me standing on Laughlin boat dock

Is Laughlin Good for a Family Trip? My Experience Taking My Family.

So my in-laws have gone to Laughlin many times and so because of that reason they recieved some promotional free rooms. It had been awhile since our last family vacation and we just bought our first home so money has been a bit tight. Not to mention the trip was going to land smack dab on my birthday. So we took the deal and ran.

We packed our bags, packed the kid’s bags, lined up the pet sitters, and hit the road.

From where we live it was about a 3 hour drive. There were people from California, Arizona, and Nevada mainly. I saw a few Oregon, Colorado, Utah, and Washington plates as well. Far drive!

We finally arrive in Laughlin and the kids are getting excited. Anytime you see a body of water it’s always amazing, at least for me. I am drawn to large bodies of water, or any natural or even manmade water ways. Rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, they are all beautiful. So there it is, the vast Colorado River, right under our wheels.

There is only 1 bridge into Laughlin over the Colorado River from the Arizona side. One side is Bullhead City, Arizona and the other side is Laughlin, Nevada.

Laughlin Bridge

The bridge was actually privately funded by Don Laughlin and Ozzie Osbourne (whaaaa?), after the states refused to build one! Isn’t that just wild? Don paid $3.5 million out of his own money to construct the bridge, and then donated it to the states of Arizona and Nevada. Arizona then paid $40,000 to build a traffic light by the bridge. Thanks soooo much Arizona, how thoughtful.

We continue on and settle ourselves at the Don Laughlin Riverside Hotel. If you look at the very top you will see a penthouse. We were so curious about this penthouse, making assumptions that it was Don’s. I said to my fiance, “No way, does he live there!” Turns out he totally does, and we learned that fun fact and more on our little boat tour adventure.

Guy Fieri’s Restaurant

Turns out we were really hungry (weird I know) from the trip and decide to visit a place my guy wanted to check out. We go to Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho at Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino. They had a very interesting menu and some fun drinks along with ordering the Trash Can nachos, which was the main reason we went.

They were huge! They come out in a can, a little trash can that they flip over and the nacho cheese makes it stick to it’s shape; really unique. It was the only thing we ordered for the 4 of us and it was plenty, all 4 of us filled up and there was still a full to-go container!

Kid Friendly

As long as you keep walking through the casino’s with the kids everything is okay. We were lucky having the in-laws with us. They went to bed pretty early so they would watch the kids and take them to bed and we would go out for the evening.


We ended up going down to the buffet on Sunday for breakfast/brunch, it was reasonably priced at $18.99 for adults, half price for kids, and 5 and under are FREE!

The buffet had a vast amount of options including an omelette bar, french toast, pancakes, meats of all kinds, eggs, yogurts, and much more. I have been to many buffets, including one’s in Vegas and this one was definitely one of the better one’s I have been to.

No blue or green surprises is always good. (Vegas vacation anyone?)

Boat Ride

There were many little boats to take you from Bullhead City, Arizona to Laughlin, Nevada by crossing the Colorado River. This use to be the only way into Laughlin before the bridge was built.

They also have little boat rides to take and learn the history of Laughlin while on the beautiful blue water. The boat has a cafe, and full bar as well. We didn’t eat because we went to the buffet for breakfast that morning, but we got some pina colada’s and the girls got virgin ones. They had a blast, my little one was running around the boat…of course being the only toddler. Then my eldest was showing everyone on Snapchat what she was up to.

It was relaxing and very enjoyable, we all learned a lot about Laughlin that we otherwise would have had no idea. I feel like a friggin expert now.


The gambling is pretty much like Vegas or any other local casino’s. The same machines, the same kind of tables. The tables were a pretty good deal, they had the $1 minimum tables, and a good amount of the $5 minimum tables. There were no complaints here, and you actually seem to win more on the slots here than you do in Vegas.

Arcade and Kid’s Castle

They actually had a bunch of fun little kids places around each of the casino’s, more than I ever thought, including one called Kid’s Castle in Riverside.

They had it setup for the older kids as well as the younger kids with many events going on throughout the day. It was packed with an arcade, laser tag, bowling alley, and more. It was fun for everyone in the family regardless of age. The kids had fun playing games, and running around. We all did.


This was actually quite surprising. A new pool had just been built on the main floor, so they turned the old pool, which is technically on the roof, into the family/kid’s pool. Kid’s were not allowed in the main pool, but they pretty much had their own full size pool. There was actually a pretty nice view all around it, and there is some rooms that have the patio open up right to it.

My kids love swimming so they had a blast. We went in the evening so the snack bar was closed, but it looked like it was probably open during the day. Along with easy access to family friendly bathrooms right from the pool.

Car Museum

The great thing about staying in the Riverside Resort and Hotel was the free access to the classic car and antique slot machine museum. They had cars of all kinds, including a Delorean. Seeing the evolution of slot machines was also very intriguing. We loved it.


There are little shops all around the casino, and outside down the street a ways is an outlet mall. So if you forgot a cover for your swimsuit (not me) or the baby’s suit all together (also def not me), you can Uber, walk, or drive 5 minutes to the mall.

They have the biggest watch store in the world inside the Riverside Resort and Hotel. That was interesting to see the thousands of different watches, plus unique little items of all kinds.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

We went to dinner alone while the kids were with the in-laws, and went to dinner and drinks at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. I have to tell you if you haven’t been here, they have exceptional shrimp and food. Not to mention some epic, huge, amazing drinks. We got a good buzz, and stumbled our way around town gambling along the way.

We eventually made it to the next place.

24 Hour Weed Dispensary

Weed is not legal yet in Arizona, so the fact that this little old people place has a 24 hour weed dispensary was kool as f***. We went just because we could, me and my fiance are not big weed smokers these days, but we just had to buy some (and it’s still sitting in the package on my dresser, haha).

You can’t miss it at night, it’s the little building with the lime green lights when you look across, you guessed it, Casino Way.

Colorado River

We took an afternoon with the kids to the Colorado River. It was too cold for me and my youngest to get in, but my eldest is crazy and literally gets into cold water until her lips start turning blue.

We kind of just hung out by the river in our suits and played in the park, but the view was amazing, and the river is very clear and gorgeous, but cold as a witch’s titty. So I kind of only put my feet in.

Oatman, Arizona

Now I saved the best for last! Oatman, Arizona, this little old cowboy town that is overrun by donkeys. You drive up this bumpy dirt road shortcut for about 30 minutes, or you can take the historic route 66 in but it will take twice as long, and then you pop out into this po-dink town.

Long ago, it was a mining town, and they had a bunch of donkeys. When it shut down the donkey’s were left behind, they ended up mating, having a bunch of donkeys and taking over the town. Now they run it. There are just donkeys that walk all over and you can buy food from these little carts on the street and feed them. They are all extremely friendly and there are even baby donkeys running around.

Just make sure not to get behind any of the ass’s asses.


The whole trip was a blast, and we ended up even taking a little detour to Vegas on the way home and spent a few hours there. It is only an hour and a half out of the way. We would have to say that Vegas was probably the better choice for taking the kids and Laughlin for the adults, but we had a blast and made the best of it anyways.

I would recommend it as a little family vacation but only if you take some grandparents along so you can have some adult time, or else you won’t be able to do any gambling. If you aren’t that into gambling, then I would say you are good to go.


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