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Nevada

Nevada

Great Destination:

4.5

Value for Money:

3.5

Total Stars:

8.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Greatest appeal for those on Authentic side of personality scale (gaming and warm weather), but Venturer types enjoy its outdoor challenges

Did You Know…?

  • Nearly half the nation’s wild horses and burros live in Nevada.
  • Nevada has a state fossil, the Ichthyosaur, an extinct marine reptile.
  • It is a myth that casinos never have windows or clocks.
  • Nevada is the sole state with legal prostitution, but only in eight counties, not including Las Vegas.
  • The federal government owns about 80% of the state’s land.

A good bet

Nevada is a large, hot and dry western state that is popular with tourists because of gambling and the entertainment options that have grown up around that.  It also appeals to those interested in the Old West, which lives on — or at least reveals itself — in dude ranches, historic mining towns, ghost towns and Native American events. In addition, active travelers can pursue numerous outdoor activities such as ATV tours, helicopter tours, hiking, snow skiing or waterskiing.

It is a low-population desert state with more variety than one may suspect, but the most-visited places are the two gaming destinations, Las Vegas and the Reno-Tahoe area. Reno doesn’t have the Vegas glitz, but it costs less to be a tourist there. Besides,

Reno doesn’t have the Vegas glitz, but it costs less to be a tourist there. Besides, Reno boasts one of nature’s finer gifts, Lake Tahoe, and its beautiful resort area. Reno is a center for outdoor activities of great interest to the liveliest travelers and often to all personality types. Skiing is the big attraction in the winter, but Lake Tahoe offers a plethora of water-sports options at other times.

As for the state’s Wild West appeal, the past lives in the many active ranches (some of which play host to tourists) and in the (now-small) historic mining towns that were born during the 19th century rush to cash in on gold and silver discoveries. The state’s big mining rush was triggered by the discovery of silver in the Comstock mines outside Virginia City. Nevada also counts a number of ghost towns that provide a rawer glimpse into the past.

For shades of a still-older West, Nevada’s Native American residents stage annual powwows where tourists are welcome to observe old traditions and interact with their hosts and learn more about Indian culture.

Mining is still an important industry, the state’s second-largest, but tourism is tops. Nevada aims to develop tourism in its rural areas. And, certainly, visitors have choices beyond the cities to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities year-round, to pursue their interest in history or paleontology or to experience something of life in today’s version of the Old West.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Take a half-day whitewater rafting trip on any of several rivers, or choose a much more ambitious itinerary, lasting several days.
  • Try sandboarding, a hot sport that attracts thousands of venturesome riders to the state each year. With a waxed board strapped to your feet, you can glide across sand dunes at up to 50 mph.
  • If you love horses, consider adopting a horse or burro. Federal law declared these animals to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.” Obtain the National Adoption Schedule from the federal Bureau of Land Management.
  • Winnemucca, named for an Indian, is the starting point for biking, hiking, hunting, plus miles of ATV and off-road adventure trails.
  • Plan a self-drive itinerary around Nevada’s historic mining towns. Among them, Eureka, the best-preserved 19th century mining town in central Nevada, calls itself the “loneliest town on the loneliest road in America.”
  • Austin boasts six trails for mountain biking, ranging from four to 27 miles long, as well as good options for hiking and horseback riding. Also, it bills itself as the jumping-off point for visits to a number of ghost towns, such as Belmont, one of the state’s most popular.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Attend the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering early in the new year in Elko.
  • Get married on a mountaintop or at the side of a sparkling lake. Or choose one of the state’s many wedding chapels, and arrange for “Elvis” to be one of your guests.  Or, marry in Lovelock, which has adapted the ancient Chinese tradition of the “lover’s lock,” a lock the couple clamps shut around a chain; they throw the key away in order to “lock” their love for all time.
  • You are in the fabled American West. Go horseback riding. Take riding lessons if necessary. Also, attend a rodeo, which you may find in Las Vegas, Reno or a much smaller town.
  • Stay at a guest ranch or on a houseboat.
  • Visit Battle Mountain (it’s a town named for some bloody encounters that occurred in the mid-19th century) which gives access to public lands where you can camp, fish, hike and hunt.
  • In summer, ride the restored Virginia and Truckee Railroad, which now travels between Virginia City and Gold Hill.

Things to do for Authentics

  • For ethnic traditions you never knew much (or anything) about, attend the Basque Festival, held annually in Winnemucca.
  • Set aside time for shopping regardless of your destination, but you may give thought to the smaller towns in the northern part of the state. Here, you will often discover items made in the stores themselves, things like handmade boots, saddles, clothing, jewelry and even furniture.
  • Attend a powwow. There are several annual events, on reservations, in small communities and in the cities.
  • Visit the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, the only place in the state with both a mining ghost town (Berlin) and a dinosaur dig site.
  • For an alternative, and less-costly, casino resort town, try Laughlin 90 miles south of Las Vegas.
  • Get a license and fish in any of more than 200 lakes and 600 streams and rivers. Species include various trout, bass and catfish..

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the TravelNevada at www.travelnevada.com