Of course most visitors to Nevada head for Las Vegas, one of the most hedonistic cities in the world, and yes, the charms of the famous desert oasis of indulgence are hugely captivating. Although it would also be a huge shame not to explore more of the intriguing Western US State. The large sprawling desert which makes up all of Nevada is scattered with some truly beautiful gems waiting to be uncovered, with landscapes ranging from snowcapped mountains and tranquil lakes to unique geological wonders and ramshackle former gold mining towns. From my many trips to this extraordinary area, here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Nevada…
Fly Geyser – a top natural attraction to explore in Nevada
Also called Fly Ranch Geyser, this small geyser sits on private land about 20 miles north of Gerlach, Nevada in Washoe County. It is roughly five feet high and 12 feet wide, and it is currently owned by The Burning Man Project, which limits its accessibility.
The geyser is made of colorful red and green rocks, getting the colors from the thermophilic algae that inundate it. Since 2018, it has been open from April through October for guided three-hour nature walks, and the money you pay for the tickets are generally accepted as donations.
Valley of Fire State Park – one of the most stunning places to explore in Nevada
One of the least known but most magnificent places to visit in Nevada, the Valley of Fire State Park consists of more than 40,000 acres of mostly Aztec sandstone that is bright red in color, making it an extraordinary sight to see.
With petrified trees, camping and hiking opportunities, and even places to stop and have a picnic – complete with grills – spending the day at this park is something you’re sure to never forget. You even get Wi-Fi access in the park, which means you can listen to some music as you hike or simply watch your surroundings and relax.
Las Vegas Skyline – one of the most iconic views in the world
When it comes to skylines, the cool city of Las Vegas just can’t be beaten. When you book your hotel room, get a room on the higher floors so that you can look out your window and see the lights of this extraordinary city.
Most of the hotels on the strip located are very close together, but even if you stay in one that is “off” the strip, you’ll still be able to see some amazing views because this desert city is filled with hotels that are each unique in their own right. Make sure you look for the Paris Eiffel Tower, the pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel, and the New York-New York Hotel to make sure you soak everything in before the night is done.
Death Valley National Park – a unique and surreally beautiful place to visit in Nevada
This park truly offers something for everyone, and it has a basin that is below sea level, making it the lowest national park in the country. Although rain is rare here, when it does rain, the pretty wildflowers bloom here.
From the fish in the oases to the variety of wildlife, this is a unique state park that allows you to hike, enjoy overlooks, camp, and participate in many other outdoor activities. Furthermore, even though it’s hot and dry, the park is a haven for all types of animals, including humans!
Red Rock Canyon – an area home to typical and stunning Nevada scenery
If you love the great outdoors, you owe it to yourself to visit Red Rock Canyon, a national conservation area that offers hiking and camping opportunities, scenic views, cultural resources, lots of plants and wildlife, and a whole lot more.
Outdoor exhibits top the list and there is even a bookstore and gift shop. You can spend the entire day there and still not see everything there is to see. There are more than two dozen trails alone, and the prices are very reasonable. When you love to be outdoors, Red Rock Canyon is the place you should be.
Hoover Dam – one of the most popular places to visit in Nevada
Also known as Boulder Dam, it is a magnificent hydroelectric dam that sits on the Colorado River and offers some of the most fantastic views you’ve ever seen.
It sits right on the border of Nevada and Arizona, and if you play your cards right, you can stand right on the state line and be in two states at the same time! Located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, it is worth the trip out there because it makes a powerful statement and was a wonder to build from start to finish. Nearly one million visitors see it every year, and once you visit it the first time, you’ll completely understand why.
Lamoille Canyon – the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains
Located in the northeastern part of the state, the Lamoille Canyon is roughly 12 miles long and boasts beautiful glaciers developed during the Ice Age. The highest point is more than 11,000 feet high, and some of its many attractions include the beautiful Lamoille Lake, a granite shelf containing Dollar Lake, a campground, waterfalls, and much more.
There is also a picnic area and various creeks, making this one outdoor area you should have on your bucket list. Lamoille Canyon starts at Liberty Peak and ends at the Powerhouse Picnic Area.
Whitney Pockets – a group of very photogenic, eroded red rocks
Although beautiful, Whitney Pockets is a location that is still very rugged. Even if you decide to camp there, you have to get used to there being no water, trash cans, or even bathrooms. Still, if you love the outdoors, this place makes a great place to go for a few hours or the entire day.
It is the front part of the Gold Butte National Monument, which is located roughly 20 miles from Bunkerville, Nevada. Although it is a bit rough, you still can enjoy dirt roads, historical structures, colorful rock formations, and Joshua trees, to name a few.
Lake Mohave Reservoir – one of the most beautiful lakes to explore in Nevada
This reservoir is located just south of Hoover Dam along the Colorado River, and there are lots of sandy coves, beautiful beach areas, and steep canyon walls to look at. It isn’t just gorgeous, but it also allows for lots of swimming, paddle-boating, and many other water activities that will keep you busy all day long.
The entrance fees start at just $15 and give you a full seven days of access, and whether you like to hike or enjoy time on your boat, you’ll be happy that you chose this area to spend time in.
Rhyolite Ghost Town – ruins of 1905 gold-mining town which is one of the most interesting places to visit in Nevada
Located roughly 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Rhyolite was once a very prosperous mining town, but in 1911 the mine closed and by 1920, the town had less than 1,000 residents. Today, it is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management but contains nothing but ruins.
Still, it is one of the most photographed ghost towns in the country and is often used as backgrounds for movies. You can visit the town and see what the Old West used to look like, and there is even an old cemetery with wooden headstones just south of the town.
Great Basin National Park – a gorgeous Nevada beauty spot to explore
This park is located in east-central Nevada and consists of more than 77,000 acres that it protects. Some of its attractions include a campground, wildlife habitat, a glacier, and lots of ancient bristlecone pines. It is near the Utah border and located nearly 300 miles north of Las Vegas.
It also has trails, caves, and lots of flora and fauna to enjoy, so if you’re a nature-lover, this is the place to be. The low temperatures average 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the highs average 59 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is a comfortable place to be most of the year.
Sand Harbor – crystal-clear waters and beautiful panoramic lake views
Sand Harbor is located in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. Lake Tahoe is known for its crystal-clear waters and its amazing rock formations, and Sand Harbor allows people to boat, fish, water-ski, picnic, scuba-dive, and of course, swim. It even holds a Shakespeare Festival every summer for something unique to do.
You can take your kayak on the water, barbecue in the picnic area, or just spend the day photographing some of the most beautiful sites you’ll ever see. For a wonderful day you will never forget, Sand Harbor is a great place to visit.
Sierra Nevada Mountains – a stunning and major mountain range in western North America
The Sierra Nevada mountains lie mostly in California and boast elevations as high as 14,505 feet. They run 400 miles north to south and 70 miles east to west, and they include such mainstays as Lake Tahoe, a total of three national parks, and the largest tree (by volume) in the world, known as General Sherman.
These mountains played an important role in the California Gold Rush in the 1840s, yet they were all but inaccessible until around 1912. Much of the mountains consist of federal lands, and some of the cities found in the area include Colfax, Mammoth Lakes, and Nevada City, among others.
Black Rock Desert – one of the best places to visit in Nevada
Located about 100 miles north of Las Vegas, Black Rock Desert is semi-arid and consists of lava beds and alkali flats. With more than 300,000 acres of land and 120 miles of great trails for hiking and walking, it is operated and managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Around 20,000 BC, mammoths roamed the area, and you can see bones of some of them that were in this desert if you visit the Nevada State Museum in Carson City. Mining and prospecting are common in the area, and if you love geology, this desert will give you a lot to look at.
Mount Charleston – a gorgeous year-round recreation area
You can get to Mt. Charleston quickly from Las Vegas, and it is super popular in the winter because you can snowboard, ski, and go tubing down the mountain. If you prefer warmer temperatures, not to worry because in the summer, you can hike or go disc-golfing or mountain biking.
There is even a lodge with lots of glass on the outside, giving you a gorgeous view of the mountains as you sit by the fireplace and sip drinks or enjoy your meal in the dining area.