Road trips from Southern California: Nevada
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( Jay Jones )
Distance: 290 miles one-way
If Las Vegas is the rock star of the gambling world, energetic with plenty of edge, then Laughlin is the lounge singer -- thinning on top and slightly off-key. Still, that lounge act is entertaining in a curious sort of way and, best of all, there's no cover charge.
Laughlin, Nev., which hugs the banks of the Colorado River about 30 miles north of Needles, Calif., boasts 11 hotel-casinos with more than 10,000 rooms. The town has been called "Vegas Lite" and "Vegas Junior." I prefer "Vegas on Valium." Don't expect to make a dash for the bar or the pool. The senior citizens who occupy many of the hotel rooms keep the pace at a crawl. There's no edginess here, but for some that's part of the attraction.
Read more: Poker and petroglyphs in Laughlin, Nevada