Meet Desert Shores
A spectacular community nestled a “Goldilocks” distance from the Las Vegas strip, Desert Shores offers 3,351 homes strategically arranged around four large sparkling lakes. It offers the best views in Las Vegas, along with first-class amenities and miles of walking paths, biking paths, and open water for canoeing, kayaking and boating. It’s a place for families. It’s a place for friends. It’s a place you’re excited to call home. It’s a well-kept secret, and there’s nothing like it in the desert southwest.
Please look through the rest of the tabs on this page for an overview of the community. Then thoroughly browse the rest of the website for a lot more detail and beautiful photos that give you a real feel for what it’s like to live in this special place.
Location, Location, Location
First built in 1989 when Las Vegas was one-third its current size, Desert Shores is strategically located in northwest Las Vegas close to U.S. 95, Summerlin Parkway and I-215. As a result, the entire city is readily accessible. The strip is 10 miles and 20 minutes away … close enough to reach easily but far enough away in spirit to feel you’re on a different planet. At the other extreme, it is likewise a 20-minute drive to the entrance to Red Rock National Conservation Area, which few people realize is as jaw-dropping as any National Park in the system.
In addition, Desert Shores is close to every business a resident could want. First, there is the community’s own beautiful Lakeside Center with its artistic restaurants and shops on Lake Jacqueline. Next, there are nearby boutiques and local eateries with their own character and charm. Finally, there are conveniently-located business districts with grocery stores, Office Depot, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Lowes and many other large chain stores. Practically everything you could ever need is in a two-mile radius.
The community is as kid-friendly as anywhere in Las Vegas, with lots to do in a clean, well-maintained and safe environment. Public and private schools are just blocks away.
The satellite photo below shows the location of Desert Shores relative to the Strip and Red Rock National Conservation Area, with the arterials next to the development. (Please click the photo for a larger "lightbox" version.)
Desert Shores is built around four lakes, covering nearly one-tenth of the community’s 682 acres. The largest, Lake Jacqueline, is 1.1 miles long and covers 24.8 acres. The other three (Lakes Maddison, Sarah and Lindsey) are each about half that size. The area is unique in that its lakes are publicly accessible from several key spots, including the gorgeous Desert Shores Community Center on Lake Jacqueline and its neighbor, the lush and graceful Lakeside Center.
All four lakes are surrounded by green belts, and as you’ll read in the Landscaping section of the website, the community’s intent is that the lakes look and feel like natural lakes. While this is the “Shores” part of Desert Shores, the community goes out of its way to be water efficient, having undertaken the largest single community xeriscaping project in Las Vegas. The common areas take the same amount of water as all four lakes, and water use for everything combined is less than a golf course.
There are many photos throughout this site, but here is a quick visual appetizer for each of the four lakes:
Lake Sarah in Winter
Atmosphere and Views
One of the descriptive expressions used by Desert Shores residents is that as you approach the community, you can feel your blood pressure drop. That’s because it has a singularly unique natural setting, complete with glistening water, waterfowl, pretty neighborhoods, an athletic culture and lots to do.
First come the views. If you go through the photos in “The Views” section of the website, you can see why living here nurtures the soul. Paired with the obvious beauty of the lakes and the life they bring, the mountains provide a nearby and rugged natural contrast. To the west, the sharp peaks of the 8,100-foot Le Madre ridge are visible just in front of the Mt. Charleston massif, whose horseshoe-shaped ridge tops out at 11,918 feet. Mt. Charleston has one of the largest elevation changes between its peak and its surrounding area in the United States. Just south of Le Madre, the red and taupe striped cliffs of the sheer Red Rock escarpment are visible from Desert Shores. And to the north, the twin peaks of Sheep Mountain and Hayford Peak in the Sheep Range show spectacular shadows and relief at sunrise and sunset.
To get an even better feel for the area, look at the photo below that was published in National Geographic Magazine.
Turtlehead Peak is near the rear center of the photo in Red Rock National Conservation Area. The author can leave his home in the Racquet Club, drive to Red Rock, climb the 6,300 foot peak (with a 2,000-foot elevation gain) and return home again in under three hours. It's a remarkable place to live.
People who live here tend to be active, because the surroundings beg for it. Why wouldn’t you take a walk around a lake or lakes? Or a bike ride? Why wouldn’t you go to the community center and play volleyball at the beach, soak up the sun or take a paddle boat ride? Why wouldn’t you find yourself a kayak or canoe and get some exercise on the water? All of this contributes to a healthy way of life where neighbors tend to know each other and help each other. People aren’t confined in their houses; they’re experiencing the community together. And that sets Desert Shores apart.
But there are times, of course, when you don’t want to be active. There is no better residential place to put your back against a tree and contemplate nature than Desert Shores. If you like, you can just sit and look at the lake, feeling your troubles fade away as you watch black swans, egrets, great blue heron, cormorants, grebes, Canada geese and many other birds take advantage, like you, of their good fortune in finding this oasis in the desert.
Beyond the lakes themselves, this is the only place in hundreds of square miles with a public sandy beach and huge lifeguarded pool area for its 10,000 residents.
Not only is there volleyball, basketball, Frisbee, boating, covered picnic areas, a playground and suntanning at the large community center lagoon, but there are a variety of special events with rides for kids, fishing, DJs, tugs-of-war, entertainment and a real sense of community.
The crowds of Memorial Day and Labor Day are particularly great fun, and the rest of the time you have a little more space to spread out or expend some energy with friends and family. Likewise, the beautiful and newly-remodeled clubhouse looks to the lake “in the round” and is available to residents for small and large events for a fee.
Any discussion of Desert Shores has to include its crown jewel of a commercial center, the Lakeside Center. Privately owned, this oasis on the lake knows what it is and takes full advantage of its spectacular surroundings. Unlike most commercial centers in residential areas -- even nearly all of those in lake communities in Nevada, Arizona and California -- the Lakeside Center has invested heavily in infrastructure, landscaping and ambience. It has also provided and attracted a carefully-matched suite of businesses that work together to provide unique lakeside experiences for residents and for visitors from around the world.
Restaurant Row boasts three vastly different dining opportunities, two of which are enveloped by the lake. They have won acclaim from tough reviewers not only for their one-of-a-kind location, but for exceptional quality, unique experiences, and great value. They have been visited by national celebrities, but also by residents, often multiple times per week. And from most houses, it’s a short walk to get there.
Lakeside Center also offers an array of complementary businesses, from a Wedding and Event Center to a lakeside spa, full-service salon, flower shop, tailor, photography studio, and many others. It also offers a tremendous advantage to residents who want to have a virtual or physical office near their home. Lakeside Business Suites offers a variety of options for businesses, including full secretarial and multimedia support, with probably the most inviting business surroundings in all of Las Vegas.
The Lakeside Center completes an economically healthy and vibrant community core. And you don’t even have to be there to enjoy it. At night, you might be treated to an evening jazz, rock or blues concert wafting from Garfield’s or Marché Bacchus. As darkness falls and the music softly plays, the lighting at the Desert Shores Community Center and the Lakeside Center is gorgeous reflecting on the water, offering one of the few truly great residential nighttime vistas in the desert southwest.
There is still another critically important way that Desert Shores is different from other developments. Most Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) hire an outside property management company … one that has multiple clients and priorities. With so many HOAs in the city, Las Vegans have become used to the unending cycle of hiring a company, enjoying a short honeymoon period, the company growing its client list or losing you as a priority, downspiraling performance, and then the cycle starts anew. The frustration caused by this unstoppable circle is, well, bad for blood pressure.
Desert Shores doesn’t do that, and the difference is a big deal. It hires its own employees to manage the development, and their sole focus is Desert Shores. They also work on site all the time, right at the Desert Shores Community Center. From accounting to resident services to professional management, this difference in focus and attitude is palpable from the day you move in.
The level of satisfaction in Desert Shores with management is measurable not only in the look of the community, but in the fact that there are very few complaints and drama among a very large group of people. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Homes and Fees
Oh, yes, there are homes here, too. Choices run the gamut from condominiums to starter homes to mature middle class neighborhoods to fantastic estates. Desert Shores has twenty-seven neighborhoods with distinct identities, some of which are gated.
Interestingly, Desert Shores was lucky enough to dodge much of the Las Vegas foreclosure crisis. Part of the reason is that it’s a 20-year-old community, and therefore avoided much of the speculation on new homes that wrecked the local market. Part is because the lakeside setting encourages owner-occupied homes and less churn. And part is good management dedicated solely to this community, working with homeowners to keep them here. While Desert Shores just had its first fee increase in nine years (bringing master association fees to roughly $65 per month per home), practically none of it was due to foreclosures or bad debts. Since the community's inception, fee increases have been rare and averaged less than 1% per year.
So, while there may not be the percentage of homes for sale here that there are in other places, there are beautiful opportunities. Look around! You won’t regret it.