Las Vegas Vacation: Hoover Dam Tour

We finally picked up a rental car for the rest of our vacation. Initially we wanted to drive to the Grand Canyon but decided against it after I learned that it is 300 miles from Vegas to the South Rim. What a bummer … we’ll definitely do that as a separate trip next time.

Instead, we went to the Hoover Dam. It is just less than an hour east of Vegas.

Let’s talk about car rentals first, OK? I rented a compact online and gotten the cheapest at that time from Travelocity for an Avis car. We wanted to pick up the car from Vegas and drop it off in Reno. That came to an average of $30 per day (well, it’s more expensive because our drop off point is different from the pickup location). Anyway …

First comment … I learned that it’s actually cheaper if you pick up the car from the city/hotel than if you pick it up from the airport. So, we picked the car up from the Avis location at The Venetian on the Strip.

Secondly … car rentals are way cheaper in the US than in Canada. While the rates looked cheap, what is expensive is the insurance (something called the Collision Damage Waiver) that adds up quite significantly to the rates. I declined getting it because firstly I have a travel credit card that specifically gives me such coverage and also I have Roadstar coverage from ICBC. I think I did the right thing. Car Rental companies make their money primarily from selling the insurances, I believe. I always had to deal with sour faces when I decline their coverage. So, tell me, what do you do regarding CDW when you rent a car?

Anyway, the car was great.


Getting to the Hoover Dam was easy enough. With now a car, our first stop was at Safeway to load up on snacks and drinking water. Driving into Hoover Dam area, we had to pass through a security checkpoint. We were surprised at the amount of traffic.

We parked at the multi-storey car park (on the Nevada side of the dam). It was expensive, $7. It was only later that I learn there are free open parking areas at the Arizona side.


From the car park, it was just a short walk to the main reception area of the Hoover Dam.


The Hoover Dam is a very popular tourist destination with thousands of visitors every day.

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