Despite the brutal summer heat, thousands of people will converge on Laughlin, Nev., in early August to chill – not in an air-conditioned casino but on the Colorado River.
The Aug. 8 River Regatta, one of the region's biggest annual events, will welcome water lovers to a leisurely nine-mile, four-hour float.
Most of the year, jet skis and speedboats are common sights on the river, but the regatta is open to non-motorized watercraft such as floats, inner tubes and kayaks. Some people even build barges for the event.
Participants can launch between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. from one of two locations in Bullhead City, Ariz., directly across the river from the casino enclave of Laughlin.
Friends often travel downriver in a group by lashing their tubes together. The regatta rules allow for as many as 10 tubes to be joined as one.
Sure, you can bring an inflatable for a day out on the water, but there are cash prizes for the best-decorated craft. Past participants have turned their floats into giant animals, pirate ships and steamboats.
Registration is about $35 per person including fees. That includes shuttle service and lunch.
All participants are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. They are also encouraged to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
Summertime temperatures are routinely in the triple digits in the region. Bullhead City is second only to Death Valley in the average number of days each year with temperatures of 100 or above, according to Current Results. Death Valley averages 140 such days a year; Bullhead City is close behind at 129.
Even at summer's peak, the Colorado River water temperature is often about 30 degrees lower than the air temperature.