Travelling from LA to the Grand Canyon. Overnight stay in Laughlin, an alternative to Las Vegas
Day 12 of our West Coast Road Trip – Venice to Laughlin
The Grand Canyon tempts a lot of people to take the drive from Los Angeles to visit. Many people don’t realise just how far it is, over 800 miles and almost 9 hours drive straight through. You will need to stop for the night on the way, or risk arriving late and missing the sunset – something you should not miss. Las Vegas looks like the obvious choice however it does add more mileage on to the route. So where to stay between LA and the Grand Canyon? The bonus with choosing Laughlin is it’s pretty much on Route 66, you can visit many of the Route 66 towns from Laughlin such as Oatman and Kingman. It’s also about half way between LA and the Grand Canyon. You will also pay a fraction of the cost for a hotel here compared to those in Las Vegas.
We still hadn’t paddled in the Pacific yet so needed to do that this morning. We were up and out on the beach by 9am. This seems to be the best time to go on a Sunday morning, we almost had the entire beach to ourselves. The water wasn’t as cold as we expected. Apparently the Pacific is colder than the Atlantic but we didn’t notice any difference. Once the initial shock has worn off you are good to go. The current is very strong though, I think that would be the biggest issue if you were thinking of swimming here you would need to be a confident swimmer.
The Original Farmers Market
We left Venice at 10.30 and headed to the Original Farmers Market near La Brea to get breakfast. Big mistake! We had heard you need a car to get around LA. The public transport isn’t sufficient and you can’t get to places using it etc. Well having the car was a nightmare, we were much better off the first couple of days of our trip when we were in LA with no car.
We arrived at the Farmers Market and there was so many cars, the carpark was full and people were queuing round to try and find a space. Tickets people got on the way in were expiring before they gave up finding a space and left which caused more queues at the barriers. We didn’t get to see the Farmers Market and wasted an hour queuing round the car park.
We had now had enough of seeing LA, much preferring the Hollywood area and Sunset due to our short experiences of each. I’d return to give it another go, not with a car though and possibly visiting the beaches mid week.
IHOP – Breakfast
So off we went in search of breakfast, we ended up having our second diner style breakfast (which was really more like lunch at this point) at the IHOP in Rancho Cucamonga. I had the Raspberry and White Chocolate Pancakes and Richard had the Chicken and Waffles. The food was great and we were so hungry by now we finished it all, it was 1pm.
Very different views on todays drive, we were headed for the desert. It’s a fairly straightforward drive if you take the quickest route from LA to Laughlin like we did. When talking about our plans at home before we left no one had heard of some of the places on our list and Laughlin was one such place. If you’re wondering where to stay between LA and the Grand Canyon you should really consider Laughlin. It’s an absolute bargain and we wouldn’t hesitate to go back.
We were staying at Harrah’s Hotel & Casino tonight, a 4* property on the Colorado River, which cost $20.99 for the night plus tax. It’s a great place to stay. Arguably a bit tired but clean, there’s a small beach area on the Colorado where I had a paddle in the water – to say I had been in the river that forged the Grand Canyon. There are also multiple swimming pools and of course the casino where we tried our luck without success. Our favourite part of the hotel was the dinner we had in Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho.
El Burro Borracho is a Mexican restaurant and the food is excellent. Our dinner started with a tequila flight which had 4 different tequila’s to try, our favourite was the Jose Cuervo. We had some jalapeno poppers – the biggest we’ve ever seen followed by a Burracho Plater for Richard and Cheese Enchilada’s for me. We also got a side of Guy’s Guacamole which is made by your server at the table. Our server was great, answered all our questions and was really friendly, this place probably had the best service of our trip.
More fuel for the car today we were now up to $146 but we had driver over 2000 miles!