Entry fees to the park are separate from Lake Mead Mohave Adventures’ fees. For more information, please visit the National Park Service’s fees page.

Night shot of Yellow tent pinched in red sandstone campsite in Nevada USA

Beyond the Neon Lights: The Best Camping Near Las Vegas

When you think of Las Vegas, images of bright neon lights, bustling casinos, and extravagant shows often come to mind. However, beyond the glitz and glamour of the famous Strip, the surrounding desert landscape offers a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a different kind of adventure. Whether you’re a fan of camper vans, glamping, or traditional tent camping, the area around Las Vegas has something for everyone. 

Camper Vans: Roaming the Desert in Style

For those who prefer a home on wheels, camper van camping is an excellent choice. Imagine cruising through the vast desert landscapes surrounding Las Vegas with all the comforts of home at your fingertips. Several rental companies in the area offer fully-equipped camper vans, making it easy for visitors to embark on a road trip without the need for extensive planning.

One popular route is the Valley of Fire State Park, located just an hour’s drive northeast of Las Vegas. The park’s striking red sandstone formations and petroglyphs create a surreal backdrop for a camper van adventure. Campsites within the park are equipped with the essentials, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the beauty of the desert while enjoying the convenience of their own mobile accommodation.

The convenience of camper van camping extends beyond the Valley of Fire. The proximity of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, only 30 minutes from the Strip, provides additional options for those seeking a watery escape in the desert. From lakeside views to hidden coves, camper van travelers can park in designated areas and wake up to the tranquility of nature just outside their doors.

Glamping: Luxury in the Wilderness

For those who crave the outdoor experience but still desire a touch of luxury, glamping is the answer. Las Vegas and its surrounding areas boast several glamping sites that combine the thrill of camping with the comfort of high-end accommodations.

Located near Red Rock Canyon, Luxury RV Camp offers a glamping experience like no other. Visitors can enjoy spacious safari tents complete with comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and even air conditioning – all set against the backdrop of the stunning desert landscape. It’s a perfect blend of luxury and nature, allowing guests to unwind in style after a day of exploring the nearby trails.

Another notable glamping option is the Canvas Village at Under Canvas Zion. While not directly near Las Vegas, it’s just a short road trip away and offers a unique experience in luxurious canvas tents. With amenities such as king-size beds, private decks, and gourmet dining options, it’s a glamping paradise surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of Zion National Park.

Tent Camping: Embracing the Basics

For those who prefer a more traditional camping experience, tent camping remains a timeless choice. The Las Vegas area provides numerous campgrounds, each offering its own unique charm and proximity to outdoor attractions.

Mount Charleston, situated less than an hour’s drive from the Strip, is a haven for tent campers seeking a cool escape from the desert heat. As the highest peak in Nevada, Mount Charleston offers a variety of campgrounds nestled among the pine trees, providing a stark contrast to the arid landscapes typically associated with the region. Hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and the chance to spot local wildlife make Mount Charleston an ideal destination for nature lovers.

If you’re looking for a more remote tent camping experience, consider the offerings within the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. With dispersed camping options available, adventurers can find a secluded spot to set up their tents and revel in the solitude of the desert wilderness.

Passes Needed: Navigating Permits and Regulations

Before embarking on your camping adventure near Las Vegas, it’s essential to be aware of any passes or permits required. Different camping areas may have varying regulations, and obtaining the necessary permits ensures a smooth and legal outdoor experience.

Valley of Fire State Park, for instance, requires an entrance fee, and campsite reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons. Similarly, Lake Mead National Recreation Area may have entrance fees and camping permits, depending on the chosen location.

For glamping options, such as Luxury RV Camp or Canvas Village at Under Canvas Zion, reservations are typically necessary due to the limited availability of these high-demand accommodations.

When it comes to tent camping, Mount Charleston campgrounds may require reservations during busy periods, while dispersed camping in areas like the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area may have specific regulations regarding fire permits and waste disposal.

Researching and obtaining the necessary passes and permits beforehand not only ensures compliance with regulations but also guarantees a stress-free camping experience, allowing you to focus on the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Camping in the Las Vegas wilderness, whether in a tent or a camper van, comes with a set of etiquettes aimed at preserving the natural beauty of the surroundings and ensuring a positive experience for everyone. 

Leave No Trace

Respect the environment by practicing “Leave No Trace” principles. Pack out all your trash, including food wrappers and cigarette butts. Minimize your impact by staying on designated trails and campsites. Avoid trampling on vegetation and disturbing wildlife.

Campfire Safety

Follow local regulations regarding campfires. In many desert areas, fires may be restricted due to the risk of wildfires. If fires are allowed, use established fire rings and keep the fire small. Never leave a fire unattended, and ensure it is completely extinguished before leaving.

Respect Quiet Hours

Be mindful of other campers and adhere to quiet hours. Respect the tranquility of the desert environment, especially during the night. Keep noise levels to a minimum, including music and conversations, to avoid disturbing wildlife and fellow campers.

Campsite Selection:

Choose designated campsites when available, and avoid creating new ones. Stay at least 200 feet away from water sources to protect riparian areas. Do not camp in areas marked as off-limits, and be aware of any wildlife corridors to avoid disrupting animal habitats.

Water Conservation

Conserve water, especially in the desert environment. Use water sparingly for cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. Be aware of water sources and carry enough water for your needs. Refrain from contaminating water sources with soap or other pollutants.

Respect Wildlife

Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid approaching or feeding them. Feeding wildlife can disrupt natural behaviors and harm their health. Store food securely to prevent attracting animals to your campsite. This includes properly disposing of food scraps and keeping a clean camp.

Stay Informed About Regulations

Familiarize yourself with local camping regulations and obtain any necessary permits. Different areas may have specific rules regarding camping, hiking, and recreational activities. Stay informed about fire restrictions, weather conditions, and any other relevant information that may impact your camping experience.

Be Considerate with Lights

Minimize the use of artificial lights, especially during the night. Bright lights can disrupt the natural darkness of the desert and affect the experience of stargazing. Use low-impact lighting and consider using red lights to preserve night vision.

Practice Responsible Driving

If camping in a camper van, stick to established roads and trails. Avoid creating new paths that can cause erosion and damage to the landscape. Follow speed limits and be cautious of wildlife crossing roads. Respect the desert environment while driving.

By adhering to these camping etiquettes, you contribute to the preservation of the Las Vegas wilderness and ensure a positive experience for yourself and fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Responsible camping allows everyone to enjoy the beauty of nature while minimizing the impact on the fragile desert ecosystem.

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a first-time camper, the best camping near Las Vegas invites you to explore the beauty of the desert while creating lasting memories under the vast Nevada sky. So, pack your bags, prepare your camping gear, and venture beyond the neon lights for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

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