Clear As Mud

What happens Vegas does not stay in Vegas

“It is not a vacation, it’s a family trip” this is my mantra when I travel with my family. When I shared it on Instagram it really resonated 😉 Reframing your expectations can really make a big difference. 

So how did we end up in Vegas for our winter break family trip? To be honest, I wasn’t super excited about it. I really wanted to go somewhere out of the country near a beach with warm weather. It became really clear to us while trying to figure out where to go that leaving the country with a family and all the rules and regulations that keep changing was too stressful. It could be done, but at what cost to our sanity?  We made the decision to stay in the country, we tried Florida, I didn’t want to be in the Miami area, so we looked into Destin, up in the panhandle. Between the price of tickets and cost of a house rental near the ocean, it was out of reach. Anyway, all this is to say that taking everything into consideration we landed on Vegas.  Our research, which turned out to be totally inaccurate, led us to believe that the average temps would be in the 70’s. We rented a home with a pool and expected that to be one of our main activities. We couldn’t use the pool even once as it was way colder than we expected. I share this because it’s a big deal when something so central to your trip doesn’t pan out. It took an incredible amount to flexibility and readjusting, and I am proud of us!

Vegas has its reputation.  I think a lot of people don’t realize how “the strip”, which we went to once or twice for the aquarium and Cirque Du Soleil, is nestled in G-d’s country – natures playground on steroids. 

I will share what we did (and my thoughts about it) in no particular order: 

I received so many awesome recommendations when I shared on my social media where we were, and it was so helpful! I’m excited to pay it forward.

Springs Preserve – We went there right when we landed because we couldn’t check in to our Airbnb right away. It was ok, nothing special. I wouldn’t say like “oh you must go do this if you are in Vegas” but if you need a time filler it works and it’s interesting. 

Seven magic mountains – Very cool, great photo opportunities 😉 but you need about 15 minutes there, max. I wouldn’t plan a whole day around it, more like a stop on the way to something else.

Aquarium – Located on the strip connected to the Mandalay Bay. We had fun, obviously it was overpriced, and you move through it pretty quickly. It’s a great indoor activity. Comes in handy when the weather prevents you from being outdoors.

Red Rock Canyon/ Calico Basin – The outdoor national and state parks in the Vegas area is what made the trip wonderful.  Calico Basin is about ½ hour from the city. We had so much fun! It’s a hiking trail that is breathtakingly beautiful. As you walk, there are rock formations all around you that you can climb and explore. You can spend hours there, legit! It’s a hike that I can guarantee your kids won’t give you attitude about. 

Hoover Dam – An hour drive from the city. It’s quite cool. My favorite part was walking the bridge. It won’t be a full day trip, so I recommend combining it with Lake Mead which is what we did. My sister and her family joined us halfway through our trip and of course that just made it that much more fun!!

Lake Mead – Lake Mead is huge and many different spots you can go to, we pulled into random spot, had lunch, collected seashells, and played football of course. With Menny wherever we go there is an opportunity to play football. 

Then we drove this obscure dirt road that someone told us about called Kingman Wash Access Road, it was the most breathtaking drive and took us to another part of Lake Mead.

Valley of fire – Another wonderful state park. You drive through and there are many different pullouts that you stop at, get out and climb. There was a trend on this trip – rock climbing. We did it many times in different spots, but it didn’t feel repetitive or boring. It felt different and unique each time.  

We ate a few times at Jerusalem Chefs Table. It was very Yummy, and service was great! 

Of course, a big part of a family trip is spending time together and hanging out, our family isn’t great at that, but we tried 😉 

For the last 3 days we planned to drive to LA, it’s a 4-hour drive or so they said, LOL

Let’s just say the drive was hard and not 4 hours. 

The weather in LA was raining and miserable. This last part of our trip wasn’t at all how we expected or wanted it to be. We managed to have a lovely time at Point Dume and at Venice Beach while it wasn’t raining, oh and we also went paddle boating on Echo Lake Park. It goes without say that some good kosher food was consumed as well.

Getting out from LAX to BZN was such an ordeal and it was a real miracle that we even made it out, which includes my husband acting as air traffic control, but that’s a story for another time.

Travel posts are my favorite type of posts! I have such a passion for adventure and a family trip will always be an adventure.

I hope this inspires you to travel and have adventures with your family even if it’s just a ½ hour out of town. 

Just keep those realistic expectations handy. 

It’s not a vacation, it’s a trip!

❤️ Chavie


Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.