Not that I’m hating on Las Vegas, but let’s face it, a majority of travelers have never set foot in another Nevada town. Las Vegas’s famous Strip provides one with plenty of entertainment but it also comes with the crowds. So the next time you plan a trip out to the big city, take a few extra days to explore some of these other destinations.
Located at the southern tip of Nevada on the banks of the Colorado River, Laughlin is a hub for all types of outdoor activities. Take to the trails on riverside hikes, cycle along scenic trails, test your golf skills, and enjoy a variety of water-based activities. If you’re up for an adventure, explore the crag-covered slopes and rugged canyons of Spirit Mountain. For those who want to relax, Laughlin has several upscale resorts and restaurants. With 24-hour casinos, this city is sometimes referred to as the cheaper alternative to Vegas.
This remote mountain town is home to a lively community that welcomes visitors in like family. Sitting at the base of Great Basin National Park you’ll find plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Explore the depths of the beautiful Lehman Caves or hike up to the snow-capped Wheeler Peak, the second tallest mountain in Nevada. Stroll through the heart of downtown Ely on an 11-block art walk where murals depict the town’s history and cultural diversity.
Established in 1901, this well-kept and inviting southern Nevada city has a population of just over 1,000 and a history linked to the wild west. The historical Union Pacific Train Depot is the main attraction and you can even stay in one of the building’s 50 rooms. Original railroad cottages can still be found in the town as well as multiple dining options. Rose gardens naturally line the streets giving this town its nickname “City of Roses”. Several Nevada State Parks can be accessed from Caliente including Cathedral Gorge and Beaver Dam.
Additional Reading: Top Travel Solo Destinations in the United States
An hour east of Las Vegas and an hour east of Death Valley National Park, Pahrump prides itself on being Nevada’s base camp for adventure seekers. The surrounding areas offer up hiking, biking, and rock climbing and one can indulge in all sorts of water activities at Lake Spring Mountain. If adrenaline is what you are after, head over to Spring Mountain Motorsports to take lessons driving the fastest production race cars in the nation. If you want something a bit slower paced and coffee is your thing, then head over to Pahrump Valley Roasters for tours and tastings.
Nicknamed “Nevada’s liveliest ghost town”, Pioche offers up a true glimpse of what the West once was. The streets are lined with typical old west architecture that dates back to the 19th century such as Thompson’s Opera House. There is great hunting and trout fishing in the surrounding landscape, as well as access to some of the most scenic State Parks in Nevada. Echo Canyon State Park is home to a 65-acre reservoir and multiple camping sites.
Additional reading: 16 Must See Parks in the Southwestern United States
Dubbed Nevada’s “Biggest Little City”, Reno has grown into a hip little town with farm-to-table restaurants, breweries, coffeehouses, and a unique River Arts District. Not to mention it is also surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a mecca for outdoor adventures. When visiting Reno be sure to experience the MidTown District. This is the most up-and-coming part of town and is filled with quirky shops and distinctive restaurants.
This small town is known for its rich history of the cowboy days of the Wild West and is also a launching pad to discover the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, an important stop on the Great Pacific Migratory Route for birds and waterfowl. Book a unique rustic log cabin at Timbers Lodging & Grill to explore the surrounding areas. From Alamo you can discover the infamous Area 51.
The next time you find yourself in the great state of Nevada, be sure to check one (or all 7) of these towns!
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