Laughlin, Nevada, a thriving entertainment town located near the tip of Nevada, is a popular tourist destination along the banks of the Colorado River. Originally known as “South Pointe,” the area had only a small motel and bar in the 1940’s which primarily catered to local silver minors and construction workers for Davis Dam. After the completion of the dam, the area had little traffic on the Nevada side. Little by little the town of Bullhead City, located across the river on the Arizona side, began to grow. In 1964, Don Laughlin, owner of the Las Vegas 101 Club had just sold his property and was flying over the area in his plane. He saw the potential of the area and proceeded to buy land here. He built an 8 room motel and opened a small casino with 12 slot machines and two live gaming table. While the family lived in 4 of the motel rooms, the other 4 were rented to visitors who came to gamble at the new casino. The small community was re-named Laughlin after a few years to facilitate mail delivery to the area. In 1967, another casino, called the Bobcat opened and was followed by the Monte Carlo Casino in 1968. In 1972, Don Laughlin added 48 rooms to the Riverside Hotel and in 1986, added a 14 floor high rise to the Riverside Hotel. In the 80’s and 90’s more hotel-casinos were added to the area. Today, there are 9 casinos and the area attracts several million visitors every year.
Originally, the hotels supplied ferries which took visitors from the Arizona side to the Laughlin casinos. In 1987, Don Laughlin built a bridge across the Colorado River at a cost of $3.5 million. He donated this bridge to the states of Arizona and Nevada to facilitate driving to the casino area. Today, the area has 11,000 room and over 60 restaurants, river boat cruises, a bowling alley, theaters, performance stages both inside and outside which feature Las Vegas caliber acts on a nightly basis. In addition to these amenities, the area has a small outlet mall, plenty of water sport activities and an RV park to accommodate local RVers. Shuttles both bus and by boat take visitors from casino to casino. In addition, visitors can stroll along the River walk from casino to casino while enjoying the view.
If you are headed into Flagstaff or Phoenix from Monument Valley, you will pass through the Navajo Nation town of Kayenta. Be sure to stop at the Kayenta Burger King to see a most interesting display of artifacts from WWII from the era of the Navajo Code Talkers.