15 Best Things to Do in Laughlin, NV
Laughlin is a small Nevada town that has exploded in popularity as a cheaper, more down-home alternative to Las Vegas, about 90 minutes away. Its riverside location means it's a popular resort destination for those who love to boat, swim, and jet ski on the Colorado River. It's also a very popular RV destination, with a lot of things to do for families and budget-friendly pricing.
You can explore the river on a river cruise or even by taking the water taxi, which stops at each resort hotel located along the Riverwalk riverfront area. Of course the most fun way to explore the river is to rent a Jet Ski or WaveRunner.
Surrounded by the striking desert landscape, you may want to take a drive to explore Davis Dam and Lake Mohave, or discover Native American petroglyphs on a hike through Grapevine Canyon.
The hot summer days are a great time for interior fun, like exploring the Don Laughlin Classic Car Collection at Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort Hotel.
You'll learn all about the top places to visit with our list of the best things to do in Laughlin, NV:
1. Visit London Bridge on a Jet Boat Tour
Explore the Colorado River on a very fast jet boat as you zoom the 30 miles from Laughlin to Lake Havasu City. The London Bridge Jet Boat Tour is a six-hour adventure that takes you to Lake Havasu and back with some great sightseeing along the way.
The highlight is when you pass through Topock Gorge, referred to as the area's miniature Grand Canyon, with sheer rock walls.
After a sometimes-thrilling two-hour boat ride, you'll arrive at London Bridge. The bridge was originally built in the 1830s and used to span the Thames in London. The real estate developer who developed Lake Havasu purchased the bridge (which was about to be demolished) from the City of London in 1968 and had it shipped over as individual marked blocks and bricks. It was reassembled as a tourist attraction now spanning the Colorado River.
You'll get two hours of free time to explore London Bridge and the surrounding little tourist area before jet-boating back to Laughlin. The jet boat uses the Edgewater Resort dock.
Official site: https://laughlinboattours.com/
2. Wander through Don Laughlin's Classic Car Museum
Taking up almost a whole level of Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort, Don Laughlin's Classic Car Museum is unique in that some of the cars are for sale. The museum is also a licensed classic car dealer, so if you do find your dream car, you may be able to drive it home.
There are a wide range of vehicles on display; the museum shows about 80 cars, and the selection changes frequently. You'll see race cars, cars owned by Hollywood stars, muscle cars, hot rods, and antique pre-1950s vehicles.
There is a second part of the museum on the ground level in front of the valet parking area with additional vehicles on display. This area showcases off-road desert racing trucks, which are very popular in this area.
Don Laughlin's Classic Car Museum is open every day, on weekends from 10am to 8pm and on weekends until 9pm. There is a $3 per person admission charge that is waived for members of the resort's players' club, which is free to join.
3. Take a River Cruise with Laughlin River Tours
Whether you choose a daytime sightseeing cruise or a sunset dinner cruise, one of the best ways to see and experience Laughlin is from the water.
The Celebration is Laughlin River Tours' (simulated) paddle-wheel steamer, like the ones that used to sail the Mississippi. It has a café and an air-conditioned interior for your comfort, along with an open-air top deck, so you can watch the world go by.
The two-hour sunset dinner cruise on the Celebration, the only one available on the Colorado, is a fun and romantic way to enjoy the river. All the food is prepared fresh onboard and includes multiple entree options, including vegan. The dinner cruises are every night, but advance reservations are required.
You can also do a 90-minute narrated sightseeing cruise. They operate twice a day at 12:30pm and 2:30pm. The cruises operate year-round, seven days a week. The Celebration leaves from the Aquarius Resort dock.
Official site: https://laughlinrivertours.com/
4. Stroll along the Riverwalk
Laughlin has nine large resorts, and most of the them are next to each other on Casino Drive, along the Colorado River. The area between the resorts and the water is a pedestrian walkway known as the Riverwalk.
There are shops and places to buy food, along with kiosks for Jet Ski rentals, tour boats, and other tourist activity providers. Each of the resorts has an entrance along the Riverwalk; they also have docks on the river.
The Riverwalk extends a little more than a mile, running from Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort to the Laughlin River Lodge. The paved walking path is a great place for an evening stroll, especially during the winter and fall.
The Riverwalk area is also home to different food and music festivals. Except when it's very hot, it's a great way to get from resort to resort while enjoying the aquatic and birdlife along with the boats and Jet Skis passing by.
5. Hike to Native American Petroglyphs in Grapevine Canyon
The Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs are located on Spirit Mountain in Grapevine Canyon, a 15-minute drive from downtown Laughlin.
The moderate in-and-out hike is about 3.3 miles, and should only be done in the winter or at first light in the summer due to the extreme heat and lack of any shade or water on-site. Although the petroglyphs are located throughout the canyon, most of them are near the entrance, making them fairly easy to visit.
The area around Laughlin was inhabited by the Mojave people (spelled differently than the local lake and county), and the meaning of the more than 700 different glyphs (drawings carved into solid rock) is still unknown. There are also rock shelters and stone structures in the area.
The entrance to the Grapevine Canyon area, known as Christmas Tree Pass, is off Nevada State Route 163.
6. Take the Water Taxi
When it's too hot to use the Riverwalk to get from resort to resort, and you don't feel like driving, hop aboard the River Passage Water Taxi and get a sightseeing experience as you're transported to your next destination.
The cost for a one-way water taxi ride from resort to resort is $5, and each of the resorts has their own dock. A day-pass is available for $20, but they are not accepted on holiday weekends or during special events. The water taxi also goes across the river to Bullhead City Arizona; those trips are free.
The water taxi service runs year-round on weekends, from 9am to 11pm and weekdays from 9am to 10pm. You can purchase tickets at any of the resort docks.
7. Go Boating on Lake Mohave
A popular recreation area for the region, Lake Mohave is a great place to visit for boating, swimming, kayaking, waterskiing, and fishing. The hot weather keeps the water warm, so you can swim here year-round.
There are three resort areas located around the lake, Katherine Landing and Willow Beach in Arizona and Cottonwood Cove on the Nevada side. Between them, the resorts have beaches, marinas with fuel and boat rentals, a restaurant, stores, and RV parks.
The surrounding desert area is a great place for hiking (during the winter or very early in the morning) and for nature photography.
The very clear, calm water makes it a great place for snorkeling and for scuba diving. There are even a few boat wrecks to explore under the water.
Fishing is great here too. There are a few native species and nine introduced fish species, including trout and bass.
8. Wander through a Stone Labyrinth at the Laughlin Labyrinths
The Laughlin Labyrinths are nine stone mazes, large public art installations on three different sites in the mountains above the city. They were created by local artist Wes Dufek, who combines spiritual New Age thinking with some incredible large-scale outdoor art pieces.
Considered by some to have cosmic energy, the structures are made to be explored on foot. The patterns and directions your body is directed to by walking and turning different directions as you go through the mazes are believed to have healing effects and create positive energy.
The mazes were created on raw, flat areas of desert ground, using piles of rocks brought to the site by hand by the artist. They are arranged in unique forms and shapes, with pathways throughout, like a low stone hedge maze.
9. Admire Davis Dam
A few miles upstream from Laughlin, Davis Dam controls the level of the Colorado River and generates electrical energy for the rapidly growing city. It regulates the river flow, which comes from Hoover Dam and controls the flow of the water, which eventually goes to Mexico.
The bridge next to the dam can be explored on foot, and you get some great views of the structure itself and even of the tops of the five massive turbines inside.
Davis Dam creates Lake Mohave, but it's best viewed from the Colorado River downstream, so you can see its massive 200-foot height. A portion of the road that used to go across the top of the earth-fill part of the dam (closed now to vehicles for security reasons) can be walked across, giving some incredible vistas of the river flowing one side and Lake Mohave on the other side.
10. Hit the Beach at the Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area
This massive park, located on a big bend of the river, attracts a lively gathering on holiday weekends. The Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area is two miles of sandy beaches along the river. Because it's just downstream from Davis Dam, the water is cool, clear, and very calm.
You can play on the beach; in the water; or go hiking, boating, kayaking, fishing, and bird-watching. There are picnic facilities and a campground with RV hookups.
Hikers can enjoy the four miles of trails in the developed area of the park. Boaters can use the two-lane boat launch.
Because the summer temps can hit 120 degrees, the winter and the fall are the most popular times to visit.
The entrance fee for Big Bend is currently $15 per vehicle ($10 for Nevada residents). There are additional charges for boat launching and for overnight camping.
11. Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails
With so many indoor things to do in Laughlin, it's great to get outside to explore the area's natural beauty. The Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails is an area a little less than three miles long, extending from the end of the resort area almost to Davis Dam.
There are paved pathways with shaded rest stops. There is also a lot of interpretive signage telling you what you are looking at as you gaze out on the river. There are areas for picnicking and little portions of the walkway that jut out towards the river for fishing. There are multiple trails inside the park area of varying distances and degrees of difficulty.
Like many other outdoor activities in Laughlin, a hike or even a walk here is best done during the fall or winter or at first (about 6am) or last (about 8pm) light during the summer.
12. Take a Tour with Laughlin Tours
This family-run tour company can do a guided tour of Laughlin and the surrounding areas, or take you on a half-day or full-day adventure to neighboring cities like Kingman and Oatman in Arizona.
Tours are also available to the Grand Canyon, including the Grand Canyon Skywalk (which is much closer to Laughlin than the crowded South Rim area) and to Hoover Dam. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a must-do local attraction, as it puts you 4,000 feet above the canyon floor on a U-shaped glass walkway.
Oatman, Arizona is an Old West attraction town, with cool little shops and the occasional in-street gunslinger showdown.
Top things to do in Kingman, Arizona include the Route 66 Museum, which you'll visit on the tour.
All Laughlin Tours include hotel pickup and drop-off, a guide who narrates your adventure, and any admission fees for the attractions you visit.
Official site: https://www.laughlintours.com/
13. Cruise the River aboard the USS Riverside
Another option for taking a cruise along the Colorado is the USS Riverside, part of the Riverside Resort. The ship does four 90-minute-long fully narrated cruises each day (10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm, and 4:30 pm) as it sails up and down the river.
It's the only cruise ship that can go under the Laughlin Bridge, which means you can get very close to Davis Dam. The 200-foot-tall dam is best seen from the river below.
The USS Riverside has a shaded top deck area and an air-conditioned interior cabin. There are restrooms inside, and food and drinks are available for purchase. Cruises run all year Wednesday through Sunday; there are no cruises on Mondays and Tuesdays. There is a 10-passenger minimum so during the summer, the ship sometimes does not sail if not enough people have purchased tickets.
14. Explore Laughlin in a Slingshot from 220 Tours
A great way to see Laughlin and the surrounding mountains is to rent a Polaris Slingshot from 220 Tours. They offer the only unguided rentals in the area, which means you are free to explore on your own.
A Slingshot is a three-wheeled, motorcycle-engine-powered vehicle, with two side-by-side seats. You don't need a special license to drive one, only a driver's license.
The Slingshots are open, with a small windshield, allowing you to really enjoy the surrounding mountains and scenery as you zip along. For safety they have seatbelts, electronic stability and traction control, roll bars, and ABS brakes.
The Slingshots also have a 4.3-inch LCD screen with a backup camera and full navigation. 220 Tours will preprogram a sightseeing route into the GPS – you just follow the directions for a fun adventure.
Address: 2905 South Casino Drive, Laughlin, Nevada
Official site: https://www.laughlinslingshots.com/
15. Rent a Jet Ski
One of the best ways to enjoy the Colorado River and admire the scenery of Laughlin from the river is to rent a Jet Ski personal watercraft.
Rocky River Jet Ski Rentals offers a few kinds of watercraft, including Jet Skis, WaveRunners, and Ski-Doos. You stand up on a jet ski, you (and a passenger if you wish) sit down and ride a Ski-Doo or a WaveRunner like a snowmobile or motorcycle.
Rentals include a life vest and basic operational and safety instructions. There are areas of the river where you can gently cruise around and admire the scenery, and other areas where you are able to go fast and have fun skimming across the warm water.
Address: 1900 South Casino Drive, Laughlin, Nevada
Official site: https://rockyriverfun.com/