Nevada is one pretty deserted state to explore… and by that, I mean it’s filled with desert landscapes! Though don’t let its extreme environment fool you, there are a heap of incredible and best places in Nevada to visit dotted all across the state to explore.
You see, from the bright lights of Las Vegas to iconic parks, it’s a state that is so much more than just slot machines and the glitz of the Strip. Although this might be your likely draw to Nevada, do make sure to take a little time to explore some of the wider areas of the state.
Though, as with lots of states in the United States, it’s pretty expansive and can take a whole day (or more) to drive from the most northerly to southerly tip. This all means you should plan your trip well in advance, especially as there can be vast open stretches of open desert roads.
So, to help you along your way, we’ve popped a few of our favourite and best places in Nevada to visit on your next trip. Have the best time.
1.) Las Vegas
Love it or hate it, Las Vegas is known the world over as an over-the-top, glitzy, outrageous and everything else in-between city in the USA to visit. Though, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just about gambling; Las Vegas can be so much more than that!
Yes, you’re gonna see slots and roulette tables at every turn, but over the last few decades, Las Vegas has become an entertainment capital with concerts, shows, events and any kind of experience you can dream of.
Of course, make sure to spend some time heading down The Strip, exploring the ginormous resorts and book in a few world-class shows. Oh, and if you fancy a few hours getaway, hop on a helicopter over to the Grand Canyon, too!
2.) Black Rock City (Burning Man)
Okay, so for me, Black Rock City is one of the very best places in Nevada to visit if you want a totally different type of adventure.
Created every year as the home of Burning Man, it’s a place where tens of thousands of people spend a week or so creating the most incredibly respectful, diverse and incredible temporary city. It’s everything and anything you want it to be!
Yes, you will need to get tickets months before you attend (which is a process all in itself) but we’ve created a guide to Burning Man that’ll help you navigate a first trip to Black Rock City and everything you need to know.
Trust me, it’s such an incredible experience but you do need to plan months in advance. It’s not the kind of place you can just rock up at and hope to ‘get in’.
3.) Death Valley National Park
Mainly perched in neighbouring California, there’s a slither of Death Valley that’s in Nevada. Though, truth be told, what’s stopping you from heading over the border to California to enjoy that part of the national park, too?
On the Nevada side, you can see spots like Grapevine Peak and Leadfield Ghost Town that’s a few miles across the border. If you do explore lots of Death Valley (again, mainly in California) be sure to stop by Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin and the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes which are so stunning.
Also, just be aware and plan your trip fully before heading into Death Valley. On my first trip, we were sent away (and rightly so) by the rangers. You see, we hadn’t brought enough water with us and it was dangerous to proceed. Plan your trip, supplies etc as this is not the kind of area you want to break down and realise you have nothing with you.
4.) Lake Mead (Hoover Dam)
Easily drivable from Las Vegas, Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam is easily one of the best things to do in Nevada if you’re wanting a little time away from the slots.
After arriving, take a wander across the Hoover Dam or head on a guided tour of the dam and powerplant itself. Which, is pretty nifty to think you’re going inside a dam!
Alternatively, rent a boat to explore Lake Mead which can actually be pretty reasonable. You can even book smaller boats for around $95 an hour (for eight people). Just don’t bump it, you’ll forfeit your deposit.
It’s hard not to compare Reno with Las Vegas. Though truth be told, Las Vegas will always win if you do this; it’s just on another scale!
Yes, it’s smaller, the casinos aren’t quite as illustrious or expansive but it’s well worth a gander for a few days whilst exploring the best places in Nevada in the north-west of the state.
If you fancy some time away from the gambling spots, pop on over to the Nevada Museum of Art, the Wilbur D. May Center (and Botanical Garden) or the National Automobile Museum, too.
Just like Las Vegas, it’s got a heap of different things to do that aren’t just pouring money into those hungry slots!
6.) Great Basin National Park
Around 300-miles north of Las Vegas, the Great Basin National Park is one of the best places in Nevada to visit if you’re heading east towards Utah. You see, it’s got a heap of trails, stopping points and huge caverns to explore.
For the views, head across to Mather Overlook that’s right next to Lehman Creek. Also, if it’s a hike you’re after, head to Teresa Lake via the Bristlecone and Alpine Lakes Trailhead that’s totally gorgeous.
Also, if you fancy heading underground, visit the Lehman Caves where you can hop out with a ranger to explore the geology and makeup of these impressive spots.
Wear a good pair of shoes and factor in around 1.5 hours to fully enjoy the tour.
7.) Red Rock Canyon
The conservation area of Red Rock Canyon is perched within the Mojave Desert, which is totally stunning.
In fact, it’s a great place to go on one of the marked trails to explore a completely beautiful area. The Old Creek Canyon trail is just stunning. Plus, it’s not too hard with a certain level of fitness (when following this trail route).
That being said, if you don’t fancy a hike, follow the 13-mile Scenic Drive that takes in High Point Overlook, the Petroglyph Wall Trailhead and Red Rock Wash Overlook. It’s totally lovely.
8.) Pyramid Lake
Just north of Reno (and south of where Burning Man is held), Pyramid Lake is one of the best places in Nevada to visit when exploring the north-west fringes of Nevada.
Now, there’s not much in terms of restaurants, facilities etc but that’s what makes this spot great! It’s totally pristine and well worth a little gander for a little dip, chill-time or even camp (with permits).
9.) Sloan Canyon
Literally, just outside Las Vegas, Sloan Canyon is a great morning trip from the city itself. You see, here, you’ll find Native American petroglyphs that have been etched into the stone and their really easy to spot.
If you’re fancying a ramble, head out onto some of the trails (again, being plenty of water and treats) but try to avoid midday when the sun is at its strongest. That desert heat can be overbearing.
10.) Valley of Fire State Park
Just shy of Moapa Valley and Lake Mead Park, the Valley of Fire is pretty easy to reach from Las Vegas and can easily be partnered with a trip to Lake Mead itself.
Along the park, you’ll get to see loads of different geological formations like the Windstone Arch and Tunnel Arch that are totally gorgeous.
Also, if you follow the White Domes Trail or the Fire Wave Trail, you’ll get to experience a huge heap of diversity within this relatively small state park.
Also, head over to this viewpoint for views across Fire Canyon itself.
It really is one of the best places in Nevada that’s within easy reach of the city.
11.) Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is totally different, depending on what season you visit. This makes it one of the best places in Nevada to visit regardless of what season you intend to explore the state.
Now, heading across from Carson City, be sure to stop at Sand Harbor Beach, Zephyr Cove and Herlan Peak if you fancy a stroll.
If you’re heading across the state line to Califonia, visit Emerald Bay State Park or Alpine Meadows (in the winter) for skiing!