plants, and engage in various activities that promote relaxation, education, and appreciation for the natural world. As you wander through the diverse botanical gardens, it becomes evident that there are plenty of other things to do in Vegas besides gamble.

27.  Bellagio Botanical Gardens and Conservatory

Bellagio gardens at christmas.

Walking through the Bellagio Gardens is one of the beautiful things to do in Vegas besides gamble. Each season the Horticulture and Engineering teams work their magic changing and decorating the 14,000-square-foot Bellagio Conservatory.

From a lavish European garden with floral sculptures to a winter wonderland, The Bellagio Botanical Gardens are definitely something to see while in Las Vegas.

28.  The Garden at The Wynn

Christmas at the wynn botanical gardens.

The Garden at the Wynn is always worth a visit. The ever-changing gardens are sophistically decorated in true Wynn Style. The magical carousel will delight you as the horses appear to dance in the flowers.

29.  The Springs Preserve

Spend the day exploring the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and educational exhibits in this 180-acre preserve. Learn about desert ecosystems, sustainability, or even flash flooding. You can easily spend the day at the Springs Preserve. Be sure to check the calendar for special events.

30.  Ethel’s Cactus Garden and Chocolate Tour

Ethel's cactus garden christmas display.

Stroll around 3 acres of gardens showcasing cacti, succulents, and various plant life found in the Mojave desert. Visitors during the Christmas season are treated to a winter wonderland as The Cactus Garden is magically transformed with a million-light display.

While everyone can enjoy the factory tour, adults can indulge in a wine and chocolate pairing,


31.  Tour Allegiant Stadium

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the magnificent Allegiant Stadium, Home of the Las Vegas Raiders. Not only will you have a chance to see the Broadcast Booth, and private suites, but also the Raiders lockerroom.

Even if you are not a sports fan, Allegiant Stadium is a state-of-the-art unique facility that will blow your mind. This beautiful spectacle will catch your eye and spark your imagination.

32.  Tour Las Vegas Motorspeedway

Nascar track with rainbow in the background.

Photo Credit: Everything RV by Pat

 Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including the World famous Neon Garage, luxury suites, racing garages, and Victory Lane.

The tour will take you through Americas Racing Showplace visiting 9 other tracks including the NHRA 4 Lane drag strip as well as the dirt track which hosts World of Outlaws, Nascar K&M Pro Series, and IMCA Modifieds.

For those that need more, you can schedule a ride along or drive the track in one of the Racing Schools. Better yet, come when NASCAR is in town and experience the thrill of LIVE stock car racing.

33.  ​Mix and Mingle

Frolic at a Day Club or Pool Party

Fun thing to do in vegas besides gamble is mingle at a pool party.

Are you looking for things to do in Vegas besides gamble? Pool parties and day clubs are a fun option! Las Vegas pool parties are something you will not soon forget. As part fashion show, part dance club, with a whole lot of barely there bikinis, the DJ is not the only one bringing the fun! Grab a drink, and mingle. It’s Vegas Baby!

Go Dancing and Order Bottle Service

The Las Vegas Club scene is over the top. With world-famous DJs, extreme light shows, sparklers and celebrities, the party goes on until dawn. Dress to impress and request bottle service. This is your time to party!

34.  Get Pampered

Woman getting a spa treatment.

Getting pampered makes the list of things to do in Vegas besides gamble. There is a world-class spa in just about every hotel on the Strip. Throughout the city, you can find day spas, foot spas, IV hydration therapy spas, and blowout bars. There are even foot baths with little fish that eat the dead skin on your feet.

Relax, rejuvenate, and allow yourself the experience of a world-class spa treatment. 

35.  Take a Dance Class

Two women doing acrobatic on a stripper pole.


When it comes to things to do in Las Vegas besides gamble, don’t pass on higher education. Take a class in pole dancing, stripper basics, or even aerial moves. Learn to booty shake or even learn the art of lap dancing.

Not only are these classes fun, they will challenge you physically. Take control of your body and work that pole!

If line dancing and country music are more your style, Gilley’s offers FREE line dancing lessons throughout the week. Slide to the left…..slide to the right….

36.  Explore the Deep Dark Sea

Sharks in an aquarium.

Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the waves? Now is your chance to explore the mysterious world of the Shark Reef. Be spellbound by jellyfish, sea turtles, and sharks! The Shark Reef is one of the largest aquariums in the US holding over 2000 sea animals.

As you walk through the aquarium tunnel, the fish swim overhead and seem to surround you on all sides. The scenery is captivating and will leave you breathless.

37.  Venture Inside Area 15

Post apocalyptic

Area 15 is as unique and should not be missed when looking for things to do in Vegas besides gamble. As a premier attraction, Area 15 is something to put on your Las Vegas to-do list.

With immersive art displays, live entertainment, bars, and restaurants Area 15 offers a vibrant destination that captivates the senses and offers a one-of-a-kind experience.

Explore the hidden portals of Omega Mart and Wink World, or experience an alternate universe created in the Virtualis VR, Free Roam Virtual Reality. Be virtually transported to a Tokyo Night Market, an African Safari, or sit on the sidelines of a Raiders game in Illuminarium.  There is even a hidden speakeasy.

If that’s not enough, enter the world of magic, burlesque, and rum as you explore Lost Distillery. In my opinion, one of the best shows I’ve been to in Las Vegas. Sip rum, and wander the rooms while enjoying the up-close vaudeville-style entertainment.


38.  Visit the Cannabis Dispensaries


Vintage vw smoke bus at planet 13 dispensary.

Satisfy your curiosity in a non-threatening chilled environment for things to do in Vegas besides gamble. Now is your chance to visit a retail cannabis dispensary. These are not your back alley dealers; these stores have everything imaginable and the staff to help you make the right purchase.

Don’t be nervous, do ask questions, and only buy something if you want to use it. For those that don’t want cannabis products, you might find a souvenir t-shirt or hat. Just go….


39.  Shop Until You Drop

Girls with shopping bags.

You can find something for everyone, from super cheap t-shirt shops to ultra-exclusive designer boutiques at The Forum Shoppes.

Are you looking for a cute pinup dress? Check out the Miracle Mile Shoppes. Las Vegas has something for everyone, even outlet shopping.

You can shop for cars, furs, art, jewelry, and even vintage Ramones vinyl. In Las Vegas, you can find whatever your heart desires.



40.  Take Karaoke To a New Level

Karaoke is a thing to do in vegas besides gamble.


Looking for more things to do in Vegas besides gamble?

Grab a mic, pick your song, and let’s Karaoke, Las Vegas style! Sing with a live band or reserve a private karaoke room in any of the Las Vegas Karaoke Clubs around town. With lights and state-of-the-art sound, you are the star of your own show.

Karaoke clubs are full-service private rooms with food and beverage packages, waitstaff, and of course, a huge library of karaoke favorites. This is the time to shine, Las Vegas style.

There are Plenty of Things To Do in Vegas Besides Gamble

Las vegas arches.

Las Vegas is like no other city in the world.

Its charm extends beyond its famous casinos, offering a kaleidoscope of experiences that redefine the art of indulgence and create lasting memories. From the enchanting allure of botanical gardens to the heart-pounding thrill of extreme sports, this dynamic city boasts a treasure trove of activities that cater to every taste and curiosity.

As you explore Sin City, you will quickly discover there are so many things to do in Vegas besides gamble.

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads


The stromads at the fabulous las vegas sign.Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

27 Unbeatable Things To Do In Batavia NY 2024

27 Unbeatable Things To Do In Batavia NY 2024

27 Unbeatable Things To Do in Batavia NY 2024

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Wondering what are the best things to do in Batavia, NY? As your go-to travel guides, we’ve curated a list of 27 exceptional activities that showcase the rich history, natural beauty, and local delights this town has to offer.

Whether you’re a local, a Buffalo visitor, or a passerby, this charming town has many activities for all ages. Join us as we unveil 27 incredible things to do in Batavia, NY that will elevate your visit to a new level!

1.  Holland Land Office Museum

131 W Main St, Batavia 

Holland land office museum is fun thing to do in batavia ny.
Explore Batavia’s rich history through captivating exhibits showcasing the early development and the acquisition of land in what is now Western New York. Marvel at collections of artifacts that offer a glimpse into the past.

Exhibits include medals of honor, period clothing, furniture, portraits, and an original gibbet used in many hangings for those sentenced to death.

2.  Batavia Peace Garden

17-123 W Main St, Batavia

20 international flags of designated peace gardens.


Take a stroll through the Batavia Peace Garden and relax on any of the benches. Enjoy a moment of reflection, and continued hope of international peace.

This park serves as a symbol of friendship between Canada and the United States, as part of the Peace Park Trail throughout Northern New York.

As part of the International Peace Garden project, the Batavia Peace Garden proudly displays flags representing the 21 other countries that have an international peace garden.

3.  Historic Batavia Cemetery

65 Harvester Ave, Batavia

Historic batavia cemetery.


With plots dating back to the early 1800s, visitors will find Batavia Cemetery a peaceful and tranquil place to explore.  Some of Batavia’s founding fathers are laid to rest here.  The Batavia Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places.

For a spooky night, Batavia Cemetery offers candlelight ghost tours through the grounds with haunted stories of the residents laid to rest here.  

4.  Devils Rock

5441 Main St, Batavia

Devils rock is one of the most interesting things to do in batavia, ny.
While there is a scientific explanation for the shape of this rock, we prefer the folklore and dark story of its history.

As the story is told, Satan himself was sleeping quietly next to this boulder. A good samaritan was walking by, saw the Prince of Darkness, and wanted to protect the people from falling to prey to him. The kind-hearted soul took the chain and wrapped Satan to the rock. As he was unable to escape, a frustrated Satan walked in circles around the rock for years. The chain caused the rock to wear in the middle. Eventually, Satan broke free and went on to inhabit the underworld.

Parking is challenging as Devils Rock is located on the grounds of the New York State Department of Transportation. This peculiar roadside attraction is worth a quick stop as one of the most interesting things to do in Batavia, NY.

5.  Go Art Genesee-Orleans Regional Art Council

201 E Main St, Batavia

Eclectic art work in go art, batavia ny.


The Go Art Gallery offers a little something for everyone.  For those that appreciate artwork, there are themed exhibitions that you can view and discuss with the artist.  Others may appreciate immersive classes, while some may want to work on their comedic skills during open mic nights.   


6.  Tavern 2.0.1

Speakeasy pub.

Located inside the GO ART, the tavern is open to the public Thursday and Friday nights, as well as during special events and exhibitions.  With a speakeasy style, visitors can enjoy a craft beer, wine or specialty drinks while engaging in conversations with others about the unique and interesting artwork.


7.  Batavia Ramble Explore Art & Music Festival

Wall art at the corner of go art.

Enjoy music, street performers, artists, and food at this family-fun festival.  In partnership with GO ART and Ramble, organizers continue expanding the inclusivity of the arts in Batavia. 

Many of the musicians and artists have deep roots in the Genesse-Orleans area.  Look for this one-day event in early July.


8.  Seymour Place

Ghost hunting at seymour place is a chilling thing to do in batavia ny.

For those that like the spooky side, a night at Seymour Place may be in order.  Ghost hunters tell of encounters with shapes on barstools, the scent of cigars, and the clear voices of those not still in their human form.  


9.  Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel

8315 Park Rd, Batavia

Front entrance to batavia downs gaming.

Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel is a one-stop shop for gaming, live horse racing, concerts, and restaurants. Whether you book a romantic get-a-way weekend or want to bet the ponies midweek, Batavia Downs has something for you.

Remember to sign up for their rewards card to earn points, merch, and free play!



Escape for a romantic weekend or book a trackside suite.  Luxury, fun, and excitement are waiting at Batavia Downs.

Check here for pricing and availability. 

10.  Muckdogs at Dwyer Stadium

Dwyer stadium

“Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and a cracker jack. I don’t care if I never get back. Let me root, root for the home team…..”

June and July bring summer baseball fun to Dwyer Stadium. Enjoy a night of fun for everyone cheering on Batavia’s beloved Muckdogs. Throughout the season you are invited to fan experiences like fireworks, meet the players and hot dog nights.

11.  Dewitt Recreation Area

Comfortable seating area at eli fish company.


Locals agree that the DeWitt Recreational area is one of their favorite spaces in Batavia, New York. With 65 acres of parkland, visitors can picnic, walk the trails, fish, and kayak. In the winter, Dewitt Recreation Area opens an outdoor public ice skating rink.

12.  Genesee County Fair

5056 E Main Street Rd, Batavia 

Amusement rides at genesee county fair.


Take some time and come to the Fair! Genesee County Fair is one of the most fun things to do in Batavia, NY. Visitors can enjoy 4-H livestock and home arts as well as Live Entertainment throughout the day.

Delicious treats are available at the food booths. Whether the crowning of Miss Genesee County Fair Queen or the Demolition Derby is your style, there is something special for everyone at the Genesee County Fair.



13.  Genesee Speedway

5056 E Main Street Rd, Batavia

Dirt track racing at genesee speedway is a fun thing to do in batavia, ny.

Saturday night at the Genesee Speedway is the place to go when looking for things to do in Batavia, NY.  Feel the roar of the engines as the Dirt Late Models take to the track.  The dirt flies when the Street Stocks roll around the turns.  Genesee Speedway is fun for the whole family. 

A little dirt in your teeth never hurt anyone!


14.  Farmers Market

Bank Street & Alva Place, Batavia,

Local farmers market.


Shop for fresh fruit, vegetables, jams, and wine. With a nice selection of goods and wares from local farmers and artisans, be sure to bring a reusable shopping bag with you.  Shoppers like us, find great deals on soaps, jewelry, and olive oils.  

As a bonus, local food trucks like Red Osier Landmark Restaurant are ready to serve you lunch!



 15.  Terry Hills Golf Course

5122 Clinton Street Rd, Batavia 

Terry hills golf course, batavia ny

Terry Hills is an exceptional 27-hole public golf course with a prestigious 4-star rating. This course provides country club-quality conditions, ensuring an outstanding golfing experience.

Consistently ranked among the top 5 public golf courses in Western New York, Terry Hills is recognized for its first-class golfing facilities combined with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that’s down-to-earth and friendly.  The bar and restaurant are open to the public as well be sure to stop by.

16.  Plum Creek Driving Range

5141 Batavia Elba Townline Rd, Batavia 

Plum creek driving range batavia, ny


Want a little practice with your swing? Visit the Plum Creek Driving Range. Even during the winter as the weather turns cold, golf simulators are available.



Live Music

17.  Batavia’s Original Music Wednesday

500 E Main St, Batavia 

Pepperoni pizza at batavia's original.

When in town, we like to enjoy a good pizza and nice music on the patio at Batavia’s Original. Of course, there is a full menu and daily specials as well. Music is from 5-9 on Wednesdays.

Batavia’s Original is a family-friendly restaurant,  so grab the kids and eat pizza!


18.  TF Brown’s Live Music Thursdays

214 E Main St, Batavia 

Man playing an acoustic guitar.

Thursday dinner is more fun with live music.  TF Brown’s is fun for the entire family with lip-smacking goodness and something for everyone.  Join the party on Thursdays 5-8 for singing, dancing and of course great food.

Seating is available both inside the restaurant and on the patio, as well as at the full-service bar.


19.  Oliver’s Candy Store

211 W Main St, Batavia

Colorful boxes of candy.

Ask anyone in the area, what are some things to do in Batavia, NY and they will quickly answer, “Get sponge candy from Olivers”.  Although the name implies sponge, the candy simply melts in your mouth with hints of caramel, honey, and chocolate.  

There are plenty of candies and ice cream treats to satisfy any sweet tooth.  Plus, you can take gift boxes full of goodies home to the family (if they last that long).

20.  Batavia Pedal Party

Call:  (585) 356-4700

Pedal party  is a fun way to bar hop in batavia ny.


How about a fun and unique way to bar-hop around town? With two destinations of your choice, a playlist, and up to 16 of your friends, the fun is about to begin.

With the designated driver/tour guide you and your friends will pedal around town, singing to your favorite tunes while greeting those along the way. Your guide will make sure you arrive safely back to your meeting place.

Go on!  Get your pedal on!

21.  Friday Night High School Football


Home of blue devil batavia high school stadium.


Batavia High Football season starts the first week of September.

The team has been training hard all summer long and is ready to take to the field under the lights! Grab a blanket, cowbell, and team spirit as you cheer on Batavia’s own Blue Devils!

22.  Game of Throws

56 Harvester Ave, Batavia, NY 14020


Ax throwing is a fun thing to do in batavia, ny.


Looking for a thrilling and competitive activity in Batavia, NY? Look no further than axe throwing! Experience the excitement of this popular recreational sport that has taken the town by storm. Axe throwing is not only a fun individual experience but also offers fantastic team events and leagues for those seeking some friendly competition.

Gather your friends, family, or colleagues and head to one of Batavia’s axe-throwing venues for a memorable time filled with laughter and camaraderie. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or trying it for the first time, Game of Throws is sure to be a hit for everyone. So, why not add this unique and exciting activity to your list of things to do in Batavia, NY?

Grab an axe, take aim, and let the fun begin!


23.  House of Bounce

56 Harvester Ave, Batavia

Large bounce house with slides.

Kids can dive into a world of fun with exciting bounces, climb through obstacle courses, and jump on inflatable attractions. Teenagers can engage in thrilling Nerf wars and enjoy the dynamic play areas. And guess what? Adults can join in on the excitement too!

At House of Bounce fun knows no age limit creating an enjoyable experience for every member of the family.

Whether you’re looking for a fun weekend activity, planning a memorable birthday party, or simply want to release some energy in a playful environment, House of Bounce has got you covered. Come join the fun and bounce your way to an unforgettable experience at House of Bounce! 


 24.  Palm Island Indoor Waterpark

8250 Park Rd, Batavia

Indoor waterpark with slide and pool.


Splash, swim, and ride the water slides at Palm Island Indoor Waterpark.  Kids of all ages can beat the heat or wash away the winter blues at Palm Island. There’s even a hot tub soaking spa for the adults.  For the adventurous, try the 24-foot flume slide, into the pool below.  For the sports fan, how about some water hoops?

Palm Island offers a concession stand, arcade, and a party room.  Day packages are available as well as stay and play weekend packages.

Head on down to the Palm Island Indoor Waterpark for something fun to do in Batavia, NY.


25.  Ellicott Trail

Parking is available at Williams Park, Dewitt Recreational Area, throughout downtown Batavia and along Red Oak Lane


Ellicott bike trail in batavia ny.


Looking for a great outdoor activity in Batavia that’s perfect for all ages and skill levels? Look no further than the Ellicott Trail! Stretching 9.5 miles in total, this scenic trail offers a fantastic out-and-back route that’s ideal for biking. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just starting, the Ellicott Trail provides a fairly easy ride suitable for bike riders of all skill levels.

But that’s not all – this trail is also family-friendly! It’s not just for bikers; walkers, hikers, and families with baby strollers will find the Ellicott Trail to be a delightful destination as well. So, grab your bikes, lace up your walking shoes, or pack up the baby stroller, and head over to the Ellicott Trail for a fun-filled day of exploration and outdoor adventure in Batavia!



Play Team Trivia

On weeknights, a fun thing to do in Batavia NY is play team trivia at participating venues.  Whether you are a trivia fanatic or just enjoy friendly conversation, you can join in the fun.


26.  Tuesday Night Trivia at Bourbon and Burgers

9 Jackson St, Batavia

Bourbon display at bourbon and burgers.


Test your knowledge in categories like music trivia or history and compete for prizes.  With a huge selection of bourbon and specialty burgers on the menu, your tastebuds will be watering.  

Join the fun at Bourbon and Burgers!  


27.  Wednesday Night Trivia Eli Fish Brewing Company

109 Main St, Batavia 

Comfortable seating area at eli fish company.


Wednesday nights are perfect for craft beer, tacos, and trivia at Eli Fish Company.

Assemble your own team, or make some new friends as you compete to win prizes as you share your trivia knowledge.

Where to Stay:  Batavia, NY Hotels


Hotel at Batavia Downs

8319 Park Rd, Batavia

Couple enjoying room service wearing plush robes.

For a luxury stay, the Hotel at Batavia Downs is your stop.  Imagine watching live horse racing from the comfort of your king suite balcony.  You can book that room, and relax in a plush bathrobe while waiting for room service to deliver your dinner. 

Now that’s luxury!


Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites Batavia

4333 Federal Dr, Batavia

Outside front view fairfield inn hotel.

Travelers agree, the Fairfield by Marriott is a great place to stay.  With excellent service and clean rooms, you can expect a relaxing stay.

Daily breakfast is included for all room guests.


 Red Roof Inn Batavia

8204 Park Rd, Batavia

Two boys in a hotel room playing.

For families traveling with pets, Red Roof Inn has you covered.  Enjoy a comfortable overnight stay and breakfast in the morning.


Red Roof Inn has free WiFi and a fitness room.

Where to eat:  Batavia, NY Restaurants

Fortune’s Italian Steakhouse:

8315 Park Rd, Batavia (Located inside Batavia Downs Gaming)

From char-grilled steaks to mouthwatering lasagna, the menu is impressive.  Fortune’s is a great option for date night or before a big event at Batavia Downs.  They even have a children’s menu.   

Bourbon and Burger: 

9 Jackson St, Batavia

With over 30 burgers and a few “not a burger” menu options, surely you can find something.  Plus, their fries are delicious!

Jerry Arena’s Pizzeria:

8360 Lewiston Rd

Sometimes we just want a pepperoni pizza to take back to our room.  When we found this place, we hit the jackpot.  Let us know what you think!

Conclusion: Things To Do In Batavia, NY


Summing it up, whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to the area, Batavia offers a diverse array of exciting things to do. From exploring the hidden wonders of the Ellicott Trail to the thrilling ghost hunts of Historic Batavia, this charming town has something special for everyone.

As you venture through Batavia, you’ll discover a treasure trove of activities to enjoy – from exhilarating Nerf wars for teenagers to beautiful green spaces suitable for the whole family. The town’s rich mix of history, outdoor adventures, and family-friendly attractions promises an unforgettable experience for all.

So, why wait? Embrace the magic of Batavia and immerse yourself in the fun-filled activities this town has to offer. Whether you’re a local looking for weekend entertainment or a visitor seeking new adventures, there’s no shortage of enjoyable experiences to be had. Grab your bike, gather your friends and family, and embark on an exciting journey of exploration through the many wonderful things to do in Batavia!

Upstate New York is a beautiful area, full of waterfalls, gorges, state parks and charming towns.  We do hope you get a chance to visit!


Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads


The stromads at genesee county speedway.Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Big Bend Itinerary Essentials:  Scenic Drives and Breathtaking Hikes 2024

Big Bend Itinerary Essentials:  Scenic Drives and Breathtaking Hikes 2024

Big Bend Itinerary Essentials: Scenic Drives and Breathtaking Hikes 2024

Include scenic drives on a big bend itinerary.

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Planning your Big Bend Itinerary can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time.  With over 1200 square miles of natural beauty to explore, you may be wondering where to start. 

If you are like us, missing a beautiful vista or scenic outlook is non-negotiable.  Although we only had a few days, we covered most of the park.  This article will help you plan your Big Bend itinerary so that you can discover the splendid isolation Big Bend offers.  

As full-time travelers, we never skip an opportunity to visit our National Parks. We’ve made it our mission to visit as many parks as possible, from the iconic Yellowstone to the Everglades.   With curious spirits, we hike trails, marvel at majestic waterfalls, and soak in the tranquility of pristine lakes. From witnessing wildlife in their natural habitats to camping under starlit skies, we’ve experienced so much.  

Robb and I are thrilled to share our insights, tips, and stories with you, so you too can embark on your own incredible Big Bend National Park journey.  

Welcome to Big Bend: A natural wonderland awaits!


Planning Your Big Big Bend Itinerary

How Many Days do you need in Big Bend National Park?

Mountain overlooking a long winding river.

First things first:  Allow Plenty of Time!

While some people have the freedom of an open schedule, others, like us, have time constraints.  In other words, we must carve out time to discover these natural wonderlands.

We suggest planning at least 3-days to explore inside Big Bend.  Even for non-hikers, like us, the park is fascinating.  Because this park is so vast, even scenic drives require a several-hour time commitment. 

In order to maximize our time, we divided Big Bend into three driving segments, each with a short easy hike, some scenic overlooks, and miles of nearly deserted beautiful drives.

For avid and more advanced hikers, you will find Big Bend a paradise of natural spaces.  There are hiking trails for every level of experience. 

Likewise, Big Bend provides visitors with a variety of off-road vehicle adventures.  Many of the unimproved roads require 4WD and high-clearance vehicles. 

Always refer to current advisories and conditions before embarking on your journey.  If you have questions be sure to ask the rangers, they always have the latest information and will definitely provide some detailed insight to help with your experience.

Keep in mind Big Bend National Park is extremely remote with very little cell reception.  Once inside the park, you can easily be hours away from emergency service.

While there are plenty of hikes and off-road opportunities in Big Bend, assessing your physical limits and those of your equipment is imperative. 

Day #1  Big Bend Itinerary

 Panther Junction & Chisos Basin

Panther Junction Visitor Center is worth a quick stop.  Inside you can find out about ranger-led programs, must-do points of interest, and road closures.  You can grab a paper map, browse the bookstore, and even take a short walk around Panther Path.

Panther Path  

Panther Path is an easy 50-yard loop that will help you get familiar with the Big Bend terrain.  This informative trail is designed to help us identify the bountiful plant life, desert flowers, and cacti throughout Big Bend National Park. 

This short trip around the visitor center really added to our experience as we were better able to identify the different plants and flora throughout the park. 


Tornillo Flat and Dinosaur Fossil Exhibit

Replica trex dinosaur skull.

Quite literally, the Dinosaur Fossil Exhibit is in the middle of nowhere.  From the Panther Junction Visitor Center, you will travel 26 miles to the tranquil and expansive desert area known as Tornillo Flat.  With its wide-open spaces and sparse vegetation, it offers a sense of peace and serenity. Against the backdrop of the majestic Chisos Mountains, the play of light and shadows creates a mesmerizing sight. 


Although the area may appear barren, Tornillo Flat is teeming with life, including jackrabbits, roadrunners, and reptiles that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. It’s a perfect place for quiet reflection, connecting with nature, and finding solace amidst the beauty of Big Bend.


The Dinosaur Fossil Exhibit is both fascinating and informative. Get up close and personal with a T-Rex replica skull. However, if pressed for time, you won’t be disappointed if you walk off on this stop for a more exciting trail such as Dog Canyon.

Dog Canyon

This is a 4-mile round trip with a moderate hike.  Hiking through a relatively flat area or wash features beautiful views of the desert and Devil’s Den, a narrow slot canyon.

Grapevine Hills Road

Grapevine Hills Road is an unimproved 8-mile road to the Grapevine Hills Trail.   Although 4WD is not required, it is highly suggested.  This road is brutal but doable.  There is a parking lot at the end. 


Grapevine Hills Trail to Balanced Rock

Rocky hiking trail.

Grapevine Hills Trail to Balanced Rock is about a 2 mile round trip.  The first part of the trail is fairly easy however the final part involves crossing steep and rough rock surfaces before reaching Balanced Rock.  

Navigating through a challenging terrain filled with large rocks at dusk is not my idea of a good time.  Knowing my personal capabilities and the limited daylight left, we did not hike the whole trail. 

Looking back, we should have stopped here and hiked out to Balanced Rock first before going out to Tornillo Flats.  


Chisos Basin Road

Winding mountain road high canyon walls.

From most points inside the park, the Chisos Mountains are a focal point.  Against the flat desert landscape, the Chisos are mysterious and captivating.

The scenic drive to the top of the Chisos Basin delivers on all points.  As the sun begins to set, the mountains change from browns, reds, and greens to magnificent golden hues.  


Window View Trail

Trail with the sunset casting a golden glow on the mountains.

For a non-strenuous walk, the level path from the lodge parking lot leads out to a spectacular view of the window trail.  There are benches to enjoy the sunset and everchanging scenery.  


Window Trail

Sunset through a mountain window.

This trail is a moderate 5.6-mile round trip to a scenic vista view for those that enjoy a little more challenging hike. Although the hike starts with a downhill slope, the 900-foot elevation change can be challenging on the return uphill trek. 


More Chisos Basin Hikes for the Adventurous:


The Lost Mine Trail: Moderate 4.8-mile round trip.

South Rim: Strenuous 14-mile round trip.

Boot Canyon Trail:  Strenuous 23-mile round trip. 


Take added precautions while in the Chisos Basin.  This is bear country, stay alert and never approach wildlife.  Just a few weeks before we arrived, the Chisos Basin area was closed due to heightened bear activity.  


Stay Bear Aware!


 Big Bend Itinerary:  Day #2


Rio Grande Village and Boquillas Canyon

A quick stop at the Rio Grande Village may be necessary.  Inside there are restrooms, showers, and a convenience store.  Additionally, this region encompasses two of the four campgrounds in the Big Bend National Park.

If this is your first stop of the day, we suggest checking for ranger-led programs, as well as alerts or closures in the area you are exploring.


Rio Grande Village Nature Trail

The boardwalk leads to an easy .75-mile round trip walk through the wetlands.  This is a great place for birdwatching and listening to the sounds of nature.


Boquillas Canyon Hike

Towering canyon walls and river bed.

Boquillas Canyon Hike is a moderate 1.4-mile round trip, which was a highlight of our time in Big Bend.

The trailhead starts at the parking lot and leads up a rocky path to the top of the hill, then down to the river below.  Follow the trail out and along the Rio Grande for amazing canyon views.  The colorful walls tower above you from the floor of the canyon.  

Because this is a popular hike, the trail can get noisy with chatter.  If you prefer quiet and serene hikes, go early in the morning.  Don’t be startled by the “singing Mexican” across the river or the mountain lion prints in the sand.  Both will be there lurking in the shadows.  


Visit Boquillas, Mexico

International ferry to boquillas 1

Did you know you can take the “International Ferry” to Mexico from inside Big Bend National Park?  For $5, the ferry captain will row you across the Rio Grande into Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico.


From the shore, Boquillas is about a mile up the dirt road.  It is easy enough to walk, however, you can ride into town as well.  For an additional fee, you can select, a donkey, a horse, or the back of a pick-up truck to take you to town.  Spend a few hours, shopping at local artisanal shops, eating authentic Mexican dishes, and drinking some locally distilled Sotol.  


Just make sure you make it back across the river before the US Customs offices close for the day.


Hot Springs Historic District 

Well preserve stone bath house at the historic hot springs in big bend.

Visiting the Hot Springs Historic District is like stepping back in time to the year 1909.  Travelers from far and wide made their way to the healing waters of the hot springs.  


J.O. Lankford was in dire need of physical healing from a long bout of malaria.  Once he heard of the natural springs, he and his family made the 12-day journey from Alpine TX, to stake their claim.  


As his health improved, he constructed the Hot Springs District which included bathhouses, a motor court, a post office, and a store.  Some of the rock buildings still stand as well as the remaining palm trees.  The Boquillas Hot Springs are just a short walk and still open to the public.   


Boquillas Hot Springs and Lankford Hot Springs

Boquillas hot spring trail.

If the weather permits and the trail is open, treat yourself to a soak in the geothermal hot springs in Big Bend.  The natural tub is about a ½ mile walk from the parking lot.  Follow the signs and take caution.  The water can reach 105 degrees.  


Enjoy soaking your aches and pains away as the Rio Grande flows beside you.  The beauty of Big Bend and the healing waters are a special combination.


Other area trails:


Hot Springs Canyon Trail: Moderate 6-mile round trip along the Hot Springs Canyon that provides beautiful views of the mountains and river below.


 Big Bend Itinerary: Day #3


Castolon and Santa Elena Canyon


On the far western border of Big Bend is the beautiful Santa Elena Canyon.  The road winds toward the canyon bringing the canyon wall into view.  The scenery is spectacular.

Normally, we suggest stopping at the Visitor Center before exploring or hiking, especially if this is your first day in Big Bend.  Trail closures and advisories are common in National Parks.  However, if you are like us, you’ve already done your homework and are getting a head start on your day.

Santa Elena Canyon Hike

Santa elena canyon towering walls and river.

From the parking lot, walk down the boardwalk path to the river and creek crossing. Even if you don’t plan to hike Santa Elena Canyon, the views are worth the short walk.

The Santa Elena Canyon Hike is a moderate 1.7 mile roundtrip.  To hike into the canyon, you will have to cross the Terlingua Creek bed.   At times, the creek may be impassible, so don’t be disappointed.  

Unfortunately, for us, the creek water was extremely high and we couldn’t cross.  From another crossing point, we watched more seasoned hikers traverse up and across the rocky hill, before making their way to the canyon trail.

Although we like to push our limits, the access to the canyon trail was just too scary and tough for me.  Instead, we explored the area along the river and creek before heading out.


Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Scenic mountain road.

Unless you are an experienced off-road explorer and have a high-clearance vehicle, you will exit Santa Elena Canyon on the same road you came in on, The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.  

With 30 miles of brilliant colors, mountain walls, and never-ending scenery, this road is not to be missed.  There are several stops with vista outlooks and canyon overlooks along the way.  For hikers, there are a few places of interest as well.


Castolon Visitor Center

The Castolon Historic District holds significant historical value and has been officially recognized by being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This designation highlights the district’s importance in preserving and showcasing the rich heritage of the area. Exploring the Castolon Historic District allows visitors to immerse themselves in the stories and remnants of the past.

In 2019, a fire devastated the Castolon Historic District.  While the efforts to restore the area continue, most of the buildings are closed.  During the winter months, the Visitor Center is open.

The park store is open year-round.  River permits for boat access into Santa Elena Canyon are available here as well.


Tuff Canyon

Tuff canyon overlook into a canyon bed.

With three outlooks, visitors can get a great perspective of the canyon below.  For the energetic, you can take a short walk down to the canyon floor while exploring the canyon walls and rock formations.  

Tuff Canyon is particularly fascinating and a little unnerving.  It resembles a wash area with 100-foot canyon walls.  Although I don’t know why, I just imagine a 60-foot wave rolling in to overtake me.  Too many sci-fi movies, I guess.  

As you make your way back to the main road, check out the Mule Ears Viewpoint, Carousel Mountain, and Sotol Vista.  


Other Area Hikes and Trails

Lower Burro Mesa Pour-off Trail: This 1-mile round trip is an easy hike through gravel drainage ending in a box canyon with a 100ft pour-off.

Mule Ears Spring Trail: A 3.8 Mile round trip moderate hike leading through the foothills of the Chisos Mountains.  

Upper Burro Mesa Trail: This moderate 3.8 mile round trip trail leads to the top of the 100 ft pour-off.  Be prepared to climb down large rocks.  

Chimneys Trail: Another moderate 4.8 round trip hike to the famous Chimneys rock formation and Chimney Arch.  


 Best Time to Visit Big Bend National Park

Desert landscape with brilliant sky and mountains.

Big Bend is best enjoyed when you have a bit of time to explore.  Being aware of weather patterns, increased crowds, and nearby events can help you decide the best time to visit Big Bend National Park.


The best time to visit Big Bend National Park is when the daytime temperatures are warm and the nights are cool.  Hiking and sightseeing are much more enjoyable when the weather is mild.


Big Bend Spring


Springtime in Big Bend is beautiful.  The mountains and desert come alive with bluebonnets, cactus blooms, and desert flowers.  People flock to Big Bend to witness the desert wake up after a long winter’s nap.  However, the crowds can be massive during spring break.


Big Bend Fall


Fall is fantastic in Big Bend. With warm days and cool nights, visitors get the best that Big Bend has to offer.   However, late summer rains can affect the river flow and trail access. 

Crowds will increase during special events such as the annual Terlingua Chili Cook-Off and Dia de Los Muertos-Day of the Dead Celebrations that take place in nearby Terlingua.


Big Bend Winter


Winter attracts tourists to the park due to its mild climate and clear night skies.  Big Bend winter daytime highs often reach 70 degrees while nighttime lows can be below freezing. 

Although snow is rare in Big Bend, the area had record snowfall in 2023, showing us all that weather patterns can turn on a dime.  


Big Bend Summer

Summer months in Big Bend can be brutal.  With daily temperatures reaching triple digits, hiking past mid-morning is highly discouraged. The visitor centers and campgrounds have limited access. 

However, the best time to go to Big Bend is whenever you can.  Just be aware of the nuances of the season you are visiting and your personal limitations.  


How To Get To Big Bend National Park


Where is Big Bend National Park


Outline of texas with major cities and big bend np.


Big Bend National Park is situated in the southwestern part of Texas, near the border with Mexico. It occupies a vast area of approximately 801,163 acres, making it one of the largest national parks in the United States.

The park is nestled within the curve of the Rio Grande, which forms the natural international boundary between the United States and Mexico. The park’s proximity to Mexico lends it a unique cultural and geographical significance.

In terms of neighboring areas, Big Bend is surrounded by vast stretches of desert landscapes and rugged mountains. To the east, you’ll find the city of Marathon, and further northeast is the city of Alpine. To the west, the park borders the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, and the small town of Boquillas del Carmen, which offers a crossing point into Mexico.

There is no public transportation to Big Bend or inside the National Park.  Unlike some of the more popular parks like Zion or Grand Canyon, there are no shuttles or buses for visitors.  Even the most avid hiker would agree, that driving is essential within the park.



  Closest Airports to Big Bend National Park


While Big Bend itself doesn’t have its own airport, there are a few options for flying into the vicinity.

The closest commercial airports to Big Bend National Park are:

  • Midland/Odessa, Texas 235 miles
  • El Paso, Texas 330 miles

Both airports serve most major airlines.  With convenient car rentals nearby, travel to Big Bend National Park is accessible for everyone.  

Remember to allow for travel time to and from the airport when planning your Big Bend Itinerary.


Going to Big Bend and need a rental car?  Consider a Jeep 4×4 or similar vehicle with 4WD.  Although a convertible may be tempting, the hot sun may have you reconsidering your choice.   From sports cars to SUVs, you can find affordable rental vehicles without the hassle.

Click Here For Availablity and Pricing

Where To Stay In Big Bend National Park


Staying overnight or for a few days in Big Bend can be the opportunity of a lifetime.  Lodging inside Big Bend National Park is limited, but there are a few options:


Camping In Big Bend National Park


Camping in Big Bend is a dream come true for many.  The dark skies give way to the most amazing stargazing experience.  However, there are limited options, with few amenities.  Reservations are required.


Rio Grande Village Park:  Located on the eastern end of the park.  Reservations are required.  There are no hookups, but generators are permitted during daylight hours.  Rio Grande RV Park is open all year.  There is an adjoining tent area which is suitable for group camping.


Rio Grande Village RV Park:  Located on the eastern end and operated independently from the National Park Service.  The entire RV park is an asphalt parking lot with full hookups.  It’s not the most luxurious but you are right in the park and surrounded by its beauty.


Cottonwood Campground: Located between Santa Elena Canyon and Castolon Historic District.  There are no hookups and generators are prohibited.  The campground is quiet and remote.  Reservations are required.  Cottonwood Campground closes for the summer May 1-Oct 31.


Chisos Basin Campground:  Located at the top of the Chisos Basin.  These sites are restricted to smaller units under 24 feet.  The Chisos Basin Road is steep, winding, and narrow.  The campground is open all year long with the exception of high bear activity.


There is some backcountry and primitive camping available with a permit.  However, within the park boundaries dispersed camping and boondocking are prohibited.


Big Bend National Park Lodging

Cottage with views of mountains in the background.

Chisos Mountain Lodge:  Located at the top of Chisos Basin Road.  The lodge offers rooms and cottages.  There is also a dining hall and gift shop for your convenience. Chisos Mountain Lodge is the only lodge within the park.


Have you ever considered renting an RV?

Renting an RV offers the ultimate freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace. With an RV, you have the ability to embark on unforgettable adventures, experiencing the beauty of nature while enjoying the comforts of home on wheels. It’s an opportunity to create lasting memories, go off the beaten path, and truly immerse yourself in the wonders of the open road.

We recommend Outdoorsy for reliable and convenient RV Rentals.  

Click Here For Pricing and Availability

Lodging Near Big Bend National Park


Terlingua Ghost Town

Rickety sign displaying

Although staying inside Big Bend is appealing, it is not always easy.  With limited lodging options inside the park, most visitors find a variety of accommodations in the nearby towns.  Terlingua Ghost Town is only a few minutes from the Maverick Junction entrance on the west end of the park.  


The town is fascinating and there is plenty to see and do.  Whether you want to watch the sunset from the Terlingua Cemetery or have dinner in the Starlight Theatre, a detour to Terlingua is worth it.  


Terlingua has plenty of lodging options available from dome tents, to full house rentals.  Enjoy stargazing, amazing sunrises, and sunsets in the dark skies that surround the area.


Glamping, Bubble Tents, and Mirror Domes are just a few unique lodging options near Big Bend.  Relax in comfort while taking in the views and the night sky.  

 Click Here For Pricing and Availability

Terlingua Ranch offers comfort with outstanding views of the night sky.  Cool off with a dip in the pool before heading over to the Bad Rabbit Cafe for music and burgers.

Click Here for Pricing and Availability


Lajitas golf course with mountains in the background.

For luxury accommodations, consider Lajitas Golf Resort.  On-site, you can relax, play a round of golf, or enjoy a meal.  Indulge yourself in a spa treatment after a long day of hiking or sip a cocktail by the pool. 

While in town, take a minute to stop by and meet the Mayor of Lajitas.  He likes a cold beer now and again.


Your luxury accommodations await at Lajitas Golf Resort.

For pricing and availability click here.

 Big Bend State Ranch Park

Long winding desert road into the green mountains in the distance.

To wind up your Big Bend National Park adventure, the drive on the River Road from Lajitas to Presidio is spectacular.  The road is winding and perfect for a motorcycle ride or a leisurely Sunday drive. 

For hikers, there are plenty of pull-offs and short to moderate hikes.  We loved the Hoodoo Trail and Closed Canyon. 

 Is Big Bend Safe?

Sign reads

Relatively speaking, Big Bend is safe to visit as long as you take proper precautions.  The few deaths that have occurred over the years are due to extreme heat and environmental issues.  

Our National Parks are full of natural beauty.  Unlike Disney or curated parks, many of the walkways, trails, and viewing overlooks have no guardrails.  The trails can be steep and uneven.  Know your limits and never hike alone. 

Check with NPS for road closures, trail closure and other alerts before heading out for the day.  

Although the Rio Grande River may look calm, it can be deep and rapid in some areas.  Crossing the river into Mexico is tempting, but illegal and potentially dangerous, except at the Port of Entry.  

Big Bend Safety Tips

What to do if you see a bear or mountain lion safety.

Hydrate:  Bring plenty of water with you, especially if you are hiking the trails.  Plan on 1 liter of water per hiking hour.  Dehydration and heat stroke are the primary causes of death in Big Bend.

Wildlife:  There is an abundance of wildlife in Big Bend’s Chisos Basin. Bears become quite territorial during the mesquite bean season. Javelinas and mountain lions lurk in the canyons and mountains. Meanwhile, snakes, spiders and scorpions can be hiding in plain sight! Stay aware!

Footwear:  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people hike up rocky trails in flip-flops, only to slip and twist an ankle.  Besides the rocks, Big Bend has scorpions, rattlesnakes, and prickly cactus.  Always wear proper hiking footwear.

Souvenirs on the trails:  Sometimes the Mexican vendors and artisans will cross over into Big Bend illegally to sell their wares.  Buying these items only encourages illegal crossings.  Buy from reputable vendors, inside the park stores, or over in the town of Boquillas. 

Unpaved Roads:  If a road has a “high clearance vehicle required” warning, it means it.  Taking a regular passenger car or motorcycle can lead to a miserable and costly situation.  It is not uncommon for tires to blow or vehicles to get stuck.  Since there is no cell service, your only options are to walk or wait for another vehicle.  Don’t take unnecessary chances in the backcountry.


Big Bend Itinerary Essentials Conclusion

Like many of you, Big Bend National Park was a bucket list adventure for us.  The stunning scenery is like no other park we’ve visited. 

Mountains, deserts, canyons, and river views blew us away.  Our only regret was not having more time to spend in the area.  

Planning your Big Bend itinerary should include time relaxing while taking in the raw beauty that nature provides.  The dark skies will give you ample opportunity to stargaze or even catch a falling star. 

With hiking trails, scenic drives, and plenty of wide open spaces, there is something for everyone in Big Bend National Park. 

As you plan your visit to Big Bend National Park, we wish you incredible adventures, breathtaking vistas, and unforgettable experiences in this remarkable natural wonder.

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

Maureen & robb, the stromads.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Boquillas, Mexico:  A Unique and Unforgettable Experience 2024

Boquillas, Mexico: A Unique and Unforgettable Experience 2024

Boquillas, Mexico: A Unique and Unforgettable Experience 2024

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!



While Boquillas, Mexico may not be the ultimate dream destination, it adds a touch of magic to any visit to Big Bend National Park. This quaint village, reminiscent of a roadside attraction, offers a truly unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.

As seasoned experts in national park travel, we invite you to embark on a journey that combines the awe-inspiring landscapes of Big Bend National Park with the cultural immersion found in this tiny town of Boquillas, Mexico.

Get ready for an adventure that goes beyond the boundaries of the park.  Let wanderlust and curiosity lead the way.  Grab your passport and let’s visit Boquillas, Mexico.

Where Exactly Is Boquillas, MX


Boquillas de Carmen is located in the northeastern state of Coahuila, Mexico. To get a better perspective, Boquillas is just on the other side of the Rio Grande River in West Texas. Accessing the Boquillas de Carmen border crossing is done through Big Bend National Park.

The surrounding lands of the Maderas del Carmen Biosphere Reserve protect the area from being exploited and preserve natural beauty. The desert landscapes and towering Sierra del Carmen mountains keep Boquillas remote, far from the bustling Mexico cities.



The Boquillas del Carmen Border Crossing

Boquillas del carmen point of entry.

Out of all of the border crossings we’ve experienced, Boquillas was the most unique and the most fun.

From Terlingua Ghost Town, the drive is about an hour through Big Bend National Park toward the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center. Once you reach the parking lot for Boquillas proceed to the entry building.

US citizens are required to present their valid passports in order to cross over into Mexico. International travelers should verify the documents needed before arriving.

The park ranger will give you a quick overview of visiting Boquillas.

Crossing the Rio Grande

Muddy trail to a river bed.

After clearing customs proceed down the dirt path to the river.  Keep in mind after a hard rain, this area becomes super muddy, so take caution.  We were very fortunate that the weather had been dry for a week, but the sinking footprints in the mud showed how difficult the path could easily become after a storm.  

Within a few minutes walk, the path clears and the “international ferry” is just ahead.  As you will see, “international ferry” is a loose term for a row boat with an expert rower.  

Boarding The International Ferry to Boquillas


Rowboat docked on the rio grande, international ferry.

Now comes the fun part, crossing the Rio Grande.  

For $5, the captain of the rowboat will safely navigate you across the Rio Grande to Boquillas de Carmen, MX.  Although the river is not very wide or deep,  the water can move quickly especially after it rains.  

At times, when the Rio Grande is at more shallow levels, visitors are permitted to walk across the river.  Do not attempt walking across when the river is high.  

When the ferry is docked on the Mexico side of the river, there are a couple of options for your next leg of the journey to Boquillas.


Transportation to Boquillas

The donkey and horse stables at boquillas.

Once you arrive on the Mexican shore, the town of Boquillas is about a mile up the dirt road. To make it easier for visitors, local vendors will assist you with transportation. For a nominal fee, $10-$20 per person, you can ride a donkey, a horse, or in a pick-up truck.

We needed the exercise so we opted to walk. It was a fairly easy and scenic walk to town, giving us time to take pictures while enjoying the near-perfect weather.

Entering the Town of Boquillas

Street view of the boquilla, mx.

As a visitor to Boquillas, you are required to check in at the Mexican Immigration Office. The office is in a gated lot at the edge of town. The agent will collect the $3 per person entrance fee to Boquillas and the Maderas del Carmen biosphere reserve area.

Once you’ve checked in and paid your fees, you are free to explore the town.


Exploring Boquillas

Where to Eat and Day Drink

The town of Boquillas is super small. With less than 250 residents, the dining options are few.

Boquillas Restaurant

Front view of boquillas restaurant.

Family-owned and operated with patio seating on the front porch, the hospitality is outstanding. Robb opted for the authentic birria tacos while I had pollo enchiladas. We both indulged in several shots of sotol, a locally distilled agave spirit.

Jose Falcon Restaurant

View of river and mountains on deck of jose falcon restaurant.

Family-owned and operated, with inside and outside seating available. We enjoyed some homemade guacamole, chips, locally distilled sotol, and mezcal with the worm present while taking in the gorgeous views of the Rio Grande. This restaurant is a little more upscale with an attached events venue.

Park Bar

Park bar in boquillas, mx.

If day drinking is more your style, pop into Park Bar. From the outside, this establishment looks super sketchy. Inside, we were met with hospitality and gratitude. Although the beverage offerings are limited to cerveza, tequila, mezcal, sotol, and Coca-Cola, the conversations with the locals are fun.

Seriously speaking, who goes to a Mexican bar and orders a Martini anyway?



Sotol is an alcoholic beverage distilled from the desert shrub, Dasylirion wheeleri, commonly called sotol or desert spoon.  While similar to its distant cousins’ tequila and mezcal, sotol is more closely related to the asparagus family.  

For many years, sotol was banned from production.  Like moonshine and bacanora, sotol was primarily distilled in backrooms and homes.  Sotol’s popularity is increasing with the impending doom of reported agave shortages.  

For those that enjoy tequila and mezcal, you will probably love Sotol, especially if you go to Boquillas.

Shop Until You Drop

Vendor store front in boquillas.

While you won’t find a Walmart in Boquillas, you will find hand sewn clothing, souvenirs and even some fun T-shirts. Children gather around to sell you candies, bracelets and just about anything they can.

The vendors and artisans are local families who depend on our tourism dollars. It is ok to buy items you want. Just remember to bring cash in small bills. The Boquillas artists and vendors accept US dollars, there is no need to exchange for pesos.

Do not attempt to bring back any rocks, artifacts, or other contraband. You may be fined, or even face imprisonment.

Lodging in Boquillas, Mexico


Sometimes fun days in Mexico lead to even more fun at night, right? Boquillas is probably not that type of town, especially after dark. On the chance that you are late and the US Port of Entry closes, what will you do?

I’ve scoured the corners of the internet to find a hotel or bed & breakfast or even a room for rent in Boquillas, only to come up empty handed. If you are late coming back, you are pretty much on your own. Ask a local.

Likewise, for backcountry camping and overnight stays, you may have to apply for a Mexican VISA permit. Direct all inquiries to US Customs website before traveling to Mexico.



Camping:  Consider camping in Big Bend National Park. Reservations can be made through the NPS website.

Terlingua Ghost Town:  Terlingua is about 10 minutes outside of the Maverick Junction Park entrance.  Here you have plenty of lodging options.  Consider these for your Big Bend vacation rentals:

🌅Mirror Domes @ Space Cowboys

🌅Terlingua Ranch

Returning to the United States

The Boquillas Port of Entry has specific hours of operation.  This means, that if the rangers have left for the day, then YOU CANNOT ENTER BACK INTO THE UNITED STATES.  Familiarize yourself with the hours of operation before you embark on your day trip across the Rio Grande.

Leaving the town, you can stop at the stables to pick up a horse or donkey.  The pick-up truck transportation is at the edge of town at the exit.  Of course, you can easily walk the path to the river.  The boat will be waiting to take you across.  

Once on the US side, proceed to the Port of Entry.  The ranger will signal you to step inside, remove your hat and sunglasses.  The immigration process is easy and done by video call to the US Customs in El Paso.  The Immigration Officer will ask you a few questions, examine your passport electronically, and upon approval welcome you back to the United States.


Big Bend National Park Highlights


Because Boquillas is such a small town, you only need a few hours.  Starting your day early can give you a few other worthwhile and close-by sites to explore in Big Bend.

 Boquillas Canyon


View along the river in boquillas canyon.

Boquillas Canyon  1.5 mile Roundtrip Hike, 150ft elevation gain.  Most people would consider this an easy hike.  The most difficult part was the path from the parking lot to the top of the hill.  On the other side of the hill, the path leads down into the canyon along the river.  The trail is relatively flat for the remainder of the hike and the views are outstanding.  

We hiked early in the morning and came across some fresh paw prints, which of course freaked me out.  Thankfully, we did not meet any wildlife on our hike, only the “singing Mexican” along the river bank.  For a tip, he will gladly serenade you with a favorite tune.


Hot Springs Historic District

Hot springs historic district.

Take a trip back in time and visit the Hot Springs Historic District.  The  Village Bath Houses are in great shape.  The area was once a vacation resort for those willing and able to make the trek out to this desert oasis.  As you explore, it is easy to understand why.  


As a bonus, you can find some petroglyphs etched in the cliff trail.


Boquillas Hot Springs or Lankford Hot Springs

Newly exposed path to boquillas hot springs.

As time and accessibility permit, take a short hike to the Natural Hot Springs.  Depending on the river flow and preceding rainfall, the hot springs may not be accessible. 


If conditions are favorable, treat yourself to a leisurely soak alongside the Rio Grande.  Soaking in warm mineral waters is a great way to relax and rejuvenate your body after a long day of sightseeing.  



Guided Float Tour 

Embark on a guided journey along the Rio Grande, floating in a canoe, kayak, or raft. Seasoned guides will provide enlightening lessons on the region’s history and geology, accompanied by delightful folklore tales for added enjoyment.

Click here to check availability and pricing

Frequently Asked Questions

T-shirts with

Do I need a passport?  While your passport may not be required to leave the United States and enter Boquillas, Mexico, it will DEFINITELY be required to RE-ENTER the United States.  Yes, you need a passport.


Is Boquillas dangerous?  Traveling to any foreign country requires some preventative measures.  Boquillas is extremely remote without much traffic from anywhere, making it one of the safest towns in Mexico.  Most of the visitors are those that have come to Big Bend to enjoy the beauty and splendor of nature.  

There are times that drug runners and the undocumented may be seen crossing the River into the US.  At no time should you approach them.  When you are able to do so, contact Border Patrol or a park ranger.  They have specific protocols and procedures to assist.  

The hot dry climate is perfect for rattlesnakes and a host of other snake species.  Watch your step, some of these snakes are more than dangerous, they are deadly.


Heat and weather advisory:  Always stay updated on weather advisories.  Flash floods and torrential downpours can cause hazardous river conditions.  Likewise, extreme heat is common and deadly as temperatures can climb into triple digits.  Stay hydrated and take caution. 


Is Boquillas worth visiting?  Only you can decide that question.  For us, it was a highlight of our Big Bend Adventure.  After hiking Boquillas Canyon, we were able to spend a few hours in Boquillas Mexico, before checking out the Lankford Hot Spring and Hot Spring Village.  


Had we not gone across to Boquillas, we would have been disappointed.  However, if your time is super tight, or you are not physically able to walk or ride a donkey, then you should rethink spending your afternoon in Boquillas.  

What are the Port of Entry hours of operation:

Winter Schedule
(November 2 – April 30)

5 days a week: Wednesdays through Sundays
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Summer Schedule
(May 1 – November 1)
4 days a week: Friday through Monday
9:00 am – 4:00 pm


Boquillas Mexico Wrap Up

While exploring Big Bend National Park,  visiting the small town of Boquillas Mexico is a fun and unique experience.  Although this tiny border town may not be a dream destination, you will return with a great campfire conversation recapping your Rio Grande Crossing.  

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!


Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

 The stromads in boquillas ,mx.Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Going On Road Trips: 12 Benefits Of The Ultimate Adventure

Going On Road Trips: 12 Benefits Of The Ultimate Adventure

Going on Road Trips: 12 Benefits of the Ultimate Adventure

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Going on road trips can be an exhilarating and memorable experience that offers a unique way to explore the world around us.

With over four decades of hitting the road under our belts, Robb and I have refined our road-tripping skills.  As dedicated RVers and passionate travelers, we’ve ventured across all sorts of landscapes, immersed ourselves in diverse societies, and connected with folks from all walks of life.  Through years of experience, we’ve become true experts in the art of traveling the open road.

Through this blog, we will share our knowledge and passion for road trips.  You will see a showcase of how road trips offer not only an unforgettable journey but also have a profound impact on personal growth, relationships, and the environment.

Fasten your seat belts and join us on this journey to discover the incredible benefits of going on road trips!

Table of Contents

1.  Going on Road Trips Is Just Plain Fun!

Going on road trips is fun with a car full of women!

 Photo credit: Andrea Eckman

Road trips are an incredibly fun and exciting way to explore new destinations or revisit familiar ones.

The freedom of the open road, the joy of singing along to your favorite tunes, the delight of snacking on tasty treats, and the laughter that comes from playing car games with your travel companions all contribute to the unique and memorable experience of going on a road trip. It’s a chance to break free from the ordinary, create cherished memories, and bond with your fellow travelers in a way that’s unlike any other.

Go ahead! Pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an adventure filled with music, snacks, laughter, and unforgettable moments!


Road trips can be a lot more fun with the right automobile.  Consider the terrain, weather, and companions.  Sometimes it’s fun to rent a car more geared to your needs, like a Jeep or a sporty convertible.


2.  Adventure and Exploration

Going on road trips offers an incredible opportunity for adventure and exploration. Whether it’s a spontaneous weekend getaway or a planned cross-country journey, hitting the open road will allow you the freedom to discover new places and create unforgettable memories.

These unique experiences can provide a deeper understanding of a destination and leave us with truly meaningful travel experiences.

Discovering New Places and Hidden Gems 

Going on road trips and driving on the beach.

Road trips provide the perfect opportunity to explore the unknown and uncover hidden gems that may not be on the typical tourist route.  You can venture off the conventional path and discover lesser-known destinations that are not easily accessible by other means of transportation. 

From charming small towns to breathtaking natural landscapes, road trips allow for the thrill of discovery and the chance to create unique beautiful memories.

Road Trips = Adventure

Likewise, unplanned adventures and spontaneous detours are some of the most exciting aspects of hitting the open road. 

Discovering an unexpected hiking trail, stumbling upon a hidden beach, or encountering a local festival or event can add a sense of excitement and novelty to your trip.  Road trips often present opportunities for impromptu adventures or a quick photo opportunity at a quirky roadside attraction. 

These unique opportunities can create lasting memories and add impulsive moments to the journey.

Opportunities for Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

When going on road trips you can find unique places like the prada store in marfa, tx.

Road trips can take you to remote and secluded areas, allowing you to connect with nature, experience untouched landscapes, and indulge in authentic local experiences that are off the tourist radar.

You’ll be captivated by the hidden gems that you can uncover during an exciting road trip to off-the-beaten-path destinations.


 RVing takes road-tripping to a whole new level.   

Consider hitting the open road in a luxury RV or a cozy camper van.  For a fraction of what one costs to own, you can RENT an RV and discover those hidden gems you’ve been dreaming of finding.

Get your FREE Quote NOW!

3.  Stress Relief and Relaxation


Going on road trips can be a refreshing escape from the daily stresses of life, offering a much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday routines.

The freedom of the open road, with its endless possibilities and scenic routes, can provide a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation like no other. The thrill of exploring new destinations, unwinding amidst nature, and immersing in the journey itself can help reduce stress and increase relaxation, making road trips a perfect getaway for rejuvenating the mind and body.

Escaping from Daily Routine and Responsibilities

Room service breakfast is a great way to relax and unwind.

Going on a road trip provides a much-needed break from the monotony of daily routine and responsibilities. It allows you to break free from the usual work, household chores, and other obligations, giving you a chance to relax and unwind. 

The change of scenery and pace can provide a sense of escapism, helping to alleviate stress and promote relaxation.

Disconnecting from Technology and Enjoying the Present Moment

Guy is drumming on top of his car while watching the waves.

Road trips offer a unique opportunity to disconnect from technology and fully embrace the present moment.

Being away from screens, emails, and social media allows you to be fully present in your surroundings, engage in meaningful conversations with travel companions, and truly experience the beauty of the destinations you’re exploring. 

The absence of the usual stressors and responsibilities allows you to focus on self-care and prioritize relaxation. You can engage in mindfulness practices, meditate, or simply unwind and rejuvenate in the tranquility of nature during your road trip.

A digital detox can help reduce stress, increase mindfulness, and enhance the overall road trip experience.

Connecting with Nature and Enjoying Outdoor Activities 

Road trips often involve spending time in nature and engaging in outdoor activities. 

Whether it’s camping in the wilderness, hiking in national parks, or swimming in lakes, being surrounded by nature can have numerous benefits for mental well-being. Connecting with nature has been shown to reduce stress, improve moods, and promote a sense of calm and relaxation. 

Outdoor activities also provide an opportunity for physical exercise, which further contributes to health and wellness.

Couple disconnecting from technology relaxing at a scenic overlook.

Reducing Stress and Promoting Mental Well-Being

Going on road trips offers a change of scenery, a break from routine, and an opportunity to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge mentally, making them a great way to promote mental well-being.

4.  Increases Bonding and Builds Relationships


Cruising along the open road can be an excellent way to bond with friends, family, or loved ones.  An uncomfortable silence can be quickly turned into a karaoke sing-along when a favorite tune comes on the radio.  Likewise, funny road signs or a scenic overlook can provide a nice segway into a conversation.

Some studies even show that people prefer having deep conversations in the car.  Whether it be the predetermined amount of time in the car or the inability to make eye contact, people talk easier on the drive. 

Quality Time with Friends, Family, or Loved Ones

Going on road trips provides a unique opportunity to spend quality time with friends, family, or loved ones. Road trips offer uninterrupted time together, away from the distractions of everyday life, where you can engage in meaningful conversations, share stories, and create lasting memories. 

Whether it’s a romantic getaway with a partner, a fun-filled trip with friends, or a family adventure, road trips can strengthen bonds and deepen relationships by sharing experiences and creating cherished moments.

Deepening Relationships and Creating Lasting Memories

Group of friends posing in front of a waterfall.


Road trips can create lifelong memories and forge deeper connections with those you are traveling with. The shared experiences of exploring new places, embarking on adventures, and overcoming challenges on the road can create strong emotional bonds and lasting memories.

These memories become a part of your personal history and can be cherished for years to come, strengthening the relationships with your fellow travelers and creating unique stories that can be reminisced upon in the future.

A few years ago we drove the Ring Road in Iceland.  One of our stops was the 196-foot Seljalandsfoss Waterfall that you can walk behind.  I was really scared to climb this slippery rocky path, but my friends were there for me. Even though it was challenging, I found the courage to take each step with their support.

Their belief in me meant everything, and with that last “push”  I made it.  I was so proud of myself, and I couldn’t have done it without my amazing friends cheering me on. It was an incredible feeling of accomplishment, and it’s moments like these that make me grateful for my awesome friends who push me to conquer my fears and achieve new heights.

Shared Experiences and Mutual Learning 

Road trips often involve shared experiences that can help us grow.  Exploring new destinations, trying different cuisines, and experiencing different cultures together can lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s perspectives and differences. 

Road trips can also provide opportunities for learning new skills, such as navigation, camping, or outdoor survival, which can enhance teamwork and collaboration among travel companions.

Before GPS and navigation systems, we had to learn how to read a paper map.  Once unfolded, the map was massive and rather difficult to handle.  Most times, the paper would wear on the folds making the map unreadable.  Navigation was a welcomed skill!


With Apps like RV Life Trip Wizard and RoadTrippers, navigation just got easier.  Plan custom road trips in minutes.  Save time and money on the road makes sense!

Click here to find out more about RV Life Trip Wizard

Click here to find out more about Roadtrippers

Strengthening Communication and Teamwork Skills: 

Two teenage boys pretending to go on a road trip in a pretend car.

Road trips require effective communication and teamwork to plan, navigate, and make decisions together. From mapping out routes to coordinating stops and accommodations, road trips necessitate clear communication and collaborative decision-making. 

Allowing everyone to participate in the planning and execution brings the group together.

Engaging in such activities can improve communication skills, build trust, and enhance teamwork among travel companions. Road trips also provide opportunities to overcome challenges and solve problems as a team, which can strengthen relationships and create a sense of camaraderie among travelers.

5.  Freedom and Independence


Going on road trips offers the freedom of travel with a sense of independence and empowerment, the ability to make your own decisions, and the opportunity to push boundaries and step out of your safe haven.

It’s a chance to embark on a journey of self-discovery and create memorable experiences that will last a lifetime.

Flexibility To Travel on Your Own Terms 

Wine glasses with a vineyard in the background.

Many people agree that road-tripping allows flexibility to travel on your terms. Having the freedom to create your itinerary, choose your destinations, and determine the pace of your trip allows for impromptu adventures.

In other words, you have the freedom to follow your curiosity and interests.  With no rigid schedules or fixed plans to follow you can adapt your plans based on your mood, interests, and the recommendations of locals or fellow travelers.


6.  Nostalgia and Sentimental Value

Road trips are not just about the physical journey, but also about the sentimental value they create.

From nostalgic memories that last a lifetime to building sentimental value in the journey and destinations.  Reminiscing about road trip experiences can bring back cherished memories and evoke a sense of joy.

Road trips become more than just travel; they become treasured experiences that hold emotional value and contribute to the story of one’s life.

Creating Nostalgic Memories That Last a Lifetime 

Recreating a nostalgic moment in front of a replica train.

This image captures a cherished childhood memory from a road trip taken by Robb

Going on road trips often involves embarking on adventures, exploring new places, and experiencing unique moments. 

These experiences create cherished memories that can last a lifetime. From the thrill of driving along winding roads to witnessing breathtaking landscapes, road trips are filled with moments that evoke nostalgia. 

These memories become part of one’s personal history, and reminiscing about them in the future can bring joy and warmth, creating lasting nostalgic value.

Building Sentimental Value in the Journey and the Destinations

Road trips are not just about the destinations, but also about the journey itself. 

The bond formed with fellow travelers, the conversations shared, the spontaneous detours taken, and the unexpected discoveries made along the way all contribute to the sentimental value of a road trip.

Each destination visited becomes a part of the trip’s story and holds meaningful value, as it becomes a backdrop for creating cherished memories. The journey and the destinations visited during a road trip become infused with emotions, making the experience even more special.

Reminiscing about Road Trip Experiences in the Future

Road trips often create memories that are cherished and recounted in the future. 

Reminiscing about the road trip experiences can bring back the joy and excitement of the journey. Looking back on the photos, recalling the conversations, and reliving the adventures can transport one back to those moments and elicit fond memories.

Road trips become a source of stories and anecdotes that are shared with friends and family, keeping the memories alive and treasured for years to come.

Establishing a Sense of Belonging and Attachment to the Places Visited

Going on road trips connects you to beautiful places.

Big Sur left an imprint on my heart.  

Exploring new destinations, immersing in local culture, and connecting with nature can create a sense of attachment to the places visited during the road trip. These places become more than just dots on a map; they become special and meaningful, as they hold the memories of the road trip experiences.


7.  Going on Road Trips Is Cost-Effective

Going on road trips is cost-effective, making them an ideal travel option for those who desire to manage their travel expenses without compromising the quality of the experience.

 Going on Road Trips Can Be More Cost-Effective 

In and out burger bag and red wine is a budget-friendly meal on a road trip.

Road trips can be a cost-effective mode of travel for budget-conscious travelers. By driving your vehicle, you have control over transportation costs, which can be more affordable than flights or other transportation forms. 

Packing a cooler of snacks reduces the need to eat out for every meal.   Likewise, cooking your meals can help you save on dining expenses, making road trips a budget-friendly way to explore different destinations.

Road trips also allow you to choose affordable dining options, such as local eateries or street food stalls, where you can sample local cuisines without breaking the bank. 

Flexibility To Choose Budget-Friendly Accommodations

Stay in the infamous clown motel when going on a road trip

Road trips provide the flexibility to choose budget-friendly accommodations, such as campsites, hostels, or budget motels.

You can opt for more affordable lodging options without compromising on comfort or safety. Road trips also allow you to choose accommodations based on your preferences and budget, whether staying in a rustic cabin in the woods or a cozy bed and breakfast in a small town. 

This flexibility in accommodation choices can help you manage your travel expenses and stay within your budget while on the road.

8.   Cultural Immersion

One of the most significant benefits of going on a road trip is cultural immersion. It adds depth and authenticity to your travel experience, broadens your horizons, and promotes mutual respect and understanding among diverse communities

Experiencing Local Cultures, Traditions, and Customs

Two mexican men singing and playing guitar and accordion.

When you travel by road, you have the opportunity to experience local cultures, traditions, and customs firsthand.

Cultural immersion during road trips can provide a unique and authentic travel experience that goes beyond just sightseeing. It allows you to truly engage with the local communities, learn from their way of life, and gain a deeper appreciation for their culture.

Interact With The Locals

Chat with the local donkeys in oatman

You can interact with locals and learn about their way of life, gaining insights into their beliefs, values, and practices. This can be a truly enriching experience that broadens your horizons and deepens your understanding of different heritages

Strike up conversations with people you meet along the way, from fellow travelers to locals at roadside cafes or markets. You can learn about their daily routines, work, family life, and traditions, and gain insights into their perspectives, values, and beliefs.

This firsthand interaction with locals can be eye-opening and help you develop a more nuanced understanding of their culture and way of life, even if they are wild donkeys.


Trying Regional Cuisines and Experiencing Local Arts

Man eating ceviche in a car.

Trying regional cuisines is another exciting aspect of cultural immersion during road trips. Each region has its unique culinary specialties, and by road-tripping, you can indulge in local foods, from street vendors to family-owned restaurants. You can savor new flavors and textures and appreciate the diversity of regional cuisines, which adds a layer of authenticity to your travel experience.

In addition to food, road trips also provide opportunities to experience local arts and crafts. You can explore local markets, visit museums, attend cultural performances, and appreciate local art forms such as music, dance, painting, and handicrafts. This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the local artistic expressions and appreciate the creativity and talent of the local communities.

Develop Cross-Cultural Understanding  and Empathy

Wall mural reads

One of the most valuable aspects of cultural immersion during road trips is the development of cross-cultural understanding and empathy

As you interact with locals, learn about their way of life, and appreciate their culture, you develop a greater sense of empathy towards people from different backgrounds.

Developing cross-cultural understanding and empathy is not only beneficial for your personal growth. Mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding can help break down cultural barriers.

9.  Easier to Adapt to Unexpected Situations

Road trips offer the flexibility and spontaneity to change plans, embrace new experiences, and adapt to unexpected situations. They provide opportunities to develop resilience, adaptability, and the ability to go with the flow, which can be valuable life skills applicable beyond the road trip experience.

Changing Plans on a Whim and Adapting to Surprising Turns  

Going on road trips offers the freedom to change plans on a whim and adapt to surprising turns. Whether it’s taking a detour to explore an unplanned attraction or adjusting the route due to unforeseen circumstances, road trips allow for unplanned adventures.

The ability to change plans and adapt to unexpected situations is not always pleasant or easy.  However, changing directions in your automobile is surely easier and more comfortable than waiting for “the next available flight”.

During our road trip travels, we have had to turn abruptly to tend to a family member who fell ill, detour around a freak snowstorm and completely reroute our trip due to the wildfires.  Although these situations were unfortunate, we were able to pivot quickly and do what needed to be done.


Embracing Uncertainty and Learning To Go with the Flow

When going on road trips be flexible in case of detours and road closings.

Road trips often come with uncertainties and unexpected situations. 

From changing weather conditions to unforeseen road closures, road trips can throw surprises along the way. Embracing uncertainty and learning to go with the flow can be valuable life skills developed through road trips.

Developing Resilience and Adaptability

Man changing a flat tire.

Going on road trips can help in developing resilience and adaptability.   Honestly, I wish I kept count of all the tires we have blown on road trips.  One time in particular, we lost three trailer tires in two days.  

Road trips may not always go as planned, and challenges may arise along the way. Learning to deal with unexpected situations, adapting to changes, and overcoming challenges can help build resilience and adaptability.

Road trips provide opportunities to develop these important life skills, as we learn to navigate through uncertainties, make quick decisions, and find solutions on the go. These skills can be beneficial in various aspects of life, helping us become more resilient and adaptable individuals.

10.  Opens Opportunities for Photography and Creativity

Road trips can be a treasure trove of opportunities for photography and creativity, offering stunning landscapes to capture, enhancing photography skills, creating memories, and inspiring others through shared experiences. It’s a chance to document the journey, unleash creativity, and share the joy of exploration through the lens of a camera.

Capturing Stunning Landscapes and Unique Moments

2 black bears in the forest.

Going on road trips provides ample opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture breathtaking landscapes, picturesque vistas, and unique moments along the journey. 

From stunning sunsets over mountain ranges to picturesque coastal vistas, road trips offer a plethora of subjects to capture and immortalize through the lens of a camera. The diverse scenery and changing landscapes during a road trip can fuel creativity and provide endless inspiration for capturing stunning photographs.

As long-time road trippers, we have taken some of the most beautiful scenic routes.  From catching a glimpse of a momma bear and her cubs crossing a road to the colorful sunsets across West Texas, we continue to be mesmerized by nature.  What’s even more fun, is when you accidentally come up on a weird art installation in the middle of nowhere. 

Certainly, you can’t get these views from an airplane!

Art installation going on road trips through amarillo, tx

Amarillo, TX is known for its weird and quirky art installations

Enhancing Photography Skills and Creativity

Road trips offer a chance to enhance photography skills and creativity. With different lighting conditions, unique perspectives, and varying subject matters, road trips can challenge and improve photography skills.

Experimenting with composition, exposure, and post-processing can result in unique and creative photographs. Road trips also provide an opportunity to try new photography techniques and expand creative horizons, leading to personal growth and development as a photographer.

Creating Memories and Documenting the Journey

Happy family posing in front ot lake making memories.

Road trips can be a great way to create lasting memories and document the journey. 

From candid shots of fellow travelers to capturing the joy of discovering new places, road trips offer a chance to capture the essence of the journey through photographs. These photographs can serve as cherished mementos, reminding us of the adventures, stories, and experiences that unfolded during the road trip, and preserving memories that can be cherished for years to come.

Sharing Experiences and Inspiring Others

Going on road trips can be a source of inspiration for others when we share our experiences through photographs. Capturing and sharing unique moments, stunning landscapes, and the stories behind them can inspire others to embark on their road trip adventures. 

11.  Road Tripping Allows Time for Self-Reflection and Personal Growth


Going on road trips provides ample opportunities for self-reflection and building self-confidence.  By stepping out of a familiar bubble, and pushing personal limits, road-tripping experiences can lead to increased self-awareness while contributing to overall personal growth and development.


Time for Introspection and Self-Awareness

Going on road trips helps to clear your head.

Photo Credit: Grandpa Jack’s Photo Albums

Going on road trips provides an opportunity for introspection and self-awareness. 

Being away from the usual daily routine and distractions allows for quiet moments of reflection, where one can delve deep into their thoughts, emotions, and self-perception. Road trips offer a conducive environment for self-reflection, allowing individuals to gain insight into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

This self-awareness can lead to a better understanding of oneself and promote personal growth.

Reflecting on Life Goals, Aspirations, and Priorities

Road trips also offer a chance to reflect on life goals, aspirations, and priorities. 

Being on the open road, surrounded by nature and new experiences, can help put things into perspective. It allows for reflection on what truly matters in life, what goals and aspirations one wants to pursue, and what priorities are important. Road trips can be a time for evaluating one’s life choices, reevaluating goals, and setting new intentions for the future.


Stepping out of Comfort Zone and Pushing Personal Limits

Motorcycle riders ready to go on a road trip.Photo Credit: Andrea Eckman

Going on road trips often involves stepping out of comfort zones and pushing personal limits. It may involve trying new activities, exploring unfamiliar territories, or facing unexpected challenges.

Stepping out of one’s familiar surroundings and embracing new experiences can stimulate growth and development. Road trips provide opportunities to challenge oneself, overcome fears, and expand horizons, leading to increased self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

Building Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Road trips can also contribute to building self-confidence and self-esteem. 

Successfully navigating through unknown territories, making decisions on the go, and overcoming challenges can boost self-confidence and self-esteem. Road trips allow individuals to develop a sense of competence and accomplishment as they overcome obstacles and adapt to changing situations.

An increase in self-confidence and self-esteem can carry over to other areas of life, positively impacting one’s overall sense of self-worth. 

12.  Road Trips Benefit Environmental Consciousness

Going on road trips can help people become more aware and concerned about the environment, which includes things like nature, animals, and natural resources.


Reducing Carbon Footprint Compared to Air Travel

Electric car charging at a charging station.

Going on road trips can be a more environmentally conscious choice compared to air travel, as it often involves lower carbon emissions.

Road trips allow for more efficient packing, shared transportation with fellow travelers, and the ability to choose eco-friendly vehicles.  By reducing the reliance on air travel, road trips can contribute to minimizing the carbon footprint and promoting sustainable travel practices.

Appreciating the Beauty of Nature and Promoting Eco-Tourism

Road trips provide an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature up close and personal. 

Driving through scenic landscapes, exploring national parks, and immersing in natural wonders can stimulate a sense of awe and appreciation for the environment.

By promoting eco-tourism through road trips, travelers can support local communities and conservation efforts, contributing to the protection of natural resources and the preservation of fragile ecosystems.

Creating Awareness about Environmental Conservation

Posted signs to beware of mountain lions and bears. 

Going on road trips can be a way to create awareness about environmental conservation. 

Travelers can educate themselves about local ecosystems, wildlife, and environmental issues, and share their knowledge with others. Engaging in responsible travel practices, such as packing out trash, following Leave No Trace principles, and respecting local traditions and customs, can help spread awareness about the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability.

Practicing Sustainable Travel Habits 

Road trips provide an opportunity to practice sustainable travel habits. 

This can include using reusable water bottles, avoiding single-use plastic, conserving energy and water, and supporting local businesses and communities. By being mindful of our impact on the environment during road trips and adopting sustainable travel habits, we can minimize our ecological footprint and contribute to a more environmentally conscious way of traveling.

Going on Road Trips Conclusion

As you can see, going on road trips can offer a multitude of benefits for travelers. From the freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace, to the opportunities for learning, personal growth, and self-reflection, road trips provide a unique and enriching travel experience.

The chance to connect with nature, appreciate diverse landscapes, and promote eco-tourism, along with the opportunities for inspiration and creativity, make road trips a perfect choice for those seeking adventure and exploration. 

Whether it’s a leisurely drive through picturesque covered bridges or an adventurous journey along scenic highways, road trips offer a chance to break away from routine, create lasting memories, and embrace the joy of discovery.

So, buckle up, travel safely, and let the open road lead you to new adventures. Get out of the hotel, book a car, and hit the road for an unforgettable journey.

Here’s to safe travels and frequent adventures!

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads


The stromads, an rving couple standing in front of their renegade verona super c rv.Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

38 Super Fun Things To Do In Puerto Penasco 2024

38 Super Fun Things To Do In Puerto Penasco 2024

38 Super Fun Things To Do In Puerto Penasco 2024

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

When looking for things to do in Puerto Penasco, look no further. Based on our personal experience, we have carefully curated a list of 38 super fun things to do in Puerto Penasco just for you. With the sun and the surf, this quiet Mexico beach town quickly became one of our favorite winter hotspots.

As a favorite snowbird destination for travelers, the gentle sun and vibrant town bring warm relief. Likewise, as the Arizona summers set in, the Sea of Cortez and coastal breezes provide a welcoming escape from the scorching desert temperatures.

Whether you are coming for the season or a long weekend, we can assure you that there are plenty of things to do in Puerto Penasco. So get ready, pack your bags, and let’s head down to Puerto Penasco, Arizona’s beach.

Table of Contents

  1.  Explore Rocky Point Beaches

Best thing to do explore rocky point beaches.

Topping our list of things to do in Puerto Penasco is enjoy the Rocky Point Beaches.  Relax and enjoy the warm sun, soft sand, and soothing waves at any one of these beaches.  Although beach access is limited at some of the beaches, there are no private beaches in Puerto Penasco.

With 55 miles of coastline, it is easy to find the Rocky Point Beaches.  The Sea of Cortez is especially inviting with its calm clear water.  Water temperatures hang around the mid 70’s, with winter being a tad cooler and summer just a bit warmer.

In other words, you can soak up the sun and play in the water, as long as you don’t trespass through someone’s yard.

2.  Go Tidepooling and Sea Shell Hunting

Exploring tide pools is a fun activity in puerto penasco


As the name implies,  Puerto Penasco which means Rocky Point, features a coastline that is both rocky and sandy.  The tides in Puerto Penasco are quite dramatic.  The tide changes trap water in the rocks and create natural pools filled with treasures.

For shell hunters, it is not unusual to find small octopuses, fascinating shells, and sand dollars in the tide pools.  As the tide comes back in, these mysterious creatures and rocky coastlines are once again hidden.

3.  Celebrate Sunset

Spectacular sunset on the rocky point beaches.

The sunset on the Rocky Point Beaches is spectacular.  We were amazed watching the sun drop into the sea, the skies can turn brilliant with shades of orange, yellow, red, and purple.  Sometimes the sky appears to be on fire!

Whether you are having dinner at one of the fantastic Rocky Point rooftop restaurants, strolling on the Malecon, or chilling with the neighbors at your campsite, take a quiet minute and enjoy this sunset celebration.

4.  Treat Yourself To A Massage On The Beach

Massage table on the beach.

What could be more relaxing than the sound of the waves, a slight breeze, and a massage?

Often, well-practiced masseuses will walk up the beach with their table in hand.  Flag them down and let them do their magic.  Prices are inexpensive and you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

Beach massages are more common near the resort areas.  If you don’t see one on your beach, certainly call any one of the spas and ask about their beach massage specials.

Watersports Activities in Puerto Penasco


When it comes to watersports, Rocky Point beaches have you covered.  The water is calm, clear, and shallow making your time on the water fun and accessible.  Try some of these thrilling adventures.

5.  The Banana Boat Experience

Ride the banana boat in puerto penasco.

The Banana Boat experience can be fun for the whole family.  Put on your life vest, hop on this enormous rubber tube, and hold on tight.  As the banana boat is pulled through the waves and the water, you will have the ride of a lifetime.  Because the banana boat holds up to 8 adults and children, everyone can have fun.

6.  Rent a Jet Ski

Be the driver when you rent a jet ski.  Jump the waves and fulfill your need for speed on the water.  The fabulous ocean spray ocean will cool you down on a hot day.  Clear your mind as you take to the Sea of Cortez on a jet ski rental.

7.  Kayak and Paddleboard

Man paddle boarding in puerto penasco.

The calm waters of the Rocky Point beaches are perfect for kayaks and paddleboards.  Use your own or rent one from a nearby tour company.  Paddling at sunset can be beautiful as the sky changes from bright blue to shades of orange.  You might be fortunate enough to have some dolphin friends join you!

8.  Parasail Above The Sea of Cortez

Things to do in puerto penasco parasailing.

Take to the sky in this thrilling ride high above the Rocky Point Beaches.  The tour guide straps you safely into the harness and gives the signal.  Then like magic, you are in the air, looking down at the blue water.  What an incredible rush for thrill seekers.

9.  Sharpen Your Skills at Kite Surfing

Kite surfing is popular on the Rocky Point Beaches.  The ocean breeze and shallow waters make perfect conditions for gliding along the surf.  This extreme sport is fun and exhilarating.

10.  Go Snorkeling in Puerto Penasco

Things to do in puerto penasco, go snorkeling.

Snorkeling in Puerto Penasco is one of the best things to do because the water is crystal clear, making conditions perfect for everyone.  Tours and equipment are available through your resort concierge or by arrangement through a reputable tour company.  For those who want to venture out on your own, be mindful of the tide charts and be careful you don’t get stranded on a sandbar.

For those of you who have been snorkeling in Puerto Penasco, what did you see?

11.  Learn to Scuba Dive

Below the ocean’s surface is a whole new world waiting for you to explore.  See the sea life in their native habit, and be wowed at the brilliant colors unseen by many.  Refresher courses are available and if your are new to the underwater world you can take lessons to earn your diving certificate.

The Sea of Cortez is fascinating and waiting for you!

Take A Boat Tour in Puerto Penasco

Man on a boat looking out over the blue green water of puerto penasco.

What better way to enjoy the sights of the area than on one of the many boat tours in Puerto Penasco? Are you looking for an afternoon of fun with friends, a family-friendly experience, or a romantic date with your squeeze?  There are plenty of choices when it comes to boat tours in Puerto Penasco!

12.  Party on a Booze Cruise

The Booze Cruise is a favorite amongst the party crowd.  Free-flowing beer and margaritas will get any party started.  Dance the afternoon away to the sounds of a live band onboard and have fun.  There are “no bad days here”!

13.  Sail the Sea on a Pirate Cruise

Aye Matey!  The Pirate Cruise is ready for your arrival.  Take to the high seas with the swashbuckling crew of El Rey Del Mar, the King of the Seas.  Once you set sail your crew will treat you to dinner, drinks, fun, and games plus a spectacular Puerto Penasco sunset.  Don’t worry, you won’t have to walk the plank.

14.  Relax on a Catamaran Cruise

What better way to sail the Sea of Cortex than on a luxury catamaran cruise?  We love the smooth sailing and quiet cutting through the water on a catamaran.  The experienced crew will serve you as you sit back and relax on the calm waters.  Enjoy an afternoon or evening sunset cruise with dancing and margaritas.

15.  Go Whale Watching

Whale watching is our favorite boat tour in Puerto Penasco.  Seeing these majestic creatures up close and personal is always a wonder.  Whales migrate to the warmer waters of the Sea of Cortez to give birth.  From January through March, it is common to see Momma and Baby swimming side by side.  If you are lucky you may see a humpback whale breach the water with a spectacular splash.  Be patient and keep your eyes peeled for the spouts.

Remember to bring your binoculars and sunscreen!

 16. Take a Date on a Sunset Cruise

Relaxing sunset cruise in puerto penasco.

Undeniably, a sunset cruise on the Sea of Cortez is extraordinary.  The changing colors of the sky and the gorgeous blue waters make a sunset cruise super special.  We love sunset cruises.

An evening cruise is the perfect setting for a romantic night out.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sea air and changing scenery with the one you love.

Go Fishing in Puerto Penasco

Everybody has a fish story, right?  Well if you don’t, it is high time you get one.  Surely you can come up with your own tall tale fishing in Puerto Penasco.  

Whether your story involves the “one that got away” or “your first catch” we want to hear it!  

17. Try Deep Sea Fishing in Puerto Penasco

Deep sea fishing charters are available for morning, afternoon, and overnight excursions.  Imagine how you will feel bringing in tonight’s fresh catch of Sea Bass, Large Grouper, or Red Snapper.  Your crew of experts will help you with rods, reels, and bait, plus they will keep your catch on ice until you arrive back at the docks and even clean it for you.   

18.  Go Surf Fishing

From the docks, piers, or the beach, fishing is easy in Puerto Penasco.  Fishermen often catch halibut, snapper, and triggerfish. 

Don’t go home empty-handed if the big one gets away. 

Stop at any of the local fish markets near the marina and pick up the fresh of the day.  Our favorite is Jessy’s Fish Market for fresh shrimp, cleaned and deveined!  Be sure to say Hi to Jessy Jr. and tell him the Stromads sent you! 

More Puerto Penasco Activities

19. Adventure on an ATV Tour

Atv ride into the dunes and bluffs at rocky point.

Ride the dunes or adventure out to the rocky cliffs on an ATV rental in Puerto Penasco.  You can venture off by yourself or with a group tour.  Better yet, do both and have some fun in the sun.

For more experienced riders, Competition Hill is a 300-foot sand hill with a 30-degree slope located near Cholla Bay.  Note the beaches near Sandy Beach and Los Conchas as well as the main streets of Puerto Penasco are off-limits to riders.  You will get ticketed.  Exercise caution and safety at all times.  Riding is prohibited at night.

20.  Saddle up and Go Horseback Riding

Things to do in puerto penasco horseback riding on the beach.

Experienced horsemen will guide you through the shopping districts of the Malecon and Calle 13 or take a sunset ride along the shoreline.  If a desert ride is your desire, your guides will take you to the foothills of the Sonoran Desert for a peaceful afternoon ride.

21.  Soar the Sky in an Ultralight Flight

Take to the sky like a bird in an ultralight flight.  As the glider takes off from the beach, you will have a bird’s eye view of the Rocky Point Beaches below.  Don’t worry, the ultralight flight is piloted by a professional so you can take pictures and videos of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

22.  Play Pickleball

Play pickleball at dukes in puerto penasco.

Pickleball is all the rave and super fun, plus it is good exercise.  Grab your paddle and join one of the leagues or just swat the ball around with your friends.  Dukes Restaurant has a vibrant pickle community and indoor court.  You will also find that many of the RV Campgrounds have courts as well.

23.  Play 18 Holes on Puerto Penasco Golf Courses

Play a round of golf in puerto penasco.

Be sure to pack your golf clubs when traveling to Puerto Penasco.  Professionals and amateurs have a choice of three 18-hole courses.

Vidanta Golf Puerto Penasco

Designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II, this beauty has stunning views out to the Sea of Cortez.  This Championship golf course is located at the Mayan Palace Resort.  Onsite you will find a pro shop, as well as a locker room lounge, bar, and convenient bag storage.

The Links at Las Palomas Beach & Golf Resort

Located across from the Las Palomas Resort is the most popular golf course in Puerto Penasco.  This 18-hole course was designed by Forrest Richards and Arthur Jack Synder.  Las Palomas Golf Resort has a putting green as well as a Pro shop and snack bar.  

The Club at Islas Del Mar Golf Course

The Club at Islas Del Mar Golf Course is both scenic and challenging for players.  Jack Nicklaus designed this challenging 18-hole course.  Although it technically has only 9 holes, the course has an additional 9 tee boxes giving the golfer a different view.  The Sea of Cortez and adjacent lagoons make this course challenging in several spots.  Both visitors and locals find this course one of their favorites.

Casa Blanca Golf and Villas

For fun, Casa Blanca Golf and Villas have a Mini Golf course suitable for families and fun.  With 18 holes to play, everyone staying at the Casa Blanca Villas can enjoy an afternoon of golf in Puerto Penasco.

24.  Go Shopping in Puerto Penasco


Shopping for colorful calaveras in puerto penasco.


Shopping in Puerto Penasco is easy.  Being a highly residential area, grocery stores are easily accessible within minutes of the resorts, hotels, and RV Campgrounds.  Puerto Penasco has plenty of convenience stores and souvenir shops as well.

Rodeo Drive Puerto Penasco  

Enjoy a relaxing day shopping at Rodeo Drive Puerto Penasco.  Strolling through the artisan shops you are sure to find that perfect treasure to take home with you.  Dishes, tchotchkes, and clothing shops line the street.  When you finish shopping, be sure to stop in Mariachis & Tequila Restaurant for a fresh margarita and some house-made guacamole.


Walmart Puerto Penasco has almost everything you would find at any Walmart SuperCenter:  Clothing, food, cosmetics, and household goods.  As you might expect, there is also a Sam’s Club in the same parking lot.  Remember though, this is Mexico and some things are a little different or not available like they are in the US.


Shopping on the Puerto Peñasco Malecon is a fun way to spend the afternoon.  The curious will find jewelry, clothing, pharmaceuticals, and even fresh fish.  Besides the stores, there are plenty of kiosks and vendors, especially late in the day near sunset.  

Super Ley

Super Ley is one of the grocery stores in Puerto Penasco.  They have an amazing bakery filled with freshly made bread and goodies.


The frutteria’s are small convenience stores selling fresh fruit and meats.  Their small size and locations all over town make them easier than the Walmart or Super Ley when you need to grab something fresh for dinner.

25.   Visit Puerto Peñasco Malecon

Walking the malecon in puerto penasco is a fun thing to do.

The Puerto Peñasco Malecon is similar to a boardwalk in a beach town.  Whether you walk, ride your bike, or sit and take in the sunset, Puerto Peñasco Malecon is one of the top things to do while in the area.

On the weekends it is common to hear the battle of the Mariachi Bands along the Malecon.  Families and couples dance the night away to the sounds of trumpets, drums, and guitars.

Come down early to enjoy a cocktail and sunset before heading off to one of the amazing nearby restaurants.

26.  Experience The Puerto Penasco Nightlife

Risque nightlife in puerto penasco.

When the sun goes down, the Puerto Penasco Nightlife lights up the city.  Many of the bars have live music and dancing.  The vibrant party scene can be fun especially if you find a band you enjoy.

Tekila Bar, Boo Bar, Leo’s Bar and El Tapeo are our favorites.  You can always find attentive bartenders and good conversation.

The area on Calle 13 is rowdy and crowded, especially on weekends and late in the evening.   You can find a more risque experience, topless bars, and prostitution is prevalent.  As with any city, stay aware!

27.  Dine at the Best Restaurants in Puerto Penasco

Sunset views on rooftop lounge in puerto penasco.

Puerto Penasco has wonderful restaurants with fantastic service.  Fresh fish and sunset views mixed with a little mariachi band make for a wonderful meal.

La Casa Del Capitan

High above the city, enjoy a rooftop dining experience.  The food is fantastic and the view is captivating.

Moo Restaurant

Enjoy dinner on the Malecon at Moo.  The low twinkle lights of white and red, give Moo a romantic feel.  Enjoy a steak, tableside caesar salad, and the Monte Blanc for dessert.

 Things To Do In Puerto Penasco: Specialty Tours

There are even more things to do in Puerto Penasco.  When you’ve relaxed enough on the beach, explore the outer side of Puerto Penasco.  Specialty tours are fun, informative, and friendly.

What’s your pleasure?

28.  Tour Isla San Jorge Bird Island Puerto Penasco

Sea lions on isla st jorge.

Isla San Jorge also known as Bird Island is located about 30 miles off the coast of Puerto Penasco.  This wildlife paradise is home to sea lions, dolphins, and exotic birds.  Charters are available to take you to Bird Island where you can play, kayak, snorkel, and scuba dive.

Visiting Bird Island is a favorite activity in Puerto Penasco, especially if you enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat.

29.  Hike El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve

In 2013 El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The area was formed by lava flowing underground creating craters throughout the landscape.  Although dormant, there are nine volcanic craters.  The landscape resembles that of the moon’s surface.  

Please be respectful when visiting this area.  Archeologists continue to study this peculiar landscape as it is mostly untouched and undeveloped. 

30.  CEDO: Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans

Studying the diverse ecosystems of Puerto Penasco is fascinating.  As the name indicates, both the desert and the ocean ecosystems are being studied here.  You are welcome to join any of the educational tours the CEDO: Intercultural Center for Study of Deserts and Ocean offers:

  • Pinacate & Gran Desierto de Altar
  • Estuary Excursions
  • Estuary Kayaking
  • Tidepooling
  • Oyster Farm
  • Great Desert of Altar’s Sea of Sand

31.   Take a Day Trip to Oyster Farm

Oysters fresh from the sea.

Oysters so fresh, they slept in the sea!  Visit the Oyster Farms and learn about sustainable oyster farming in Puerto Penasco.  Stick around for some tasty offerings.  If you’ve never had oysters fresh out of the sea, you are in for a sweet treat.

32.  Learn about Tequila at the Tequila Factory

Xscapers enjoying tequila tasting in puerto penasco.

Manny’s Tequila Factory is a must-stop while visiting Puerto Penasco.  You will be treated to several Tequila expressions and mixed cocktails as your hosts explain the tequila-making process.  Their witty personalities and expert storytelling will keep you entertained.  We enjoyed taking a group of friends to Manny’s for some fun times!

While you are in Puerto Penasco, try some Bacanora, The Best Kept Secret of the Sonoran Desert.

33.  Visit The Seashell Museum

For over 20 years, curator Naomi Black has been collecting seashells.  Visit Naomi at her Seashell Museum, and be awed by her collection.  She is part collector, artist entrepreneur, and mermaid.   Be sure to stop in the gift store for some unique souvenirs.

More Things to do in Rocky Point:  A Guide to Rocky Point Events and Festivals

El camaronero statue in puerto penasco.

Are you still looking for more things to do in Rocky Point?  How about a Festival or Special Event?

34.  Sample Local Cuisine at The Seafood Festival

By far, one of the tastiest events we have attended.  Local restaurants showcase special dishes for locals and visitors.  Come for the food, stay for the party.  Dance, laugh, eat, and drink on the Plaza del Cameron.  Look for the Seafood Festival in mid-February.

35.  Dance and Sing at Roger Kline’s Circus Mexicus

What started as a rooftop party has boomed into a 4-day concert event each June.  Join musical talent Roger Kline and The Peacemakers along with a stellar lineup for Circus Mexicus!

36.  Party Like a Rock Start During Spring Break

March is known for Spring Break in Puerto Penasco.  Grab your bag and let’s hit the beaches.  Because Puerto Penasco is only a few hours from Phoenix and Tucson, this location makes it a perfect place for college kids to come.  The legal drinking age is only 18, so the crowd is young and rowdy, especially downtown.

Of course, you can still find some peaceful areas like the Mayan Resort or Cholla Bay area.  Whatever you choose, pack a swimsuit and sunscreen.  The water is perfect and the sun is hot!

37.  Hear The Thunder at The Rocky Point Motorcycle Rally

November is the month to join motorcycle enthusiasts for some fun in the sun.  Events at Rocky Point Motorcycle Rally include a bike parade, Charity Poker Run, and one heck of a party.  You don’t have to be a biker to join the fun!

38.  Feel The Adrenaline at Southern Arizona Desert Racing

SADR is desert racing at its best!  Watch ATV, Quad, Moto, and Buggy racing through the desert.  Come early and check out Pre Race festivities.  Stay late for the afterparty.

Be sure to check out the details for Southern Arizona Racing.  With four big weekends of racing, you won’t want to miss any of the action.

Where to Stay in Puerto Penasco

 Grand Mayan Puerto Penasco

Beach view from pool in mayan palace resort.

For luxury and solitude, The Grand Mayan Puerto Penasco is the place for you.  Onsite entertainment, fabulous restaurants, bars, and in-room dining will make you feel like royalty.  Relax in the spa, pool, or even on the beach.  You can even play a round of golf if that’s your fancy.  The breakfast we had while touring there was so delicious!

You can book your stay right now!

Hotels in Puerto Penasco

With plenty of hotels in Puerto Penasco, you only need to choose a date.  For fun in the sun, easy beach access, and restaurant options check out these fantastic hotels.

Puerto Penasco Vrbo

Sometimes it’s more comfortable to vacation in a private residence.  Quiet dinners on the patio sound relaxing.  Imagine how nice it will be, to walk out your door and step onto the beach.  A Puerto Penasco Vrbo could be the option for you.

RV Parks in Puerto Penasco

Renegade verona beachfront camping in puerto penasco.

With quite a few RV Parks in Puerto Penasco, these are our recommendations:

Concha del Mar:  Located just a few minutes from Calle 13 and the Malecon, Concha del Mar is convenient.  This RV park is strictly beachfront boondocking.  Although there are no RV hookups, there is a dump station and fresh water available.  The bathhouse and laundry are exceptionally clean.  The views are outstanding.  With 24-hour security and gated access, Concha del Mar is our top spot for beach camping.  Our stay there was fantastic.

Playa Bonita RV Park: Conveniently located just minutes away from shopping and dining, Playa Bonita RV Park is a favorite for beachfront camping.  The full hookups, onsite social lounge, and jacuzzi are a bonus for guests.  The park has 24-hour security, gated access, and an unbelievable sunset.

Let’s Wrap Up The Things To Do In Puerto Penasco

Couple standing on beach with blue water behind them.

Puerto Penasco is a wonderful town in Mexico.  We enjoyed everything this city has to offer from the amazing sunsets to the great restaurants, shopping and music.

The driving ease and proximity of the Greater Phoenix Metro area make this a popular destination for Arizona locals.  We would definitely recommend a trip to Rocky Point for everyone.

With so many things to do in Puerto Penasco, what’s stopping you?

Pack a bag and your passport.  Let’s head for the border.   If you hurry, you can catch the sunset.

Thanks for reading!

Travel Safe and Adventure Often….

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

Travel bloggers maureen and robb, the stromads.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!