Things To Do At Lake Mead

The marina at Lake Mead.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the first national recreation area in the United States. It’s also the largest, covering 1.5 million acres. This popular recreation area attracts millions of visitors annually, welcoming more than 5.5 million guests in 2022. 

Whether you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas or live in the city but have yet to explore the surrounding area, you may wonder what to do at Lake Mead and whether you’d enjoy a trip to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Let’s take a closer look at Lake Mead’s recreational options and other exciting things to do near Las Vegas. 

Is Lake Mead close to Las Vegas? 

You can leave Las Vegas and reach Lake Mead in less than an hour. The exact time needed to travel to Lake Mead depends on your starting point. Lake Mead is approximately 30 miles east of Las Vegas. However, taking the I-515S through Henderson will add almost two miles and extend your travel time by 15 minutes.  

Is Lake Mead worth visiting? 

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a refreshing getaway destination for anyone who wants to enjoy nature, spend time outdoors, or take a break from the city. The recreational area offers many activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, and hunting. Whether you want to enjoy a picnic with the family or get out on the water, Lake Mead offers something for everyone to enjoy. 

Boating, canoeing, and kayaking 

You can head to one of the marinas on Lake Mead and Lake Mohave to rent a boat or bring a registered boat that meets safety requirements. The National Park Service provided detailed information about Lake Mead’s boating regulations to help you plan your boating trip.

The marinas offer canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals. You can head out on the water for an hour or rent a paddle craft for up to a week. 


Lake Mead National Recreation Area features five campgrounds with RV access, plus backcountry camping options for those who want to hike into the wilderness and stay off the grid. There are also opportunities for shoreline camping if you want to canoe or kayak to your camping spots, and you can also combine your backcountry camping with horseback riding

Scuba diving 

You can enjoy scuba diving in several Lake Mead and Lake Mohave locations. Visit waterfalls, reefs, or shipwrecks on your journey under the water. The National Park Service provides information about the sites for experienced divers, which areas require a boat for scuba diving access and the diving conditions.

Can I take a boat tour at Lake Mead? 

You don’t have to be a boating expert or handle transportation and rentals yourself to enjoy time on the water. Simplify your travel planning by booking a Lake Mead boat tour. Gray Line Las Vegas offers a full-day tour from Vegas, featuring a tour of Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam aboard a paddle-wheeler boat. You can leave the arrangements and transportation to us while you enjoy a delicious meal onboard, take in the sights, and sit back and relax.

What other unique trips can I take from Las Vegas?

You can enjoy plenty of solo trips or tours from Las Vegas. Day trips from Las Vegas include gaming trips to Laughlin and several natural sites close to the city.

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend 

Take a journey to Navajo land in Arizona to take a guided tour through the stunning sandstone walls and formations within Antelope Canyon. Combine your visit with a stop at Horseshoe Bend, where you’ll get to hike to an overlook where you can see the Colorado River.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Head to Utah to see the stunning hoodoos and other natural wonders in Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon is perfect for hiking enthusiasts, photographers, backcountry camping, and stargazing for those who want to combine a trip with an overnight stay.

Los Angeles and Hollywood

You can pack a full day of exploration into a trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Visit Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, the Santa Monica Pier, and other famous sites in the area. 

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park is home to sandstone formations and petroglyphs you can visit. There’s plenty to see and do. Plan a camping trip to Valley of Fire State Park or hike on one of the park’s popular trails. 

Grand Canyon bus tour 

The Grand Canyon is just over five hours east of Las Vegas. When you book a Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas, you can relax and take in the scenery on your journey from the city to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Head straight to the Grand Canyon, combine your Grand Canyon trip with a stop at the Hoover Dam, or opt for a deluxe package, including tickets to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Your Grand Canyon bus tour includes lunch and transportation to and from your hotel. 

Book a Grand Canyon bus tour

Grand Canyon helicopter tour 

A helicopter view of the Grand Canyon.

Want to take to the skies during your Grand Canyon day trip? A Grand Canyon helicopter tour allows you to take in this majestic site from the air and land at the canyon’s bottom. You can combine your helicopter tour with a Grand Canyon Skywalk or a stop at the Hoover Dam.

Book your Grand Canyon helicopter tour


America’s First National Recreation Area. (2023). 

Lake Mead: Boating. (2023).

Lake Mead: Camping. (2023).  

Lake Mead: Scuba Diving. (2023). 

Las Vegas, Nevada to Lake Mead. (2023). 

Number of recreational visitors to Lake Mead National Recreation Area in the United States from 2008 to 2022. (2023).