15 Best Things to Do in Boulder City, NV

Boulder City, NV
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Boulder City, Nevada, is a true jewel in the desert, a less crowded alternative for those who don’t like the excess of Las Vegas.

Seated on the edges of the Mojave desert, this small community is the gateway to many natural attractions as well as historical destinations.

Museums, rugged trails, roadside sceneries, a famous dam—the list of rewarding sights is endless if you know where to look.

So if you want a relaxing and memorable trip to the edge of Nevada, then this city is the place to be.

Bring your family or friends and discover all that the community has in store.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Boulder City, NV:

Try All the Activities in Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Boat in Lake Mead National Recreation Area
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Dubbed as the country’s first and largest National Recreation Area, this destination is one of the best places to enjoy the outdoors and commune with nature.

It has nine wilderness areas, two enormous lakes, pristine waters, deep canyons, and majestic mountain peaks that you are welcome to explore.

The eponymous Lake Mead offers tons of water-related adventures, from swimming, paddleboarding, boating, and fishing.

Boat in Lake Mead National Recreation Area
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There are also plenty of opportunities for camping on the shores of the lake and other designated sites within the area.

Set up camp and stay for a while to enjoy all the outdoor activities that the destination has to offer.

While hiking, you can snap some stunning photos of the rugged landscapes and even the wildlife if you happen to spot the animals living here.

The views here are incredible, comparable to only a few other places in the world.

Visit Hemenway Park

Big horn sheep at Hemenway Park
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Sitting on the ridge of one of the mountains surrounding Lake Mead, Hemenway Park is a relaxing family destination offering stunning views of the lake.

While small, the wide grassy grounds and uninterrupted skyline of the park give an illusion of spaciousness.

You can spend a few hours here with your family to enjoy the panoramic vistas, or you can do something more active and play at the tennis and basketball courts.

Big horn sheep at Hemenway Park
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If the heat is too unbearable, then stay at the shady gazebos for a picnic with your loved ones.

The herd of bighorn sheep that call the nearby mountains their home might even come down to graze.

Don’t worry; they’re friendly and accustomed to visitors, so even the kids can play with them.

Trek the Strenuous Trials to Gold Strike Hot Springs

For an excursion comparable to the thrill of hunting for the mythical fountain of youth, try trekking the Gold Strike Hot Springs Trail.

You’ll need lots of endurance, heat tolerance, and climbing expertise to explore this trail, but you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views and pools of calming and relaxing hot springs.

The trail starts from the edge of Boulder City, and you’ll have to go over boulders, cross dusty paths, and climb over small canyons to find the small and elusive bodies of water.

But once you’ve found them, you’ll be rewarded with a calming soak and peaceful scenery.

If you continue to the end of the trail, you’ll end up on a scenic segment of the Colorado River with a view of the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

The trail is closed during the summer because of extreme temperatures, so the best time to go there is from October to May.

Stand on Top of the Iconic Hoover Dam

Visiting Hoover Dam is a no-brainer when in Boulder City.

This world-famous monument is the reason why most people come to the city in the first place.

Boulder City was built to house the workers who were employed for the Hoover Dam project way back in the 1930s.

Aerial View of Hoover Dam
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Attracting millions of tourists every year, Hoover Dam is a colossal man-made structure that harnesses the energy of the Colorado River and turns it into hydroelectric power.

It’s an engineering marvel offering some of the most spectacular views of the desert and rugged mountains surrounding it.

Most people want to stand on the top and take in the scenery of Lake Mead, but if you want to see the dam in its entirety, then Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is the place to be.

It offers panoramic views of the dam and the rest of the landscape behind it.

Explore the Historic Railroad Hiking Trail

Inside View of Historic Railroad Hiking Trail
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When Hoover Dam was being built, railroad networks needed to be installed to transport materials and workers to the construction site.

These railroads ceased operation after the dam was finished, and the tracks were removed as well.

This left a picturesque trail that begins at the city proper’s limits and ends in Hoover Dam.

With a length of 7.5 miles, this trail offers the most panoramic views of Lake Mead on one side and the Boulder Basin on the other.

Outside View of Historic Railroad Hiking Trail
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You’ll also pass under tunnels that serve as pit stops and shade from the hot Nevada sun.

But the trail itself is a gentle walk, paved and widened from when it was used a railroad.

So bring your kids and even your dog as you tour the historic and beautiful route.

Cruise the Colorado River on Boat

The Colorado River forms the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona, and since Boulder City is on Nevada’s edge, it serves as one of the getaways to this important body of water.

Slicing between the narrow valleys of the Black Canyons, this river offers some of the best views in the country, comparable to the Grand Canyon.

You can book tours in Boulder City for boat charters so you can explore the river with the guidance of a local.

For the more adventurous souls, kayaking the rapids of the river is a must-try experience.

Along the way, you can make a stop at an isolated riverbank or hidden cove and set up camp.

It’s an ideal way to escape from the city, find solitude and silence, and try your hand at a true, self-sustained outdoor experience.

Ride a Historic Train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum

Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City
Klaus Nahr from Germany, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nevada State Railroad Museum contains the remnants of the once-busy railroads reaching Hoover Dam.

Here, you’ll find refurbished locomotives, platforms, and operational tracks that recreate the scene from decades ago.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy getting up close and personal with these bulky machines, and they can even ride the ones who are still operational.

Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City
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The trip will take you all the way to the Boulder Branch Line and back—a unique experience that lets you relive what workers from the 1930s experienced.

After the train ride, take your time and explore the other artifacts and collections of the museum.

You’ll learn a lot about the city's history and the state itself in these well-preserved train cars, photographs, and nonoperational locomotives.

Make a Splash at Boulder Beach

If you want to cool down from the heat of the desert, then make a stopover at Boulder Beach.

This attraction sits on the shoreline of Lake Mead, nearest to Boulder City, so you can quickly drive from where you’re staying to the location.

Once you’re here, try the many water-related activities like swimming, fishing, and kayaking to dispel the heat from the sun.

The beach is also popular for picnics, so bring a meal and refreshments for the whole family.

If you want to stay for a bit longer to explore the nearby trails, you can set up camp on one of the designated sections of the beach.

Staying here at night is a magical experience, as the lack of urban lights makes the stars and the moon brighter.

Learn the Area’s History at Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum

Inside Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum
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Constructing the Boulder Dam, now known as Hoover Dam, was an ambitious but tumultuous project that involved a lot of struggle for all those who were involved.

Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum is one place where the stories of these people are chronicled and preserved.

Situated on the second floor of the Boulder Dam Hotel, this attraction features artifacts, photographs, diaries, and other items that showcase Boulder's history.

Inside Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum
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You’ll learn about the stories of the workers who had to endure the hostile environment of Nevada’s deserts, the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression, and the project itself.

It’s a great stop in most Hoover Dam tours, and tourists enjoy getting to know the history behind one of the greatest feats in human engineering.

Ace a Hole in One at Cascata

Cascata should be on every golfer’s bucket list.

Nestled between mountains bordering Lake Mead, this par-72 course offers breathtaking views at every angle you turn—the whole destination is nothing short of regal.

There is also a small stream of water cascading from the surrounding slopes and into the golf course, making it a scenic and dynamic part of your gameplay.

Most people come here for this lush scenery, one that is unlike any other in the US.

It’s a thrilling experience that adds to the fun of every round.

Special events are also held frequently here because of the intimate setting and scenery, with the facility accommodating weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions.

Have a Fun Family Day at Veterans' Memorial Park

View of Veterans' Memorial Park
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On the southern end of the city is Veteran’s Memorial Park, another outdoor destination that sits close to the Mojave Desert.

However, the local climate isn’t as bad because of the patches of trees, wide green spaces, and a three-acre pond in the middle.

Fishing is a welcome activity here, with rainbow trout and channel catfish swimming in the depths.

View of Veterans' Memorial Park
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Within the park, there are also picnic areas and shady spots where you can have a nice meal with friends or spend hours reading a book.

The gazebos are also open for larger groups and small gatherings.

If you’re one who likes more sporty activities, the park has a baseball diamond, soccer field, basketball court, and skate park.

Get Spooked at Tom Devlin's Monster Museum

For fans of classic Hollywood horror, Tom Devlin's Monster Museum is a must-add destination to your itinerary.

This local favorite was established by Tom Devlin, a professional makeup effects artist that has worked on many movies in the past two decades.

He wanted to share his work and passion, so he created the museum to showcase some iconic and downright horrifying creations.

The hair-raising collections include killer clowns, haunted dolls, grotesque monsters, and macabre scenes that lovers of horror will consider paradise.

Most of these are actual props from feature films that Tom has worked on, and some of them are realistic replicas of characters from classic movies, like Freddie Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street and Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise.

So even if you’re not a horror fan, you’ll have a great time marveling at the detailed workmanship and artistic talent showcased in these displays.

Try the Thrilling Adventures of Bootleg Canyon

A Sign in Bootleg Canyon
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If you want an exhilarating adventure in the rugged terrain of Nevada’s deserts, Bootleg Canyon has all that you’re looking for.

Hailed as one of the best spots in the country for mountain biking, this place has dusty roads, rocky paths, and challenging trails ideal for power sport vehicles.

Ride an ATV, show off your biking skills, and explore the slopes on a truck—there are many things to try for adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers alike.

View of Bootleg Canyon
Noah Wulf, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While exploring the trails, you’ll be treated with majestic mountain views, unusual rock formations, and sightings of the native animals that have adapted to the hot environment.

Some businesses also offer exciting zipline rides.

You’ll be placed on a harnessed and released into the wide, open skies, giving you a breathtaking birds-eye view of the whole desert, including Boulder City, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Once you’ve had your fill of the sights and attractions of Boulder City, take some time to visit the other famous destinations nearby.

See the Sights of Las Vegas

Night at Las Vegas
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Gambling is prohibited in Boulder City, so if you want to experience the thrill and test your luck, then head over to Sin City.

As the entertainment capital of the world, Vegas has endless places to visit and activities to try aside from gambling.

Since you’re already nearby during your visits to Boulder City, you might as well make the most of your trip to the region and see the famous city for yourself.

See the Ancient Art in Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

Petroglyphs on Sloan Canyon Natural Conservation Area
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Boulder City shared its eastern borders with Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, a 48,438-acre preserve with majestic views, many species of wildlife, and Native American petroglyphs.

Camping and offroad vehicles are prohibited to preserve the artifacts and pristine state of the park, but hiking and biking are allowed.

Final Thoughts

From desert attractions to cool water-related activities, the wide range of things to do in Boulder City makes it a great destination for the whole family.

Make it your top choice when planning your next vacation, and you won’t regret your decision.