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A Trip to Laughlin, Nevada7 June 2000
Chances are that if you've ever been to Las Vegas, you've heard about Laughlin, Nevada. Perhaps what you've heard isn't all that great. Things like: Laughlin is hotter, it's more humid, it's smaller, and it's just not "Vegas".
My wife, Georgette, and I have made numerous trips to Las Vegas. The last couple of years we've entertained thoughts about seeing what Laughlin is all about, but we kept delaying our trip because of some of the things we kept hearing.
Curiosity and the desire to experience something new finally got the best of us, so we made plans for a Laughlin vacation. We were so pleasantly surprised with our visit that we are already looking forward to returning!
To be sure, Laughlin isn't Las Vegas. You won't find the big shows and name acts, you can't see pirate ship battles and erupting volcanoes, there isn't the wide variety of night life, nor will you tour billion dollar hotel-casinos.
What you WILL find in Laughlin is this: Great gambling, fabulous scenery, far less congestion, affordable rooms, Las Vegas-style restaurants and buffets, water sports, and a more easy-going, laid-back vacation atmosphere.
What's more, we didn't even encounter the hot, humid weather we were warned about. As a matter of fact, we were in Laughlin when Las Vegas was hit with the "storm of the century" and we didn't even get a drop of rain.
First-time tourists to Nevada should not miss the Las Vegas experience, but if you're a seasoned traveler to the "city that never sleeps" and willing to sacrifice the glitter and glitz for outstanding gambling and a more easy going vacation life style, you owe it to yourself to give Laughlin a try.
Laughlin is located about 95 miles south of Las Vegas on the banks of the Colorado River. It's possible to spend the day there if you're staying in Las Vegas in case you'd just like to check things out. If you're looking for accommodations, you have a selection of 10 hotel-casinos situated on a stretch of road known as "Casino Drive".
The properties range from the luxurious Harrah's resort, to the Flamingo Hilton, and Golden Nugget, to the more locals-oriented, less pretentious Pioneer Gambling Hall and Hotel and Colorado Belle. There's something for everyone in Laughlin, the parking is good, and the casinos are in close proximity to one another.
You won't find long lines of taxis clogging Casino Drive in Laughlin. You're more apt find yourself behind a vehicle pulling a couple of Ski-Doos! There are water taxis available for a minimal fee that traverse the Colorado River, bringing people to and from the various casinos. It's quite a refreshing gaming experience.
We flew into Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport late Tuesday night, picked up our rental car, then made the drive south along Highway 95 to Laughlin. Unless you're real comfortable driving at night, I wouldn't recommend making the trip at that time of day because you travel along some pretty desolate desert landscape.
On the way you'll go through the tiny town of Searchlight, Nevada, where you'll find a gas station, some restaurants, and two little casinos including "The Nugget", home to some slot machines, a couple of blackjack tables, and a ten-cent cup of coffee.
The drive takes about an hour and forty minutes, maybe even less. On our return trip during the day we saw what we didn't see at night: Scenic desert expanse, mountain ranges, and lots of wide open spaces.
When you arrive in Laughlin, you'll discover that Bullhead City, Arizona is located right across the river. A short drive west and you'll be in Needles, California. During a sight-seeing tour Saturday afternoon, we traveled three states within a period of just several hours.
Accommodations at Harrah's Laughlin are outstanding. When you enter the property, you get the feeling you're in a Mexican coastal resort. There's a private beach, two swimming pools overlooking the scenic banks of the Colorado River, a fitness center, and a pool side bar serving great tropical drinks at affordable prices.
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Best of John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp