August 14th, 2018

Your Travels: Laughlin is a gambling oasis along the Colorado River

By Medicine Hat News on October 21, 2017.

Ernest Fode

Laughlin, Nevada, located south of Las Vegas along the Colorado River, has become a popular tourist destination.

This small gambling resort caught my interest as I arrived in Las Vegas.

After checking in at the Circus, Circus Hotel Casino I made plans to visit Laughlin the next day.

On my way, I stopped at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson. I enjoyed a self-guided factory tour observing the making of their preservative-free chocolates, tasted delicious mouth-watering samples and walked through the three-acre outdoor cactus and botanical garden. The factory is open daily with free admission.

After a scenic two-hour drive down Highway 95 and 163, from out of the desert appeared the Colorado River Valley and Laughlin with its nine casinos spread out along the river bank. Across the river was Bullhead City, Arizona.

A little history. Laughlin is named after Don Laughlin, who, in 1964 flew over this area, bought land along the river and built a motel and bar which has today become the Riverside Resort Hotel Casino.

In 1987 Laughlin paid for and built the Laughlin-Bullhead City Bridge at a cost of $3.5 million thereby connecting the states of Nevada and Arizona.

Upon arriving, my first stop of interest was the Classic Car Museum in the Riverside Resort Hotel Casino featuring antique and rare automobiles. The showroom is open daily and admission is free.

My highlight on this visit was a historical narrated Colorado River cruise on the steamboat Celebration. This cruise took us up the river under the Laughlin Bridge to the Davis Dam and back. The Celebration sails seven days a week and cruises take about one-to-two hours.

Laughlin, with a population of 10,000 attracts Canadian snowbirds during the winter months, entertainers and nearly two million visitors annually.

The Colorado River cruise, the arid desert landscape, Joshua Trees and saguaro cactus made my side trip worthwhile.

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