When you think of Nevada, your mind probably goes to one place.
But there are so many more interesting and beautiful places to visit in Nevada.
Nevada is the shy quiet type, nestled between it’s “loud boisterous” neighbor, California to the west and its “get-along-with-everybody” neighbor, Utah to the east. Somehow, the state just gets lost and Las Vegas becomes Nevada in its entirety. But, there’s so much more to it than glitz, glitter and gambling.
Follow along as I take you through my list for the 11 interesting and beautiful places to visit in Nevada.
Looking for more US travel inspiration?
Check out these guides on the best places to visit in…
Let’s just get this one out of the way. Yes, it is one of the most exciting places on the planet. Yes, it’s is just as beautiful and breathtakingly dramatic as you might think. It is over the top in every way and your senses will be in overload as soon as you step foot in the city.
It’s about excess in hedonistic ways that make you cringe, but oh is it fun! I have been to Las Vegas so many times, but I have never once gambled. I walk right by and find the other fun stuff to do.
There’s the shows. Hundreds and hundred of shows, from broadway numbers, to comedic acts, to full blown concerts. There are so many to choose from.
And the food! You can get anything from any corner of the earth in this city, and lots of it. Vegas is famous for it buffet style dinners, especially in all the hotels. So, you can stuff your face silly.
One of my favorite things to do is to browse the hotels and there quaint little shops that line every one of them. You will find everything from art to designer shoes to million dollar diamonds in these fun little boutiques.
No trip to Nevada would be complete without a visit to Las Vegas! You’ve got to go just once!
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
As materialistic and temporal as Las Vegas is, its next door neighbor, Lake Mead, seems to be a world apart. Pristine, blue waters invite the weary traveler to boat, swim, or just gaze at its grandeur.
Take some time away from the city and spend a day at the most popular hang-out area for visitors, Boulder Beach. Bring an umbrella and a swim suit and enjoy the cool waters on a hot day.
If camping is your jam, there are over 15 campgrounds to choose from in the area ranging from rustic free camping to resort style RV camping. Lake Mead is a great departure from the shimmering lights and crowds of Las Vegas, and a great place to visit in Nevada for those who love the great outdoors.
One of the earth’s modern marvels can be found connected to Lake Mead as it dam’s up her girth, lying just outside of Las Vegas. Hoover Dam was built during The Great Depression, but that fact did not deter engineers from building a monumental feat of perfection that was supposedly built to last more than 10,000 years.
Taking a little over five years to complete and taking the lives of over 100 men, Hoover Dam was a task that no human had ever accomplished. Some of the engineering techniques used to build the dam were unproven, and no one knew if they would work. But, in 1936 the dam project was handed over to the federal government, two years ahead of schedule.
Today, the Dam’s generators provide power for Nevada, Arizona and California. To visit this beast of an endeavor is nothing short of astonishing. Make sure you cross the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It is something that you won’t soon forget. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Nevada.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Who would ever imagine that 30 minutes outside Las Vegas, there’s such a place that is so otherworldly and natural that it’s inconceivable to believe? Red Rock Canyon is one of the places to see in Nevada that perfectly mixes geology and history. If you can get outside the hustle and bustle of the big city, then this will give you the solitude you’re looking for.
Red Rock Canyon can get you outside and keep your heart pumping with all the hiking and climbing your legs can stand. But first, take the 13 mile scenic drive and see all that the canyon has to offer. In addition to hiking, you can see pictographs and petroglyphs left by the descendents of the Southern Paiute and Anasazi Native Americans hundreds of years ago.
Seeing the changing color of the lithified sand dunes (that’s petrified sand dunes) is a sight to see. Various colors in red, brown, yellow and white line the sandstone in a visually stunning scene that definitely should make your list of Nevada places to see.
Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is the single most underrated national park in the United States. It has EVERYTHING a nature loving, adventure craving traveler could want. Caves, alpine mountains, lakes, and the Bristlecone Pine. Who would think that in the middle of the desert there would be such an amazing display of various ecosystems?
Great Basin was one park that I really knew nothing about. But, it happened to be somewhat on our way, so we took a chance and I’m so glad we did. It was the peak time of changing aspens, so we got to hike amongst their golden glory as we breathed in the fresh alpine air.
But, this wasn’t even the most amazing element of our visit. The Bristlecone Pine forest that grace the high altitude mountains are an enigma to behold. Walking amongst these 5,000 year old trees, you feel that you have been transported through time. It really is an out of body experience and for that reason this is one of the best places to visit in Nevada.
You’ve had to have seen the jaw-dropping pictures gracing the little squares of Instagram. You know, the ones where it looks like paddle boarders are hovering above the lake? Lake Tahoe is really THAT beautiful!
Come for a day or a week, but whatever you do, expect that it is tough to get much done other than gazing at the lake. In the summer, the lake is a playground for all from the city.
Start out paddle boarding the azure lake and give your core a workout, then relax on the beach or picnic with your family or friends. If you fancy a hike, there are several waterfall hikes that will thrill your senses. Or, if a view is what you crave, walk along the Rubicon or Van Sickle Trail.
If a little of Las Vegas has seeped into your blood, you’ve come to the right place to remedy your itch. There are over a dozen casinos in the Lake Tahoe area that can add a different kind of fun to your trip. Try Harrah’s Lake Tahoe or Hard Rock Resort, but just don’t put everything on black! Lake Tahoe is one of Nevada’s best vacations spots, and well worth a visit.
As if Lake Tahoe won’t satisfy your craving for city lights and new found wealth, Reno, which is just around the corner, is another place to build your fortune or lose it all.
Boasting over twenty casinos, it’s easy to see why people like visiting “The Biggest Little City in the World”. With all the glitz and glamour of Vegas, but still an intimate feel about town, this is a great place to learn to play Blackjack or try your hand in the slot machines.
If gambling really isn’t your thing, but you love the beauty of a classic car, then The National Automobile Museum might be up your alley. You can also take a quick getaway into nature by walking the Truckee River Walk and get some fresh air.
You can also make your holiday, part gambling and part skiing vacation. Mount Rose Ski Resort starts at over 8,200 feet in elevation and just gets higher from there. This means lots of fresh powder and a plethora of mixed trails for all levels. Over 200 acres are intermediate and black diamond, but the rest are reserved for beginners. So don’t worry if you haven’t strapped on skis in years. Start slow and end the trip with a fun and challenging run.
This one made the list not because it is a place, but an event. I usually don’t include festivals in my lists, but this one just had to be included in my list of interesting and beautiful places to visit in Nevada.
Is it a festival or a convergence of people celebrating a way of life? Burning Man has been going on since 1986 and doesn’t show signs of stopping. It is a merging of artists, thinkers, singers, songwriters, dancers and anyone that just wants to have a an incredible time. Sounds like Woodstock, right?
Burning Man is different because it is not a concert, but a celebration of life and the expression of who you are as a person. Once inside, there is no cost to any entertainment as all participants are encouraged to entertain for the masses.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a cost. To be able to participate at burning man, passes are anywhere from $445 to $2,250. They really know how to celebrate non-consumerism with these prices, right?
Black Rock Arts Foundation started Burning Man with the mission to support and promote community, interactive art and civic participation. What transpired over the past thirty six years is a place where all can come and express themselves in community with others in nature.
At the end of the festival a large wooden statue of a burning man is burned, hence the name. I have heard this is an experience of epic proportions and not only will you be sweaty, dirty and tired at the end of the week long celebration, but you’ll have a revitalization for humanity. So, who’s ready to go camping at Burning Man?
Valley of Fire State Park
The National Park System really missed the boat when neglecting to choose this wonder of the world for a National Park. Its beauty is magnificent.
To see the sunset light the valley on fire, is something everyone should see when looking for a fun place to go in Nevada.
Petroglyphs dating back more than 2000 years, petrified trees and sandstone formations are just some of the things you will see at this amazing jewel in he desert.
Make sure you bring your tent and really immerse yourself in the landscape and nature of the park. There’s nothing like waking up to a herd of big horned sheep in your campsite as you sip on your coffee. Then later, you can conquer one of the many hikes of the park such as Mouse’s Tank hike and feast your eyes on some ancient petroglyphs.
Don’t miss the Fire Wave Trail and gets some selfies of you and your crew walking the wave. There’s so much to see and do in this park that I truly think it’s one of Nevada’s best places to visit.
This quaint little town of 4,035 people was founded when there was “gold found in them hills”! After it was on the map it became a stagecoach stop along the Pony Express.
History buffs need not fret. There is an excellent railroad museum, Nevada Northern Railway that is touted as “the best preserved railroad, bar-none” by the Smithsonian Curator Emeritus. It has been featured on many television programs and was voted “Best Place to Take the Kids”, by Nevada Magazine Readers.
There are also petroglyphs that can be accessed with high clearance vehicles within the area. The Baker Archeological Site is also a stop of interest that details the remains of the Fremont people that lived in the area for most of the 13th century.
But my favorite place in this town was the Economy Drug and Old Fashioned Soda Fountain. What’s not to love about a main street that includes a diner/pharmacy/toystore rolled into one. Talk about a jackpot! This is just another outstanding place to see in Nevada.
Spencer Hot Springs
I couldn’t talk about one of the best areas for hot springs and not mention one on my list! Spencer Hot Springs is as remote and secretive as it comes, which adds to the hope that you won’t have a crowd joining you.
Located in central Nevada, it usually is a destination due to the remoteness of the springs, but come and relax for a few days and you will be rejuvenated.
This collection of hot springs is unique in that the personalities of those that have become before are left behind, with improvements being made over the years. Sit in a cattle trough and peer at the snow-capped mountains before you. Bring your RV and stay for a few days and get a spa-like experience for free!
Did we miss any of your favorite places in Nevada?
Let us know in the comments if there are anymore places in Nevada you’d like to see on our list!