The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


April 14, 2014

Destinations: The view from Laughlin

Nevada resort town offers river activities, gaming and outdoor fun

Laughlin, Nevada — Meg McDaniel loves to talk about Laughlin. “The first thing that always comes to mind when I talk to guests is the Colorado River,” she told me. “It is one of the most pristine segments of the Colorado (River) that you will find. It’s crystal clear.”

I met Meg, a Laughlin-Bull Head City resident and Nevada tourism expert, on a recent trip to the Silver State’s southernmost city. Meg’s spent much of the past 20 years selling Laughlin to prospective tourists, tour operators and travelers.

I didn’t know much about Laughlin before I met Meg. I knew Laughlin was a small but interesting resort destination. I knew that several of my Joplin friends spoke highly of its relaxed lifestyle and desert beauty. I knew that charter flights full of Joplin-area residents regularly wing west for short casino vacations.

That’s about all I knew.

Now, that I’ve spent a few days in Laughlin and many hours talking with Meg and meeting resort operators, I know a lot more.

Located 90 minutes south of Las Vegas on the Arizona border, Laughlin attracts more than 2 million visitors annually. A new 9,000-seat event venue will this year showcase Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts and Willie Nelson.

I caught Reba McEntire in concert during my trip, and what a show that was. The intimate Laughlin Events Center allows guests to get up close and personal with the talent.

Bottom line: Laughlin is a fun place to visit, but the area’s beauty is the destination’s biggest take-away.

“The mountains that surround Laughlin are beautiful,” Meg said of Arizona’s Black Mountains. “We have amazing sunsets and sunrises here. You can watch the colors change on the mountains from oranges and pinks to dark purples and blues. The absence of light pollution leads to clear, blue skies. It’s a beautiful place to live.”

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