America’s High-Stakes Casinos
Get your game on! From slots and roulette to baccarat and poker, plenty of gaming action awaits at America's most popular casinos. Catch Lady Luck's eye and take a chance on fun at these resorts.
Beau RivageTrue story: In July 2011, a Baton Rouge accountant named Deborah Boies walked into this waterfront casino on the Gulf Coast of Biloxi, MS, and sat down at the casino’s $1 Wheel of Fortune machine. After investing $15 in less than a minute, jackpot! She won the $1,191,744.89 on the machine. 960 1280
Green Valley Ranch Resort and SpaEscape the fast-paced Vegas scene. Just 20 minutes from the Strip, this resort sits on 8 acres of land bordered by cool palm trees. In between coiffing your winning hands at the resort’s spa, check out the casino’s 55 gaming tables, 2,200 slot and video poker machines, and 22-table poker room. 960 1280
MGM Grand DetroitThere’s Vegas, and then there’s … Detroit? Yep, that’s right. The Motor City is one of the largest US cities to offer travelers a casino resort hotel. This beaut includes 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 4,000 slot and video poker machines, along with more than 90 table games. For further relaxation, grab a pint at TAP sports pub or sample the fare at 2 Wolfgang Puck eateries. 960 1280
Gold StrikeOnce you’ve paid your respects to the King in nearby Memphis, hightail it to this resort and casino 20 minutes away, in Tunica Resorts, MS. You’ll find 52 table games and 1,400 slot machines, plus a nightclub, spa and steakhouse restaurant that’s snagged high marks from Wine Spectator magazine. 960 1280
Atlantis Casino Resort SpaIn recent years, the main casino in this resort in Reno, NV, ditched its tropical theme for something more elegant -- think accent lighting and new, streamlined furnishings. Spanning 67,000,000 square feet of space, the casino also boasts 1,500 slot machines and plenty of gaming excitement, including the classic card game baccarat. 960 1280
Borgata Hotel Casino & SpaHands down, this is the best casino resort in Atlantic City. The $1.1 billion property gets high marks from travelers for its sheer size (it’s the largest hotel in New Jersey) and its Las Vegas feel (it is Atlantic City’s top-grossing casino). The 161,000-square-foot casino floor boasts 4,000 slot machines and 200 table games -- as well as the largest poker room on the East Coast! 960 1280
Harrah’s New OrleansA stone’s throw from the mighty Mississippi is another mighty sight: this 115,000-square-foot casino -- home to 2,100 slot machines, more than 90 table games and a poker room. If that’s not sensory overload enough, swing by the French Quarter, just 1 block away. 960 1280
Golden NuggetYou didn’t think we’d forget Vegas, did you? This Vegas landmark (open since 1946), boasts the largest casino in downtown -- we’re talking 38,000 square feet of gaming space. Near the casino’s registration desk, you won’t soon forget seeing the Hand of Faith -- a gold nugget, found in Australia in 1980, that was purchased by the resort for more than $1 million. 960 1280
Eldorado Resort CasinoYou’ve landed at Shreveport Regional Airport -- so, where’s the first place you go? This swanky casino, located just 7 miles away. The 30,000-square-foot space is home to more than 1,500 slots and video poker machines, as well a gourmet steakhouse and bar-and-entertainment venue where you can belt out some karaoke. Or kick back with a drink. 960 1280
The StripLas Vegas Strip — the 4.2-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South — passes through Paradise and Winchester, 2 unincorporated towns, and it also is the heart of the glitzy in Vegas. The Strip has made Vegas a hot tourist attraction in part because 15 of the world’s largest hotels (by room count) are located here, as well as popular casinos, restaurants and over-the-top live entertainment. 960 1280
Hot-Air Balloon RideSoar high above Las Vegas to see the city’s famous Strip, the diverse neighborhoods and the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon. Some companies provide hors d’oeuvres and/or a traditional Champagne breakfast to create a romantic atmosphere for couples. 960 1280
Stratosphere Thrill RidesStep off the ledge and go for the extreme. Get your heart-pounding thrills atop the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower with a free fall from the 108th floor; a 3-G spin 900 feet in the air; a headfirst dive 27 feet over the edge of the tower; or get shot 160 feet in the air at 45 miles high above Vegas. The Stratosphere’s rides -- Skyjump, Insanity, X-Scream and Big Shot -- are perfect for adrenaline junkies. 960 1280
Hiking in Red Rock CanyonTake a hike! Visit the 197,000-acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, located about 17 miles outside Las Vegas, to commune with nature and see 3,000-foot-tall red-rock formations. In addition to hiking, the family-friendly area offers other outdoor activities, including horseback riding and climbing — or just have a picnic and enjoy the amazing scenery. 960 1280
Shark Reef at Mandalay BayExplore the exotic wonders of Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The aquarium’s 1.3 million gallon main tank is one of the largest in North America. We recommend taking a walk through the stunning shark tunnel (pictured) and paying a visit to this fun Vegas attraction to see a wide variety of marine life, including sawfish, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, jellyfish and the rare golden crocodile. 960 1280
Cirque du Soleil’s 'Michael Jackson One'Head to Vegas’ Mandalay Bay to experience Cirque du Soleil’s immersive musical experience Michael Jackson One. Watch as the King of Pop’s catalog of award-winning music comes to life through dance, acrobatics, aerial performances and amazing visuals. It’s a not-to-be-missed show if you’re a Michael Jackson fan! 960 1280
Wynn Las Vegas Golf CourseTee off at the Wynn Las Vegas Golf Course located on the Strip. The 7,042-yard, par-70, 18-hole course is the brainchild of American business magnate Steve Wynn and golf course architect Tom Fazio. Reservations are available up to 90 days in advance for Wynn and Encore guests and 30 days in advance for non-hotel guests. 960 1280
Mob MuseumThe National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, also known as the Mob Museum, showcases real stories and actual events in mob history through interactive and engaging exhibits about Al Capone, John Gotti, Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and more. Located in a former federal courthouse and US post office, the museum opened its doors on Feb. 14, 2012, to coincide with the anniversary of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929. 960 1280
Italian Brunch at Vegas Uncork'dGet a once-in-a-lifetime cooking experience courtesy of the Pellegrino family. Actor and restaurateur Frank Pellegrino and his family show off their skills by serving up an Italian brunch as part of Vegas Uncork’d, an annual celebration of wine, food and spirits. 960 1280
Vegas Uncork'd at Caesars PalaceExperience a foodie’s delight at Vegas Uncork’d. This ultimate food and wine experience assembles cutting-edge mixologists, master sommeliers and celebrity chefs — including Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and Nobu Matsuhisa — for cooking and wine demos held at Caesars Palace (pictured), the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and the MGM Grand. 960 1280
Zip-Lining in Bootleg CanyonGet an adrenaline rush! Go zip-lining 1 1/2 miles across the Mojave Desert through Bootleg Canyon and Boulder City, NV, at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. According to Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the desert’s wildlife — which includes lizards, hawks and bighorn sheep — during the 3-hour experience. 960 1280
MGM Grand CasinoTake a chance on your luck. Head to the MGM Grand Casino to play the slots, poker, blackjack, roulette and more. If that’s not your speed, place your bets on popular sporting events including NASCAR races, soccer games, championship tennis matches, championship golf tournaments, boxing matches or Thoroughbred races. 960 1280
Fremont Street ExperienceIn 1905, Las Vegas started near the corner of Fremont Street — the city’s first paved street — and Main Street. Today, all of your senses come alive when strolling down this $70 million experience. The 7-block open-air pedestrian mall features legendary casinos, performance stages, live entertainment and an amazing graphic light show. 960 1280
Secret Garden & Dolphin HabitatCome face to face with bottlenose dolphins, white tigers, panthers, white lions and leopards at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. This must-see attraction at the Mirage also provides tourists with a unique experience of creating a painting with help from a friendly dolphin. 960 1280
Las Vegas Motor SpeedwayRacing fans should not miss out on making a trip to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which offers exciting experiences such as getting behind the wheel of a real Ferrari race car, competing in a side-by-side drag race and taking a tour of the speedway’s 9 tracks. 960 1280
Little White Wedding ChapelLas Vegas is known as a destination for quick nuptials for couples in love or couples who’ve found love after a long night out on the town. Britney Spears, Joan Collins, Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, Michael Jordan and other celebrities have been spotted at A Little White Wedding Chapel to renew their vows, to get married or to simply enjoy a fun visit. 960 1280
Wild West Horseback RidingBook a 5-hour outdoor adventure with Wild West Horseback Adventures to explore the trails of the most infamous outlaws of the American West on the Ol’ Spanish Trail ride. Or, you can take the scenic Sunset Dinner Ride to enjoy Nevada’s wildlife, as well as a meal of steak or mesquite grilled chicken, a baked potato, corn on the cob and a slice of apple pie. 960 1280
Mind-Blowing Las Vegas 19 Photos
National Finals RodeoA cowboy casts a cool look during the National Finals Rodeo, popularly known as the “Super Bowl of rodeo.” The 10-day event, held each year in Las Vegas, determines the world champ in 7 main events, including bareback riding, steer wrestling and team roping.
When to go: First full week of December 960 1280
Caldwell Night RodeoThe cowboys are the stars at this annual 5-day rodeo event. Held in the Boise metro area, Caldwell Night Rodeo draws crowds of more than 40,000 people, eager to see the big draw: many of the world’s top professional cowboys who make Caldwell Night Rodeo an annual stop on their circuit.
When to go: Mid-August 960 1280
Pendleton Round-UpReady for some bulldogging? A cowboy reaches for a steer’s horns at the Pendleton Round-Up, one of the 10 largest rodeos in the world. Started in 1910, the annual rodeo event draws crowds of 50,000 to Pendleton, OR, where the town’s motto is, “The Real West.”
When to go: Mid-September 960 1280
Dodge City Roundup RodeoWestern heritage -- and big bucks -- draw championship cowboys and cowgirls to the annual Dodge City Roundup. Since its start in 1977, the 10-day event has grown to include a payout of nearly $254,000, alongside an audience of more than 100,000 people.
When to go: Late July to early August 960 1280
Cheyenne Frontier DaysThe granddaddy of rodeo events, Cheyenne Frontier Days has been held in its namesake Wyoming town since 1897. The outdoor rodeo and western celebration features hundreds of horses performing rodeo events and track acts. The annual event draws nearly 200,000 people, with a whopping 100,000 free pancakes served by the local Kiwanis club.
When to go: Last full week of July 960 1280
Ellensburg RodeoNow in its 75th year, the Ellensburg Rodeo in Washington State has grown from a local competition among ranch hands to a leading rodeo festival: More than 600 contestants vie for prize money in excess of $400,000. In the Pacific Northwest, the rodeo is second in size only to the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada.
When to go: Labor Day weekend 960 1280
Fort Worth Stock Show and RodeoFor 23 heart-pounding days, the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo puts on quite a show at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The annual event, which draws a crowd of 900,000, showcases the world’s original indoor rodeo, with 36 performances of professional rodeo on display, such as calf roping.
When to go: Mid-January to early February 960 1280
Nebraskaland DaysWild West showman Buffalo Bill considered North Platte, NE, his hometown, and went on to found modern-day rodeo in the city. Today, the legacy continues with Nebraskaland Days: The largest rodeo event in western Nebraska showcases parades, art shows, concerts, food events and, of course, rodeos.
When to go: Mid-June 960 1280
Yellowstone RodeoExciting rodeo action mixes with stunning mountain sunsets at the annual Yellowstone Rodeo in southwestern Montana. The annual event showcases the big rodeo draws -- including bareback bronc riding, bull riding, team roping and saddle broc riding -- as well as a “calf scramble” event in which kids can safely compete.
When to go: June through early September 960 1280
National Western Stock ShowNow in its 106th year, the National Western Stock Show in Denver spans 16 days, and a 100-acre show ground home to the second largest rodeo in the United States. Hands-on animal exhibits feature 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, alpacas, llamas and more -- plus, a chance for the little ones to go giddy-up.
When to go: Last 2 weeks in January 960 1280
RodeoHoustonFor the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock show, head to Houston’s Reliant Stadium. In 2012, this massive 1,900,000-square-foot facility hosted the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo -- and a whole lot of animals: 26,305 livestock and horse show exhibitors competed for a shot at a Houston championship.
When to go: Late February to mid-March 960 1280
Reno RodeoBilled as the “wildest, richest rodeo in the West,” the Reno Rodeo spans 10 days and attracts more than 140,000 fans. Events include a Miss Reno Rodeo Queen pageant, cattle drive, carnival rides and the Xtreme Bull Riding Tour stop, featuring 40 of the world’s best pro bull riders.
When to go: Late June 960 1280
Miss Rodeo AmericaHere she comes, Miss Rodeo America 2012 winner Mackenzie Carr -- the first winner from Oregon. The first pageant was held in Casper, WY, in 1955. Today, the annual pageant is held in Las Vegas, with contestants competing in areas of appearance, horsemanship and personality.
When to go: Early to mid-December 960 1280
Florence Junior ParadaThe world’s oldest continuous junior rodeo finds its home in Florence, AZ. Eighty years since its start, the annual Florence Junior Parada rodeo draws hundreds of future PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assocation) cowboys and cowgirls, ages 5 to 18, to compete in rodeo events such as team roping, breakaway roping and even bull riding.
When to go: Late November 960 1280
America's Biggest Rodeos 14 Photos