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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Mead National Recreation Area’

Travel Theme: Mountains

Posted by Jody on February 16, 2013

Let’s face it. Some people are mountain people. Other folks prefer the desert.

Then there are those of us who would rather spend our days at the beach.

But what if you could have the best of all of these worlds? What if you simply didn’t have to choose?

Willow Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Willow Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Wild and wonderful Willow Beach really does have it all!  Mother Nature’s delectable buffet, Willow Beach has beautiful mountains, hot and sunny desert, and welcoming beaches! Less than an hour south of Las Vegas, Nevada, this amazing recreation area is a relaxing respite from the lights, action, and crowds of Sin City.

Located on the east banks of the Colorado River within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and surrounded by stately mountains, this Arizona oasis is the perfect place to stretch out and relax with a good book or to launch your paddle adventure.  Take a dip in the cool, fresh water or stake your claim for a day of fishing right here, smack-dab in the middle of  the sun-drenched Black Canyon region of the Mojave Desert.

And that, my friends, is how we fit one of our favorite beach escapes into

this week’s “Travel Theme: Mountains!”


Helpful links: I Hit the Jackpot at Willow Beach

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Have a great day at the beach!

Posted in Beaches of North America, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Travel Theme: Couples

Posted by Jody on October 23, 2012

Willow Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona

“If I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you a day just like today.”

~Sunshine on My Shoulders, Lyrics by John Denver

This week’s Travel Theme is “couples.”

For more on Willow Beach, Arizona: “I hit the jackpot at Willow Beach!

Posted in Inland Shores, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Signs that make you go “Yay!”

Posted by Jody on August 3, 2012

“Are we there yet?”

This way to Boulder Beach!

Yay! Grab your sand pail!

Boulder Beach, Lake Mead, Nevada

Now, where’d  he go?

FYI: The boy with the sand pail image is the National Park Service’s pictograph to signify a designated area for “wading.”

Where will you be wading, swimming, sunning or beachcombing this weekend?

Posted in Friday Finds, Today's Special | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

I hit the jackpot at Willow Beach!

Posted by Jody on June 29, 2012

I’ve made the 585 mile driving trip between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada many times a year – for 22 years now.  So, there’s no telling how many times I’ve passed the nondescript sign to Willow Beach on US Hwy 93,  less than 50 miles south of the famous Las Vegas Strip. I’m talking hundreds!

Why hadn’t we ever stopped at Willow Beach? Well, for a long time there was major road construction on the Hoover Dam fly-over (it seemed like decades).  Over the years, our in-car deliberations included, but were not limited to: “It’s way too hot to head off onto some remote desert byway.” “We’re almost there. Let’s just get where we’re going.”  “Do we really want to take a detour, especially when we don’t know how many miles it is down the road?”  “It’s probably just some little kayak launch site on the river.” “Are we there yet?”

Road to Willow Beach

On this last trip through, though, I decided I would actually schedule a stop at Willow Beach to see for myself what was out there in the middle of the Mojave Desert, down the dry, dusty, desolate road.

Let me tell you, I hit the jackpot way before I hit the casinos!

View from the shaded picnic tables at the park overlook.

I was absolutely blown away by what I found. Located in the Black Canyon region of the Colorado River, just 11 miles downstream from Hoover Dam, Willow Beach is an amazingly gorgeous and colorful oasis. It really does have to be seen to be believed! It turns out that the National Park Service (Lake Mead National Recreation Area) recently completed a $20 million redevelopment of the Willow Beach area. It shows. Willow Beach has a marina, fishing pier, riverfront trail, plenty of covered picnic tables, multiple comfort stations (restrooms), a cafe, and a convenience store. And, indeed, it does have a kayak launch site.

Willow Beach Marina

The little beaches of this oasis welcome visitors into the placid, crystal clear water of the Colorado. Yes, the Colorado River does flow south through Willow Beach, but the water is calmer (with less current) near its banks. With the air temperature soaring into the triple digits, plenty of folks were splashing and playing in the river, even though the water at Willow Beach remains about 54°F year round. There are no roped off or designated swimming areas, nor are there lifeguards, in this section of the National Recreation Area, so caution is well advised.

Looking towards the fishing pier. Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery is in the background.

By the way, Willow Beach, with it’s million dollar views,  is maybe 3 miles off the highway. It’s totally worth the detour.  I felt like a winner before I even stepped foot in Sin City!


Posted in Beaches of North America, Friday Finds, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Stars and Stripes

Posted by Jody on June 14, 2012

~In celebration of Flag Day, USA~

Boulder Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom’s shield and hope.
“Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa

Posted in Today's Special | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

South Arizona Telephone Cove, Lake Mohave, Arizona (Lake Mead National Recreation Area)

Posted by Jody on December 2, 2011

Shhhhhhh. We have a really great secret that we are going to share with you.  The Lake Mead National Recreation Area doesn’t tell you on their website or in their general park information that there is an awesome swimming beach near the Katherine Landing entrance station. The National Recreation Area’s park newspaper only lists Boulder Beach on Lake Mead (northwest of Hoover Dam) and Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave (east of Searchlight, Nevada) as designated swimming beach areas.  But, have we got a super Friday Find for you!

We stumbled upon an awesome surprise beach while on a roundabout drive home to Albuquerque from Las Vegas, Nevada. Heading into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA) at the Katherine Landing entrance station in Arizona, we had no idea what we’d find.  Passing by the Arizona Telephone Cove sign, we started our “explore” at Princess Cove, the farthest mapped point of interest from the park entrance.  Doubling back to Cabinsite Point and then on to North Arizona Telephone Cove we certainly found the many boat launches and plenty of scenic, shaded picnic areas set aside for park visitors. There was something that caught our eye, though. In the distance, the vague outline of a white, sandy-looking crescent was visible from our North Telephone Cove vantage point.  What exactly were we seeing, we wondered?

South Telephone Cove, Lake Mead NRA, Arizona (©Jody Diehl)

When we reached South Arizona Telephone Cove we couldn’t believe our good fortune! We found ourselves at the end of a dirt road, approaching a paved parking lot. We had found an absolutely gorgeous beach in a truly beautiful setting, complete with a roped off swimming area. “South Telephone Cove” has plenty of sandy shoreline, clear placid water, amazing Arizona desert views, and solitude.

View from the Beach, South Telephone Cove, Lake Mead NRA, Arizona (©Jody Diehl)

The sand along South Telephone Cove‘s shoreline ranges from sugar white (closer to the dunes) to pebbly areas perfect for beach rockhounding.  *You will want to wear your beach trekkers to protect your feet from the sharper pieces of rock.* It will be hard to decide whether to look down for the beautifully colored stones,  look up at the gorgeous scenery, or just look across the serene water for boats crossing beyond the cove.

What will you find beach rockhounding at South Telephone Cove, Arizona? (©Jody Diehl)

This area comes complete with shaded picnic tables and restrooms.  No lifeguards are on duty here, so be sure to follow the posted safety advice.

We cannot wait to head back to South Arizona Telephone Cove on a warm, sunny day! Even on a cool, overcast afternoon we had an absolutely splendid time at the beach.

This Way to the Beach!

Take the scenic route and enjoy the ride!

Posted in Beaches of North America, Friday Finds, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Shoreline and Spiders in the Nevada Desert (Cottonwood Cove)

Posted by E.G.D. on November 16, 2011

Cottonwood Cove Beach, Lake, Boats, Mountains, and Sky! (© Jody Diehl)

Last week, Mom (aka Jody) and I went to visit my grandma and go to a wedding in Las Vegas, Nevada.  On the way home, we (not unnaturally) decided to take the long route and hit every beach we could reasonably call “along the way.”  The very first beach we hit was Cottonwood Cove, on Lake Mohave on the Nevada side of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  It was a drizzly, gray sort of morning, but there is something to be said for a beach in the off-season on an off-day.

Sign at Cottonwood Cove (© Jody Diehl)

The whole Cottonwood Cove area had a quiet, laid-back sort of vibe, and we were the only people walking on the public beach.  It seems a lovingly-well maintained area, and there is a very nice camp ground and a hotel right there on the beach.  The hotel, in fact, has a private beach reserved for hotel guests, which is probably less crowded when the tourist season is at its peak.  The resort’s options, incidentally, include extremely spiffy-looking houseboats with slides!

Cottonwood Cove‘s public beach has a nice swimming area, boating is definitely an option, and there seems to be plenty to do by way of hiking and camping.  What more could you ask for from a beach in Nevada?  Cottonwood Cove is the perfect escape for people who want to get away from the noise and the heat of Las Vegas, and the drive is easy and pleasant.

The drive (for us, anyhow) also included multiple tarantula spottings, which makes this post “Wild Wednesday” worthy!

Tarantula near Cottonwood Cove (© Jody Diehl)

We were driving back to the highway from Cottonwood Cove when suddenly Mom/Jody said “That was a tarantula.”  I, rising to the occasion, said “What?  Where?”  Let’s just say that Mom has a far better eye for details in the landscape than I do, and she had managed to spot a spider that was doing an excellent job of blending in with the pavement.  She did a u-turn, and we went back for pictures.  As you can see, she got quite close, and this furry little guy stood stock-still while she clicked away.  Apparently, these tarantulas are non-confrontational critters who are more likely to avoid you or to stay still at you than to bite you, but they are mildly venomous.  According to “Poisonous Spiders of Nevada,” an article on, “An impressive and frightening-looking spider, the desert tarantula is relatively common in Nevada’s hot, dry basins, and it also ranges across much of the Southwest. Despite its size and burliness, this hairy spider is essentially harmless to humans. Its bite is usually likened to a bee sting and, except in the case of allergic reactions, doesn’t provoke any lasting effects. Tarantulas will also flick hairs at attackers, which can be irritating to the skin but, again, far from life-threatening. These tarantulas in general are docile creatures; large numbers of males may be seen on desert roads in the autumn when they rove about seeking receptive females for mating.”  That explains why we were seeing them near Cottonwood Cove in November!

Same Tarantula at Cottonwood Cove (© Jody Diehl)

Isn’t he cute?  Well, all I can say is that if you disagree, you may want to opt for the houseboat instead of the tent! -E.G.D.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beaches of North America, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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