Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gambling Oases On The Road To Las Vegas

For those of you who choose to drive to Las Vegas, if you study your road map, you will easily note that there are only a few highways that lead into and out of the city - a fact not missed by either the Nevada Highway Patrol in setting up road checks, or Homeland Security in planning escape routes (God forbid we ever need to activate that plan!).

There are clusters of casinos on these inbound roads that function much differently than the traditional truck stops. They are designed to take your money before you ever get to Vegas! To be much kinder, some of them can also be considered tourist destinations in their own right, providing many amenities and accommodations that Vegas offers, often at an attractive discount.

1)Driving in from the South ( from Los Angeles )on I-15, there are two gambling oases between the California state line and Las Vegas. I actually like Primm and Jean (I thick they are sisters!); they are as good an excuse as any to drive out of Vegas, and they have some nice, reasonable restaurants:

Prim, Nevada - Stateline

Jean, Nevada

2) Driving in from the North ( from Salt Lake City ) on I-15, there is one gambling oasis, Mesquite, about 90 miles from Las Vegas, that has a very effective marketing strategy to attract people fron Las Vegas to their weekend getaways. The Casablanca Resort is a top notch hotel, has a beautiful golf and spa package, and a nice pool and even features headliner shows!

Mesquite, Nevada

3) Coming in from the South on the 95 Highway (Arizona) I would suggest you keep driving through! An exception: there is a good but tiny casino restaurant in Searchlight, Nevada, the birthplace of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, so if you are hungry, stop in and say "hi."

Video about Searchlight, for those who must know!

4) Coming in from West on the back roads of California through Death Valley, about 60 miles from Vegas, you are encouraged to visit the town of Pahrump, Nevada. Once again, there is a variety of restaurant and accommodation options, and the locals are pretty darn friendly! ( Yes, there are brothels there, but that's not the kind of "friendly" I was talking about!) Small town Pahrump is called the New Old West, and the influx of new people moving there is giving them the same growth pains as Vegas, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Pahrump, Nevada


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