It may be best known today as the hometown of U.S. Senator Harry Reid—which accounts for the occasional yet still well -attained political rallies. But, difficult as it may be to believe, the unassuming, historic little town of Searchlight was once bigger than the bustling metropolis of Las Vegas.

In the late 1800s, gold ore was discovered in the area and within five short years, the town had boomed…big time. Roughly 1,500 people flocked to this happening mining mecca and before long it had superseded the population of fabulous Las Vegas. But, like most boomtowns, it was only a matter of time before the mining efforts peaked. Just two years later, the cost of gold and silver production increased and the grade of the mined ore dropped, forcing prospectors to move on to more lucrative operations. By 1927, just 50 people remained.

Today, the tiny southern Nevada town has fewer than 1,000 full-time residents comprised of retirees, miners, ranchers, artists and small business owners. Searchlight keeps them busy with amenities like the historic museum, community center, post office, elementary school, churches and a handful of interesting shops. Locals swear that the sunrises and sunsets cant be beat, and the surrounding terrain is filled with wild animals like bighorn sheep, coyotes, burros, deer, jackrabbits and deer, plus a variety of beautiful cacti and desert wildflowers, hot springs and more.

While the city limits are undoubtedly delightful, the big draw for most visitors is Searchlight’s geographical location, as it is the ideal gateway to the ever-popular Lake Mojave in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Known for exception boating, water skiing, swimming, camping and picnicking, this little nugget of paradise is a recreationalists dream.  Searchlight’s main avenue to Lake Mojave is Cottonwood Cove, which is considered to be one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the West, and cliff jumping in the area is unmatched. If you happen to be in the area on a sunny day [and trust us, mostly all days in these parts are unbelievably sunny,] you’ll be astounded by the pristine clarity of the water as you and can see nearly 40 feet below surface from the waters edge. Extend your stay in this watersports heaven and secure your reservation for one of Cottonwood Cove’s many amazing houseboat rentals…an experience you won’t soon forget.

Cities in the region

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