Nevada summers are hot, and with average temperatures over 100 degrees, it’s easy to lose your cool. So whether you want to take a dip or refresh in the crisp mountain air, your perfect destination is close to home. Get out of the heat this summer at one of these five chill places around Las Vegas.

Lake Mead

Image via Flickr by lovz2hike Licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

Spend your next adventure shoreside at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. This extraordinary year-round playground is the country’s first and largest national recreation area, with over 1.5 million acres. This striking, mountainous landscape is home to the brilliant blue waters of two enormous lakes.

Snorkel, sail, and angle from Lake Mead’s 750 miles of shoreline, or nestle into one of Lake Mohave’s secluded coves and enjoy a day lounging on a towel. Discover the many marinas where you can climb aboard your boat and disappear with friends and family for hours. You can even catch sight of the Hoover Dam from the water.

Remember to grab your fishing poles. Thanks to the park’s 290 square miles of water surface, you’ll find the perfect spot to reel in a big one. Plan to stay the night at one of more than 900 camping and RV sites. Some spots even have lake views.

Mount Charleston

There’s more to Vegas than meets the eye. Ditch the glitz and glam of Sin City and head to the cool mountain air. Nevada’s high country is the perfect place to while away the summer months between April and October. You’ll have tons of fun in the sun at The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, or Mount Charleston, as locals call it.

This forested, spring-fed area in the Mojave Desert is a haven for wildlife and a cool retreat for families. It offers loads of thrilling opportunities for year-round fun, as each season offers a unique experience, especially during the summer. Breathe in the fresh scent of ponderosa pines while you go hiking, camping, picnicking, and horseback riding. Climb the limestone cliffs or relax with a scenic drive.

Mount Charleston is just under 40 miles from the city, and you’ll find the visitors’ center right off Kyle Canyon Road. This expansive welcome center features the country’s Cold War memorial and The Seven Stones Plaza. This must-see monument honors Nevada’s Paiute tribes, who consider Mount Charleston a sacred place.

Cowabunga Bay

Las Vegas is full of fun things to do during the summer, and making a splash at the water park has to be on the top of the list. Escape the heat at Cowabunga Bay. This old-school park is a prime summer destination for kids of all ages, even kids at heart. Parents like you will love the 1960s theme, while the kiddos will adore its nine thrilling water slides.

Some of the best attractions here are not for the faint of heart, like the 60-foot tall Beach Blanket Banzai. The whole family can climb aboard a four-person raft, then plummet down a 600-foot long slide. After that adventure, mom and dad may want to stick to the tranquility of the wave pool and the lazy river.

Owners generally open the park by the end of March. Your season pass gets you free parking and 15% off eats and treats at the snack bar. Find Cowabunga Bay on Galleria Drive in Henderson. It’s open most days from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Jazz in the Park

If you’re ready to dive into summer, do it with a free soul, funk, and jazz concert. Clark County’s 32nd annual Jazz in the Park series kicks off May 7, 2022, with Latin Grammy Award winner Nestor Torres. Spread out a blanket on the grass and munch on a picnic feast while you take in the cool sounds of jazz as it pours out of the city’s 280-foot outdoor amphitheater.

Plan to arrive at the Government Center on South Grand Central Parkway at 6:00 p.m. as seating is limited. Parking is free, and the show starts at 6:30. Students enrolled in the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts’ jazz program warm up the crowd for the headliners. You can also catch other talented musical groups at Jazz in the Park this year, including:

  • Down To The Bone (May 14).
  • Jarrod Lawson (May 21).
  • Eric Darius (May 28).
  • Spyro Gyra (June 4).

DISCOVERY Children’s Museum

Spend your summers in air-conditioned comfort at your local museum. DISCOVERY Museum is Las Vegas’s top children’s learning center, thanks to its innovative programs. Its founders execute their mission by providing access to fun and exciting STEAM educational experiences to all of Nevada’s children, regardless of physical abilities, backgrounds, and beliefs.

Three floors of curiosity-quenching adventures await behind its doors. First, your kids will want to visit the do-it-yourself lab, where they can let their imagination run wild. This unique learning environment and workspace offers guided access to CAD-enabled computers, a laser cutter, 3-D printers, and even a ceramic kiln. This resource center also provides tools for woodworking, circuitry, sewing, sculpting, and painting.

Stop by Toddler Town with your little ones. This desert-themed exhibit is just the right size for the Museum’s youngest visitors, or you can also sign up your children ages 6 to 11 for its brain-boosting summer camps. They’ll make friends and continue learning over the long school break. 

Located on Promenade Place, DISCOVERY Children’s Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. You can even take a virtual tour of the facility from home and plan your day in advance.