I've been traveling to the USA on and off since I was a little girl, with the prime destination always being Disney. When my family decided to move to the USA from South Africa, I ended up getting to see a lot more of the States. When I finally moved myself, nearly five years ago now, I set myself the challenge of visiting all 50 states before I turned 30 - my 50BEFORE30. Now, if you've stuck around long enough you will realize that I failed miserably in that challenge. One of the states that I have covered however, is that of Nevada. We traveled to Las Vegas for my sister's 21st birthday. Because of the short time we didn't get to see more of the state of Nevada, so I don't have many recommendations for it outside of Vegas. BUT, luckily for the traveler to Nevada, my friend Jill, one part of the travel blogging team, Jack and Jill, has visited Nevada a few times, and has a great list of things to do in Nevada.
visit Las Vegas
Hate it or love it, Las Vegas is a town like no other. There’s gambling and the over-the-top casinos, of course, but there are also a plethora of entertainment for non-gamblers. Make sure to catch a show (my favorite is Cirque du Soleil’s “Ka”), check out the Neon Graveyard, or go race a Lamborghini at a real race track.
Staying in Las Vegas is also a good spot to base yourself from in your travels in Nevada. You can also check out the neighboring states of Utah, California and Arizona, if you are up for a road trip.
Hiking or Rock Climbing in Red Rock Canyon State Park
At the edge of Vegas, there’s a world of red sandstone cliffs, so red it almost looks like it’s on fire. There are hiking trails here, or you can simply take a drive through the State Park and marvel at the colors and rock formations. There is a scenic driving route you can follow. The park is also known for its climbing routes and anytime except for the summer; you’ll spot a few climbers on the cliffside.
The Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel, and it’s worth a visit. Make sure to check out the pictures taken during the dam construction and try to imagine what’s buried now underneath all of that water. Hoover Dam is located 30 miles from Las Vegas. A tour of the dam is available, but tickets are on first-come-first-serve starting at 9 am.
Hiking in Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is one of the least visited National Parks in the United States. Many visitors are often surprised how un-Nevada like the ecosystem is when visiting the park. With a glacier, rivers, alpine lakes, and bristlecone pine trees, you can easily mistake it for California’s Sierra Nevada. Taking a tour of the underground cave is highly recommended. It’s a unique and beautiful cave. The entrance is free, but the guided cave tour has a fee.
Visit Ghost Towns
Many small towns sprung up in Nevada when silver was discovered, but only a few survived. You can visit many of these, remnants of once-booming mining towns. Some favorites include Belmont and Nelson. These ghost towns are often located in remote parts of the states, taking you past rural Nevada and dry desert landscapes. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.
You see - Nevada is not all Las Vegas! There are a multitude of things to do in Nevada, and it is well worth hiring a car and getting out and seeing the rest of the state. There are plenty things to do in Nevada if you just go out and seek them!
AUTHOR BIO: JILL FROM JACK AND JILL TRAVEL
Jill was born and raised in Indonesia. She now lives in San Francisco with her husband and cat, traveling 3-4 months out of the year. She shares stories on outdoor adventures, road trips, and tips on how to get more out of your travels on Jack and Jill Travel.