Sunday, October 26, 2014

Laughlin, Nevada, 2014

Sunday, October 12 - Thursday, October 16, 2014

What can I saw about Laughlin, Nevada, that I haven't already said in previous posts?

Donna and I like Laughlin. Since retiring, we've been here perhaps a half dozen times or more, and we like it better each time. We realize that Laughlin isn't for everyone. After all, it sits smack dab in the desert, and summer temps soar well over 100 degrees every day for 4 or 5 months. But we're desert rats. We've lived in West Texas off and on since 1979, and we also spent 4 years living in Saudi Arabia. Yep, we like and appreciate the desert.

Laughlin is named for Don Laughlin, who bought the land currently containing the town of Laughlin back in 1964. Don Laughlin's story is one of those American success stories and is quite interesting. He established what is today the Riverside Casino, the northernmost of Laughlin's casinos, and he is still alive and running the business.

Today, 7,000 or more people make Laughlin their home. There are actually 2 Laughlins, "Upper Laughlin" and "Lower Laughlin." Upper Laughlin is the residential section of town. It is located farther up the slope of the Newberry Mountains to the west of Laughlin. It consists of private homes, condos, and apartments as well as the few businesses that comprise the town. The schools are also located in Upper Laughlin as well as the library. Lower Laughlin is the area lining the river, mostly casinos, but also Laughlin Outlet Center, convenience stores, and a few other scattered businesses. Residents of Laughlin do most of their shopping across the river in Bullhead City.

Laughlin Outlet Center, across Casino Drive from the Aquarius
The two parts of Laughlin are actually about 3 or 4 miles apart and offer contrasting environments. But Laughlin is not Vegas, and I don't think anyone wants it to be. Laughlin is much more relaxed and laid back. Many folks might describe it as "old Vegas." Although the casinos attract all sorts of visitors, it is clear that older people are a major target.

And the river . . . . Donna and I love the Colorado River that runs through this country. We love to get out and walk along the river. The River Walk stretches from Riverside Casino on the north all the way to the River Palms on the south (note: the River Palms has recently been sold. When we were there, the hotel and 1 or 2 of the restaurants were open, but not the casino. Dotty's is taking over the operation and everything will soon be open for business as The River Lodge, I believe.) If you don't like walking, hop on one of the many river taxis to travel up and down the river. And there are various river cruises, as well. Some are tours of local sites (Davis Dam, for example) while some venture as far as Lake Havasu City, which is over 70 highway miles to the south on the Arizona side of the river.

Water taxi heading north on the Colorado. Arizona on the other side. The area on the opposite bank (right-center) is the Riverside dock. Visitors in Arizona can park there and cross the river on a Riverside water taxi to get to the casino. They run almost constantly.
One of the cruise boats on the river.

The party girl herself with the river and Arizona mountains in the background. Notice the play of light on the distant mountains in the center of the picture as opposed to those nearer the river.
Part of the Riverwalk just outside the Aquarius.
Many of the casino restaurants and bars look out on the river. As the sun sets, the colors of the mountains in Arizona play in the fading light. We love to sit at The Cove, a bar in the Aquarius Casino overlooking the river. We play video poker there and enjoy good draft beer as we watch the river roll on by, carrying jet skis, tour boats, and individuals in their boats who might be fishing or just enjoying a leisurely boat ride on the river.

Because of the numerous casinos, Laughlin gets its share of entertainment. Some of it is big name while some of it is not. But if you stick around long enough, certainly you'll find something that interests you. One of the best sources of information about Laughlin is the Laughlin Entertainer. Be sure to click on the link to bring up the online magazine ("Click here to read this week's edition").

The Tropicana Express is the only large casino on the west side of Casino Drive.

A few of the casinos along Casino Drive. From left, the Riverside, then Aquarius, and the little Regency, home of Daniel's on the River, one of our favorite eateries in Laughlin.

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