The Hoover Dam is one of the most popular trips to take from the Las Vegas Strip. At only 45 minutes away, it makes for a great getaway from the city’s bright lights.
Unfortunately, public transit options are subpar in the Las Vegas area, and options for the Hoover Dam are non-existent. As of 2021, there are not any public transportation options to get to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas.
What is a budget traveler to do? Here are the cheapest options to visit the Hoover Dam:
Drive Your Own Car
Did you know that almost 40% of the visitors to Las Vegas arrive via car? If you are in this group, this is always going to be the cheapest and best way to visit the Hoover Dam. Just jump in your car and drive! It is an easy drive to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas, traffic is usually light, and there is fun stuff to see along the way.
If driving your own car, make a stop in downtown Boulder City for some great old-time Hoover Dam vibes.
Just outside of Boulder City, we always stop at Hemenway Park on our Hoover Dam Tours, and if driving yourself, we highly recommend you do the same. This park offers sweeping vistas of the largest man-made lake in the United States, and sometimes can be a great place for wildlife viewing. Rabbits, birds, and bighorn sheep are the usual suspects at this location.
There are many other stops you can make when driving yourself to the Hoover Dam, and this is all possible only when you drive.
When you get to the Hoover Dam, you can park for free to explore almost everything the dam offers. The free parking lots are all on the Arizona side of the dam and are after the pay lot of Lot 10. All the following lots are free! Park and walk down to the dam to explore!
Rent A Car
The second cheapest way to visit the Hoover Dam is to rent a car. This does depend on how many people are in your group and how much car rentals are going for. In 2021, rental cars have been in high demand and prices are quite high. Take a quick look at rental car prices to see if this option will save you money over the next option, taking a tour to the Hoover Dam.
If you manage to score a good deal on a rental car, you can follow all of the above tips about driving your own car to the Hoover Dam.
Cheap Tours to the Hoover Dam
If you don’t have a car, and don’t want to rent a car or are a solo traveler, the cheapest way to see the Hoover Dam will be by tour bus. There are dozens of different options for tours to the Hoover Dam, however, if you are going for cheap, there are a few options around $49 per person. These tours will take you to a few overlooks of the Hoover Dam, but will not allow you to walk on the dam or visit the visitors center. For a little more, we would highly recommend our Small Group Tour to Hoover Dam and Seven Magic Mountains for $79 per person, this tour includes a direct hotel pickup. While it isn’t the cheapest, it is the best value option for tours to the Hoover Dam.
There is also a tour for $89 that will show you everything about the Hoover Dam, including the Mike O'Callahan-Pat Tilllman Memorial Bridge, the Visitors Center, a tour of the generators room at the bottom of the dam, a walking tour across the top of the dam, and the Hoover Dam museum in Boulder City. See more here:
Tours to Hoover Dam are an incredible value if you have one, two, or three people in your party. With the high cost of rental cars and gas, many times taking a tour will actually save you money vs renting a car. Taking a tour is also a lot more convenient than renting a car, so for groups of 3 or less, taking a tour should usually be your best option for saving money and having a hassle-free trip to the Hoover Dam.
Cheapest Hoover Dam Tours from Las Vegas
The absolute cheapest tour we were able to find was this one, for $49. It isn't recommended though, as you won't get to visit the actual dam. You will only get to see it from afar and drive across it. See the above small group tours as a great alternative to this bus tour.
Visiting the Hoover Dam On A Budget
When you get to the Hoover Dam, most of the main attractions are free. You can see the visitors center, walk across the top of the dam, visit all the lookouts on the Arizona side, climb up on the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, and more. If you are trying to save on your trip to the Hoover Dam, avoid the powerplant tour, and avoid any paid parking. There is lots of free parking on the Arizona side up the hill.
If you are going to splurge on your trip, a tour to see the powerplant at the bottom of the Hoover Dam can be a good option. Be warned that this tour can be closed for a variety of reasons, and if it is open, lines can be quite long.
All in all, a trip to the Hoover Dam can be highly rewarding and doesn’t need to cost too much either. Follow the above tips to have a fun and budget-friendly tour of the Hoover Dam.