Laughlin: One-Nighter On The River
See You Down the Road
Due to spikes in coronavirus cases around the state, Nevadans are being asked to hunker down at home for a little while, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start pondering a future home-state excursion. In the meantime, take care, stay healthy, and have fun planning your next Nevada adventure for when the time is right.
For the latest public health info and policy updates, visit nvhealthresponse.nv.gov.
Welcome to Laughlin, the southernmost community in Nevada and a true gem of a getaway destination. This sunny city packs a splashy punch, boasting endless opportunities to get your kicks on the Colorado River. With boating, fishing, jet skiing, kayaking, and cruising at your fingertips (plus a lively riverwalk scene featuring almost a dozen amenity-packed resorts), it won’t take you long to learn why this family-friendly outdoor destination is one of our favorites to escape to for a night or two.
Get A Jolt Of Java
Venture into the charming burb of Boulder City for a well-worth-it wake-up. The Coffee Cup Cafe is a MUST for breakfast, and if you don’t take our word for it, maybe a little feature on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” will show you why we love it so much. Loaded omelets, saucy burritos, and hit-the-spot waffles will be waiting for you, along with some highly regarded Bloody Marys (for of-age passengers only!)
Strike It Rich On This Detour
You may have seen this visually striking spot all over Instagram, and now it’s your turn to discover what keeps people flocking to Nelson Ghost Town. The Techatticup Mine is the oldest, richest, and most famous gold mine in southern Nevada, and you’ll feel like a time machine transported you back to the Wild West once you arrive. Plus, it’s become a mega popular place for movie, TV, and magazine shoots, some of which left incredible props behind (like a plane from 3000 Miles to Graceland). Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours is your go-to for guided mine tours and kayak/canoe rentals if you just can’t wait to hit the Colorado River, which flows by just several minutes east.
Big Fun At Big Bend
Your first stop once you’re officially in Laughlin? Definitely Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area. Big Bend measures up for practically any outdoor hobby your crew is into – we’re talkin’ hiking, birdwatching, camping, and all kinds of water sports. It’ll cost you $10 to enter this riverside paradise, and of course, don’t forget the swimsuits!
Up The Adrenaline
Feeling a little jet ski jealousy? Turn that frown upside down with multiple options for renting your own for the day. Watercraft Adventures has seven locations with private Colorado River beach access, while Rocky River Adventure Center can rent you jet skis and even UTVs if you’re itchin’ to rip up the area’s hundreds of miles of desert OHV trails. (Fun Fact: Laughlin is a mecca for off-road racing and hosts several major annual events.)
Feed That Appetite
When lunchtime strikes, you’ll find all kinds of eats to satisfy any craving or budget. From shrimp and Chicago dogs to tacos and café fare, Visit Laughlin has a comprehensive list of all the top spots to grab a bite.
Honk If You Love Fun
Get your motor runnin’ at Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Collection, where more than 80 antique, classic, and unique cars are geared up to wow you. It’s a rotating collection of some of the world’s most distinctive autos, so you’re bound to see something new every time you visit. Admission is just $2 per person to explore this 30,000-square-foot hall with one helluva view of the Colorado River.
These Walks Will Rock
Essentially hidden in plain sight, the Laughlin Labyrinths will bring a memorable moment of zen to your getaway. Eight maze-like paths of all shapes and sizes – ranging from 24 to more than 60 feet in diameter – await, inviting folks to experience mindful intentions, a sense of calmness, or simply a restorative nature walk outside the hustle and bustle of city life.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Dial Up A Divine Dinner
The dinner options are so solid in Laughlin, you may just have to eat twice. The Gourmet Room routinely sees a line out the door prior to opening for their legendary happy hour, as well as for primo riverfront steak and seafood, while The Range Steakhouse was voted the Best Fine Dining in Laughlin in 2019. And for unbeatable sunset views, treat the family to a two-hour dinner cruise down the Colorado River.
Turn A Good Night Into A Great Night
Cap your evening off with a seriously scenic stroll on the Laughlin Riverwalk. This mile-long paved path puts you adjacent to the Colorado while weaving in and out of seven of nine resorts on the city’s strip, all packed with nightlife, entertainment, and special events. Explore ‘em all and pick your favorite for a sleepover – Harrah’s Laughlin has two outdoor pools and heated spas, and the Golden Nugget’s palm-tree-studded H20 Pool is a happenin’ spot. Both also offer cabana rentals if you really wanna take your pool party to swanky-town.
Surf And Turf, History-Style
Learn a little bit more about Laughlin by sprinkling some history into your morning. If you can’t get enough water, take a London Bridge Jet Boat Tours to see the landmark that formerly spanned England’s River Thames from the 1830s to the 1960s before being rebuilt here in the USA, piece by piece.
Or, enjoy a fully narrated cruise on the USS Riverside, which details the history of the region while taking you under the Laughlin Bridge and up to Davis Dam. You can also see Davis Dam by way of the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park & Trails, which offers nine miles of new trails, fishing piers, and picnic areas. The Colorado River Museum is worth a peek as well, offering lots of historic photos, documents, memorabilia, and artifacts.
“One-Horse Town”? More Like “Dozen-Burro Ghost Town”
Odyssey over to Oatman, Arizona, for a slice of Route 66 fame. Sure, it’s across the Silver State border, but we’d be remiss to not mention this super fun (and nearby) Wild West village. Keep your eyes peeled for wild burros and even wilder staged gunfights, then make plans to come back for bed races and sidewalk egg frying contests. Just try not to get “arrested” by the mayor. (On second thought, do.)
Dole Out Some Dole Whips
On your way home, pull off the highway to Chilly Jilly’z in Boulder City for some classic Dole Whips, or pick from other endless shake, soft serve, and shaved ice choices. If something more substantial than a sweet treat starts calling your name, you’ll have no shortage of A+ breakfast, lunch, and dinner bites.
Got an extra day before you’re due back in Vegas? Tack on 24 Hours in Boulder City to really embrace all the gateway to Hoover Dam has to offer (and trust us, it’s a lot).
Or drop into another desert paradise with 24 Hours in Mesquite, where you’ll find fiery sandstone trails, camel encounters, a lost city, and more, just over an hour from Vegas.