Las Vegas residents know that the real city excitement is not found on the strip. Nevada is home to some of the most beautiful outdoor areas in the country, including gorgeous Lake Mead. Lake Mead Recreation Area is just a quick 30-minute drive from the lights and bustle of Las Vegas Boulevard. If you are looking for a great day outing for your family, or even a relaxing weekend of camping, Lake Mead is a perfect destination.
Lake Mead Recreation Area
601 National Highway
Boulder City, NV 89005
Price: $10 per vehicle for 1 to 7 days/$30 per vehicle for annual pass
Hours: 24/7; visitor’s center daily 8:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Lake Mead Recreation Area offers a variety of activities ranging from hiking to kayaking. The beautiful scenery will reconnect you with nature and serves as a muse for many a visitor’s artistic side. Enjoy a relaxing day exploring the hiking trails with your children — and Fido — or take the family out swimming or boating on this phenomenal waterfront. Make sure to carry plenty of water for everyone, wear hats, protective clothing and sunscreen, and don’t forget the camera.
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Lake Mead Cruises
P.O. Box 62465
Boulder City, Nevada 89006
Price: $13 to $57.50
Click here for schedules
One of the best ways to see Lake Mead is by water. Allow the folks at Lake Mead Cruises to wow you with the scenic views and delight you with their delicious cuisine. The Desert Princess’ three-level, Mississippi-style paddle wheel cruise ship includes two enclosed, climate-controlled decks and one open air deck so guests may enjoy the fresh air and beautiful sights. The brunch cruise includes an American-style buffet, and the dinner cruise offers a choice of chicken, beef, pasta or seafood. Gorgeous scenery is included free of charge.
McGhie’s Ski, Bike, Board
4035 S. Apache
Las Vegas, NV 89147
Price: from $40 per day
Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For those who like to travel on two wheels, Lake Mead Recreation Area offers fun for the whole family in the way of trails, trips and technical expertise to get you back on the road when you ride too hard. McGhie’s Ski, Bike, Board is the premier bike shop in Las Vegas. All of its employees are avid cyclists who will guide you toward the proper gear and clothing to make your day of cycling a success. McGhie’s offers road, mountain and hybrid bike rentals to fit any adventure.
Kayak Las Vegas
1647-A Nevada Highway
Boulder City, NV 89005
Price: $139 child/$149 adult for half-day Lake Mead trips to $699 child/$749 adult four-day guided trips
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; by appointment only in winter
For the most adventurous families, kayaking allows you to explore the Boulder Islands, watch the fish swim by and relax on the beach. Kayak Las Vegas offers four- and eight-hour rentals to meet your needs. Its sit-on-top kayaks are perfect for all skill levels, and rentals include all the equipment you need, including your kayak or canoe, life vest, paddle, lunch and water, bilge pump, paddle float and a dry bag.
Callville Bay Camping, Resort and Marina
Boulder Basin Area
Price: $10 per site/$5 with senior or interagency pass
Hours: reservations and rentals Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat and Sun – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (800) 255-2561
Click here for campground map
If you’d rather spend a night under the stars than head back to reality after your day hike, pitch a tent in the park. This campground provides all the comforts of home without those pesky walls. No need to reserve a site. This is a first-come, first-serve camping area. Each site can accommodate up to eight people, two tents and two motorized vehicles. The campgrounds have running water, picnic areas, dump stations, grills and, most importantly, restrooms. RVs and trailers are welcome, but anyone not opting for the ultimate outdoor experience may choose to reserve a night at the resort or rent a houseboat for the weekend instead.
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Sheryl Greenblatt is a Long Island, NY native who has been living (and thawing) in Las Vegas for approximately four years now. She writes mystery novels, works as a freelance writer and is the proud mother of a six year old Beagle/Yellow Lab rescue named after Anne Rices Mother of all Vampires. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.