by Bobbie Green
Along Nevada’s I-15 corridor, you will find the blooming little town of Mesquite. As tourism goes, it is still a clandestine destination—making it all the more wonderful for those who have already discovered it.
Mesquite was founded as a Mormon farming community over 100 years ago along the Virgin River in a little valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. For years, the town was hardly noticeable as you drove from Las Vegas to Utah. Since 1970 (when its population was 674), the little desert town has begun to bloom. Gaming Pioneer Si Redd built the first truck stop and small casino, then went on to erect Mesquite Vistas housing project. Other developers built more casinos and first-rate golf courses. It seems all who entered the little town fell in love with it, moving their businesses and buying a second or retirement homes there. Today, the population of Mesquite is 17,000, with visitor numbers increasing every year.
What is the origin of this so-called Mesquite Mystique?
One draw, of course, is gaming, with four large and one smaller casino in town. (I said large—but not the mega resorts of present day Las Vegas.) In Mesquite I am reminded of old Las Vegas, where the casino floor was small enough to allow you to find the people you came with. The restaurants are still casino owned and operated (not farmed out), the food is still reasonable, and the casino staff is friendly and personable. Dining options in Mesquite range from coffee shops and buffets to fine steak houses, like Charmaine’s Gourmet Dining (known for its fillet mignon) and Katherine’s (try their spinach salad and coconut prawns), both located in the CasaBlanca Hotel.
Mesquite’s casino hotels offer all amities, from valet parking to spa services and great golf packages. They also have showroom entertainment and even old-style lounge acts, and even dancing. Boogie country style at the Virgin River Casino—on Thursdays, local ladies come here to line dance.
A word about golf. There are five eighteen-hole courses in Mesquite, all encompassing varying degrees of play, and each with spectacular views. These courses are desert landscape gorgeous with a high repeat-visitor draw. Wolf Creek at Paradise Canyon, named by Golf Digest as one of the top three new upscale public courses in the United States, put Mesquite on the golfing map. And the Palmer course at the Oasis Golf Club can boast of eighteen signature holes, with total of thirty-six holes. And more courses are in the works!
Mesquite’s best tourist attraction of all is location, location, location. Eighty miles of Interstate Highway away from the Las Vegas traffic and smog, Mesquite is the perfect starting point for many side trips. To the west, visitors can enjoy the Valley of Fire and Lake Mead. To the east, visit Zion National Park, or go fishing at Quail and Gunlock lakes. There are plenty of hiking and biking tails in and near Mesquite, along with fairgrounds and a rodeo arena.
Mesquite is also home to Mesquite Skydive, where experienced and beginning jumpers come for their weekend thrills. Daring Divas can experience their first tandem jump in this picturesque backdrop community. (The Eureka Hotel and Casino offers Jump and Stay packages.) Mesquite Skydive is located at Mesquite’s airport. (The airport has a runway length of 5,100 feet and width of 75 feet for those of you with small planes. The closest commercial airport is located in St George Utah 35 miles from Mesquite, or Las Vegas 80 miles away.)
Mesquite averages 331 days of sunshine per year; however, July and August get extremely hot, and unless you are truly hardy, not the optimal time for a golfing trip. Winters are mild and Mesquite is home to many snowbirds October though May.
Mesquite is a great, uncluttered destination or stopover, perfect for group and family reunion vacations and for the solo traveler. So experience the Mesquite Mystique—before the secret is discovered by all.
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The Casablanca Resort offers a gorgeous pool area complete with water fall and a great spa—perfect after a day of sightseeing or golfing.
Virgin River Hotel & Casino
Eureka Casino & Hotel
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Bobbie Green was born in Wheeling West Virginia and grew up in southern California, where she later married and raised her child. Always interested in travel and photography, she entered into the travel business in 1996. After working and eventually owning her own agency she began writing about her travels. She feels her experience as an agent helps her understanding to write about her travel encounters and to connect her readers with the travel information they want to know before they plan their own travels.
She now writes for her local newspaper the Desert Valley Times and freelances. She has been published in TravelWorld, Senior Wire, and Nevada Magazine.