The stunning desert beauty of Lake Mead impresses all her visitors, but this gigantic reservoir is also a vital national resource. In terms of storage capacity, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the USA, providing water to over 20 million people across the Southwest, from drinking water to filling water fountains. Lake Mead is also an outdoor lovers dream, teeming with recreational opportunities and activities. Hoover Dam and Lake Mead are with a 10 minute drive to Boulder City, Nevada, were you'll find hotels, restaurants, and shopping. The reservoir also covers the ruins of St. Thomas, and while not quite as impressive as the ruins of Chaco Canyon, its a fun archaeological experience.
Boulder Basin of Lake Lead. Boulder City, Nevada is visible in lower left, Hoover Dam on the right. Also visible are the two marinas on Lake Mead, near the islands.
Lake Mead Activities
- Boating - Full Service Marinas
- Rent Pontoon Boats & Ski Boats, Jet Skis
- Picnic Areas with tables, drinking water, fire grills, and restrooms
- Kayaking and Canoeing
- Sport Fishing
- Scuba Diving (Check out the B-29 Bomber at bottom of Lake Mead)
- Camping in several developed campgrounds
- RV sites
- Visit the interactive Visitors Center & shop the gift store
- Guided Ranger Tours
- Lake Mead Cruises on the Desert Princess Paddlewheeler
- Houseboat rentals
- Swimming & Snorkeling
- Water Skiing
- Explore the ruins of St. Thomas
Lake Mead Lodging
Hoover Dam Lodge
Newly Remodeled. View of Lake Mead, access to hiking trails from the property.
Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino
Full service Hotel & Casino, restaurants and conveniently located to Lake Mead and Las Vegas.
Charming, Tuscany inspired rooms with classic courtyard. Located in the heart of downtown Boulder City.
Boulder Dam Hotel
Experience History at the original Boulder City Hotel. Co-located with the Hoover Dam museum
Other Lake Mead Lodging Options
- The Miscellaeous Inn and Suites, Boulder City
- Mortimers Old Tyme Motel, Boulder City
- Big Top Hotel, Boulder Ctiy
Where is Lake Mead?
Lake Mead is on the Colorado River, about 24 mi (39 km) from the Las Vegas Strip, southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, on the border of Nevada and Arizona. Formed by the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is 112 miles (180 km) long when the lake is full and 532 feet (162 m) at its greatest depth.
Directions to Lake Mead via Google Maps
How Far is Lake Mead from Las Vegas?
It is approximately 24 miles (39 km) miles from Las Vegas to Lake Mead. The fastest route is via I-515 South to US 95 South, passing through Boulder City.
More about Lake Mead
Apart from being a famous body of water, Lake Mead is also home to the architectural wonder known as Hoover Dam. It was formed after the building of Hoover Dam in the 1930s.
Today, Lake Mead is a favored destination among those who seeking to enjoy the best the desert Southwest has to offer. Some of the popular activities in the area’s numerous coves and beaches include swimming, stand up paddle boarding, water skiing, kayaking, hiking, jet skiing, fishing and boating.
Here are some interesting facts about Lake Mead, giving you a closer look on one of America’s most popular tourist destinations.
1. Lake Mead was formerly known as the Boulder Dam Recreation Area.
Beginning in 1936, Lake Mead carried the name "Boulder Dam Recreation Area" and was placed under the administration of the National Park Service. The name Lake Mead National Recreation Area was established in 1964 with jurisdiction extended to Lake Mohave and the Shivwits Plateau. Lake Mead is America’s first established National Recreation Area.
2. Lake Mead is technically not a “lake.”
It is not a naturally occurring lake since its water is fed by the Colorado River, and stored behind Hoover Dam. In reality, Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the U.S.A.
3. Lake Mead is home to a wide array of cultural resources.
It has 23 historic structures; 1,347 recorded archeological sites; 122,166 museum objects and archives; and 2 traditional cultural properties. It also has 8 listed National Register Properties and 18 affiliated Native American tribes.
4. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area has a vast park infrastructure system that attracts more than 7 million visitors every year.
Lake Mead has 7 campgrounds with 955 sites; 800 miles of dirt roads or gravel; 240 miles of paved roads; 340 buildings; 9 water and wastewater systems; 6 major marinas; and 9 developed areas. The total spending for its infrastructure is almost $1 billion.
5. Lake Mead is the beach of the Southwest.
Lake Mead is a popular destination for swimmers. While the water cools significantly in the winter, the sum warms the lake to very pleasant swimming temperatures from April through October, peaking at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer (26.6 celsius). The water is clear, clean and the wide open spaces allow for private swimming spots no matter how busy the lake is.
6. Lake Mead and the Southwest drought
The drought is affecting the entire west coast, and it is evident in the water levels of Lake Mead. But fear not, there is plenty of water out there, and too many private coves, beaches, and fishing spots to count.