Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

RV Rental Dates


Lake Mead National Recreation Area holds a rich history and cultural significance that draws visitors from all over the world. The area’s focal point, Lake Mead, is the largest reservoir in the United States in terms of water capacity, formed by the construction of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River during the 1930s. The creation of the dam aimed to control flooding, generate hydroelectric power, and provide a reliable water supply for agriculture and urban areas.

Covering an expansive area of over 2,000 square miles, Lake Mead National Recreation Area presents an ideal destination for diverse recreational activities. Being the largest and inaugural National Recreation Area in the United States, it boasts captivating landscapes like canyons, valleys, mountains, and two vast lakes, attracting an impressive number of RV campers and visitors each year.

One of the natural occurrences that contributed to the uniqueness of Lake Mead is the geological formation of the Black Canyon. Over millions of years, the Colorado River carved through the rock, creating the stunning and rugged landscape that is now part of the recreation area. The combination of desert terrain, deep canyons, and the expansive lake offers visitors a diverse and captivating experience.

Additionally, Lake Mead NRA hosts an astonishing array of natural wonders, including 900 plant species, 500 wildlife species, and 24 rare and endangered species. The park features nine wilderness areas, 23 historic structures, over 1300 recorded archaeological sites, and two Traditional Cultural Properties, underscoring its historical and ecological significance. These remarkable features make Lake Mead NRA an irresistible choice for your next RV holiday destination.

There is a wide range of activities that RV renters can enjoy biking, hunting, and nature viewing/photography at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Boating and fishing on Lake Mead are popular pursuits, offering opportunities to catch various fish species. Additionally, hiking trails provide access to scenic viewpoints and hidden gems within the canyons.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers several RV-friendly campgrounds with different amenities and facilities. Some campgrounds provide full hook-ups for RVs, including water, electricity, and sewage disposal. Others may offer more basic amenities such as pit toilets and water stations. Popular campgrounds include Boulder Beach Campground, Echo Bay Campground, and Lake Mead RV Village.

Park Alerts (6)

When you come into contact with large bodies of water, such as Lakes Mead and Mohave, it’s essential to prioritize good hygiene practices. Remember to wash your hands, refrain from touching your eyes and mouth, and avoid swallowing the water.

Please be aware that fire restrictions are currently enforced on public lands throughout Southern Nevada.

ATTENTION! Some visitors at various beaches and shallow areas of Lake Mohave have reported cases of Swimmer’s Itch, an irritating but non-harmful rash. For more information and prevention tips, please refer to our current conditions page.

From May 15 to September 30, the following areas will experience seasonal trail closures: Goldstrike Canyon, White Rock Canyon and Trail, Arizona Hot Springs and Trail, Liberty Arch Trail, Lone Palm Trail, Sugar Loaf Trail, and Lone Palm and Sugar Loaf areas.

A partial closure will be in effect for the River Mountain Loop Trail from approximately mile marker 11.5 to mile marker 20.5 due to resurfacing and crack repair. The closure will be from April 3 to July 30, 2023.

Stay updated on the latest launch ramp and water elevation conditions for the best experience.

RV Rentals in Lake Mead National Recreation Area


Lake Mead NRA, offers RV-friendly access to its sites and attractions via well-maintained paved roads, making it easy for visitors to locate and explore the park, while backcountry roads require 4-wheel drives. Off-road driving, cross country, and driving in washes are prohibited within the park.

Lake Mead NRA has abundant parking choices with numerous designated lots located throughout the campgrounds and points of interest. RV campsites also provide ample space for vacationers to park their rigs while camping and overnight parking services are provided as well. However, overnight parking for RVs outside of designated campsites is generally not allowed within the park. It is recommended to camp with an RV in the designated campgrounds to ensure a comfortable stay

Lake Mead National Recreation Area does not have public transportation, such as shuttle buses. Visitors can access the park’s attractions through designated walking paths and roads accessible by private vehicles or RVs. Additionally, certain tour operators offer transportation services to the park from various resorts and attractions.

Campgrounds and parking areas in Lake Mead National Recreation Area

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Top Campsites in Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Willow Beach Campground

Located in the Lake Mohave Area, has a total of 29 campsites that are pet-friendly, suitable for RVs/trailers, and 9 campsites exclusively for tents. 28 campsites are equipped with full hookup options, including electric, water, and sewer connections, along with a picnic table and fire grill. For RVs, the length limit at the campground is 40 feet.

The campground provides various facilities such as showers, laundry facilities, a restaurant, a gift and convenience store, and Wi-Fi access. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a fishing pier, a boat launch ramp, and access to the marina.

It’s important to note that all campsites at Willow Beach are available by reservation, ensuring a smooth and convenient booking process for visitors.

Boulder Beach Campground

Located near the Boulder Basin of Lake Mead, Boulder Beach Campground is a favorite among campers. It offers stunning lakeside views and easy access to the water for swimming and boating. Offers 148 campsites that are welcoming to pets and arranged into four loops. All these sites are designed to accommodate both tents and RVs/trailers up to 45 feet in length. Although there are no RV hookups available, campers can access water spigots, restrooms, Wi-Fi, and firewood within the campground. Each campsite is equipped with both RV and tent sites, with amenities such as a picnic table and fire grill, and there’s also a convenient camp store located on-site. It also has access to restrooms with flush toilets. Pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash. The campground is typically open year-round, and RVs and trailers up to 35 feet in length are permitted.

Echo Bay Campground

Sits on the northern shore of Lake Mead, offering a more secluded camping experience. 7 campsites that are pet-friendly and suitable for both tents and RVs/trailers up to 35 feet in length. It provides a mix of RV and tent sites with access to drinking water, restrooms, and a dump station for their convenience. The sites come with picnic tables and fire rings, and some spots offer lake views. Pets are allowed, but leash rules apply. The campground is usually open year-round, and RVs and trailers up to 30 feet in length are permitted. Quiet hours are observed from 10 pm to 6 am.

Las Vegas Bay Campground

Situated on the western side of the Boulder Basin, offers 84 campsites that are pet-friendly and suitable for both tents and RVs/trailers up to 35 feet in length. While RV hookups are not provided within the campground, visitors can enjoy the convenience of having restrooms, toilets, Wi-Fi, and a dump station available on-site.

The campground offers RV and tent sites with picnic tables, fire rings, and access to vault toilets. It is a pet-friendly campground, but pets must be kept on a leash. Las Vegas Bay Campground typically operates year-round, and RVs and trailers up to 35 feet in length are permitted.

To foster a peaceful and serene atmosphere, quiet hours are observed from 10 pm to 6 am, promoting a tranquil camping experience in this picturesque area of Lake Mead.

Callville Bay Campground

Provides 52 campsites that warmly welcome pets and can accommodate both tents and RVs/trailers up to 45 feet long. Although RV hookups are not available within the campground, campers can enjoy various amenities such as restrooms, dump stations, Wi-Fi, and access to running water. Amenities include picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms, and showers. Pets are allowed but must be leashed. The campground is usually open year-round, and RVs and trailers of varying sizes are permitted.

The campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis, allowing visitors to stay for a maximum of 30 days. Quiet hours are observed from 10 pm to 6 am.

Temple Bar Campground

Situated at the northern end of Lake Mead, Temple Bar Campground offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Offers 71 campsites that are pet-friendly and can accommodate both tents and RVs/trailers up to 35 feet in length. While RV hookups are not provided within the campground, campers have access to restrooms and a dump station for their convenience. The campground provides RV and tent sites, featuring picnic tables, fire rings, and access to restrooms. Pets are allowed on leashes. Temple Bar Campground is typically open year-round, and RVs and trailers up to 45 feet in length are permitted.

All the sites in the campground are available on first-come, first-served basis only, and you can stay up to 30 days at a time. Quiet hours are 10 pm to 6 am.

Cottonwood Cove Campground

Located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, near Cottonwood Cove Marina on Lake Mohave. Consists of 145 pet-friendly campsites. These sites can accommodate both RVs/trailers and tents and operate on a first-come, first-served basis. The maximum allowed RV/trailer length within the campground is 35 feet.

While there are no RV hookups, amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, fire rings, and drinking water. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Season-specific experiences in Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam is a historic and iconic landmark located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on the border of Nevada and Arizona. It was built during the Great Depression and is known for its engineering brilliance and contributions to water supply and hydroelectric power. The dam created Lake Mead, one of the largest reservoirs in the U.S., which serves various purposes, including water storage and recreation. Hoover Dam attracts tourists with guided tours, scenic views, and a visitor center. It remains a symbol of American ingenuity and is a designated National Historic Landmark.

Bird Viewing

During the winter season in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, bird viewing offers a chance to observe various bird species, both resident and migratory. Although situated in a desert area, Lake Mead NRA boasts over 240 recorded bird species, thriving in various habitats within the park. The presence of Hoover and Davis Dams provides a habitat for numerous shore and water birds, while areas with lush vegetation along the lake shore attract insect-eating birds. Additionally, the park’s location on a north-south migration route further contributes to the diverse and abundant bird populations. Winter bird viewing offers a peaceful and rewarding experience amidst the stunning desert and lake landscapes.


Kayaking in Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a popular activity that allows visitors to explore the scenic beauty of the lake and its surrounding landscapes. Kayak rentals are available at various marinas, and paddlers can explore coves, view wildlife, and enjoy water activities. Safety precautions, such as wearing life jackets and checking the weather, are essential. Kayaking during sunset and stargazing are highlights. Visitors should follow “Leave No Trace” principles and be aware of permits and regulations. Overall, it offers a memorable and immersive way to experience the natural beauty of the area.


Swimming is a popular and enjoyable activity at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, even though there are no official swim beaches or lifeguards on duty. You can still take a dip at designated swimming areas in the park, such as Cottonwood Cove, Princess Cove, Cabinsite Cove, Boulder Beach at Lake Mead, North Arizona Telephone Cove, and South Arizona Telephone Cove at Lake Mohave.

For safety, it is highly advised that swimmers wear lifejackets while swimming in the park’s waters. To assist with this, lifejacket loaner stations are available at Boulder Beach and Cottonwood Cove.

Summer is also perfect for water-based activities such as boating, jet skiing, and paddleboarding on Lake Mead. There are multiple marinas within the recreation area, providing easy access to the lake.

Wildflower Viewing at Valley of Fire

Spring brings an array of wildflowers to Valley of Fire State Park, transforming the landscape with colorful blooms typically occurring from late February to April after winter rains. The park’s red sandstone formations provide a striking backdrop for the colorful flowers. Hiking trails like White Domes, Rainbow Vista, and Fire Wave allow visitors to enjoy the wildflower spectacle and capture stunning photos. RV campers can enjoy scenic hikes surrounded by blossoming desert flora.

Responsible hiking and photography are encouraged to preserve the delicate desert ecosystem. Valley of Fire State Park is easily accessible from Las Vegas, and entrance fees may apply.


Fishing is a delightful activity at Lake Mead NRA, which boasts over 290 sq. miles of water surface offering a variety of fish species to catch, including striped bass, largemouth bass, and catfish. Anglers can fish from boats or the shore in locations like Boulder Harbor, Callville Bay, and Echo Bay. Since Lake Mead NRA spans two states (Arizona and Nevada), Fishing regulations and conservation practices are important to follow, and fishing permits are required for individuals aged 12 and older. Fishing guides and charter services are available for those seeking expert guidance. Overall, fishing in the recreation area provides a rewarding and enjoyable experience amidst the stunning desert landscape.