Laughlin Offers Clients Nearby Alternative to Las Vegas

With a short 45-minute drive from Las Vegas, a traveler can go from Sin City to the '70s. Laughlin, Nevada, one of the lesser known of the state's major gaming destinations, offers clients a pleasant time warp and a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of the fast-paced Vegas Strip. A boats cruises past Laughlin on the Colorado River

Agents might have a tough time finding clients who want to make the trip to Nevada for the sole purpose of visiting the city of Laughlin, but pitching it as an excursion on a longer trip to Vegas could notch a lucrative pre- or post-trip add-on.

Laughlin doesn't have the nightlife that Vegas has, but it sure is much more peaceful, offering many more opportunities to relax.

Travel Agent found getting aboard the Celebration, operated by Laughlin River Tours, such an oppportunity. The boat departs from the Aquarius boat dock, which is wheelchair accessible. The boat tour of the historic Colorado River, a 45-minute cruise along the calm water, offers spectacular views of the mountains, along with a welcoming breeze and cheap beverages, including $2 Heinekens.

The regular cruise is 90 minutes; the cost is $11 for adults and $6 for children 3-to-12 years old. A dinner cruise lasts two hours and costs $30. Weddings and group discounts are available. Call 800-228-9825 or 702-298-1047 for cruise schedule and reservation information.

The destination has many notable golf courses, such as the 18-hole Laughlin Ranch (866-866-5729). Although prices vary, in the peak season (November to April), a round of 18 holes usually ranges from $95 to $115. During the rest of the year, prices drop to between $55 and $85. For a traveling companion who isn't a golfer, the Spa at Laughlin Ranch, which offers an array of high-quality treatments, is a great place to kill time. Its Classic Massage starts at $85 for 50 minutes and its Couple's Massage is $175 for 50 minutes. All other treatments start in the $100 price range.

Sell Its Affordability

If this is a post-Vegas trip, and if most of the money your client brought to Vegas stayed in Vegas, Laughlin offers more affordable entertainment, especially when it comes to gaming.

Laughlin is home to many of the big players that you'll find in Vegas—the Golden Nugget, Harrah's, etc.—but it's also host to something you might have some difficulty finding in Vegas: tables with a very low required minimum betting amount.

You can call it the Dollar Menu of gambling, as Laughlin is home to an array of casinos where guests can wager as little as $1 per hand of blackjack. Your chances of winning money in Vegas are probably greater than your chances of finding a dollar table there.

Although Laughlin can be a good trip on its own, without Vegas, Laughlin probably wouldn't attract the 4 million tourists it averages a year, and without Vegas, the Laughlin Visitors Bureau probably wouldn't have pulled off the most successful fam trip in its history.

On the heels of the recent Luxury Travel Expo and Home-Based Travel Agent Expo & Conference in Las Vegas last December, the Laughlin Visitors Bureau held a fam trip for nearly 150 travel agents. Previously, the largest fam trip to Laughlin was about 40 agents, says the bureau's Meg McDaniel.

Situated in the Colorado RiverValley, Laughlin has been transformed over the last few decades from a small mining town into a tourist destination. The city now attracts visitors looking to gamble, enjoy water sports on the river and attend many high-profile events hosted by the community. For more information, visit