Photo: James Marvin Phelps, Grapevine Canyon
Laughlin is the lowest geographical spot in Nevada and is located on the Colorado River, directly across from the much larger Bullhead City, Arizona.
Laughlin River Tours
Nearby: Big Bend State Park
laughlinriverrun.com: A sliver of the Colorado River Valley where Nevada, California and Arizona meet has been transformed into a fast-growing tourist destination and gambling resort in a few short decades. The city by the river now attracts nearly 3 million visitors annually who visit to gamble, enjoy water sports on the Colorado and attend many high-profile special events hosted by the community.
Laughlin’s current location was established in the 1940s with the South Pointe due to its proximity to Nevada’s southern tip. The settlement consisted of a motel and bar that catered to gold and silver miners who dotted the map, and to the many construction workers who built Davis Dam.
Davis Dam was designed to help regulate the mighty Colorado and to provide electricity to the Southwest. Once the dam was completed, construction workers left and the motel fell into disrepair.
In 1964 Don Laughlin, owner of Las Vegas’ 101 Club, flew over Laughlin and offered to buy the property. In less than two years the motel and bar, now called the Riverside Resort, was offering all-you-can-eat chicken dinners for 98 cents, play on 12 slot machines and two live gaming tables. Guest accommodations were available in four of the motel’s eight motel rooms. The Laughlin family lived in the other four rooms.
South Pointe was renamed Laughlin when the U.S. Postal Service inspector insisted Don Laughlin give the town a name-any name-in order to receive mail. Don Laughlin recommended the name of Riverside or Casino, but the postal inspector used Laughlin instead.