One of the largest manmade lakes in the United States, Lake Mead straddles the border of Nevada and Arizona. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area, with its warm climate and spectacular scenery, offers an abundance of outdoor activities, including hiking, boating, fishing, and water sports. Watch for bald eagles, great horned owls, western tanagers, and hummingbirds. Thrill to the sight of desert bighorn sheep, beavers, and coyotes. From big cities to small towns in magnificent natural settings, here are the best sites to find vacation rentals near Lake Mead.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Located about 30 miles west of Lake Mead, dynamic Las Vegas provides nonstop entertainment opportunities. Known as the entertainment capital of the world, Vegas features a diversity of entertainment, gambling, shopping, and nightlife. Head downtown from your vacation rental and enjoy the bright lights along the pedestrian zone between casinos. Take the kids to fascinating local attractions such as the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, the Discovery Children’s Museum, and the Neon Museum. Stroll through a pleasant park, or play a round of golf at one of the four nearby golf courses.

2. Paradise, Nevada

The famous Las Vegas Strip lies just south of Las Vegas in the city of Paradise. This miles-long stretch of concentrated entertainment contains an amazing number of casinos, resort hotels, restaurants, and entertainment offerings. Head out from your vacation rental and take in the wonders of the Strip. Enjoy rollercoaster rides at the numerous amusement parks, peruse the endless items for sale at the enormous gift shops and luxury malls, and take in a show by a world-class entertainer before returning to your vacation rental for the night.

3. Henderson, Nevada

Closer to Lake Mead — just 16 miles southeast of Las Vegas — you can find the more laid-back city of Henderson. Although Henderson lacks the frantic pace of its brightly lit neighbor to the northwest, it offers plenty of opportunities near your vacation rental for shopping, dining, and entertainment. If you like walking, enjoy its more than 37 miles of trails. Check out the Native American exhibits and recreated ghost town at the Clark County Museum, and do some bird watching at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

4. Boulder City, Nevada

Situated just over 20 miles southeast of Las Vegas and only a few miles from Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, Boulder City offers vacation rentals that provide a perfect jumping-off point from which to explore the lake and the surrounding area. Hoover Dam, whose construction formed Lake Mead, is a spectacular sight either from the top of the structure itself or from a boat on the surface of the lake. Visit the Hoover Dam Museum in Boulder City to find out the history of the many workers who brought the Boulder Canyon Project to reality.

5. Moapa Valley, Nevada

Moapa Valley includes the communities of Moapa, Logandale, Glendale, and Overton. Vacation rentals in this beautiful oasis in the Nevada desert lie near the borders of the Valley of Fire State Park to the west and Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the south. The Lost City Museum highlights the Pueblo Native American culture that used to thrive in the area. The nearby Valley of Fire State Park features bright red sandstone, ancient petroglyphs, and fascinating indigenous flora and fauna.

6. Mesquite, Nevada

Just a short drive from Lake Mead, the small city of Mesquite lies close to the Arizona border in the beautiful Virgin River Valley. Vacation rentals in Mesquite provide easy access not only to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, but also to Valley of Fire State Park, Cathedral Gorge State Park, and Great Basin National Park. Mesquite is a golfer’s paradise, with numerous world-class courses nearby. For those seeking greater thrills, Mesquite also has facilities for aviation and skydiving. Head for one of many nature trails for hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife observation.

7. Meadview, Arizona

Meadview is a small town in northwest Arizona just over a ridge from the eastern end of Lake Mead. Located at the edge of Grand Canyon National Park, vacation rentals in Meadview have spectacular views of the Grand Wash Cliffs and a dense Joshua tree forest. Eastern Lake Mead offers lovely coves, sandy beaches, and great fishing. Enjoy hiking, swimming, boating, and waterskiing. Watch for local wildlife such as mountain sheep, coyotes, golden eagles, and ospreys.

8. White Hills, Arizona

White Hills, a former silver mining town, lies just off Highway 93 about 30 miles south of Hoover Dam. The incomparable desert landscape includes vistas of red rocks, cactus, Joshua trees, mesquite, and distant mountains. Activities include hiking, horseback riding, and photography. Vacation rentals at White Hills give you easy access not only to Lake Mead but also to the lovely Colorado River and Lake Mojave.

9. Dolan Springs, Arizona

Set on a mountain slope at an elevation of 3,400 feet, Dolan Springs offers incomparable views of the surrounding landscape. The clean, pollution-free air allows you to kick back on your vacation rental patio to enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Numerous off-road trails provide opportunities for hiking and horseback riding. Its proximity to the south cove of Lake Mead makes it easy to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and water sports.

10. St. George, Utah

The city of St. George lies close to the borders of Nevada and Arizona and at the edge of the Great Basin, the Colorado Plateau, and the Mojave Desert. St. George is also close to Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and the Dixie National Forest, giving you plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures and day trips. The numerous family attractions close to your vacation rental include the St. George Children’s Museum, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site, the Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum, and the Tonaquint Nature Center.