Jun 16, 2022
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Top 5 Things to Do at Willow Beach

A trip to Las Vegas will never be complete without spending quality time in nature. After partying, attending concerts, and playing table games, engaging in exciting outdoor activities in the greener side of Sin City is always a great idea. Whatever you want to do, Willow Beach is a  destination you won’t want to miss. Every nature adventure in Las Vegas starts at Willow Beach.

Where is Willow Beach?

Willow Beach Marina and Campground is located between Lake Mohave and Lake Mead, on the Arizona side of the Colorado River. It's only around an hour's drive from Las Vegas, so it's easily accessible for anyone who wants a quick nature escape near impressive waterways. Like other parts of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, it offers various opportunities to relax, unwind, get active, and enjoy nature.

Willow Beach Kayak Launch

The 5 Best Things to Do at Willow Beach

So, you’re planning an outing to Willow Beach. Smart idea! What kinds of things should you include on your agenda? Here are five suggestions.

1. Kayaking

Appreciate the beauty of nature from a one-of-a-kind perspective through kayaking, without going through the overwhelming process of acquiring permits. In Willow Beach, you don't need any permit to paddle in the river. You only need to buy a national pass park, as this location is within Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

But why don’t we kick things up a notch? Kayaking at Willow Beach is nice… but what about the Emerald Cave? There’s so much more to explore — but it’s worth having someone else manage all the logistics for you. Whether you're a beginner kayaker or a seasoned pro, joining a guided kayak tour can help you make the most out of the experience. Several of our tours start at Willow Beach, leading to mesmerizing destinations like the Emerald Cave. In addition, you can explore Black Canyon in general and take stunning photos of wildlife, clear waters, and steep canyon walls.

Kayaking Emerald Cave in Las Vegas, Nevada

We’ll handle all of the permits and equipment for you. We’ll also teach you the kayaking basics you’ll need to know. All you have to do is show up and have a good time. 

2. Fishing

Before turning into a popular outdoor recreation hub, Willow Beach was known as a good fishing spot. Today, it's still regarded as one of the most scenic fishing locations in the US, housing a wide variety of fish species. Here, you can catch several fish, including rainbow trout, striped bass, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Visiting the fish hatchery is also an option!

Secure a license to fish in the Colorado River before heading to Willow Beach. The best time to fish depends on the weather you're comfortable in and the type of fish you want to catch. Although it's possible to capture largemouth bass any time of the year, you have a bigger chance of catching one around late spring to early summer. Trout fishing, meanwhile, peaks during the fall and spring seasons.

3. Camping

Willow Beach Marina and Campground has its own RV campground and tent campground with rental facilities and launch services, making it convenient for those who want to camp for a short or extended period. If you’re not busy fishing or kayaking, you can enjoy your favorite camping food while appreciating mountain and desert landscapes. 

Lake Mead National Recreation Area has eight developed campgrounds. There are also five marinas, eight visitor areas, and a parking location. Willow Beach is a secluded area far from Boulder Beach and Lake Mead, allowing people to camp and revel in the breathtaking scenery without sharing space with huge crowds (a nice change from city life).

Pro tip: Make sure you brush up on camping etiquette before you set up your tent. And prepare any necessary equipment and belongings in advance!

4. Swimming

Kayaks lined up along Willow Beach shoreline

Apart from being a good kayaking destination, Willow Beach is also a great place to swim. The average water temperature in Willow Beach is 56 degrees Fahrenheit, quite refreshing and perfect for a memorable summer excursion — especially since the temperatures here can go well over 100 degrees. The thing is, though, swimming around Willow Beach can be tricky.

Swimming is not allowed in launch areas and marinas. Many coves appear smaller but are actually too vast to swim across. Moreover, some areas have high boat traffic and there are no lifeguards on duty. Thus, check the safest spots before heading to the waters, especially if you’re swimming with children. We strongly recommend that you wear a lifejacket at all times. 

5. Sightseeing

Even if you don’t have that much time to camp, kayak, or go fishing, Willow Beach is still an awesome place to visit. It’s a paradise overflowing with hundreds of animal and plant species. Simply visiting the area for a quick walk will leave you in awe. You can even sightsee and stroll along with your dog.

group of people exploring Willow Beach

Hiking is also an option, but even short walks and simply enjoying the view can help you unwind, feel happier, and reconnect with nature. Without spending a lot of money, you can explore this diverse ecosystem on foot and admire the enclosing plateaus, mountains, rock formations, and wildlife. Don’t forget to bring your camera and document the experience! 

Plan Your Willow Beach Adventure Today

Willow Beach and the entire Lake Mead National Recreation Area host year-round recreational outdoor activities for locals and tourists alike. It's an adventurer's paradise, offering people a fulfilling escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Its proximity to Las Vegas allows travelers with varying interests to enjoy the best of both worlds. No need to travel far from the city. In Las Vegas, you can experience extravagant parties and live entertainment and discover its greener side immediately the next day, without spending hours on the road. 

Ready to explore the magic of Willow Beach and beyond? Book a guided kayak tour with Evolution Expeditions today. Our experienced guides will make sure you enjoy the moment to the fullest while always staying safe, whether you want to explore Emerald Cave, Willow Beach, the Black Canyon, or the Hoover Dam. See you on the water!

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