Lake Mead: 700 miles of shore

The West's BEST LAKES

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Lake Mead is about 20 miles east of Las Vegas. For general information on the lake, contact the Lake Mead National Recreation Area's Alan Bible Visitor Center ($5 day-use; U.S. 93 and Lakeshore Dr.; 702/293-8990 or www.nps.gov/lame/). Area code is 702 unless noted.

LAKE FUN: Hoover Dam. Completed in 1935, the art deco-style dam and visitor center is an awesome monument of engineering and hubris. 11 miles east of Boulder City on U.S. 93; 294-3517.

BOATING: The lake's six marinas offer rentals from personal watercraft to fishing and houseboats. Call for boat rental information: Callville Bay Resort (565-8958), Echo Bay Resort (394-4000), Lake Mead Marina (293-3484), Las Vegas Bay Marina (565-9111), Overton Beach Marina (394-4040), and Temple Bar Resort & Marina (520/767-3211). Downriver Outfitters. Float trips on the Colorado River just below Hoover Dam. From $42. 293-1190. Lake Mead Cruises. Paddle-wheel tours to Hoover Dam, as well as other day trips. From $19. 293-6180.

FISHING: The lake has largemouth bass, striped bass, bluegill, and more. A Nevada or Arizona fishing license is required (you can buy one at the marinas); Arizona-license holders need a use-stamp to fish in Nevada, and vice versa.

SWIMMING: Favorite spot is Boulder Beach, with a vast rocky beach and gentle slope into the water. Two miles north of the Alan Bible Visitor Center off Lakeshore Dr.; no lifeguard.

DINING: Lake Mead Resort Lounge. The bar makes a nice spot to relax after a day on the lake. Lake Mead Marina; 293-3484. Tail of the Whale. The nautical-themed diner serves fish-and-chips, burgers, and fries at two locations on the lake. At Echo Bay Resort (394-4000) and Lake Mead Marina (293-3484).

LODGING: All three of these lakeside lodges are operated by Seven Crown Resorts: Echo Bay Resort. Hotel with a casual seafood-based restaurant. From $85. Four miles off State 167, Overton, NV; 394-4000. Lake Mead Lodge. Lodge has motel-style rooms with nice views. From $70. 322 Lakeshore Rd., Boulder City, NV; 293-2074. Temple Bar Resort & Marina. On the lake's Arizona side, the resort has 22 motel rooms and rustic fishing cabins. From $55. U.S. 93 at milepost 19, Temple Bar, AZ; (520) 767-3211.

CAMPING: National park service campgrounds for tents and RVs are available at Boulder Beach, Callville Bay, and Las Vegas Bay. From $10. 293-8990.

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