Saturday, July 13, 2013

First Impressions of Laughlin

I'm not a gambler, and a Las Vegas vacation holds no interest for me. However, I'm here on a working trip, and I'm very glad I came. Not to Vegas - but to Laughlin.

The view at dawn from the 12th floor

Laughlin isn't the easiest place to get to. Unless you play here a lot and get invited to join a private junket (which, I understand leaves from a number of airports throughout the country, including North Platte), you fly in to Las Vegas and catch a shuttle for an hour and 45 minute drive.

After I got here, I wondered why anyone would bother staying in Vegas! The area is beautiful and uncrowded. The staff of everywhere I've been are warm, friendly and professional, not at all like the sometimes-officious people you encounter in the huge resorts to the north.

I am staying in a north facing room in the north tower of Harrah's Resort and Casino, overlooking the Colorado River and the other casinos on the "strip", which consists of a single line about a mile long. There are water taxis that ply the waters every few minutes, dropping off and picking up from all the casinos. For $10, you can get unlimited riding for a day. There is also a river walk that starts north of Harrah's (just take a water taxi to the River Palms casino to get started) that goes all along the water front.

Super clear water - I admit, I was surprised. I was expecting mud and silt.

Harrah's didn't want to spoil the beautiful little beach in front of their resort with the river walk, so I can understand why they didn't allow it to pass in front of their property.
Harrah's Beach

Making Laughlin your headquarters, you can visit such nearby attractions as Grapevine Canyon, Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails, Desert Diamond Distillery, Oatman Arizona, Grand Canyon West, Lake Havasu London Bridge, Zipline Adventures and Chloride, Arizona.
The view of Arizona's Black Mountains to the east.

There is a LOT of water fun to be had (and you know how that appeals to me). Rentals are available for power boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes and tubes. Nearby is Lake Mojave where you can boat or float to your heart's content. Each August (this year August 8 - 10) is the "Mardi Gratta Bullhead City River Regatta" with thousands of rafts of all description floating down the river.

I will give you a disclaimer here - the rooms are nothing to brag about. In our party of 8, two found room-changing issues upon arrival. I didn't change rooms, but it leaves a lot to be desired - stained carpet, moldy grout, jet-engine fan in the bathroom and twenty minutes to get an internet connection (for $10.95 per day!) to name a few. But truly, you won't want to spend much time in your room.

Are you planning a trip to Vegas? I suggest you broaden your scope a little and investigate Laughlin.

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