Our Cruise on Lake Mead and Visiting the Hoover Dam

During our winter break, we made a road trip from our home in Phoenix out to Las Vegas. One of our favorite activities from the week that we spent near the Las Vegas strip was taking a Lake Mead day cruise and then shortly after visiting the Hoover Dam--today, we are sharing all of the details from this Las Vegas day trip!


Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam have always fascinated me (including learning about the construction of the dam itself during the 1930s, along with the purpose of the Lake Mead reservoir and the massive undertaking it took to build it). My mom and I first visited the Hoover Dam while I was still in school at Arizona State University, and we took an extended tour of the inside of the dam which was a bit scary but mostly incredibly compelling. When I knew Adam and I were making plans to road trip out to Nevada, I knew we had to make a point to dedicate a day to exploring Boulder City so that Adam could see the Hoover Dam for himself as well as take in the beauty of Lake Mead. 

Just about thirty minutes from the Las Vegas strip, Boulder City is a great way to escape the chaos of the strip and get outside to enjoy the beauty of Lake Mead, the peaks on the water channeling the Colorado River, and a chance to drive across town to explore the Hoover Dam. 

While there are a variety of private tours you can take that will bring you to the Hoover Dam right from the strip, since we were test driving the Toyota Prius Four Touring, we hopped in the car and made the quick trip from the strip to the Lake Mead waterfront ourselves. We did not have to worry about gas mileage being an issue since we were averaging about 199 miles per gallon in the Toyota Prius Hybrid Four Touring, and it ended up being a short drive just the same. I also prefer to drive rather than take a tour bus, as I like to have the freedom to explore places at my own speed and we often find ourselves taking unexpected detours when we find a cool spot we want to check out further along the way. 

For our day trip, we embarked on our day cruise on the lake through Lake Mead Cruises. While they do offer all kinds of specialty cruises, like a brunch cruise and a dinner cruise, we had opted for a midday cruise since we knew we wanted to also take advantage of seeing the Hoover Dam after our ride on the lake was over. 

Are you headed to Lake Mead for a cruise? Just so you know, it is a part of the U.S. National Park Service and you can expect to pay a fee when entering the area. Typically, the fee is $25 per vehicle, but you can confirm the exact fees and rates on their website here.


When we arrived at the dock at Lake Mead, we checked in and waiting for the horn to signal us to board the boat. The first thing that surprised us when we arrived was just how beautifully pristine the water looked. From afar, I had not noticed that it had an exotic green color to it until we walked onto the dock. Right as we entered the dock, I looked down and saw so many large fish all gathered in one spot along with about a handful of ducks swimming around them. 

As the horn signaled, everyone who was going on the day cruise boarded the ship in a line and everyone was stopped at the door to have their photo taken as an optional souvenir. Waiting in line, we looked around the small shop located inside the waiting area. While there were a variety of drinks and snacks you could buy, since we knew that they had food and drinks available on the boat, we opted to wait to enjoy some lunch until after we got on board.

The boat had multiple levels, and the top deck was completely outdoors with about 50 seats available. Below the top observation deck, where we spent the majority of our time during our cruise, there is a bar area with food, drinks, and merchandise available for purchase. We did not buy any merchandise, but we did order a fancy mixed drink and we did share one of their yummy double cheeseburgers (which was surprisingly very tasty for a burger on a lake boat!) After we got our snacks, we returned to the observation deck and listened to the staff providing us with facts about Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, and the Hoover Dam over the loudspeaker. 

When our ride on Lake Mead Cruises came to an end and we had returned to the harbor and disembarked, we jumped back in the Toyota Prius Four Touring, plugged in the GPS, and made our way over to the Hoover Dam. 

One thing to keep in mind when visiting the Hoover Dam is to expect traffic heading down there. We sat in the Toyota Prius Four Touring moving in bumper to bumper traffic for about 20 minutes (and only needing to travel about 2 miles down the canyon). You can also expect to have to pay to park in their multi-level parking garage, and while the Hoover Dam fees may vary, you can check their website for more information (the typical parking fee is $10). 

We could have gone in and requested a full in-depth tour of the inside of the Hoover Dam, but we opted to do a self-walking tour around the walkway and sat out on the patio of the cafe looking out over the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge that sits over 850 feet above the water that runs below the Hoover Dam. You can absolutely take the tour inside of the dam if you have the funds and the time to allow it, but we opted to not go on a tour inside during our visit. 

If you are staying in Las Vegas on the strip or looking for an Arizona road trip idea, we definitely recommend making the trip out to Lake Mead for a day cruise and stopping to see the Hoover Dam!


































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Thanks to our friends at Toyota USA for allowing us to test drive the Toyota Prius Four Touring!

22 comments

  1. From the look of your pictures, this was an amazing trip. I wouldn't mind visiting the Hoover Dam at all.

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  2. I watched a show several years ago about the Hoover Dam on the History Channel. It was so cool to see how they built it. Such a majestic piece of American history. You wrote about your experience so eloquently, that I felt like I was there!

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  3. It sounds like you had a great tour of that magnificent structure. I have never been out west to see it first hand but it seems like a must see.

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  4. Very nice. I love going to the Hoover Dam. I might have to try that cruise one time. That burger looks so yummy.

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  5. Hoover dam is always an interesting place to visit. You can even take a helicopter ride over the dam if you have the money to spend.

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  6. I have been wanting to do this for a long time. I don't live that far away but I just have not done that yet. It looks like it's such a fun time.

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  7. That sounds like it was such an amazing trip! That boat and seeing all the fish would have been so much fun for me. I'd love to take this cruise one day.

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  8. I've always wanted to visit the Hoover Dam. Everything about this trip looks amazing. I can't wait to visit with my family.

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  9. I remember going to the Hoover Dam a long time ago. We did a road trip from Vegas to the Grand Canyon and stopped at the dam on the way.

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  10. It looks like you had a beautiful day on this trip. My husbnad and I took this trip years ago, I think it's time to take our kiddos now

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  11. This would be such an amazing time. I've always enjoyed seeing the Hoover Dam. We'll have to plan to do something like this soon.

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  12. I would love to go on a cruise like that! I've never been to the Hoover Dam, but it's on my wish list.

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  13. What a neat place to visit! I have only been to one dam, but it was actually just within the dam and not viewed from the water. It would be neat to check out this cruise.

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  14. This sounds like an awesome cruise destination. I know someone that went on this cruise and had a wonderful time!

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  15. It looks like you had a really great time! The Hoover Dam is a great sight to see in person. The Lake Mead Cruise sounds like a definite bonus. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I love all of these pictures. It looks like the Lake Mead Cruise was a lot of fun. I would love to see The Hoover Dam someday.

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  17. I had no idea there was a cruise by the hoover dam. It looks like you had an amazing time. That drink looks perfect to me.

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  18. Cathi, I want to do this now! You had a lovely day. I love the water pics. That drink looks amazing.

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  19. This is such a perfect peaceful escape from the crazy Vegas strip. Never heard of it before but after seeing and reading this I am very much interested in Hoover dam

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  20. We visited this beautiful lake last year but did not go to a cruise, it would have been nice.

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  21. How exciting this trip looks! I bet you all had fun. Would love to experience it.

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  22. So pretty we stop over to Hoover Dam many years ago and I would want to go back again. These trip is so much fun loving all your photos.

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