If you told your friends that you spent the day at the beach gazing at teal-blue waters in Las Vegas, they'd probably think you're crazy. After all, most people know Vegas for its hotels and desert landscape.
But just 30 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip is Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which occupies about 1.5 million acres (twice the size of Rhode Island) and 820 miles of shoreline. For only $10, you'll have access to the lake for a week. It's a fun escape from the hustle and bustle of the Strip.
Lake Mead is the 16th largest manmade lake in the world and one of the largest manmade lakes in the Western Hemisphere. Formed by the Hoover Dam along the Colorado River, the National Park Service established Lake Mead as a national recreation area in 1964. Lake Mead offers year-round recreation with everything from kayaking and jet skiing to swimming, hiking and wildlife viewing. Lake Mead's Boulder Beach is a popular stop to paddle boat, swim and camp out by the shore. Don't forget to bring your sunscreen and hat -- you're going to need it during the triple-digit summer months!
Located at the junction of three desert ecosystems -- the Mojave, the Great Basin and the Sonoran deserts -- Lake Mead is home to many animal species and plant varieties, some of which are exclusive to this area. Wildlife includes the desert tortoise, bighorn sheep and Joshua trees. You'll also notice Lake Mead is surrounded by red sandstone and black lava rock. In fact, some of the lava hills are about 6 million years old.
Lake Mead facilities include shaded picnic areas, RV campgrounds with hookups and three marinas. Self-service laundry facilities are available at Callville Bay and Lake Mead RV Village (RV tenants only). Shower facilities are available at Callville Bay. There is lodging available at Lake Mead Lodge, Temple Bar and Echo Bay Resort.Food is a vailable at Lake Mead Marina, Las Vegas Boat Harbor, Callville Bay, Echo Bay, Overton Beach and Temple Bar. Groceries, sundries and fishing equipment are available at marinas.
Those interested in kayaking can call (702) 293-8990. Visitors can also rent boasts from one of the marinas, including full-service houseboats, fishing boats and jet skis. Service Stations and Fuel are available at all marinas.