Absolutely gorgeous, the Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area is a true desert oasis. Just 5 miles south of Laughlin, Nevada on the Needles Highway, this quiet river beach spot boasts clean water, shaded picnic tables, a boat launch, camping, and miles of hiking.
Mom (Jody) and I drove up before lunchtime, and the sun was already intense. Families were on the beach and in the shade ramadas, enjoying the day. We moved quickly over the scorching-hot sand to get our feet into the cool water and walked a little way along the shore to pick up small shells and get pictures of the mallards. There were no roped-off swimming enclaves, so children taking a dip in the water were equipped with life-jackets. Aside from picnicking and cooling off, people were going up and down the river on their Sea-Doos (the only thing creating “waves” on the shore). The waters are calm enough for walking in the shallow banks along the river.
Highlights of this unlikely desert beach destination are the beautiful colors and views, lots of shaded picnic areas, and plenty of spots for families to enjoy the cool lapping of the Colorado River.
This area has a colorful array of wildlife. Although we only saw mallards on the river, we spotted some big horn sheep and raccoon tracks leading to and from the water on the sand.
What you might want to bring: some type of beach shoes to get you from the hot sand to the river, hand sanitizer, plenty of water, a camera, and the summer trifecta of hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. If you are into boating, kayaking, or Sea-Dooing, know the rules before you go. According to the Nevada State Parks website: “Boating and fishing on the Colorado River is regulated by Nevada, Arizona, and California. visitors are responsible for knowing the regulations and license requirements or each of the states.”
There is a fee to use this recreation area, but it is worth every penny if you plan to spend the day here.
Until next time – oh, yeah, you’ll be back!