This Nevada City Has Millions of Visitors Each Year & Here's Why
There’s a lot to love about Laughlin, Nevada: room rates that seem to harken to another century, even in the newest properties (double-digit prices are the norm); easy access from California and Arizona (the town is minutes from each, and PS, not even 100 miles from Vegas); and a steady stream of beloved entertainers at the casinos and event centers (everyone from Smokey Robinson to Rita Rudner to Dwight Yoakam).
But there’s another distinguishing feature that arguably makes the place: A river runs through it. Specifically, the Colorado River, which offers so many possibilities during your stay that we’ve decided to narrow the list for you.
Here, seven favorite ways to get rollin’ on the river:
Sleep on it
Almost all the hotels are on the riverfront, but arguably the most riverline is the Colorado Belle Casino Resort, a replica of a 19th century paddlewheel riverboat—if those vessels came with flatscreen TVs and wifi, of course. Still, you’ll want to keep screen time to a minimum given the river and desert views offered here.
Use it to get around
Because almost everything in Laughlin is situated on the river, just getting from point A to point B becomes a scenic expedition, whether you’re using the Riverwalk or the water taxis. Seriously: Wherever you need to go—casino, hotel, restaurant, theatre—you can get there by boat. The River Passage Water Taxi docks at each casino on the river, and runs until 9 p.m. now (11 p.m. in the summer).
Eat alongside it
From casual diners (try Bumbleberry Flats and its crisp cheddar bacon waffle topped with fried chicken) to country steak houses (Saltgrass Steakhouse is known for 10-hour slow roasted prime rib) to the buffets that have made Nevada famous (don’t miss the champagne brunch at Windows on the River), there’s no end to the deliciousness that’s served with a side of river scenery here.
Get your game on by the shores
Though waterfront gambling seems much more a southern thing, the idea is alive and well this side of the Mississippi. Casinos line Laughlin’s stretch of the Colorado, and while Blackjack is the town’s favorite game, you’ll find no shortage of roulette, poker, craps, slots and sportsbook action. Choose from the 1,300+ gaming machines and tables at Aquarius Casino Resort, the largest casino in Laughlin. Or head down river to check out the local outposts of some of Vegas icons: the Golden Nugget Laughlin, Harrah’s Laughlin Casino & Hotel and Tropicana Laughlin Hotel and Casino.
Let it be your wilderness guide
You’ll find miles of hiking trails throughout the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Trail. Start at the north end of town, next to Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino, and explore from there (picnic and plenty of water in tow). Options range from the two-mile paved trail to the Davis Dam to more rugged routes such as the 2.75-mile Horseshoe Trail.
Nodding to the vessels that once plied the Colorado River, historic steamboats have returned to these waters—in the form of narrated scenic cruises with full-service bars. By night, these become dinner cruises with perfectly timed sunset departures.
Let it entertain you
Big-name musicians and comedians headline the calendar year-round at the Edgewater E Center, Tropicana Pavilion Theater, Don Laughlin’s Celebrity Theater, and the Laughlin Event Center—all of which are on, or just off, the river. You can kick off 2018 with anyone from Willie Nelson (Jan. 14) to The Oak Ridge Boys (Feb. 5-11) to Alabama (Feb. 24) to Chris Stapleton (March 24).