Welcome to my blog on Nevada – the best places to visit off the beaten path and experiences that will leave you wanting more! I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. Growing up I went on family vacations and trips that inspired me to travel. By the time I was 14 I found my travel passion.
I remember telling my parents I wanted to live in a van, be a hobo and travel the world sleeping in Walmart parking lots. They laughed and refused to let me buy a van as my first car. This was probably wise but didn’t stop me from wanting to travel. I focused on figuring out how I could make an income while traveling. I debated many careers such as flight attendant, travel agent and even dreamt about becoming a YouTuber.
Now I am 18 years old, studying Hospitality and Hotel Tourism at the Local Community College, and working full time as a Sales Coordinator for a 4 Diamond Resort. I find time to travel on the weekends and on my time off.
Nevada, A Truly Underrated Destination
Nevada is an overlooked destination. The state is one of the most mountainous states in the US. Growing up I took it for granted. There aren’t any tropical beaches, or red rock canyons, or thick forests in this state. Instead, there is a lot of sagebrush, and a lot of open views and valleys.
I visited all 17 counties in the state by the time I was 17. Currently, I have been to 16 of the state parks. Nevada has the largest percentage of government owned land (BLM) out of all the states in America, which allows travelers to roam through a majority of the state without too many restrictions. This makes it the most accessible state to travel in.
Nevada has so much to offer – from Vegas to the Loneliest Road in America, you can get every extreme. While I have been seemingly all over the state, there are still so many mountains and valleys I haven’t explored. I still want to travel the Ruby mountain range, camp near Cave Lake, visit the Black Rock Desert and hike in Great Basin National Park. There are many smaller adventures I want to take in central rural Nevada also.
One of the most sentimental places I have been to is Virgin Valley in Northern Nevada. The valley is surrounded by mines you can visit to hunt for crystals, and natural hot springs to soak in. The area has lots of old history with many abandoned cabins and houses that ranchers used to use long ago. I grew up camping here as my parents would hunt nearby. Virgin Valley is a perfect example of the sagebrush filled land that is Nevada.
10 Best Things To Do in Nevada
1. Take the Scenic Route on White Domes Road
Located in Valley of Fire State Park, White Domes Road is a drive you won’t regret taking slow because the red rock formations that are on both sides of the drive are beautiful. It makes you feel like you are on Planet Mars!
2. Hike Natural Bridge Canyon Trail in Death Valley
This easy hike is overlooked when people visit Death Valley. The national park is located right on the border of Nevada and California. You will hike in a conglomerate slot canyon only about a mile before seeing natural rock formations that have been carved into the rock from flash floods.
3. Watch the Sunset at Cave Rock, Lake Tahoe
Who doesn’t love a good sunset? This spot is a wonderful place to watch the sunset near South Lake Tahoe. The hike to the top of Cave Rock only takes 15 minutes, so you can head here even if you are short on time.
4. Go Fishing at the Beautiful Pyramid Lake
This is a salty water lake in Northern Nevada. You can fish for the Nevada State Fish, the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, in this beautiful lake. You can also see the pyramids of the lake, with changing colors depending on the sky.
5. Have a Picnic in Cathedral Gorge State Park
Want to have a meal somewhere epic in Nevada? In this state park you can drive right up to dramatic clay formations and eat a nice meal before exploring the rest of the park. There is so much to see at Cathedral Gorge including the famous Moon Caves Trail and the epic Miller Point Overlook.
6. Step into the Past at Ward Charcoal Ovens
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park is another epic state park where you can see the history of Nevada. It contains seven historic charcoal ovens that you can walk right up to and see where metal was smelted long ago.
7. Ride an ATV at Sand Mountain Recreational Area
Check out these sand dunes surrounded by red cliffs on rad wheels like an ATV, dirt bike or OHV. Sand Mountain Recreational Area offers close to 5,000 acres of land and sand, located 25 miles southeast of Fallon, Nevada.
8. Soak in Springs at Genoa’s Hot Spring Resort
This amazing resort lets you enjoy water that is naturally produced from the ground and enriched in minerals that make your skin feel brand new. It’s the perfect activity after a few days of hiking and adventures in Nevada.
9. Drive Along the Loneliest Road in America
Going through the center of the state is the well-known route, Highway 50. Although many know of it, not many travel along the route. It includes some of the best views of the valleys and mountains of rural Nevada.
10. Lose your Shoes at “The Shoe Tree” of Nevada
Located on the eastbound side of Highway 50 near Middlegate is “The Shoe Tree”. In the middle of the desert, people come and throw their shoes on a tree. This weird travel experience has been occurring for years. It started when a married couple threw their shoes in the tree on a trip during a fight.
Best Way to Travel the Silver State
The best way to travel through Nevada is by car. You won’t be able to get a taxi in the middle of the desert. Driving your own car or renting a vehicle are great options. Getting a reliable car, especially one with high clearance, will give you access to a vast amount of the state. When staying in Las Vegas or Reno however, public transportation and Ubers are available.
Accommodation Options in Nevada
The cheapest, more accessible accommodations in the state are camping or car camping. You can even “boondock” on all BLM land. 80% of Nevada’s land is BLM land so this makes camping extremely easy and available.
Additionally, towns have RV resorts that are lovely to stay at. If you don’t want to sleep in your car or camper, I suggest Airbnbs. Even rural areas in the state offer ranch style stays that are unique and enjoyable. For example, I recently stayed in a refurbished Train Caboose Airbnb in Virginia City.
This trip was super unique and original! The link to it can be found on my Instagram. I would highly recommend staying away from the small town inns and hotels in Nevada. They are often rundown and cheap.
Tips for your Rural Nevada Trip
- Carry Extra Water – Nevada is a dry state. Coming along water can be hard so make sure you carry a good amount of water in your car and know where the next location of water will be available.
- Protect your Skin – Most of the state has almost no shade. It’s important to protect yourself from the sun and wind. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, lotion and chapstick. These are essential items even when it’s winter when traveling through Nevada.
- Leave no Trace – Nevada is an open state where the public has lots of room to travel. Please make sure not to abuse that freedom. Make sure to pick up your waste and respect the land wherever you go.
- Check the Fire Restrictions – During the warmer months, many places have fire and stove restrictions in place. Make sure to check ahead of time if your camp stove or campfire is allowed at your destination.
- Fill up on Gas – Travel in the battle born state can be lengthy! You may not reach the next gas station for up to 300 miles. Make sure to get fuel when you can and know where the next gas station will be.