Lake Mead hardly needs an introduction, its placid waters and stunning desert landscape largely speaking firmly for themselves. That said, the country’s biggest man-made lake sits a little under 25 miles from Las Vegas, straddling the Colorado River and the states of Arizona and Nevada, and counting the iconic Hoover Dam and pretty Lake Mohave among its neighbors.

Houseboat vacations on Lake Mead

The Lake Mead National Recreation Area isn’t short on places to stay, though houseboat rentals remain an ever-popular choice. These floating vacation home rentals put you right where you want to be, serving up both comfort and privacy, along with the freedom to discover the lake’s best bits at your own pace. And you needn’t worry if you’re something of a landlubber – a quick boating lesson is all you’ll need to don your captain’s hat in confidence.

Amenities included on Lake Mead houseboats

Lake Mead houseboat rentals come in different sizes, though even the smallest six-person boats offer all the comforts you’ll need for a few nights on the water. Larger boats with room for up to 22 guests are also available, these vessels coming complete with a full kitchen, air-conditioning, and onboard entertainment in the form of gas grills, water slides, and TVs. All of the houseboats feature an outdoor living space, typically provided by roof decks and/or sun canopies, while luxury options often include a hot tub too.

Best time to enjoy houseboat vacations on Lake Mead

Give or take a few thunderstorms, summer rentals at Lake Mead all but guarantee a good time – though the slightly cooler climes of spring and fall, not to mention the lower houseboat rental cost, also hold plenty of appeal. Although operating on off-season hours during these shoulder months, the lake’s marinas still open daily to offer both food and fuel to boaters. Chilly nighttime temperatures over the winter see activities on Lake Mead drop to a minimum.

Where to rent a houseboat on Lake Mead?

Several marinas dot the lake’s 550 miles of pristine shoreline, with most offering some sort of sea-worthy rentals, whether that be jet skis, pontoon boats, or kayaks. Houseboat rentals, on the other hand, usually chug out of Callville Bay on the lake’s northwestern side – the well-equipped marina here catering to the needs of both boaters and those staying in the Callville Bay RV Park.

Things to do at Lake Mead

Life on the water in a Lake Mead houseboat

The thing people tend to love most about a vacation in a Lake Mead houseboat rental is the chance to get off the grid and enjoy some quality time with family and friends. In the daytime hours, that might mean swimming in the lake’s cool water, trying your hand at paddleboard yoga, kayaking the Black Canyon National Water Trail, or cruising to the lake’s south-western shores to catch a glimpse of the world-famous Hoover Dam. As evening falls, plenty of secluded coves offer a striking backdrop for cocktails at sunset, the absence of light pollution at night adding unforgettable stargazing into the mix.

Onshore attractions at Lake Mead

While the best way to explore Lake Mead often proves to be aboard a houseboat, heading onshore remains an easy option during your vacation. If it’s privacy you’re after, you can “drop anchor” at pretty much any of the lake’s sandy coves – those on the north-western shores the gateway to the Muddy Mountains and Pinto Valley wilderness areas and all offering a memorable setting for picnics, nature walks, or even a few hours spent soaking up the rays. And if you’re up for a bit of culture, you need only head to the Lake Mead Visitor Center to reach one of the most unique experiences in Southern Nevada – as served up along the famed Historic Railroad Trail.