Nevada’s Lake Mead is an essential body of water. It’s the largest reservoir in the U.S., quenching the thirst of over 20 million people. But besides being a life-giver, it’s an indispensable getaway for weary friends and family. Lake Mead is the place to go for water activities in Nevada. There are great Lake Mead camping options where you can launch your craft or walk onto the shore without a care in the world.
There’s nothing like watching the sun rise over Lake Mead’s weaving canyon walls. It’s an unforgettable sight that will bring you back to her shores year after year. If that doesn’t do it, surely the deep blue waters, dark night sky, or friendly faces (and future friendships) will. Lake Mead was America’s first national recreation area and remains one of the most popular. Take advantage of Lake Mead camping and see for yourself why.
Why Lake Mead Camping is Among Nevada’s Best
Since the National Park Service manages the area, the camping is well maintained and accommodating. And there’s no shortage of things to do. Between Lake Mead, the Colorado River and the Hoover Dam, you can boat, raft, sail, water ski, canoe, kayak, jet ski, wakeboard, paddleboard, SUP, swim, dive, and much more. Here’s the five best places, reviewed by our campers, to see it all at Lake Mead.
Boulder Beach has two Lake Mead camping options, totaling 154 campsites. The tent campground has first come, first served sites and the RV village takes reservations. They are both near the water, offering boaters, kayakers and water lovers close access to Lake Mead’s launching site. The campground underwent a multi-million dollar upgrade in 2017, resulting in new shade structures, improved sites, roads, and water stations. There’s plenty of lake views and access to the water and adjoining marina (with restaurants, cafes, and shops). The campgrounds have flush toilets, picnic tables, and WiFi. Be sure to wear secure shoes with protective bottoms, as there can often be broken glass hidden in the sand.
“The lake is just outside of Las Vegas so it makes for a great last-minute camping destination. There is water available at the campground along with bathrooms, fire pits, and tables. The campground itself is about a 10-minute walk from the lake.” —The Dyrt camper Levi B.Camp Here
2. Crawdad Cove
Crawdad Cove has dispersed camping along Crawdad Cove Rd. It’s a 3-mile long road managed by Lake Mead National Recreation Area. At the end of the road, you’re rewarded with a Lake Mead camping spot overlooking the water and nearby Las Vegas Bay. It’s a great place to launch your watercraft and enjoy some peace. The road can be tricky to navigate in poor weather, so if you’re in a two-wheel vehicle or an RV, check for road conditions.
“This area is one of my favorite spots to go to at Lake Mead. There are lots of good fishing spots, and you can always see the fish jumping out of the water! You can also hike anywhere around here. I have two dogs and really enjoy hiking around and swimming. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas but worth it to let my dogs run around and swim in the water.” —The Dyrt camper Chelsea K.Camp Here
Callville Bay Resort and Marina is a favorite spot for groups of young adults and families. With all the watersports, beaches, and red rock cliffs, Lake Mead camping at Callville Bay is never boring. And being an hour away from Las Vegas doesn’t hurt. Callville Bay offers ample lodging options. There’s a first come, first served campground for tents and a full-service RV park. They also have houseboat rentals ranging from modest to luxury, which draws bands of summer-loving friends. The marina is home to a watersports rental facility, restaurant, lounge, snack bar, and store.
“We have camped here many times but particularly enjoy this marina over any others on the lake. Campsites have tables fire pits and they have nice clean showers. Not too far from Las Vegas if you need to run in for more supplies otherwise the marina has all the basic necessities.” —The Dyrt camper Jeremy M.Camp Here
Campers appreciate the Las Vegas Bay campground more for its solitude than lake access. Peaceful accents are what keep campers returning to Las Vegas Bay. Eucalyptus and palm trees, dark night skies full of stars, the deep hues of Lake Mead’s sunsets, and the trickling water of a nearby creek. Due to the low water levels, the launch ramp is closed, making this location better for swimming, SUPing, and other water activities. But the cash-only campground has 85 shaded and clean sites, as well as restrooms, water spigots, picnic tables, and fire pits. The RV sites are limited to rigs smaller than 30 feet, and the generator-free loops are big with tent campers.
“Of the campgrounds I checked out in this area I found this one to be one of the nicer ones. Unlike some which had a lot of random garbage this one was well maintained and looked like those who stayed respected the area more.” —The Dyrt camper Crystal C.Camp Here
5. Willow Beach
The Willow Beach campground and marina is on the Colorado River, feeding into Lake Mead. It’s about 20 miles south of Lake Mead, offering serenity and solitude while still granting access to the lake a short drive away. With 235 miles of shoreline to explore, it’s a great place to launch your kayak or canoe. Many campers like to kayak their way up to the lake, taking in the peaceful scenery on the way. There are beautiful caves and canyons, making the trip one you’ll never forget. The campground has a 24-hour laundry facility, showers, a restaurant, store, boat and watercraft rentals, and WiFi.
“Perfect place to camp for some boating and fishing and If you want a little nightlife Las Vegas is only about 45 minutes away. Keep your eyes open for wild Burros and Big Horn Sheep!” —The Dyrt camper Sandy K.Camp Here