Situated only an hour and a half away from the Las Vegas Strip, Laughlin provides a great weekend escape for Las Vegans. My boyfriend and I frequently go up and stay at the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino because their slots are loose, we can make $200 last a whole weekend; and the hotel sends us free room packages every month, which makes our trip very affordable. But we don’t escape the city known for its slot machines just to sit at more slot machines – we like to get out and explore the city, and there’s plenty of adventure waiting outside the casino doors…
USS Riverside Cruise
This is a must do for anyone who has never been to Laughlin before! We take all our friends and family on their maiden voyage… I’m pretty sure my boyfriend has the boat script memorized at this point. The USS Riverside takes off from the Riverside Resort and takes you up north to Davis Dam before cruising the Colorado River down to Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino and back to the Riverside.
Along the way, an audio guide plays throughout the boat providing an entire history of the city of Laughlin (which is fascinating), and highlighting points of interest including several parks and hiking trails you can take once off the boat. My personal favorite story/point of interest is Mrs. Lafferty and the Edgewater Hotel & Casino… While you could easily Google this story, some things are just best enjoyed hearing in person… while sipping a bloody mary or the drink of your choice, cruising down a river.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for Kids 3-12 and free for kids 2 and under. They can only be purchased at the USS Riverside Boat Office, located on the Riverwalk in between the hotel and the USS Riverside. Each cruise lasts about an hour and twenty minutes and there are four cruises daily at 10:30AM, 12:30PM, 2:30PM and 4:30PM.
The Laughlin Labyrinths are a mystical place of serenity for me. There are 9 in total and they were all built by one man, Wes Dufek, who had a spark of inspiration and wanted to help the community. The Visit Laughlin website has a great interview with Wes, which is definitely worth the read. There are many benefits to labyrinths, including reducing blood pressure, and we just find them neat to explore. Each one was built with intention to help focus and provide clarity on a specific aspect of life such as Prosperity, Destiny, etc.
According to the website, “The Labyrinths can be found on the east side of Thomas Edison, between Bruce Woodbury and Casino Dr. 1/4 mile from each intersection. Look for 3 yellow posts and walk up the wash. Others can be seen from Edison. Please park in a safe spot off Thomas Edison.” Seeing as they are made of pretty flat rocks, we found it a little hard to locate the labyrinths, but if you look out for this sign, you’ll know you found it!
Christmas Tree Pass
On our way home we took a fun detour through Christmas Tree Pass. This is a 12-mile stretch of dirt road adventure lined with trees and bushes decorated with Christmas ornaments. There are also plenty of breathtaking views, sideroads for ATVing and a cool hike in Grapevine Canyon. But let’s get back to the Christmas Trees. Usually we don’t condone “littering” and support a “Leave No Trace” stance when it comes to exploring nature, but in this case we make an exception. Christmas Tree Pass represents a fun camaraderie amongst humans who don’t necessarily know each other, but come together to bring some enjoyment and a small tourist attraction connecting the little cities of Searchlight and Laughlin.
Let’s talk about the road. Generally, people say high clearance vehicles are preferred, but small passenger cars can maneuver the road; taking careful precautions at a particular section closer to Searchlight where there are a few steep dips in the road. Personally, I would not want to take the road in my car, and am glad we were driving my boyfriend’s truck that day. So what I’m saying is – driver beware, and make sure you have 4-wheel drive.
The road can be accessed on your way to or from Laughlin with entrances/exits just off NV Highway 163 just outside of Laughlin, or just South of Searchlight, NV on US Highway 93. I highly recommend you use GPS on this one.
So there you have it… My top three recommendations (so far) of things to do in Laughlin. There is so much more to see and do, and we’ll be back to keep on exploring. In the meantime, check out upcoming Laughlin events here.
Rachel Diehl is an entertainment junkie who loves exploring all things food, beverage, board games, hiking, animals, and the best local activities every city has to offer.