Nevada embraces the true spirit and the indisputable promise of the West—the freedom and sheer space to do what you want, where you want, when you want. This is where you clear the fences and shatter the boundaries of ordinary, everyday life and discover the wonder and exhilaration that comes with exploring the many nooks and crannies of the country’s seventh-largest state.
Put these events on your calendar
- January: National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (Elko)
- February: NASCAR Weekend (Las Vegas)
- March: Utah Shakespearean Festival (Eureka)
- April: Laughlin River Run (Laughlin)
- May: Jim Butler Days (Tonopah)
- June: Father’s Day Powwow (Carson City)
- July: Artown (Reno)
- August: Hot August Nights (Reno and Lake Tahoe)
- September: Burning Man (Gerlach)
- October: Ghost Walks and Haunted Train Rides (Carson City, Carson Valley, and Ely)
- November: Charles Nannini Invitational Chariot Races (Wells)
- December: National Finals Rodeo (Las Vegas).
When you drive around the bend in the road and see spectacular Lake Tahoe for the first time, the odds are that, like nearly everyone else, you’ll be at a complete loss for words.
Top photo opportunities
- The ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign
- Reno Arch
- Lover’s Lock Plaza in Lovelock
- Lake Tahoe
- Great Basin National Park and Wheeler Peak.
The life-sized skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, fossils of the 225-million-year-old ichthyosaur, oral histories of Nevada’s earliest settlers, plus some modern Las Vegas history all make for a fascinating day. Soak up Nevada’s rich past at the new Nevada State Museum at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. And new in Las Vegas for 2012: the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (aka the Mob Museum) and revamped installations at the Neon Museum.
Classic road trip
A journey across spectacularly beautiful Highway 50—‘The Loneliest Road in America’—isn’t for the faint of heart. Prepare in advance for the Wild West as it once was as you trace the rough route of the fabled 1860-61 Pony Express mail track.
Don’t overlook this…
Many visitors to Great Basin National Park are as thrilled by the lack of crowds as they are by the majestic mountain terrain, cascading streams and pristine lakes. The park is home to a number of 3,000-year-old bristlecone pine trees, the oldest living organism on the planet; Lehman Caves, which can only be seen on a guided tour; Wheeler Peak, the site of Nevada’s only glacier; and Lexington Arch, a massive rock formation.
Whether you’re hanging out at a local casino or raising the stakes at a mega-resort, you’ll find the best value at Nevada’s world-renowned buffets. There are roughly 100 smorgasbords, and some resorts offer passes good at several different buffets during the course of your visit, so you can give every buffet a try.
Only have one day here?
Constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation during the Great Depression in the 1930s, Hoover Dam was the largest federal project of its time. Today, the dam draws nearly one million visitors a year, who come to gawk not only at the dam’s immensity and staggering hydroelectric generators, but also to admire the elegant and unexpected Art Deco details.
History happened here
With the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859, Virginia City boomed into one of the most important cities in the West—nearly $400 million (£250 million) in silver and gold was discovered here. The production of the mines would decline over the following decades, but Virginia City’s wooden walkways and artefact-laden saloons remain a fascinating tribute to the past.
One awe-inspiring building
There’s just no way to pick a single building, so we’ll go with The Strip in Las Vegas. Travel the world in an hour with these spectacular themed resorts—the Eiffel Tower, a pyramid and sphinx, a pirate ship, the New York City skyline, a castle and even the Roman Coliseum—all lining a strip of road just five miles long.