Top Bodies Of Water To Visit Near Las Vegas

April 23, 2016 5:00 AM

Named Las Vegas (Spanish for “The Meadows”) by explorers in the 19th and 20th century, the city and surrounding regions has become an oasis in the desert. With over 2 million residents and 40 million visitors annually, there are day trips to enjoy recreation on the water away from the Las Vegas Strip. Some lakes are man made and one river connects the Rocky Mountain range to the southwest and flows into Mexico. Whether you’re into fishing, swimming, cruising or just enjoying the serenity of lakes and rivers; these bodies of water are part of the landscape of Southern Nevada.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas off of U.S. 93. Created as a reservoir, the man-made lake was formed by building the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. The area has been developed as a recreation destination with boating, swimming, kayaking, picnicking, fishing, camping, hiking, photography, and sightseeing. Houseboats can be rented to cruise along the lake or dock overnight. Helicopter rides over the lake are also available. The area does charge entrance and lake use fees.

Lake Las Vegas

Lake Las Vegas is a 3,592-acre developed area surrounding a 320-acre artificial lake. Located in Henderson, Nevada, 30 miles east of Las Vegas; it is a short trip to enjoy the beauty of the water from its resorts, retail village and shore. There is also boating and paddling as well as cruises on the La Contessa Yacht. Many of the restaurants offer patio dining overlooking the lake. One can also walk or drive around the lake. Shows are held on a stage with the lake as a backdrop as well as events in the resorts and village. There is no fee to visit Lake Las Vegas.

The Lakes

The Lakes is a 2-square-mile planned community located on the west side of the Las Vegas Valley near the Spring Mountains and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area with a lake in the center of the community. Restaurants and retail shops are located on west side of the lake with a beach for walking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and paddle boating on east side. Several of the restaurants offer patio dining with the lake in the background.

Related: Top Lake House Getaways Near Las Vegas

Black Canyon Willow Beach
(928) 767-4747

Located about 30 miles east of Las Vegas, Black Canyon lies below Hoover Dam and can be experienced with the Black Canyon River Adventures. The Black Canyon Raft Tour departs from the Lake Mead RV Village located in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. While walking to the raft is required, the raft trip downstream is very smooth with an experience guide explaining the historic Black Canyon with remnants remaining from the building of Hoover Dam in the 1930s. There is also wildlife to view and many opportunities for great photography while on the water. There is a stop on the beach for lunch with a final stop at the Willow Beach Marina on the northern reaches of Lake Mohave with transportation back to Las Vegas.

Colorado River

About 90 miles southeast of Las Vegas is the resort of Laughlin, on the Nevada side of the Colorado River. Across the river on the Arizona side is Bullhead City and Davis Dam. The Colorado River, which feeds into Hoover Dam and Southern Nevada, is accessible at this juncture with many activities. River Walk is a sidewalk behind the resort town, which allows for a leisurely walk on the Nevada side along the river. Recreational water activities on the Colorado River include jet skiing, paddle boats, and several cruises featuring day tours and evening dinner cruises. There are also several restaurants with patio dining overlooking the river.

Related: Top Spots To Go Fishing Near Las Vegas

Debbie Hall is practically a Las Vegas native (37 years and counting) and loves experiencing everything in Southern Nevada from the Las Vegas Strip to the surrounding mountains and Lake Mead. She also teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and loves sharing her knowledge. Her work can be found on