Fun in the sun is all but guaranteed in Laughlin, the bustling waterfront city nestled in the southernmost tip of the Silver State. A short 90 miles south of Las Vegas, the Colorado River beckons for days spent boating, jet skiing, fishing, and tour cruising. An equally enchanting riverwalk scene, home to nine amenity-packed resorts, complements the perfect desert getaway.
Make a Splash and Have a Ball
Consider this our official love letter to Laughlin, home to some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the state. We’re talking beach days at Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area, where you can swim, jet ski, kayak, and fish right in the mighty Colorado River. For scenic hiking, captivating rock formations, and historic American Indian petroglyphs, look no further than Grapevine Canyon and Spirit Mountain (also known as Avi Kwa Ame). And the opportunities for day trips are overflowing here – going from Laughlin to Las Vegas takes less than two hours, as do dam-good sightseeing treks to Hoover Dam and Davis Dam. If you prefer R&R to recreating, stunning waterfront views can be soaked up via a variety of boat tours (like dinner cruises and jet boat jaunts). And those riverside resorts are jam-packed with fine dining, spa specials, and world-class gaming, and not far from some championship golf clubs, either. No matter what kind of memory-making adventure you’re chasing, Laughlin is sure to satisfy.
So, Where is Laughlin?
Wonder “Where is Laughlin?” to yourself no more. Picture the sweet spot where Nevada, California, and Arizona meet, and there you’ll find your new favorite Silver State retreat. It’s the perfect pairing with a visit to nearby Hoover Dam, the modern marvel of the world that helped put Las Vegas on the map.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Laughlin History & Culture
Laughlin, Nevada sprang to life in the 1940s, initially operating as the South Pointe townsite for the construction workers building Davis Dam (which formed Lake Mohave) and miners in the area. It was in danger of falling off the map once dam construction was completed and workers moved on, but Don Laughlin had other plans. The Vegas casino owner opened a small property in soon-to-be-named Laughlin in the 1960s, and as they say, the rest is history. Dig in deeper at the Colorado River Museum & Historical Society, Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park & Trails, and numerous Laughlin river tours – all serve up a hearty slice of the area’s story.
Things to Do in and Around Laughlin
Take our advice – one day in Laughlin just won’t cut it. This city is packed with too much good stuff to leave anything off your itinerary.
Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area is simply a must, and not just because of all the water sports you can partake in here. It’s also a primo place for hiking, picnicking, birdwatching, and fishing. Plus, the bend of the beautiful Colorado River that gives the park its name offers up unique views of Bullhead City just across the water. Rocky River Adventure Center has you more than covered if you’re looking to borrow a jet ski or two, and they also loan out UTVs if you wanna rip up hundreds of nearby miles of OHV trails. If you prefer to let someone else do the steering, let London Bridge Jet Boat Tours take you to the world famous London Bridge in Lake Havasu
Golf aficionados have five championship courses to tee off from, and those seeking a sense of tranquility won’t wanna skip the Laughlin Labyrinths – eight maze-like, rock-lined paths ranging from 24 to 60+ feet in diameter are essentially hidden in plain sight outside the heart of the city.
The Laughlin Riverwalk is another excellent starting point for adventure. About a mile long, you’ll be able to meander through most of the city’s uniquely different resorts and partake in boutique shopping, water taxis, and access to dinner and riverboat cruises. From the Riverwalk, stroll the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park & Trails for unbelievable Davis Dam views. Make a mental note to check out Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Collection, too, as it features a rotating display of more than 80 of the world’s most distinctive and rare automobiles out there.
When you’re ready to visit Laughlin, pack an appetite. Go for steaks, chops, and seafood at Hickory Pit Steakhouse and Saltgrass Steakhouse, or savor dinner with a tableside preparation show at the French-inspired Gourmet Room. For more casual fare, the Bighorn Café serves American classics with serene views of the surrounding river and mountainside. And over at Bumbleberry Flats, comfort food with a Southern twist will be calling your name over jambalaya, cajun mac and cheese, and fried green tomatoes.
Places to Stay in Laughlin
With so many incredible hotels in Laughlin, you can’t go wrong picking any one of them for a sleepover. From plush resort hotels to fully equipped RV parks, the city has great getaway options for every budget and lifestyle.
Thrill seekers will dig the expanded river walk at the Aquarius Casino Resort, which features easily accessible riverboat cruises, watercraft rentals, and water taxis. If you travel with your own toys, Edgewater Casino Resort offers boat trailer and RV parking, plus an electric vehicle charging station.
More fun in the sun (or under the stars) awaits at Harrah’s Laughlin, where guests have access to a private soft sand beach, and Golden Nugget Laughlin, home to poolside cabanas that overlook the Colorado River. The state-of-the-art bingo room at Tropicana Laughlin is well worth experiencing, and those under 21 will rejoice over the bowling center, movie theatre, laser tag, and arcades at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino. Between all of these hotel casinos, you’ll also find dozens of restaurants, multiple spas, live entertainment choices, and wow-worthy rooms with riverside views.
Special events are the icing on Laughlin, Nevada’s cake. Motorcycle enthusiasts (about 35,000 of ‘em) flock to the city for the Laughlin River Run every year, geared up for stunt and custom bike shows, hundreds of vendors, the Miss Laughlin River Run content, and an aptly-named “River Run” on historic Route 66 to Oatman, Arizona. Movie lovers celebrate annually at the Laughlin International Film Festival, which attracts local, national, and international filmmakers who screen their flicks in state-of-the-art digital theaters. There’s socializing events, film workshops and panels, parties, and an awards ceremony, too.
Oh, and all you off-roaders? Laughlin certainly hasn’t forgotten about you. The city is home to both the Polaris UTV World Championship and the Best in the Desert UTV Legends Championship. Whether you’re a racing competitor or a die-hard fan, the need for desert-ripping speed is real and awesome here.