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Lake Mead

Explore more than 700 miles of shoreline at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. With a wealth of activities and a beautiful desert environment, this enormous lake can hold as much as 9 trillion gallons of water – giving you ample opportunity to boat, swim, fish and generally soak up the sunshine.

History & Nature

Long before Lake Mead was created – 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, according to archaeologists – early Native American peoples inhabited this region of the Mojave Desert, known for its wide expanses and rocky canyons.

All that changed in 1936 with the opening of the Hoover Dam – originally known as Boulder Dam – which transformed the flowing Colorado River into America’s first national recreation area, Boulder Dam Recreation Area. In 1964, it was renamed Lake Mead to honor U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Elwood Mead.

Things to Do

Lake Mead is a hub for some of Arizona’s best outdoor activities, catering to boaters, swimmers, sunbathers, skiers and anglers on its waters, as well as hiking, wildlife viewing and roadside sights just off its shores.

Home to thousands of desert plants and animals, the surrounding desert can also be a great location for wildlife photography. Or, break up days spent boating, fishing and swimming with a day or two of perfect Arizona golf at one of the courses near Lake Mead.

If you want to explore the outer reaches of the lake’s shoreline, a Lake Mead houseboat rental may be your best bet. From aboard your comfortable floating home, you can hike up distant canyons, relax on your own private sandbar, watch the stars come out over the desert or just enjoy Arizona’s natural beauty.

Hotels, Lodging & Camping

Located on Arizona’s West Coast, there are plenty of places to stay near Lake Mead. For hotels, nearby Kingman offers plenty of options. Within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you’ll also spots for both tent and RV camping.


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