With its vast deserts, high-desert mountains, and glittering casinos, Nevada is one of the most unique places in the United States. Nicknamed the Silver State, Nevada home to some of the best attractions in the entire Southwest USA.
Most Nevada trips start (and often end) with the glitzy city of Las Vegas. Dubbed the Entertainment Capital of the World, this neon wonderland is one of the most popular cities to visit in the United States. No visit to Nevada is complete without spending a night on the Las Vegas Strip, hopping between casinos, restaurants, and nightclubs.
But there’s far more to Nevada than the lights and action of Vegas. History buffs will love Nevada’s capital, Carson City, a charming town with a rich mining heritage. Today, visitors can tour Carson City’s historic district to learn about the area’s fascinating past and the birth of Nevada.
If you want to dig into Nevada’s natural beauty, beeline for Lake Tahoe. Straddling the Nevada-California border, the beautiful alpine lake dishes out stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities around the Tahoe area, including hiking, skiing, fishing, golfing, and even horseback riding.
No matter what brings you to Nevada, you won’t leave the Silver State disappointed. Plan your ultimate trip with this quick & easy Nevada travel guide.
Where to go in Nevada
From its glitzy casinos to neon lights, there’s no place on earth quite like Las Vegas. An entertainment oasis in the middle of the desert, Nevada’s largest city is one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations. And with good reason.
Las Vegas’s nightlife is legendary. In Vegas, you’ll find everything from high-end nightclubs to dive bars where locals hang out. For a taste of the street buzz, hit up the Fremont Street Experience. The 24-hour canopied outdoor mall, jutting out from the famous Las Vegas Strip, is the city’s mecca for street-side entertainment and shopping.
Want to see some serious gambling action? Head to one of Las Vegas’s famed casinos. Pick your game—whether it’s blackjack, roulette, craps, poker, baccarat, or slots. Even if you leave empty-handed, there’s no chance you’ll leave without an unforgettable night under your belt.
Or for a taste of local history and a dash of nostalgia, check out the Neon Museum. This museum showcases vintage neon signs and legendary landmarks from Vegas’s past, starting as far back as the 1930s.
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The largest alpine lake in North America, Lake Tahoe straddles the border of Nevada and California. The area’s stunning beauty has long been a drawcard for visitors passing through the Silver State.
Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery in the U.S. You’ll find the lake nestled between towering peaks, including Mount Rose and Mount Tallac. The surrounding landscape is dotted with lakes, forests, and waterfalls.
If you’re looking for a place to relax after a day of adventure, head to Heavenly Village Resort. Located just south of the Nevada state line, this sprawling property offers everything from spa treatments to skiing to biking trails.
Reno has long been known as “the Biggest Little City In America.” And it’s easy to see why. With a population of only about 250,000 people, Reno offers a Nevada small-town feel without sacrificing big city amenities.
Reno’s downtown area is compact and walkable, making it ideal for exploring on foot. You’ll find everything from art galleries to bookstores to coffee shops. There’s even a farmers market every Saturday morning.
But there’s much more to explore outside of Reno’s bustling downtown. Take advantage of the nearby Sierra Mountains and Lake Tahoe, where you’ll find some of the best skiing in North America. Or take a scenic drive through the beautiful Truckee River Valley.
If you’re looking for something to do after dark, head to the Silver Legacy Casino Resort. One of Reno’s many casino hotels, the property features a casino, several restaurants, and a variety of other amenities.
The capital of Nevada, Carson City is one of the Silver State’s biggest surprises for travelers. The small city of just 50,000 people will let you dig into Nevada’s roots in the very place the state was founded in 1864.
Carson City’s charming downtown is filled with boutique shops, cafés, restaurants, craft breweries, and art galleries. To get the most out of your visit, save time to roll along the Kit Carson Trail. The 2.5-mile historical walking trail whisks you past Nevada’s earliest days, including the city’s beautiful 1800s-era Victorian-style mansions.
If you’re looking for a little culture while in Reno, head to the Nevada State Museum. The popular museum features exhibits about Nevada’s history, geology, wildlife, and local Native American culture & history.
For a little adventure and explore some of the lovely surrounding areas, head out to nearby Lake Tahoe. Soon, you’ll find yourself surrounded by stunning views of snowcapped mountains and crystal clear water.
Located about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Boulder City is most famed as the gateway to the Hoover Dam. One of the most impressive engineering feats in history, the dam is one of Silver State’s must-see attractions and not to be missed—even if you’re pressed for time on your Nevada trip.
To see the marvel in action, visit Boulder City’s Hoover Dam Visitor Center. Here, you’ll learn about the dam’s construction and see exhibits that explain how it changed the region forever.
If you’re looking for something a bit more active on your Boulder City trip, head out to the nearby Lake Mead National Recreation Area. In the 1.5-million-acre park, you’ll find a network of trails leading through scenic desert landscapes.
Valley of Fire State Park
Wedged between Vegas and the Utah border, Valley of Fire State Park is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. With its distinctive red sandstone, the state park is the perfect place to explore some of the country’s oldest rock formations.
At the heart of Valley of Fire State Park lies the valley itself, which was carved out by volcanic activity millions of years ago. The park’s many hiking trails will whisk you through the picturesque valley, filled with towering sandstone pillars sculpted into bizarre shapes.
Valley of Fire State Park is also home to one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in North America. These ancient carvings were created by Native Americans who lived in the area thousands of years ago. Today, they’re protected as part of the state park system.
When to visit Nevada
The best time to visit Nevada is between October and April. With its arid and hot climate, these months see the Silver State at its most comfortable. Temperatures at this time of year are at their coolest, making outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding more accessible.
How to get to Nevada
Traveling by plane, most visitors will enter Nevada via Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS), the state’s largest international airport. Several major airlines operate routes to/from LAS, including:
- Allegiant Air
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
Nevada is well-connected by road to the neighboring states of California, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and Oregon. Popular road routes in Nevada include:
- Sacramento, CA, to Reno (2h10m)
- Salt Lake City, UT, to Las Vegas (6h20m)
- Los Angeles, CA, to Las Vegas (4h25m)
- Phoenix, AZ, to Las Vegas (4h44m)