The Ultimate Nevada Road Trip Itinerary
Feeling a bit overwhelmed from all the ritz and glitz of Vegas and want to spend a few days soaking in the diverse natural goodness and other attractions Nevada has to offer? Perhaps you just want to combine your vacay to get the best of both worlds by heading out to town and then road-tripping around in search of beautiful sights to get to know the Silver State beyond Las Vegas.
Either way, we have you covered. Starting in Las Vegas and ending in Reno, this amazing road trip will take you through some of Nevada’s most beautiful destinations.
Red Rock Canyon
Set just a short drive away from Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is the perfect place to start exploring Nevada’s desert scene. Picture red canyons, towering sandstone peaks, and ancient petroglyphs dotting every mile of the park to get a pretty good picture of what a stop here is all about.
A few of the must-do activities to get the most out of Red Rock Canyon are driving the scenic 13-mile drive that cuts through the park, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, or mountain biking. If you want to spend two days at Red Rock Canyon, the most epic way to do that is by booking a spot at the park’s campsite!
Recommended time to spend at Red Rock Canyon: One to two days
Begin your road trip as early as possible to take advantage of everything Lake Mead Recreational Area has to offer. Set a mere 25 miles southeast of Las Vegas, it is probably the largest manmade reservoir in the United States, as well as one of the most popular destinations in Nevada.
While here, you’ll get to see picture-perfect scenery, experience unbeatable wildlife sightings, and partake in activities like boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and sunbathing!
Recommended time to spend at Lake Meade: One day
Fiery red Aztec sandstone resembles the mesmerizing movement of fire as sunlight touches the horizon, making the Valley of Fire one of the most unique sights in the entire world.
The best way to experience Valley of Fire is by testing your desert hiking skills out at one of the many trails on offer. If you have no experience hiking in harsh conditions, you’ll be pleased to know that the park’s trails are relatively easy and short, making them ideal for beginners! The Beehives, Rainbow Vista, and White Domes trails are all ideal ones to get started exploring, all of which guarantee incredible views every step of the way!
Want to get your historic buff on? Tonopah is one of Nevada’s jewels for those looking for a unique experience, and a stop here is a must on any road trip in order to understand the Silver State’s history a little better.
While here, you’ll get to get close and personal with Nevada’s unique mining history by visiting Mining Park, where you’ll get to see abandoned mines along with dramatic views and illuminated mineshafts. Moreover, one of the most unique things to do at Tonopah is driving around in search of ghost towns that were abandoned after mines closed down.
Return to Tonopah’s downtown and stroll past its historic buildings, bars, shops, and restaurants. If you’re feeling adventurous, book yourself a night at The Mizpah Hotel, which is said to be haunted! Another eerie option for the brave-hearted is The Clown Motel, dubbed the Scariest Motel because of its clown theme and proximity to the Old Tonopah Cemetery.
Recommended time to spend at Tonopah: One to two days
You wouldn’t expect to find pristine beaches in a landlocked state, but Lake Tahoe is bound to prove visitors wrong! If you’re visiting Nevada during the summer months, Lake Tahoe is a wonderful stop to make in order to experience some serious beach goodness, including fun activities like boating, fishing, kayaking, and more! Lake Tahoe is also a wonderful place to go hiking, with gorgeous trails backdropped by snow-capped mountains leading to gorgeous, secluded white-sand beaches (make sure you do the Emerald Lake hike during your visit!)
Recommended time to spend at Lake Tahoe: One to two days
If you’ve got more time left to dedicate to your Nevada road trip, these two stops are highly recommended in order to get to know the Silver State a bit better! Both Stops require a bit more driving, but if you have time to spare, they’re definitely worth checking out!
The Black Rock Desert was put on the map for being the setting of Burning Man, but you can actually visit any other time of the year in order to experience some serious solitude and expansive desert vistas.
Covering over 800,000 acres across Northwestern Nevada, you’ll probably never run out of things to do at this gem of a place. Hiking is king here, with hundreds of miles of trails available including the Applegate Trails and the Black Desert Playa, both of which provide mesmerizing views of the expansive desert around.
Moreover, Back Rock Desert is also a mecca for adventurous activities, including rock-climbing, hot tubing, desert camping, and more!
Set on the eastern border of Nevada and Utah, Great Basin National Park is probably one of the most diverse destinations in the state. Boasting groves of ancient bristlecone pine trails (fun fact: they can survive for over 4,000 years in not very favorable conditions), an abundant array of wildlife, lakes, streams, and milestone caverns, this park has a little something for everyone regardless of the type of adventure you’re after.
Are you currently plotting a Nevada itinerary? Which of these stops are you looking forward to the most? Let me know all about your plans in the comment section below!