A Short History of Laughlin, Nevada
The Southern California “drive market” is the number one tourist magnet for Las Vegas. Planning a road-trip there? For a surprising treat, Turn East at Barstow and head to Laughlin instead. It’s on the Colorado River only 90 miles south of Las Vegas. Don Laughlin’s dream began in 1964 as an alternate gambling destination. Over the years nine casinos have been built but it still retains its laid-back, casual atmosphere. It has grown up, though, in terms of activities, events, water sports and, especially, food. Interestingly, Laughlin is one of the top five RV destinations in the US.
Sleep Well: The Tropicana Express Hotel & Casino is located in the middle of town. It offers spacious, recently renovated, quiet rooms with flat screen TVs and free Wi-Fi in public areas. There are seven restaurants, a pool and, of course, a casino. Logon to http://www.tropicanax.com for reservations and promotions.
Good Eats & Drinks: The old saying is “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” If true, here are two doozies for creative menus and huge portions; the Colorado Belle’s Loading Dock and Bumbleberry Flats in the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall (purchase a jar of their bumbleberry jam). Trust me, you will want to skip lunch. Cocktail time overlooking the Colorado River at the Aquarius Casino Resort’s Cove Bar Lounge is a treat; sophisticated ambience, excellent drinks and creative small plates. For fun times, a super Happy Hour and raucous live music, head to the Tropicana’s Caboose Lounge (no cover, no minimum). Both the Riverside Resort’s Gourmet Room and The Steakhouse at the Tropicana are outstanding; fine dining at its best. The Steakhouse has been voted the “Best Steakhouse” in Laughlin 12 years in a row.
Travel Notes/Out & About: For a relaxing mini-getaway, drive to Laughlin Ranch, http://www.laughlinranch.com, for a round of golf, a massage in their beautiful spa and lunch in the Grill. The USS Riverside’s boat tour features an interesting narration of the history of the Colorado River and the region, plus an up-close view of the picturesque Davis Dam.
Plan a visit around the schedule of big-time entertainers at the new, multi-million dollar Laughlin Event Center. For information go to http://www.laughlineventcenter.com. The Outlet Center, http://www.laughlinoutletcenter.com, has over 50 stores and a nine screen cinema. In town, stroll along Riverwalk, which meanders behind most of the casinos along the Colorado River.Take scenic hike: head to the Pedestrian Bridge to the North Reach Trail, Bridge Trailhead and/or the Riverwalk Exploration Trail. They will lead to fishing spots, a day-use park and an up-close look at Davis Dam. The go to place for all Laughlin information is http://www.visitlaughlin.com.