When rooms are so expensive in Vegas that you can’t find a hostel bed for less than 50 dollars, it’s time to consider smart options. Laughlin is definitely an affordable alternative to Vegas, such as during expensive weekends. When Vegas hotels were all charging a minimum of 100 dollars per night (and we’re talking about the very ‘basic’ ones), we were comped at Harrah’s Laughlin, for the whole weekend (and longer, if we had wanted to stay). Only just over 1 hour away from Vegas, you can sleep cheaply, enjoy the stunning Colorado river (water sports are ‘the thing’ to do here) and then go Sin City for a sumptuous meal, a great show and even to a nightclub (if the driver stays sober of course). It’s do-able! This small casino ‘town’ lies by the Colorado river and for that, it has its own natural charm; some of the resorts are old-fashioned, or simply ‘old’; casinos such as The Pioneer, however, are truly full of Far-West old charm and decor. You will not find the glamour of Vegas, the beautiful modern resorts nor the jaw-dropping attractions that pepper the whole of the Strip; here it’s all quite basic, mostly relying on the activities on the river, from simply sunbathing to jet-skiing.
Hotels and Casinos in Laughlin
You will find several casinos along Casino Drive (the much more modest equivalent to the Strip, without the easy ‘connection’s between resorts) and the river; there is nothing else around since residential areas and towns are a few miles away. Tip: Laughlin is very close to the Arizona border and, if you arrive by car, we strongly recommend that you fill up your car in Arizona (just cross the bridge and you’re there), since you can save as much as a dollar per gallon! The casinos in Laughlin are Riverside, Aquarius, Edgewater, Colorado Belle, Tropicana (across the street from Colorado Belle), Pioneer, River Palms, Golden Nugget, and Harrah’s. All casinos along the river are connected by the Riverwalk, except Harrah’s. There are water taxis that also connect the casinos. Nevada’s only native American casino, the Avi Resort, is about 30 minutes away.
Laughlin Hotel Prices
Affordable, affordable, affordable. From totally free (comped) to a maximum of 5o to 80 dollars during very ‘high traffic’ nights such as Saturday night at Harrah’s Laughlin. If you have signed up to Total Rewards, it’s always worth checking your Laughlin offers by exploring the ‘flexible dates’ option; this is how we found out that we were comped for the whole weekend!
As per resort fees, some resorts apply it, others don’t. Harrah’s Laughlin has re-introduced it, though it much cheaper than in Vegas; other hotels may not apply it, which means that you will have to pay for extras such as WiFi.
Any room with river views are the most desirable, though at times they are not the most updated. A unique feature which we found pleasing in Laughlin is that several resorts (Tropicana, Harrah’s, Aquarius) offer adult only towers and adult-only pools, in separate sections from what they call ‘child-friendly’ towers and pools. There are also smoke-free casino sections, unlike most resorts in Vegas.
Besides enjoying the river with various water activities (we have a video on those, watch this page for links coming up soon) you can enjoy Laughlin’s Free Classic Car Exhibition at Riverside Resort; but nearby there are a plethora of options, such as native reservations and stunning parks. There is even an alternative to the more famous Hoover Dam: Davis Dam, the outline of which you can spot just crossing the bridge (next to Riverside resort) onto Arizona.
Cheaper and less elaborate than Vegas’, we found that none of them were anything to get excited about both in terms of ingredients and variety. However, here you can spend as little as $10 for a dinner buffet up to a maximum of around $20 for a ‘sumptuous’ (relatively speaking) seafood dinner buffet; basic all-you-can-eats with most food looking yellow or orange (reminding us of fast food), however offering more affordable crab legs, oysters and other popular seafood dishes than Vegas. Some buffets offer a 10% discount if you present your players card.
A Bit of History by ‘Koutesu’: Don Laughlin is the Walt Disney of this place. He operated Vegas casinos before and decided to open one of his own in the ’60s. He acquired a motel in South Pointe, which was later renamed Laughlin by the post office. He rented 4 of the 8 rooms to guests (his family lived in the other 4), had some table games set up and some slots. His wife’s 99cent all you can eat chicken dinners were a hit.
Horror Laughlin Resort
Yes, amongst the affordable fun we had a bad experience… We’re writing this shortly. Watch this space and our updates page for details and links.