How Safe Is Laughlin for Travel?

Updated On July 20, 2023
Laughlin, United States
Safety Index:
75
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
100
* Rated 100 / 100 based on 1 user reviews.

Laughlin, Nevada, has been catering to visitors since the 1940s and still remains a resort destination to this day.

Laughlin (“LOF-lin” not “Laugh-lin”) is 100 miles south of Las Vegas in the Big Bend Region of the Colorado River, while marked the southernmost part of the state.

Bullhead City, Arizona, is just across the state border.

As a former Nevadan, whenever a friend said, “My grandparents are coming to visit,” I would ask, “Are they staying in Laughlin?” 80% of the time, yes, they were.

However, don’t write it off as an “old people” town.

Even though 2022 tourism numbers show 55% of the visitors were 50+, and 75% were 40+, there is still a lot to do here, whether you want a family-friendly adventure or a little more PG-rated than the more daring Las Vegas.

It also has a major river running alongside the town, while Las Vegas doesn’t.

Other benefits to Laughlin include proximity to the Grand Canyon, Mojave National Preserve, and Lake Havasu.

California and Arizona are a door-knock distance away, and the crowds don’t include 20-somethings calling you “Bruh.”

“It’s a miniature Las Vegas,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sgt. Gino Briscoe said with a smile.

“I stay in Laughlin because it’s a great environment.

You have the river, great people, and you really get to know everybody in the community.

So you can help.

And that’s the key.”

More than 1.2 million people visiting in 2022 can’t be wrong, so let’s explore Laughlin, Nevada, safe things to do.

We’re also going to touch on Bullhead City.

To learn more about Lake Havasu, check out our travel safety article on this website.

Warnings & Dangers in Laughlin

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk here, but a lot of potential if you don't use smart personal safety steps. With so many things to do inside and outside, many of which are accessible for the mobility-challenged, it's a safe place to visit overall.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Check the Silver Ride Transit website to get information about routes in the city and bi-state region. Taxis and rideshares will be everywhere. Rental cars are available. There's a water taxi between Laughlin and Bullhead City. Some of the casinos will book hotel packages that include ground transportation. It's all a low risk, and you have plenty of options.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

Just three purse snatchings were reported in Laughlin in 2022, but there's a huge potential here. Thieves might be more likely to scour the crowd, looking to take advantage of the elderly. Rest assured that if you're in a casino, there's a camera on you at all times. Limit what you carry with you and leave valuables behind when you're exploring outside.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

Laughlin is about five degrees hotter than Las Vegas, which makes it an oven during the summer. The extreme heat is especially dangerous for those 65 and older. Severe weather can cause damage, knock out power, or flood roads, mostly during the summer monsoon. High winds are common in this region, and wildfires are possible any time of year. The smoke from other western wildfires can also impact air quality. While most of the time, the weather is sunny and clear, you have to treat it with a medium risk so you're prepared.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Just six robberies were reported in 2022. There's a low risk, but it's not low enough to let your guard down. Stay in public spaces, especially at night. If you feel the slightest bit threatened, ask for a police officer or security guard to help you.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

This is a low risk as Laughlin is a small town surrounded by three deserts. Las Vegas will always be considered a hard target, but that's almost 100 miles away.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

I would urge everyone to read the senior scams report on the Nevada Consumer Affairs website. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (Metro) will post scams on its Laughlin substation social media sites. Don't trust booking sites that aren't secure, and never wire money to reserve a room or attraction. Going directly through the hotels and attractions is the safest bet you'll make in this gambling town.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

This is another low-risk, but you're cautioned to stay on guard. The potential here is just very high. However, this is a town where everyone has each other's back. Don't hesitate to ask a business owner or employee to help you if need be.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

Look for the Big Bend Water Quality Report on the Las Vegas Valley Water District site. That's going to cover the Laughlin area. The major hotels won't have water quality issues and would let you know if there was a larger issue. I would recommend buying bottled water to carry with you since it's so hot here. Don't wait until you get to the casino because water prices are exponentially higher than you'd find at a local grocery store.

Safest Places to Visit in Laughlin

Visit Laughlin is the name of the website for the city.

It might include some things to do in Bullhead City, but check out the Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce website for more information there.

We’ll do a mix of both locations in this article.

Don’t hesitate to tell the hotel desk if you’re celebrating a special event.

Anniversaries, renewing wedding vows, divorce parties – whatever – these special occasions might get you a free upgrade or dinner.

Laughlin runs parallel to the Colorado River.

The main road in the city is Casino Drive.

Laughlin has eight casino resorts, plenty of RV parking on the main corridor, and traditional hotels.

Most of the hotels here don’t have the same fascinating facades as their Las Vegas counterparts.

Even if you aren’t staying at Don Laughlin’s resort, you can still visit the Classic Car Museum.

The Laughlin Outlet is a discount shopping mall with name brands offering off-market and out-of-season items.

This is also a great place to pick up sunglasses or a new swimsuit without paying the high casino prices.

Many options are available on the water, and there are just as many vendors vying for your dollars.

Water skis, boat rentals, yacht cruises, kayaks, SUPs – the list goes on.

To get the best value, rent from the resort where you’re staying.

Ask about senior discounts if you’re of age.

Just nine miles south of Laughlin is the Big Bend of the Colorado (river) State Recreation Area.

With two miles of sandy shoreline, water rentals, and hiking trails, you can’t beat this escape from casino crowds.

Much like Hoover Dam created Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Davis Dam created Lake Mohave (“mo-hahvee”).

They are both part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Places to explore near Laughlin are Willow Beach, Katherine Landing, and Cottonwood Cove.

There is no easy way to get between the two lakes along the river unless you’re on a boat, but you can drive between them in 90 minutes.

NOTE: Lake Mohave and Mojave National Preserve are spelled differently, but neither is wrong.

In general, everything west of the Colorado River spells the word “Mojave,” while east of the Colorado River, it’s “Mohave.”

It’s especially important for your mapping because there is a Lake Mojave in California that is a dried-up ancient lake.

Don’t get the two confused.

Tours here can be booked to the Grand Canyon and Lake Havasu.

Laughlin Tours is the name of one of the top tour companies.

Across the river in Bullhead City, don’t be disappointed.

There is no gambling allowed in this part of the state, so there’s much less action.

You can explore the Colorado River Museum.

The Trail of Memories at Arizona Veterans Memorial Park is a somber but patriotic walk honoring service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Places to Avoid in Laughlin

For all the big attractions, Laughlin is a very small town.

You won’t find a bad neighborhood here, and it’s hard to get lost.

Pretty much, if you hit the open desert, you’ve gone too far.

Many hiking activities are discouraged in the summer, especially after 10 am, just because of how hot it gets.

Even those cooling off in the river should avoid overexerting themselves or underestimating the power of the river.

If you look for Laughlin drownings or ski accidents, you’ll see many results come up.

Some were children, others were experienced swimmers who were overpowered.

Stick to swimming areas only.

Also, don’t try to sneak into another resort’s pool.

They have security looking out for that at all times.

Trust me on this.

I’ve tried (as a younger tourist, of course).

If you book at Avi Resort & Casino, you should know that’s 16 miles south of the Laughlin main part of town.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing since it has the largest beach in the region (only open to hotel guests); it’s just good to know you’ll be away from the main attractions.

This seemed to be the section where this fits best, but please know it’s not a place to avoid.

It’s a place you might want to avoid if you don’t want to be secluded.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Laughlin

  1. Metro has a Laughlin substation at 101 Civic Way. You can email them at pio@lvmpd.com or call (702)298-2223 to get specific safety questions answered. They are also on Facebook @laughlin.substation.
  2. Crime maps are available on Metro’s website. You can choose which one you want to review and select the categories of crimes, dates, and locations. I found it easier to search by zip code using 89029.
  3. If you aren’t parking your car in a garage or under-covered parking, invest in a sun visor for your windshield. I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you that I lost several layers of skin on my hand after grabbing the steering wheel after a few hours of baking in the sun. I had parked under the shade, but then the sun moved, and my car was left in searing heat. If you make the same mistake, give your car a good 10–15 minutes to run before getting inside.
  4. There’s a Facebook group called “Bullhead/Laughlin River Safety,” and it has great information from those that know the river best, along with some information about borrowing life vests.
  5. Check the National Weather Service in Las Vegas for wind warnings. The roads to and from Laughlin are straight enough, but the crosswinds can make driving dangerous. Semi-trucks have been blown off the road, and dust storms can make it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of you.
  6. You’ll want to have some cash on you in the form of $1 and $5 bills for tipping. It’s customary to tip bellhops, housekeeping, waitresses ($1 per drink on the casino floor where drinks are free), and the valet. I always like to tip the valet ahead of time, thinking they treat my car better, but who knows how true that is!
  7. If you’re visiting on a three-day weekend or during a big event like the River Run, book early and expect to pay more. Memorial Day usually sells out in Laughlin.
  8. The pandemic hit smaller towns like Laughlin hard (even Vegas suffered a great deal), so check the blog of What’s New on the tourism website to see what’s open, what’s new, and the latest deals.
  9. The time zones between Arizona and Nevada can be tricky because Arizona doesn’t adhere to Daylight Saving Time. That means from fall through spring when everyone else loses an hour, Arizona doesn’t change. During that time, Bullhead City and Laughlin will be in the same time zone. Then, when the rest of the country “springs forward,” Arizona doesn’t change its time. That means Laughlin will be one hour behind Bullhead City.

So... How Safe Is Laughlin Really?

Since Laughlin’s crime data is lumped into the entire Clark County region, which includes Las Vegas, we can’t get an exact number of crimes officially released to the FBI.

However, I did use the LVMPD crime mapping technology to get the listed data from 2022.

If you just use the raw violent crime data and the population to get the “crimes per 100,000,” that shows a violent crime rate nearly three times the national average.

However, it doesn’t take into account the 1.2 million people who visited there.

When I did that math, the violent crime rate is 50 times lower than the national average.

The same misleading crime data can be found in the property crime category.

I can tell you that of the 230 thefts reported, 30% were from car break-ins or car accessory thefts.

About one car a week was stolen as well.

You might hear people talk about the dangers of the Laughlin River Run after the “riot.”

That was more than 20 years ago, and it seems to be a reputation Laughlin can’t shake.

It was a fight between two rival biker gangs.

The River Run is safe and fun (albeit loud).

How Does Laughlin Compare?

CitySafety Index
Laughlin75
New York City67
Detroit56
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Chicago65
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International guests coming to Laughlin need a passport and a visa or visa waiver. The same applies whether you're flying in or coming across the Mexican border. Up to 6% of Laughlin's annual guests are international visitors. You should start the process on the U.S. State Department website to see what the latest updates are about processing your application.

Currency

Currency

You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Exchange currency at the airport if you didn't do it at your home bank. There's at least one Travelex location at the international terminal. If you're planning to use your credit card at the ATM, know that the casinos raise the surge up to $7 per transaction, and that's in addition to what your bank charges.

Weather

Weather

Laughlin's summer heat is worse than Las Vegas, with July having an average high of 108°(F). The summer lows only get into the 80s. Bring whatever you need to stay cool and sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. A spray bottle filled with water will be helpful to cool off. Winter is mild, but bring jackets just in case of a cold spell.

Airports

Airports

Harry Reid International Airport is 93 miles north of Laughlin. For those coming up from Arizona, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a 230-mile drive. Laughlin does have an airport, but it's for charter services only.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance is the best idea since it covers your belongings, air travel, and road travel. For those who are seniors, you can usually get a good senior discount on travel insurance.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Laughlin Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 13° C
Feb 15° C
Mar 18° C
Apr 22° C
May 27° C
Jun 32° C
Jul 36° C
Aug 35° C
Sep 31° C
Oct 24° C
Nov 17° C
Dec 12° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
182126303541444239322318
Low
°C
781014192327272316106
High
°F
6470798695106111108102907364
Low
°F
454650576673818173615043

Nevada - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Baker74
Battle Mountain79
Beatty76
Blue Diamond76
Boulder City74
Burning Man in Black Rock City70
Caliente82
Carson City77
Elko72
Fallon77
Fernley77
Henderson68
Incline Village78
Jackpot72
Las Vegas62
Laughlin75
Lovelock76
Minden82
Moapa Valley78
Mount Charleston77
North Las Vegas54
Pahrump74
Rachel78
Reno70
Searchlight76
Sparks77
Stateline76
Tonopah81
Virginia City79
West Wendover72
Winnemucca73

Where to Next?

1 Review on Laughlin

  1. R
    Ryan Sims says:

    I understand the concern about safety, but from my experience, Laughlin is perfectly safe for travelers.

Laughlin Rated 5 / 5 based on 1 user reviews.

Share Your Experience

Share
Facebook Pinterest Review
1