Best Kayaking at Lake Mead | Where to Rent and What to Bring
Everyone loves a day out on the water, and when “the water” means spectacular Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, so much the better.
One of the best ways to see a lake is from a kayak, dipping into coves and remote beaches that can’t be accessed by cars. They’re affordable to rent, you don’t need a license to drive them and they’re fun for the whole family – or at least for anyone who can swim. And if you’re wondering “Can you kayak at Lake Mead?” the answer is yes! Ditto nearby and equally beautiful Lake Mohave.
If you don’t have a lot of experience with kayaks, don’t fuss. They’re easy to use, and it’s easy to find kayak rentals in this neck of the Arizona-Nevada wilderness. Here’s everything you need to know!
Where to Go
Both Lake Mead and Mohave have some pretty rugged terrain surrounding them, including canyon walls and large rock outcroppings. You can’t land just anywhere, so it’s good to do some research and pick your exploration destination ahead of time.
There are two basic approaches: rent for a day and paddle around the marina where you rented them, or rent for multiple days and drive them around for different adventures. Some of the best locations include:
- Willow Beach
- Boulder Basin
- Sandy Cove
- Emerald Cove
- Cottonwood Cove
- Cabinsite Cove
- Shoshone Cove
- Princess Cove
Where to Rent
The following kayak rental places are easy to get to, easy to rent from and located right on the water:
- Willow Beach Harbor: Located in the Black Canyon region, this gorgeous wilderness destination boasts beautiful natural scenery as well as a camp store, gift shop and restaurant.
- Temple Bar Resort Marina: With a restaurant and bar, rental cabins and access to hundreds of coves, Temple Bar is a nationally renowned destination for a good reason.
- Cottonwood Cove Resort Marina: Just as cozy as it sounds, Cottonwood Cove offers a huge variety of watercraft rentals with access to the Colorado River and Lake Mohave.
Where to Stay
If you have your own kayaks, canoes, boats, jet skis or other watercraft, you have a bit more freedom with where to stay. Check out the range of RV, campground and marina choices beforehand.
Also, you can stay at any of the above locations and drive to a marina that does kayak rentals easily. This is especially good for those who are traveling in RVs and need hookups for the night, which can be found at both Lake Mead RV Village and Echo Bay RV Village.
What to Know
Now that you know where to go when kayaking Lake Mead or Lake Mohave, the question becomes: What should you know? Here are a few FYIs you won’t want to miss.
You Can Book Ahead of Time
Yep, you can book watercraft in advance through Lake Mead Mohave Adventures. When choosing your bookings, you’ll be given the following options:
- Watercraft type
- Date range for booking
- Number of craft you’re booking
- Pickup time (usually 8 a.m.)
Hourly Rentals Are Walk-In Only
Hourly kayak rentals are available for $50 and up and are walk-in only. Because you can’t make reservations and it’s first-come first-served, it’s a good idea to get there early.
Reservations Range Between 1 Day and 1 Week
Want to make a reservation? Plan for between a day and a week – the last one is the best price!
Kids Can Kayak
Yep, you can get smaller kayaks for kiddos! Just make sure life jackets are well fitted.
Tandem Kayaks Are Totally a Thing!
Want to go tandem with a partner, friend or child? This is a fun way to see the lake together.
What to Bring
Lakes Mead and Mohave are both in direct sunlight, where water is extremely bright and temperatures get very high, even on the cooling waters. Come prepared with everything you’ll need for your expedition.
Water and Snacks
Never leave home (or home-away-from-home) without a lot of water! If you’re going to be on the lake or river for eight hours, bring a gallon per person – or an equivalent fraction for less time. Plan snacks accordingly as well.
Sunscreen and Sun Protection
It is bright, humid and buggy on the lake. You’ll need sun protection in the form of a hat and sunscreen. It’s a good idea to wear long sleeves, but keep in mind that you can burn through cotton. SPF-rated shirts are better.
Make sure to bring polarized sunglasses too. Even if you don’t normally wear them, the water is very bright.
It’s humid on the water, and the coves collect mosquitoes. Bring bug repellant if you want to steer clear of those pests.
Kayak fishing is a popular sport, but you have to plan ahead to ensure you’ve got the supplies you need. Many people bring removable carryalls that mount on the back of the kayak. Others rely on the hatches that come with some kayaks to stow their fishing gear and fish.
If you’re not sure what you’ll need or whether a rental kayak will meet those needs, feel free to call and ask questions at any time.
Kayaking on Lake Mead and Mohave: FAQs
Still have a few questions? Here are a few answers.
Can you learn to kayak in a day?
Yes! It only takes a few minutes to learn the basics of using a double-sided paddle and steering a watercraft. No need to plan for practice time or training beforehand.
Do kayaks need to be registered in Nevada or Arizona?
No. Any watercraft without a motor is exempt from registration in these states. That’s true whether you’re bringing your own kayak or renting one from a purveyor.
Do you need a permit to kayak?
No, you don’t need a permit or license to kayak in Arizona or Nevada. However, if you are bringing your own kayak to Nevada, please note that it will need to display an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) decal, which you can purchase for $6 for nonmotorized watercraft ($13 for those with motors). You can get the decal here. If you’re renting a kayak, they will supply the decal along with the boat.
Arizona has additional rules regarding invasive species, so look them up ahead of time.
Learn More About Adventures on Lakes Mead and Mohave!
Ready to plan an epic adventure any time of year? Check out the many marinas operated by Lake Mead Mohave Adventures, book a place to stay, make a kayak reservation, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
Have further questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!