National Parks, Travel Tips, USA

Free Camping on the Shores of Lake Mead + The Hoover Dam

One of the most memorable nights camping I have ever experienced was the night my husband and I camped at a free campground on the shores of Lake Mead outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Lake Mead is a National Recreation Area, and part of the National Park Service. We had a beautiful view and some interesting company! If you are looking for a night of  camping you will never forget, check out Kingsman Wash in Arizona. I’m excited to tell you all about it!

Drive to Kingsman Wash

A beautiful view on our drive into the camping area

How to Get There:
To access the camping area at Kingsman Wash you take Kingman Wash Road, also known as NPS Road 70. The road is a maintained backcountry road off Highway 93 south of Hoover Dam in Arizona. The road runs for roughly 3.5 miles to the shore of Lake Mead. This was a very short drive from the Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam with GoPro

The amazing Hoover Dam

What to Expect:

  • A pretty rough ride from the main road to the camping area. The unpaved road is about three miles long and we did it in a small rental car. I would suggest at least an SUV!
  • Little to no privacy – the campsites are just wherever you make them. Previously used sites will be marked by a homemade fire pit consisting of large rocks in a circle. Most people just pull their cars up to a previously used site to set up camp. Depending on the night and the time to arrive you could have people right next to you or you could find a place with a little privacy.
  • Rowdy Neighbors – You will have a variety of neighbors and it is likely some of them came here to party. I wouldn’t recommend coming here if you are not ok with this.
  •  A Beautiful View – This was a beautiful place to sit for a fire at night and a great view to open our tent window to the next morning. The stars were amazing and the lake was calm and picturesque.
  • Vault Toilets – They do offer vault toilets (no running water) and there was toilet paper. However, the toilets were quite a distance from the camping. I would guess about a half mile.
  • No drinking water or electricity access – Just in case you were wondering.

Who Should go:
–        Budget Travelers – It is FREE, after all
–        Groups of Friends
–        Travelers looking to meet people
–        Anyone who can deal with loud rowdy neighbors 😉

Our Story:
My husband and I camped here after spending the day at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. We drove along the shore of Lake Mead and stopped at a few bars along the way. The last place we stopped was at The Boat House, located in the Lake Mead Marina. This was a great place for a drink and a snack. We also learned a lot about the drop in the water level on Lake Mead here. They had a lot of pictures from the past when the lake was much higher. It was quite shocking, and sad to see the change has taken place. When we finished our meal we asked about free camping, something we had read briefly about online. The people here were SUPER accommodating, they explained exactly where to go and even provided us with a free cooler to use for some beer! There are several places you can camp for free on Lake Mead but they highly suggested Kingsman Wash. So, we went with it! After stopping to watch sunset at the Hoover Dam, we headed to the camp, which was very easy to find. We were a bit nervous about driving the rough road in our small rental car, but it managed just fine – we took it slowly and surely. Other people, however, did not! As we were driving down, very carefully, an SUV flew up behind as and passed us on the narrow road driving like a maniac! At this point we knew we were in for an interesting night. We got down to the camp and saw tents all over the shore. We took a moment to look around and pulled right up to shore at what appeared to be a campsite. We watched the maniac driver get out of his car and then our jaws hit the floor when we watched his KIDS get out! This family ended up being our neighbors on one side and we basically learned how we don’t want to parent from them. Since you can hear everything your neighbors are doing, it was hard not to let them upset us! Luckily, on our other side, we had some college-aged drinkers. Pretty much what we were hoping for! Ha! It wasn’t long before we meandered over to their campfire for a very entertaining night!

Lak Mead Marina

The Lake Mead Marina, where we stopped for food and drinks at, The Boat House.

Camping on Lake Mead

The best view to wake up to after an amazing night!

The Hoover Dam:
Very close to Kingsman Wash, we enjoyed sunset at the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam was never a bucket list item, or a must-see thing for me, but I must say – WOW! I am glad we went here! I was blown away, it was truly incredible. We didn’t do a tour or anything but just walked around and enjoyed the views! It was a nice, easy, quick stop! If you are ever near it; GO!

Where have you had your most memorable camping experience? Or where is your favorite place to camp for free? I’d love to know!

Much Love & Happy Travels,

Peace & Love


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