MESQUITE, NV — For a destination once known as “the fastest growing city in America,” Mesquite has a much more tranquil vibe than what first-time visitors may expect.
Nestled along the Nevada-Arizona border in the rugged Virgin River Valley, the city with a population hovering around 25,000 is a far cry from the hustle and bustle you experience in most classic golf and gamble destinations. Mesquite has become a haven for “snowbirds” and retirees transplanted from all over North America and offers the kind of welcoming “small town” charm and gentility that it’s not uncommon to draw the same Uber driver in a single day who will most likely remember your name.
But don’t be fooled by Mesquite’s calming demeanour.
Because if it’s action and excitement you desire, this picturesque city surrounded by jaw-dropping red mesa and mountain vistas can indeed be vibrant, offering a slew of exhilarating outdoor activities and unique cultural experiences.
“What I always tell people is that when they come to Mesquite it’s the perfect place to do as much or as little as you want to do on a daily basis,” says Mesquite Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carol Kolson.
That said, it’s clear Mesquite can more than satisfy the more than one million visitors per year it attracts with a wide array of tastes and desires and following a recent first-time visit, we present five reasons why it should be on your travel punch list.
Above: Mesquite's landscape is very inviting for adventure travellers.
Mesquite sits in the northeastern region of the Mojave Desert, along the Virgin Mountains on the Arizona/Nevada border. The Utah border is also within a few kilometres away and is easily accessible via Interstate 15, which runs straight through the entire city. A number of major cities are well within driving distance, with Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Phoenix all less than 643km away.
If you’re flying to Mesquite, it doesn’t get much easier than landing in St. George Regional Airport in Utah, which is less than an hour drive to the centre of the city and offers daily non-stop flights from Salt Lake, Denver and Phoenix.
Of course, the other option for air travellers is Las Vegas. The bright lights of Sin City are about 130km south, so a day/night trip to the famed Las Vegas Strip is never out of the question, making Mesquite’s location on the map all the more optimal.
It doesn’t matter when you visit the warm desert climate of Mesquite, make sure to pack your sunblock because the area is blessed with more than 300 days of sunshine each year.
From June through September, temperatures routinely climb above 37C, but there are typically less than 40 days a year when the thermometer reads below 3C. The year-round average temperature is 20C and the average annual rainfall is less than 12 centimetres.
The best time of year to visit? That all depends on what your itinerary includes (more on that below) but, for the most part, you will be able to enjoy comfortable temperatures, both during the day and at night, and very little precipitation.
“Honestly, you feel like you're living in a resort every day,” Kolson says. “There’s that small window, about a three-month period, where we have high heat, but the payoff is amazing the rest of the year.”
Mesquite is also well-known for its idyllic sunsets.
“They are truly amazing because you get those beautiful hues of orange and purple, behind a bright blue sky,” Kolson adds, “You can't put a price on that view. Simply stunning.”
Above: It may not be Las Vegas, but Mesquite has its own unique casino entertainment.
3: Casino entertainment
Nevada was the first state in the U.S. to legalize gambling, but the gambling scene in Mesquite is quite the contrast from what you find an hour south in Las Vegas.
“If you like to gamble, we can definitely fill that need, but it’s a lot different than Las Vegas,” Kolson said. “We don’t have the mega-casinos that are on the Strip, but our guests like the fact that the casinos are much easier to navigate and you don’t have to walk a long way from your room to get to a slot machine.”
Sitting in the epicentre of Mesquite is Eureka Casino Resort, which features all of the amenities of the aforementioned Las Vegas Strip properties, but with a more welcoming, laid back environment. The pristine 60-acre resort offers panoramic views of the red mesas and mountains with a heated pool area surrounded by palm trees and gardens.
The casino floor has over 1,000 of the most popular slot machines as well as table games such as blackjack, craps, Pai Gow Poker and roulette. Eureka is also the only casino in Mesquite with Stadium Gaming — where players can use electronic touch screens and live dealers to play multiple live table games — and the immersive Lightning Link Lounge features the latest video reel slot machines surrounded by lights, music and creative sound effects. In addition, the resort’s William Hill Sportsbook is the only venue of its kind in the city for betting and watching all of the action on massive screens with comfortable seating.
And while Eureka Casino Resort may not be as massive as a Bellagio or Caesars Palace, it does have a signature steakhouse that rivals any similar venue on the Strip.
Gregory’s Mesquite Grill was recommended to us as the best restaurant in the city and it did not disappoint, thanks to its opulent atmosphere and exemplary service and attention to detail. Menu favourites include an array of steak options straight from the Mesquite wood grill and seafood starters such as Shrimp “Rockefeller” Style and the mouth-watering Seared Ahi Tuna.
Speaking of the exceptional service, this is a common theme throughout the property, which is no surprise since parent company Eureka Casino Resort is the only employee-owned gaming company in the U.S. The staff has a skin in the game when it comes to making guests feel welcome, and it shows.
Above: There's much to explore on the back trails surrounding Mesquite.
As Kolson noted, the number of outdoor experiences in Mesquite and within close proximity is downright staggering.
To wit, nine national parks, 12 national monuments, six national forests, three national recreation areas and numerous state parks are within driving distance, including some of the most iconic landing spots in the U.S., such as Bryce Canyon, Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks, Cathedral Gorge, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Snow Canyon and, of course, Valley of Fire State Park.
“When my husband and I moved here from Seattle we didn’t know about Valley of Fire, but it’s one of the most amazing places I’ve ever stepped foot in,” Kolson says of Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, filled with 40,000 acres of red rock formations made from Aztec sandstone that glisten under the sun appear to be “on fire.”
Cultural attractions include the Lost City Museum and the Mesquite Fine Arts Center and Gallery while those looking to get their blood pumping a littlemore can find the largest full service drop zone in Nevada for skydiving nearby. Another very popular activity is off-road vehicle tours that zoom through scenic trails throughout the surrounding area as well as nearby Utah and Arizona.
Mesquite also has an annual event calendar featuring the Mesquite Hot Air Balloon Festival, Mesquite Motor Mania Car Show and the Smokin’ In Mesquite BBQ competition, to name a few.
Above: Wolf Creek, left, and The Canyons, right, are two of Mesquite's finest courses.
5: World-class golf
Of all the breathtaking outdoor activities Mesquite has to offer, the city has become synonymous with its world-class golf courses that are all within 16km of the centre of town.
Wolf Creek Golf Club and Conestoga Golf Club were ranked No.3 and No. 7 respectively on Golfweek’s 2022 list of Best Public Courses in Nevada, and for good reason. Not to be outdone, the other tracks — The Palmer, Falcon Ridge, The Canyons, Casablanca Golf Club and The Palms — all provide a variety of layouts and price points, but one thing that all Mesquite courses have in common is pristine conditions and awe-inspiring views.
“We have most certainly become known for our golf and people come from all over to play our courses,” Kolson says. “There aren’t many golf destinations that have so many quality courses in such close proximity to each other. Our guests really love the fact that it’s easy to get around and play multiple courses without having to spend much time at all in their car going from course-to-course.”
In addition to the Mesquite courses, St. George is home to five of the most highly acclaimed courses that Utah has to offer while Coyote Springs Golf Club, ranked No. 6 on that same Golfweek list, is less than an hour drive away from Mesquite.
Kolson warns that the popularity of the golf courses makes it crucial to plan ahead and book tee times well in advance. Eureka Casino Resort offers a huge selection of value-laden stay-and-play packages and specializes in catering to large groups. In fact, travel groups of 20+ are treated to an after-golf, open bar cocktail hour inside the William Hill Sportsbook.
For more information and to book your stay-and-play package, please go to https://www.eurekamesquite.com/golf-vacations