Planning a trip to or through Las Vegas?Hoover Dam is located about 30 minutes south of Las Vegas, Nevada and it's a “dam” goodfamily-friendly attraction in a city that is not known for its family attractions. It's educational too!
We have visited Hoover Dam twice, about five years apart and our experience was similar – and positive – both times. Here's what you can expect from a stop at Hoover Dam.
What to Do
Hoover Dam straddles the Nevada-Arizona state line. The road over the dam used to be part of the main highway through that area, but now it ends on the Arizona side. It is easy to spend an hour ormore just walking on and around the dam itself.
The dam is an engineering marvel. Lake Mead and the surrounding mountains are scenic. The state line marker is a popular photo op and it's fun to get a good look at Lake Mead on one side andthenwonder at HUGE drop down the concrete wall on the other.
There is a statuary on the Nevada side where you can get an idea ofjust how challenging Hoover Damwas to buildand how many lives were lost for it. There isa gift shop and cafe.
It costs nothing to visit Hoover Dam. There is a charge to take a tour and see the visitor center. Admission to the visitor center is included with a tour, or can be purchased separately.
We would like to take a tour and see the visitor center, but we haven't yet. On one trip, our kids were younger, and kind of grumpy on the day we visited. On the other, we arrived too late in the day for a tour, but our visit was still well worth the time.
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Don't Miss the Bridge
About a mile before you reach Hoover Dam, look for a parking lot near the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. This bridge, which was completed in 2010,spans the gorge in front of Hoover Dam. The bridge is an engineering feat on its own and there is an informative foot path up to the bridge and a pedestrian walkway across it.
You can getgreat photos of the bridge from Hoover Dam and of Hoover Dam from the bridge. Standing over that much air was a little unnerving for me, but still pretty neat. Hang on to your hats! It's quite windy on the bridge.
On our last visit, we spotted several mountain sheep just above the bridge, across the road from the Welcome to Nevada sign.
There is only one small parking lot at the bridge, compared with hundreds of spaces at the dam. To beat the crowds, consider stopping at the bridge first if you arrive in the morning, or last if you arrive in the afternoon.
How to Get There
We drive our own car when we visit Hoover Dam. It's the easiest and least expensive way to get there.
If you don't need a car for any other reason than to visit Hoover Dam, you can book a tour from Las Vegas. Concierges at every hotel in Las Vegas can help you book a tour to Hoover Dam. Or, choose from dozens of tours at Viator.com, starting at around $50 per person. Basic tours typically include
- Hoover Dam Tour
- Visitor Center
- Memorial Bridge
Some tours may also include a helicopter ride, Lake Mead cruise or a combination Grand Canyon trip. Click the button below to see tour options at Viator.com.
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Hoover Dam has a multi-level parking garage on the Nevada side and several parking lots on the Arizona side. The parking garage charges $10 per vehicle and it is the most convenient parking option for the dam. Your car will be shaded from the sun, which will be nice on a hot day. There is no parking charge for those with accessible plates and placards.
Additional parking is available on the Arizona side of the dam. There is a pay lot just on the other side, but if demand is low you may be able to park there for free. That was the case on our most recent visit. Additional free parking is available in several places up the hill. Oversize vehicles are required to park on the Arizona side.
Parking will fill up on busy days, so arrive early or late in the day if you can.
What to Bring
Hoover Dam is located in the desert and temperatures will usually be hotter than 100 degrees (F) in the summer. It was 90 degrees (F) on our last visit in early April.
Bring plenty of drinking water with you, especially if you plan to park in the free parking on the Arizona side. You'll be walking uphill on the way back to your car. The walk across the dam is a half-mile, round trip.
Wear sunscreen and sun hats on the dam. There will be little shade.
I recommend bringing your own snacks and picnic. The cafe at Hoover Dam serves lunch, bottled water and cold treats too.
Where to Stay
Hoover Dam is located about 30 minutes from Las Vegas, just outside Boulder City, Nevada. If your visit to Hoover Dam is part of a Las Vegas vacation, then I would stay in Las Vegas. Tahiti Village Resort is a good option for families in Las Vegas.
If you're just passing through and need a place for the night, then Boulder City or Henderson have a number of hotels to choose from.
Click the red button to check rates and availability for Boulder City hotels on TripAdvisor.com.
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Good to Know
Where:Hoover Dam is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, on the Nevada-Arizona border. From Las Vegas, take US Highway 93 to Nevada State Route 172. From Boulder City, follow the signs.
When: Open year-round except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Visit Hoover Dam between 5 AM and 9 PM. Tours and Visitor Center availability is 9 AM to 5 PM.
How Much:It's FREEto walk or drive across Hoover Dam and the Colorado River Bridge. However, there is a charge for parking, the visitor center and tours:
- $10 for parking. If you don't mind walking, free parking is available farther up on the Arizona side.
- $10 per person (ages 4 and up) for the visitor center
- $12-15 per person for 30-minute Powerplant tour (includes visitor center)
- $30 per person for 1-hour Hoover Dam tour (includes visitor center)
How Long: 1-2 hours without the visitor center or a tour
Amenities: Free access to restrooms, gift shop and cafe.
Hi there! I am the founder of Tips for Family Trips. I am a married mom of two children, ages 14 and 17, living near Salt Lake City, Utah. We took our first child on a two-week road trip when she was four weeks old and we have been traveling as a family ever since. We love to get out of the house to see and do fun things, both far away and in our own neighborhood.
As an expert in travel and family-friendly attractions, I can provide valuable information related to the concepts mentioned in the article about planning a trip to Hoover Dam near Las Vegas. Here's a breakdown of the concepts discussed in the article:
Hoover Dam is a popular family-friendly attraction located about 30 minutes south of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is an engineering marvel that straddles the Nevada-Arizona state line. The dam offers scenic views of Lake Mead and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can walk on and around the dam, take photos at the state line marker, and learn about the challenging construction process and the lives lost during its building. There is also a gift shop and cafe on the Nevada side.
Visitor Center and Tours
While it is free to visit Hoover Dam, there is a charge to take a tour and access the visitor center. The visitor center provides educational exhibits and information about the dam's history and construction. Tours offer a more in-depth experience and include a visit to the visitor center. Prices for tours range from $12 to $30 per person, depending on the duration and specific tour package.
Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
About a mile before reaching Hoover Dam, visitors can find a parking lot near the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Completed in 2010, this bridge spans the gorge in front of Hoover Dam and offers stunning views of both the bridge and the dam. There is a footpath leading up to the bridge and a pedestrian walkway across it. From the bridge, visitors can get great photos of the dam and may even spot wildlife such as mountain sheep.
Transportation and Parking
To get to Hoover Dam, visitors can drive their own car, which is the easiest and least expensive option. However, if a car is not available, tours can be booked from Las Vegas hotels or online platforms like Viator.com, starting at around $50 per person. Hoover Dam has a multi-level parking garage on the Nevada side, which charges $10 per vehicle. There are also several parking lots on the Arizona side, some of which may offer free parking if demand is low. Oversize vehicles are required to park on the Arizona side. It is advisable to arrive early or late in the day to secure parking on busy days.
Tips for Visiting
Hoover Dam is located in the desert, so it is important to come prepared. The temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, so it is recommended to bring plenty of drinking water, wear sunscreen, and sun hats. The walk across the dam is about a half-mile round trip, so comfortable walking shoes are advisable. Visitors can also bring their own snacks and picnic, but there is also a cafe at Hoover Dam that serves lunch, bottled water, and cold treats.
If Hoover Dam is part of a Las Vegas vacation, it is suggested to stay in Las Vegas itself. However, if visitors are just passing through and need a place for the night, Boulder City or Henderson have a number of hotel options.
Hoover Dam Details
Hoover Dam is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, on the Nevada-Arizona border. It is open year-round, except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. The best time to visit is between 5 AM and 9 PM. The visitor center and tours are available from 9 AM to 5 PM. The cost of parking is $10 per vehicle, while the visitor center and tour prices range from $10 to $30 per person. The average visit duration without the visitor center or a tour is 1-2 hours.
For more information and updates, you can visit the official website of Hoover Dam at www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/.
I hope this information helps you plan your trip to Hoover Dam! Let me know if you have any more questions.