Escape to Laughlin with a river view as three jet skiers zip by

Laughlin Perspectives: Part 1 – A Quick Escape

There’s so much to do, see, and explore in Laughlin, we’ve divided it up into a two-part series written from two different perspectives. Enjoy this quick escape. 

Growing up I was a river rat. Many summer weekends were filled with boating, tubing, water skiing, and day camping on the banks. I actually do very little lake or river adventures these days, but sure do miss that fearless little girl.  

A trip to Laughlin brought back those memories from moons ago while I was traveling along the Colorado River in a water taxi. There were boats flying by, jet skiers racing along and families enjoying the hotel beach.  

The Stay

Yes, Laughlin has neon, but there is nature abound. Hiking, golf, water sports, off-roading and more! Here are some highlights from my adventures. 

We had a nice stay at Aquarius Casino Resort, but I prefer not to spend my time in the ching, ching of the casino floor. Give me good food, bevies, views and experiences, and I am a happy camper. I recommend grabbing breakfast and coffee before you go at Duet inside the hotel. 

Aquarius Casino Resort in the background of cloudy night with the water shining bright from casino lights

The Road to Laughlin

Well typical me. Fill my plate with a ton of ‘to do’s’ and breakfast turned into lunch on the road. So, pit stop in Boulder City at a hotdog stand called Mom’s to the rescue. It was about a mile out of our way. They will even put your name on the dog! Now that’s fun. 

Here’s another stop worth working into your itinerary, Nelson Ghost Town. This is more than a pit stop as it’s about 45 minutes from the 95 highway. But what a cool place for fun photos and a tour of the Eldorado Mine. I personally have done the tour twice with visiting family. 

Photo courtesy of Eldorado Mine Tours

Christmas Tree Pass

You can catch Christmas Tree Pass, a long and dusty dirt road on the drive, but we missed the turn. We caught the road just outside of Laughlin. 

I don’t use common sense all the time because sometimes when my gut tells me to hold on, I say nah…. This time I went down a path not meant for a truck, and time is what I lost. I made the wrong turn and clearly after five minutes as the path narrowed to more ATV size than Ford –F150 size, kept going… five minutes later my ride or die from my childhood friend and I said “Yep, time to flip a *itch,” and, flip we could have. 

Lesson learned, GPS doesn’t always work, and sometimes common sense goes out the window for a little bit of laughter and adventure. The real road to Christmas Tree Pass and Grapevine Canyon was just half mile further from our escapades. 

Grapevine Canyon Trail 

Although we did not get to explore the Christmas Tree pass (read more here), we did venture on an easy hike about a quarter mile along Grapevine Canyon Trail to the magical views of hundreds of petroglyphs in the canyon and thousands of years old. 

Note, you can venture back further into the trail on a 1.7 mile, round trip hike to a waterfall. But, most documentation says the waterfall is either very weak or non-existent now. People have said on this part of the hike, you will have to do some scrambling over granite boulders and formations, and at times, the grapevines will almost trip you. It’s so dense depending on the time of the year. 

There is no fee to enter this area and it’s always open, but to be safe, day-use only. For those like me always having to pee, the outhouse is located at the trailhead.

an oblong petroglyph at Grapevine Canyon Trail Laughlin

The Laughlin Labyrinths

Zen out! Just beyond the strip of hotels are nine labyrinths to wander around and reflect. I enjoyed the quiet time and serenity of the area. There is no fee to enjoy it and it’s open anytime.  

Location: Thomas Edison Drive, between Bruce Woodbury and Casino Drive.

Escape to Laughlin – Road Trip Snapshot 


Laughlin Nevada

Distance from The Strip

98.5 miles

Directions from The Strip

I-15 South

I-215 E 

US-95 S to NV-163 E

Renee is a happy bird that loves to chirp about travel. Follow her silly adventures @happybirdtravels on Instagram.


Wanna EXPLORE more? Let your imagination run wild. Travel Nevada + Things to Do

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