Bullhead City, situated on the majestic Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, is a captivating blend of history, recreation, and modernity. It stands as a vibrant oasis amidst the vast desert that blankets much of the southwestern United States.
With its close proximity to the renowned gambling hub of Laughlin, Nevada, Bullhead City offers a diverse range of experiences to suit every preference. Whether you seek adventure in the great outdoors or prefer the excitement of entertainment, this area has something for everyone.
Nature enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to explore the desert trails, immersing themselves in the beauty of the surroundings while engaging in activities like bird-watching. On the other hand, those seeking a lively and entertaining atmosphere can indulge in sipping gin ‘n tonics and witnessing talented Elvis impersonators serenade the audience with songs about blue suede shoes. Bullhead City and neighboring Laughlin provide endless options to satisfy your interests.
As a travel enthusiast, let me join you as you embark on an exploration of the best things to do in Bullhead City, where a world of possibilities awaits.
1. Colorado River Museum
If you want to delve into the rich history of Arizona, Nevada, and the Colorado River region, there’s no better place to visit than the Colorado River Museum located on Highway 68 in Bullhead City. Housed in a charming old church that dates back to the 1940s, this museum is a treasure trove of historical knowledge.
Once inside, you’ll find a captivating collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and engaging displays that primarily focus on the construction of the nearby Davis Dam, the legendary Route 66, and the fascinating history of the surrounding towns and the river itself. It’s a comprehensive crash-course in the area’s vibrant past.
The museum’s exhibits go beyond the construction of the dam and the iconic Route 66. They offer insights into other significant chapters of history, such as the gold and silver mining era, the rich tradition of cattle ranching, and the intriguing history of the Native American communities in the region.
It’s worth noting that the museum operates on a seasonal schedule, so be sure to check the website for opening times before planning your visit. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this remarkable museum and immerse yourself in the captivating history of the area.
2. Colorado River Nature Center
The Colorado River is undeniably one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the western United States. While the introduction of dams has altered its course and flow in several locations, it remains a mesmerizing spectacle, particularly as it meanders through the awe-inspiring canyons it has diligently carved over countless ages.
For an unforgettable day trip, I discovered that the Colorado River Nature Center is conveniently located within ten miles of Bullhead City. This proximity allows for easy access to explore the wonders of this remarkable river.
Upon arrival, I was delighted to find a range of activities available to enjoy. Whether you prefer swimming, fishing, or simply taking a leisurely walk along the river’s edge, this nature center offers a serene escape. With the park spanning nearly 150 acres, it’s an ideal destination for horseback riding enthusiasts to embark on scenic trails. Additionally, the diverse ecosystem attracts a variety of bird species, making it a haven for bird watchers as well.
As I immersed myself in the tranquility of this natural sanctuary, I marveled at the power and beauty of the Colorado River. It’s a place where you can create cherished memories while embracing the wonders of nature.
3. Stroll on the Riverwalk
When it comes to Bullhead City, Arizona and Laughlin, Nevada, they feel like two interconnected towns, separated only by a river. It’s rare to visit one without exploring the other. If you’re drawn to the allure of the casino floors, with their flashing lights and ringing bells, I urge you to tear yourself away for a few hours and indulge in a leisurely stroll along the riverwalk.
This riverside promenade offers an experience that is particularly unforgettable during sunset. As you embark on your walk, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking panoramic views of the picturesque river and the majestic mountains that envelop the landscape.
The riverwalk predominantly spans the Laughlin side of the river, guiding you through sections that vary in development. From well-developed areas to more pristine and natural stretches, this walk allows you to witness the diverse facets of the river’s surroundings.
Immerse yourself in the serenity of the riverwalk, soaking in the beauty of the tranquil river and the stunning mountains that serve as a backdrop. It’s a serene escape from the excitement of the casinos, offering a chance to reconnect with nature and appreciate the natural wonders that grace this remarkable region.
4. Davis Dam and Camp
Within a short distance of Bullhead City lies Davis Dam and Camp, an idyllic retreat that offers respite from the dazzling lights and excitement of the city. Whether you’re seeking a brief escape or an overnight adventure, this destination provides a serene environment that embraces nature’s beauty.
Located right on the banks of the magnificent Colorado River, just across from Nevada, Davis Dam and Camp offers all the essential amenities for RV enthusiasts and campers. From convenient bathrooms to a well-equipped laundry room and refreshing showers, every aspect of comfort has been carefully considered.
One of the most delightful surprises is the remarkable clarity and coolness of the river’s waters throughout the year. This makes it an ideal spot to lounge on a towel, basking in the warm rays of the sun, or take a refreshing swim. Fishing enthusiasts will also find joy in casting their lines into the crystal-clear waters. For those seeking a dose of excitement, personal watercraft rentals are available, allowing you to zip across the river and experience exhilarating moments.
With the peaceful ambiance, picturesque surroundings, and an array of recreational opportunities, Davis Dam and Camp beckons to both nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Consider spending a night under the starry skies, embracing the tranquility that comes with camping in this enchanting setting.
5. Colorado River Heritage Greenway Trail
Have you heard about the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Trail, also known as the North Reach Trail? It spans approximately 9 miles, offering a picturesque journey along the Laughlin side of the river.
What sets this trail apart is the abundance of amenities available to enhance your experience. Restrooms, shaded seating areas, and inviting picnic spots await you along the way. Moreover, there’s even a fishing pier for those who wish to cast their lines into the tranquil waters.
The Colorado River Heritage Greenway Trail caters to a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a cyclist, a runner, or even an equestrian, you’ll find this trail accommodating. Additionally, it provides access to five other trailheads, offering ample opportunities for further exploration and adventure.
One of the advantages of this trail is its relatively uncrowded nature. Due to the intense desert sun, many visitors prefer to embark on their journey in the refreshing morning or afternoon hours. This allows you to enjoy the trail’s serene ambiance and stunning vistas without feeling overwhelmed by large crowds.
As you reach the end of the trail, a splendid reward awaits you. Prepare to be captivated by a magnificent view of the nearby Davis Dam. It serves as a grand finale, providing a striking visual reminder of the natural wonders that grace the surrounding landscape.
6. Arizona Veterans Memorial Park
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Arizona Veterans Memorial Park, a serene and meaningful place that overlooks the majestic Colorado River. The best part? Admission is free, and the park welcomes visitors every day.
As I explored the park, I discovered that it is divided into two distinct sections. The northern part features a memorial with the names of Arizonans who bravely gave their lives in conflicts and wars. The etched names serve as a poignant reminder of their sacrifice and the profound impact they had on our nation.
In the southern section of the park, a remarkable sight caught my attention—an eternal flame. This symbolic flame stands tall, burning brightly, and serves as a constant reminder of the ultimate sacrifices made by Arizona’s brave soldiers. Its steady glow represents the unwavering spirit and dedication of our heroes.
Additionally, the park holds a memorial dedicated to the USS Arizona, the battleship tragically sunk during the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. This event marked a pivotal moment in history, prompting America’s declaration of war and uniting the nation in the face of adversity. The memorial stands as a tribute to the brave sailors who lost their lives that fateful day and a reminder of the resilience and patriotism that emerged from that dark chapter.
7. Take a River Taxi
I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the Colorado River taxi, a delightful mode of transportation that offers a unique way to explore the sights and conveniently travel between Laughlin and Bullhead City.
Upon arrival at the river taxi, I discovered that there are two ticket options available. For a single trip, you can purchase a one-trip ticket. Alternatively, if you plan on utilizing the taxi multiple times throughout the day, an all-day pass is also available. This flexibility ensures that you can choose the option that best suits your itinerary.
To access the river taxi and obtain tickets, I headed to the information and ticket center conveniently located near the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. The helpful staff at the center provided me with all the necessary information and assisted me in securing my ticket for the river taxi adventure.
While the tickets may not come at a bargain price, I can confidently say that the experience is worth every penny. The river taxi swiftly navigates the water, allowing passengers to reach their destinations efficiently. As the taxi glided along the river, I was captivated by the breathtaking sights that unfolded before my eyes. The scenic views along the way made the investment in the river taxi truly worthwhile.
One notable advantage of the river taxi is the availability of multiple taxis. This ensures that passengers have ample options and can easily catch a ride. According to the website, the taxis operate from 9 AM to 9 PM, providing a generous window of time to enjoy the convenience and beauty of the river taxi service.
8. Laughlin Labyrinths
I recently had the pleasure of discovering the Laughlin Labyrinths, a captivating collection of nine stone designs and mazes nestled on Thomas Edison Drive in Laughlin. It was intriguing to find such a tranquil escape amidst the bustling atmosphere of the nearby casinos.
While some of the structures require a short hike to reach, the effort is well worth it. As I explored the intricate designs of the labyrinths, I found myself immersed in a world of serenity. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the area, it was a welcome respite from the noise and excitement of the nearby casinos.
It’s important to note that the labyrinths are spread out and located near private property, so it’s crucial to respect any warnings or signs you may encounter along the way. Taking the necessary precautions ensures a pleasant and respectful experience for everyone involved.
The Laughlin Labyrinths have garnered attention in the past and were even featured on a public television show. Their uniqueness and captivating beauty make them a wonderful destination, especially during the quieter times of day. I found that visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon allowed me to fully appreciate the labyrinths without the harsh sun overpowering the experience.
If you’re interested in exploring the Laughlin Labyrinths, I recommend reaching out to the help desk at one of the local casinos. They can provide you with accurate directions and any additional information you may need to ensure a seamless and enjoyable visit.
9. Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Collection
During my visit to Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort on South Casino Drive, I stumbled upon a hidden treasure—the classic car collection of the very man after whom the city of Laughlin was named.
Spanning two floors, this car collection showcases not only the owner’s personal classics but also vehicles on loan from other esteemed collections. It’s a welcome diversion when you feel like your arms can no longer bear the strain of pulling that slot-machine handle one more time.
What struck me most about the car collection was the absence of an admission fee. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or simply curious about vintage automobiles, strolling through this exhibit offers a delightful and unexpected journey down memory lane. The cars on display have undergone professional restorations, and their pristine condition is a testament to the dedication and passion behind their preservation.
As I explored the collection, I couldn’t help but marvel at the range of models and the rarity of some of the cars. Each vehicle exudes its own charm and represents a piece of automotive history. Whether you’re an admirer of classic cars or simply appreciate craftsmanship, this exhibit is sure to captivate and inspire.
10. Christmas Tree Pass
I recently embarked on a scenic drive along Christmas Tree Pass, a captivating route that winds through the magnificent Newberry Mountains in southern Nevada. Starting near Laughlin and extending to Searchlight, Nevada, this road journey offers an enchanting glimpse of the surrounding natural beauty.
To reach Christmas Tree Pass, I traveled through the picturesque Lake Mead Recreation area. While the road is unpaved and composed of gravel, it proved to be relatively manageable and didn’t pose any significant challenges.
As I ascended to the top of the pass, I was rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. The vast expanse of the Mojave Desert stretched out before me, adorned with an array of fascinating cactus species. Looking down, I could see the awe-inspiring Colorado River Valley, its waters carving their way through the rugged landscape below.
Along the route, there are convenient pullouts where you can park your vehicle, capture memorable photographs, or even embark on a short desert walk. These opportunities allowed me to immerse myself in the tranquility and serenity of the surroundings.
If you decide to continue all the way to Searchlight before turning back, rest assured that amenities are available. Gas stations and establishments where you can purchase food and beverages provide a welcome respite in this remote area.
11. Davis Dam at Lake Meade National Recreation Area
During my recent visit to Bullhead City, I had the opportunity to explore a remarkable attraction nestled on the Colorado River—Davis Dam. This captivating structure is truly a must-see for anyone seeking memorable experiences in the area.
As I approached the dam, I was immediately struck by its sheer magnitude. The sight of this colossal engineering feat left me in awe of human ingenuity and the power of nature. The park surrounding the dam, located on the downriver side, offered a host of amenities that added to the overall experience.
Within the park, I discovered shaded picnic areas, complete with barbeque grills, allowing visitors to savor delicious outdoor meals while basking in the serene beauty of the surroundings. The park also provided convenient access to showers and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable visit for all.
One word of caution: the river’s current can be strong at times, depending on the flow through the dam. If you decide to rent a watercraft or opt for a thrilling ride on a heavy-duty inner tube, exercise caution and adhere to safety guidelines to ensure a fun and secure adventure.
To make the most of my visit to Davis Dam, I took advantage of the relatively inexpensive park fee. I gathered all the essentials—burgers, buns, and a cooler brimming with cold beverages—and embarked on a delightful day filled with laughter, relaxation, and picturesque views.
12. Big Bend Colorado River
On my recent visit to Laughlin, I discovered a hidden gem nestled along Needles Highway—Big Bend Colorado River. This idyllic spot is like an oasis reminiscent of an ocean beach, situated in the heart of one of America’s driest deserts.
As a state park, Big Bend offers a serene escape from the scorching desert heat. The water here is remarkably clear and refreshingly chilly, owing to its high elevation origin. It’s the perfect respite for those seeking relief from the area’s notorious temperatures.
One of the highlights of my visit was experiencing the gentle yet swift current of the river. I found joy in walking upriver, only to float back downstream to the park on my back or an inner tube. This leisurely activity allowed me to immerse myself in the tranquility of the surroundings while enjoying the soothing embrace of the river.
Families will be delighted to find relatively shallow areas within the park, shielded from the strong river current. These designated spaces provide a safe and playful environment where children can frolic and create cherished memories.
For those who wish to extend their stay and fully embrace the natural beauty, Big Bend Colorado River offers camping sites. Spending the night under the stars, surrounded by the serene ambiance of the park, is an experience that truly connects you with nature.
13. Lake Mohave
As an avid sports enthusiast and outdoor lover, I couldn’t resist the allure of Lake Mohave during my visit to the Bullhead City area. Nestled between the towering Hoover and Davis Dams, this magnificent lake has become a haven for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.
The sheer size of Lake Mohave left me speechless. Stretching nearly 70 miles in length, spanning 4 miles in width, and boasting depths of up to 700 feet in certain areas, it truly is a sight to behold. The grandeur of the lake immediately captivated my senses and set the stage for an unforgettable experience.
Situated within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Lake Mohave encompasses three primary recreation areas, each catering to the diverse interests of visitors. Whether you’re an avid fisherman, a scuba diving enthusiast, a swimmer, or a water skier, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the highlights of Lake Mohave is its abundance of sport-fish species. Thanks to intentional introductions, the lake is teeming with rainbow trout, large and smallmouth bass, and striped bass, providing ample opportunities for anglers to test their skills and reel in some impressive catches.
While the lake’s deep and crystal-clear waters present a challenge for fishing, I discovered that timing is everything. During my visit, I learned that low-light periods such as dusk and dawn are optimal for fishing, as these are the times when fish are most active. So, if you’re planning to try your luck on the pristine waters of Lake Mohave, be sure to plan your fishing excursions accordingly.
14. Grapevine Canyon
I embarked on a thrilling adventure along the Grapevine Canyon Trail within the magnificent Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Spanning just under 4 miles, this trail proved to be both challenging and rewarding, offering breathtaking vistas that left me in awe.
As I set foot on the trail, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation for the treasures that awaited me. Along the way, I was treated to a remarkable display of Ancient Native American petroglyphs, etched into the canyon walls, serving as a captivating testament to the rich history of the region.
One of the highlights of this trail is the presence of multiple waterfalls, which come to life in the wake of rain, typically during the spring season. Witnessing the cascading waters was a true marvel and a reminder of nature’s power and beauty.
The trail itself presented a moderate challenge, as it ascended approximately 400 feet in elevation from start to finish. It’s worth noting that the area is prone to sudden flash floods, so I remained vigilant, listening attentively and keeping an eye on the sky for any signs of storm clouds gathering to the north.
To fully enjoy this exhilarating hike, I made sure to come prepared. Wearing sturdy and comfortable shoes was essential, as the trail terrain varied in difficulty. Staying hydrated was also crucial, so I carried an ample supply of water to quench my thirst along the way. Additionally, I packed sunblock to protect my skin from the desert sun’s relentless rays.
15. Mohave Museum of History & Arts
As I ventured onto West Beale Street in Kingman, I discovered a true gem for history enthusiasts—the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. This esteemed institution proved to be the perfect gateway to delve into the captivating history of the Colorado River region.
One of the museum’s most notable attractions is the captivating gallery of portraits featuring former presidents and their esteemed wives. It provided a fascinating glimpse into the lives and legacies of these influential figures who shaped the nation.
Delving further into the museum’s offerings, I found a diverse array of art and exhibits that focused primarily on the region’s rich history, vibrant economy, and the profound contributions of the Native American communities who inhabited these lands long before settlers arrived. Each display brought the past to life, painting a vivid picture of the people, events, and cultures that shaped the area.
What impressed me even more was the fact that the Mohave Museum of History and Arts relies solely on donations and admission fees to sustain its operations. Recognizing the importance of supporting such cultural institutions, I eagerly contributed and encouraged others to do the same.