Deserted semi-arid plains, extensive deserts, stunning mountain ranges, scenic highways, thrilling ski resorts and devilish gambling meccas: Welcome to Nevada.
Road trips are the heart of the Nevada experience. Drive along US Route 50, known as the ‘Loneliest Road in America’, and pass over awe-inspiring mountain ranges. It also offers one of the last opportunities to experience the Old West so be sure to stop by the historic mining towns and see wagon trains on the Overland Stagecoach trails.
Think of this state and most likely it’s the neon lights and notorious debauchery of Las Vegas that comes to mind. The world’s premier gambling hotspot, Las Vegas isn’t nicknames ‘Sin City’ for nothing. Get to know this audacious city with a walk down The Strip, taking in historic casinos, sprawling hotels, brilliant signage and dancing fountains before dining into the scene.
Before you head to the bright lights of Las Vegas, explore the outdoors. Visit nearby Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area for hiking, biking and climbing adventures. There are incredible sandstone formations at Valley of Fire State Park, zip lining in Boulder City and year-round golf courses across the state.
Las Vegas isn’t the only city you should visit in Nevada. Another major city to explore is Reno, affectionately known as ‘the Biggest Little City in the World’. A fascinating metropolis, it has all the gambling attractions of Vegas plus a thrilling whitewater park and quick access to a host of outdoor pursuits and blockbuster scenery.
The state capital Carson City, a frontier town edged by the Sierra Nevada is an authentic, small-town stopover, boasting interesting museums, unique antique shopping and an impressive Capitol Building with silver painted cupola.
Jump aboard the V&T Railroad in Virginia City for a trip back to the 1800s. And don’t miss the spectacular beauty of nearby Lake Tahoe, an expansive, glistening lake along the border with California. It’s heaven on earth for kayakers, hikers, windsurfers and swimmers, not to mention skiers, who have more than a dozen ski resorts to choose from in the winter.
With a landscape that stretches from the Mojave Desert to the Great Basin, including 67 protected wilderness areas, not to mention a history ranging from extinct volcanoes to pioneering prospectors, there’s a great deal to do and see in the awe inspiring state of Nevada.
Must See Places in Nevada
Considered the most entertainment filled two and a half miles in the entire world, the Las Vegas Strip glitters and glows with massive resorts, hotels, theaters, restaurants, and gardens.
Built during the Great Depression as a way to provide jobs, Hoover Dam is a marvel of modern engineering. The 726-foot-high dam contains Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, and provides hydroelectric power to much of Nevada, Arizona, and California. Built on the Nevada and Arizona state line, the dam is just a 45-minute drive from the centre of Las Vegas.
The sparkling blue water of Lake Tahoe, surrounded by often snow-capped mountains, is one of the most beautiful sites in Nevada. This 22-mile-long freshwater lake, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the Nevada and California border, is a popular year-round destination.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
On the shores of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, Lake Mead National Recreation Area encompasses some spectacular scenery and offers convenient access points and a variety of services for enjoying the lake and surroundings. This huge area, encompassing approximately 1.5 million acres, provides opportunities for beaching, boating, hiking, camping, and much more on the shorelines and in the surrounding mountains and canyons.
Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is one of the must-see natural areas in the state. Dramatic rock formations and sweeping vistas of colourful stone waves create some of Nevada’s most dynamic landscapes. Just an hour’s drive northeast of Las Vegas, it’s worth making the trip out here.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Located just outside of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is one Nevada’s most popular hiking areas. The massive red rock formations jutting high above the Mojave Desert are the most striking feature, but the area covers a diverse range of sites and geological formations.
Great Basin National Park
In east-central Nevada, near the border with the state of Utah, Great Basin National Park protects nearly 80,000 acres of basin and range landscape. The park is dominated by the 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak and underlain by the Lehman Caves. It also protects Bristlecone Pines that are nearly 5,000 years old.
Best Time to Visit Nevada
People assume it is always hot and dry in Nevada, but the temperature and weather vary greatly across the state. If you’re headed to the desert areas, avoid visiting in the summer, unless your plan is to sit by your Vegas hotel pool.
The best time of year to visit the desert areas of Nevada is Autumn and spring. March to April and October to November have highs in the 70’s and lots of sun – perfect for exploring outside. The northern part of the state gets heavy snowfall and cold temperatures for most of the winter, plus warm and sunny days in the summer. The state averages only 7 inches of rain a year, so chances are inclement weather won’t be an issue. Like anywhere else, deciding on a time to visit Nevada depends on what it is you want to do.