Explore Nevada

Explore Nevada
Here’s a little secret: Nevada is more than just the bright glittering lights of Las Vegas (but we love that too). In this wonderfully diverse US state you’ll find cowboys at slot machines, Mormon churches next to casinos, and silver mining towns amid the arid desert. It’s home to big attractions like the Hoover Dam and epic scenery like the snow-capped peaks around Lake Tahoe.

And sure, if you’re here for Vegas shenanigans, we won’t fault you. It’s impossible to get bored on The Strip and you can make a dollar stretch in the downtown core. There are many good reasons why most of Nevada’s population lives near Las Vegas, after all. Or you can travel to another popular debauch town, like Reno. If that’s not your idea of fun, no worries. It’s hard to believe that just beyond those cities lay extraordinary places like Death Valley and the Valley of Fire. Come see for yourself!

Lake Tahoe
Death Valley

Places to Visit in Nevada

  • Las Vegas
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Death Valley
  • Valley of Fire
  • Lake Mead
  • Red Rock Canyon

Unique Things to See and Do in Nevada

  • See Red Rock Canyon from a bicycle
  • Tour the Las Vegas strip like a celebrity
  • Play the slot machines in Reno
  • Get a personalized tour of the Hoover Dam
  • Walk up Mount Charleston
  • Take an ATV trip through the Valley of Fire

Nevada History

It’s hard to pin any one culture to Nevada – it’s a fun and chaotic mish-mash of everything. Believe it or not, Nevada has a fascinating history and culture. Most of the state’s revenue comes from mining, gambling, and nuclear weapons testing. You won’t find too many other places around the world that can say the same!

Before the discovery of silver, settlers tended to bypass Nevada as they made their way westward. But when silver was discovered in 1859, everything changed. Riches drew people from all over, and Nevada was quickly granted its own territory and then statehood. Mining changed the course of Nevada’s history for decades after that, with cities like Virginia City flourishing and growing at incredible speeds. Today, Virginia City still has that characteristic, old-timey frontier look and feel.

Gambling was introduced around the same time. Back then, gambling was unregulated, but it became semi-regulated in the 1930s when the government legalized gambling. This is when Las Vegas began making a name for itself as a fun, wild city that people could escape to and let loose. Then, with the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1935, things kept getting better from there.

The Hoover Dam gave Las Vegas the ability to power its casinos and resorts. Las Vegas is literally one of the brightest cities on earth, and requires a great deal of hydropower to keep it running. To learn more about how Vegas got its start, visiting museums like the Mob Museum is a must-do. Other than the gambling world, nuclear testing on the Nevada Test Site in the 1950s helped bolster the economy. The Atomic Testing Museum is a great place to learn more.

But if you want a real taste of Nevada culture, go beyond the big gambling towns like Reno and Vegas. Small towns in the northern part of the state such as Ely and Elko take on a more westernized atmosphere, where cowgirls and cowboys are found in abundance. There’s also a big population of retirees in Nevada taking advantage of low living costs and constant year-round sunshine. In other words, you’ll find everybody from all walks of life: cowboys, seniors, party folks, celebrities, and the wealthy. Nevada is just a great place to be.

Getting Around Nevada

Once you move beyond Las Vegas, the population in Nevada dwindles. There are long stretches of lonely landscapes without much in them (other than beauty, of course). Your best bet is to hire a rental car to get around Nevada, as travel times can be quite long.

Did you know…?

The Hoover Dam is made from 3.25 million tons of concrete and it weighs more than 6.5 million tons. It’s also 660 feet thick.

Did you ALSO know…?

Nevada’s name is derived from a Spanish word meaning “snow-clad.” Although most of the state is desert, the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Ruby Mountains are covered in snow for half the year.

Although Nevada is a busy state, public transit leaves something to be desired…even in Las Vegas. Greyhound buses are your best bet for cheap and flexible travel options between towns in all corners of the state. Taxis are available in all towns, as well as bus services (although they’re limited). There is only one Amtrak service, and it’s on the California Zephyr line running between Chicago and San Francisco. It stops in Reno.

Best Time of Year to Travel to Nevada

Nevada is hot, hot, hot! Hence the lure for sun seekers. It has dry hot summers and cool winters, particularly in the mountainous areas. Nevada is popular year-round for golfers and Las Vegas is constantly busy no matter what the weather is like. High season is from September to June, while low season is July to August.

When it comes to saving cash in Las Vegas you should come between Christmas and New Year’s or just after Labour Day. Visit during the autumn months to see Lake Tahoe, especially with the fall colours. If that doesn’t fit your schedule, Reno is affordable year-round.

Ready to plan your visit to Nevada? Check out these popular guides and trips.

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