1. Enjoy the scenery at Lake Tahoe, 2. Visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, 3. Explore the Valley of Fire State Park, 4. Visit the Hoover Dam, 5. Stroll the Fremont Street Experience, 6. Visit Lake Mead National Recreation Area, 7. Hike to Rock Art Sites at Gold Butte National Monument, 8. Stroll the Cathedral Rocks Trail at Mount Charleston, 9. Experience Las Vegas Boulevard, 10. See the Ruins of a 1905 Gold-Mining Town. While the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas typically get the bulk of attention when talking about Nevada, this incredible state is much more than that. In addition to incredible natural landscapes and scenic drives, it’s also home to fascinating small towns and fun outdoor adventures. So, Toplist has done the hard work for you, compiling a list of the top things to do in Nevada with the best attractions, outdoor adventures, and hidden gems to add to your itinerary. Stick to this unique Nevada bucket list and experience its top adventure-packed destinations.
- Enjoy the scenery at Lake Tahoe
- Visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
- Explore the Valley of Fire State Park
- Visit the Hoover Dam
- Stroll the Fremont Street Experience
- Visit Lake Mead National Recreation Area
- Hike to Rock Art Sites at Gold Butte National Monument
- Stroll the Cathedral Rocks Trail at Mount Charleston
- Experience Las Vegas Boulevard
- See the Ruins of a 1905 Gold-Mining Town
Enjoy the scenery at Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is one of the best things to do in Nevada. The sparkling blue water of Lake Tahoe, surrounded by frequently snow-capped mountains, is one of Nevada’s most beautiful sights. This 22-mile-long freshwater lake is a popular year-round destination high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the Nevada-California border. Most visitors come here in the summer to enjoy the beautiful beaches, hike some of the spectacular hiking trails, or camp at one of the many nearby campgrounds.
In winter, families and powder hounds from across the US come here to hit the slopes at the ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area. Any time of year, you can enjoy the scenery on a lake-side scenic drive. Several towns around the lake provide good bases for exploring the region. Lake Tahoe is about a three-hour drive from San Francisco, and under five hours from Yosemite National Park. From Reno, you can reach the north end of the lake in about 45 minutes.
Google rating: 4.8/5.0
Location: along the state line of California and Nevada
Visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, located just outside of Las Vegas, is one of the best things to do in Nevada. The massive red rock formations jutting high above the Mojave Desert are the most noticeable feature, but the area encompasses a wide range of sites and geological formations. Some of the highlights include box canyons, mountains, and a look at the Keystone Thrust. Red Rock Canyon has a one-way scenic drive of 13 miles, hiking and trails, plants and wildlife, geology, camping, cultural resources, and much more.
Their Visitor Center provides recreation-related information and interpretation. There are also indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as a bookstore and gift shop. A 13-mile scenic drive through the park provides access to some of the major sites, but hiking trails in Red Rock Canyon provide the best access to all of them. Popular activities include rock climbing, road biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
Address: 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161
Phone: +1 702-515-5350
Explore the Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire State Park is world-renowned for its 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone, as well as ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. A Visitor Center houses exhibits about the geology, ecology, prehistory, and history of the park and surrounding area. Some of Nevada’s most dynamic landscapes feature dramatic rock formations and sweeping vistas of colorful stone waves. It’s worth the trip out here, which is only an hour’s drive northeast of Las Vegas.
If you’re just looking for a scenic drive, the park’s roads offer breathtaking views of the landscape. The hiking trails, on the other hand, are one of the best ways to experience the park. These hikes are generally short and easy, but they take you through some incredible scenery, such as slot canyons, petroglyph-covered rock walls, old filming locations, and other spectacular sites. You might also see some wildlife. Camping is popular at Valley of Fire, and the campgrounds are strategically placed among the rock formations in beautiful settings.
Phone: +1 702-397-2088
Visit the Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam, built during the Great Depression 80 years ago, is a modern engineering marvel. It is the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere, and it is located in Black Canyon. Visit this must-see Nevada attraction and cross the dam via a walking bridge. If you want to learn more about the site, you can take one of the tours to learn how the dam was built and how it provides hydroelectric power to Nevada, Arizona, and California.
Pick up tour tickets at the Hoover Dam Visitor Center. You can take a Guided Dam Tour to see the tunnels and original elevator, or a Guided Powerplant Tour to see the viewing platform and feel the vibration caused by water rushing through the pipe. Finally, the Self-Guided Visitor Center Tour provides access to narrated exhibits as well as 360-degree views of the Dam, Colorado River, and Lake Mead. Beautiful views of Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, can be had from the 726-foot-high dam. Set on the border of Nevada and Arizona, it’s an easy day trip from Las Vegas, which is only 45 minutes away.
Google rating: 4.7/5.0
Address: Nevada 89005, Las Vegas
Phone: +1 702-494-2517
Stroll the Fremont Street Experience
When visiting Las Vegas, don’t forget to visit Fremont Street in the old downtown area, which was once dominated by classic but less-frequented casinos. It’s now a nighttime spectacle, blanketed in a canopy of LED lights, with its famous Fremont Street Experience being a must-do activity in Nevada. The Fremont Street Experience takes up several blocks and features the Viva Vision Light Show, which is considered the world’s largest digital display and is completely free to enjoy. Other attractions in the area include live music, food stands, and souvenir shops.
Flying high above the crowds and pedestrian walkway on the SlotZilla zipline is one of the most exciting ways to experience Fremont. If you’re feeling daring, you can also visit the Golden Nugget’s 200,000-gallon shark tank via a three-story water slide. At The California Hotel & Casino, you can also rub Happy Buddha’s belly and eat slices of New York-style pizza surrounded by motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel memorabilia. Beer enthusiasts will want to try Banger Brewing’s unique craft beers, which also offers behind-the-scenes brewery tours.
Google rating: 4.6/5.0
Address: 425 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: +1 702-678-5600
Visit Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead, which spans over 110 miles in Nevada and Arizona, is the largest man-made reservoir in the United States. Lake Mead has 759 miles of shoreline, is 532 feet deep, has 247 square miles of surface area, and an incredible 28 million acre feet of water when it is full. When the United States Bureau of Reclamation chose the narrow Black Canyon section of the Colorado River for the site of what would later be known as Hoover Dam, the lake was formed. Deep canyons, steep cliffs, colorful rock formations, dry washes, and other surprises await visitors.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, located on the shores of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, encompasses some spectacular scenery and provides convenient access points as well as a variety of services for enjoying the lake and surroundings. This vast area, encompassing approximately 1.5 million acres, offers beaching, boating, hiking, camping, and other activities along the shorelines and in the surrounding mountains and canyons.
Boulder Basin on Lake Mead, just north of Hoover Dam, is the most popular section. On a hot day, Boulder Beach is a popular spot for a swim or to set up a lawn chair. Campgrounds in this area provide a lovely setting for both tents and RVs. The Historic Railroad Trail is also in this area, where hikers can walk along the old railway bed and through the old tunnels. If you need information, go to the Alan Bible Visitor Center in this area, which is about 40 minutes from Las Vegas.
Address: 10 Lakeshore Rd, Boulder City, NV 89005
Phone: +1 702-293-8990
Hike to Rock Art Sites at Gold Butte National Monument
Gold Butte National Monument, which spans nearly 300,000 acres of remote and rugged desert landscapes in southeastern Nevada, is one of the best things to do in Nevada. At this natural wonder in the Mojave Desert, expect to see photogenic landscapes around every corner, including dramatic red sandstone formations and twisting canyons. This area is known for its ancient petroglyph panels and a variety of wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, in addition to its vibrant landscapes. Whitney Pocket is your first stop in this one-of-a-kind destination, which includes the remains of a prehistoric roasting pit and panels of ancient petroglyphs.
Little Finland is another highlight of Gold Butte, with a picturesque landscape of wind-swept red rock formations. This site includes a collection of ancient petroglyphs as well as Joshua tree forests. The 110-foot-deep Devil’s Throat sinkhole is worth a visit, and hikers can add a scenic (but strenuous) hike to the summit of Virgin Peak for 8,000-foot views. If you’re interested in history, you should go to the Gold Butte Historic Townsite, which has old mine shafts and historic gravesites.
Google rating: 4.5/5.0
Address: 401 N. Carson StreetCarson City, NV 89701
Stroll the Cathedral Rocks Trail at Mount Charleston
Mount Charleston, located 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is one of Nevada’s best places to escape the summer heat. The region has over 315,000 acres of incredible natural diversity, making it an excellent location for a hiking adventure. There are more than 60 miles of trails on and around Mount Charleston, with a route for every skill and fitness level. Cathedral Rock Trail, a 2.7-mile journey with breathtaking views, is one of the best hikes in the area.
Location: Mount Charleston in Clark County, Nevada
Experience Las Vegas Boulevard
The Las Vegas Strip glitters and glows with massive resorts, hotels, theaters, restaurants, and gardens, and is considered the most entertainment-filled two and a half miles in the entire world. Most visitors come to Las Vegas to see and experience this famous stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard, which runs from the Mandalay Bay Hotel to the Treasure Island Hotel. This is where you’ll find mega-resorts like Paris, New York, New York, The Bellagio, The Venetian, and Caesar’s Palace. When illuminated at night, The Strip appears to be one of the brightest spots on Earth when viewed from space.
Fremont Street in old downtown Las Vegas is also worth seeing. If you have time, the Fremont Street Experience, a light show draped with a canopy of LED lights, is a must-see in the evening. For a quick, action-packed getaway, Las Vegas is one of the best places to visit in the United States. Flights from all over the country make it a popular destination for everything from a girls’ weekend away to a wedding. Families can also find hotels that cater to people traveling with children or hotels that allow pets. If you want to see more than just the city, you can escape to nature on some beautiful hiking trails near Las Vegas or simply enjoy a day trip to nearby Death Valley National Park or Valley of Fire State Park.
Google rating: 4.0/5.0
Address: 495 S. Main St.Las Vegas, NV 89101
See the Ruins of a 1905 Gold-Mining Town
Rhyolite Ghost Town, near Death Valley, is one of several short-lived Gold Rush boomtowns. It’s one of the most interesting things to do in Nevada if you enjoy history, as this desolate community was once thriving when gold was discovered in 1905. This strange town, named after a native rock, is located in the Bullfrog Hills. Visit the Goldwell Open Air Museum at its entrance to learn about the town’s heyday, which included bustling saloons, gambling tables, lodging houses, restaurants, and barbershops. It’s one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West, according to legend!
Today, you can explore the fascinating boomtown’s remnants, which include the walls of a three-story bank building, a portion of the old jail, and a train depot. Don’t miss the immaculate Tom Kelly bottle house, which was constructed entirely of 50,000 medicine, beer, and whisky bottles. There is also a collection of one-of-a-kind outdoor art strewn about this ghost town, including 12 life-sized disciples modeled after The Last Supper. They appear to be ghosts with their empty flowing robes made of fiberglass!
Location: near Death Valley
Phone: (480) 983-0333