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We’ve rounded up the ultimate Nevada bucket list. I have met many people who don’t know anything about Nevada besides Las Vegas and Reno!
As someone who currently lives in the state of Nevada and spends lots of time exploring it, it amazes me that people have never heard of the deep blue lakes, unique little towns, and mountain peaks that make Nevada Nevada.
Well, this list is here to teach you about all the hidden gems in the state and what to add to your Nevada bucket list.
Nevada Bucket List
See the Artist’s Palette in Death Valley National Park
On the Nevada side of Death Valley, behind an unassuming landscape, hides an array of uncharacteristically desert colors.
The Artist’s Palette is a blend of colors across the hills due to the volcanic compositions in the earth. These iron oxides and chlorite come together to create the reds, oranges, blues, pinks, yellows, and greens seen here.
Although beautiful at any time of day, the Artist’s Palette shines brightest at sunrise or sunset.
Hike in Valley of Fire State Park
Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park and just one of those places to see in Nevada.
The beautiful red rock flows like fiery waves, catching the light of the sun and showing off its unique rock formations. The hiking trails in Valley of Fire range from easy to moderate and lead you to the most stunning views of the park.
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Get outdoors at Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is the blue gem of the West and sits right on the border of California and Nevada.
It’s sparking, crystal blue waters and lush green trees will make you question if you’re even in Nevada. Fishing, boating, swimming, and more are all open for business in the lake, and in the mountains, you can hit the slopes at 11 different ski resorts.
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Spend a day in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
If you’re staying in Las Vegas and need to add an outdoorsy activity to your Nevada bucket list but don’t want to go too far outside the city, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was made for you.
Well, it wasn’t because the fiery red and orange canyons and rock formations were sculpted over thousands of years but wind and rain, but we can pretend it was made just for you.
Red Rock is a great place to get out of the bustling city of Vegas and get some fresh air while hiking through a beautiful landscape.
Fish at Pyramid Lake
About 35 miles northeast of Reno sits Pyramid Lake, a hidden gem in Nevada.
This lake is truly one of a kind, being the last remnant of Lake Lahontan, the ancient inland sea that used to cover most of Nevada.
You can explore the unique rock formations surrounding the lake, which have played a part in the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe’s myths for thousands of years.
Visit Hoover Dam
Nevada is home to the architectural wonder built during the Great Depression that still stands and functions today.
Explore the inner workings of Hoover Dam with a tour, learn a little more about US history, and see the dam with a bird’s eye view when you cross the Skywalk.
Attend a Las Vegas residency
Las Vegas has tons of residency shows every year where some of your favorite performers will be performing again and again! This is a quintessential Las Vegas experience and great way to spend a night out on the town.
This year Las Vegas is featuring Katy Perry, Danny Osmond, Luke Bryan, and so many more.
Spend a day at Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is a land of diversity. Its beauty ebbs and flows to its tallest peak, Mount Wheeler, to Lehman Caves with its natural stalactite and stalagmite columns.
This national park is located near the Utah/Nevada border, about an hour from Ely, Nevada.
Get lost in Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart
Ever wanted to go shopping in an eccentric grocery store where nothing is quite what it seems? If so, that’s a pretty specific wish, but Omega Mart in Las Vegas Delivers!
This funky supermarket is full of strange products, slightly unsettling illusions and art, and hidden passages. Omega Mart is our world’s Wonderland, so come and see what falling down the rabbit hole has in store (literally).
Visit Sand Mountain
Sand Mountain is an essential addition to your Nevada bucket list. The 4,795-acre recreation area looks like some divine being decided to dump their sand collection here and let mortals have a heyday with it.
And that we did. Sand Mountain is a haven for outdoor adventurers looking to let loose their OHVs. Or if you’re motivated enough to climb the dunes (the tallest being 600 feet high), you can sandboard or sand sail back down.
Known as “The Biggest Little City,” Reno is the bustling hub of Northern Nevada.
And it’s not only little Vegas. Reno has its own buzz and culture that comes from its extensive mural collection, its approximation to outdoor sites like Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake, and its growing tech industry. There is also excellent dining, shopping, and entertainment.
Spend a couple of days here and see just how well Reno can treat you.
Soak in the Trego Hot Springs
Trego Hot Springs is a quiet oasis in the Black Rock Desert in the northeastern part of the state and is one of the best things to do in Nevada.
This natural hot tub is open and free for everyone to use, and very easy to access. You can drive right up to the long ditch and slide right in to enjoy the 90-100 degree water and its soft mud bottom. In fact, it’s even clothing optional.
You can also camp right next door to springs if you want to turn your trip into an outdoor spa getaway.
Ski at Mount Charleston
Back on the south side of the state, Mount Charleston is one of the peaks just 45 minutes away from Las Vegas.
And amazingly, even though it’s located next to the smoking hot streets of Vegas, Mount Charleston makes for an excellent ski resort. Here you can ski, snowboard, and sled to your heart’s content!
Snap a photo at the Las Vegas sign
As a symbol of Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Sign should be on your list of what to see in Nevada.
Head to the southern end of the Strip and snap a picture with the famous words standingly boldly behind you. Remember that it can get pretty busy with tourists during the day, so come early and be prepared to wait your turn.
Hike in Cathedral Gorge State Park
Located near the tiny town of Panaca, Cathedral Gorge State Park is reminiscent of a Roman Catholic Cathedral with its sandstone spires.
Cathedral Gorge is one of the best places to see in Nevada for families. This is a spot you can bring your families and let your kids run loose though the slot canyons and unique, natural playground.
Explore Ethel M. Chocolates Factory
Ethel M. Chocolate Factory is where you will find one of Las Vegas’s best chocolate experiences. This should absolutely be on your Nevada bucket list.
This is not only a chocolate factory where you can watch chocolate being made and then take it home with you; you can also stroll through the cactus gardens on the premises.
This place is the perfect mix of sweets and beauty,
Enjoy a helicopter ride over Las Vegas
Take to the skies and see Las Vegas in a different light from hundreds of feet above the city. A helicopter ride can last around 15 minutes just flying over Vegas, or if you’d like to extend your flight, you can fly over Hoover Dam and even the Grand Canyon as well.
If it’s your turn to plan date night, consider this option on your Nevada bucket list!
Catch the fountain show at the Bellagio
The Bellagio Fountain show is not a hidden gem in Nevada, but still definitely something you should carve out some time to see.
The intricate water show of over one thousand fountains gives a performance like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It runs every 30 minutes in the afternoons and starting at 7:30, runs every 15 minutes until midnight.
Hike in Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Lake Mead was another one of Nevada’s firsts. This recreation center is also the largest in the state.
Thousands visit Lake Mead every year to walk, hike, swim, fish, boat, and bird watch. Lake Mead totals in 1.5 million acres, most of which are uninhabited wilderness and an asylum for those looking for solitude in nature.
See old signs at the Neon Museum in Vegas
The Neon Museum is a collection of Las Vegas’s stories and histories through its neon signs over the years. It’s been open since 1996, collecting and putting together not only a display of Vegas over the years but an amazing electric backdrop for photos and events.
Each sign has information on where it came from and why it was inducted into this neon hall of fame, so be prepared to learn some history as you go along.
Enjoy winter sports at Mt Rose
Mt. Rose is one of the ski resorts near Lake Tahoe. At an elevation of over 8000 feet, Mt. Rose provides visitors with an icy but thrilling way to experience Nevada.
The beautiful peaks make this one of the places to see in Nevada, but it’s not just for looking! Grab your skis or strap on a snowboard and take in the beautiful scenery while you’re speeding down the slopes.
Attend Burning Man
Every year, Nevada hosts Burning Man to bring together a community of artists, innovators, and sages. This is a space meant to support the work and ideas of those around you while disconnecting from the world that so heavily influences us.
Come join these creation enthusiasts and bring your art, volunteer, or support the members of the community. This is a great place to try something new.
Step back in time in Virginia City
Virginia City is one of the hidden gems in Nevada. It is full of historic Victorian buildings built during the mining boom, but these buildings are the only part of the city stuck in the past.
Although, you are going to want to put a few of these historic locations on your Nevada bucket list. A few of these have a history too interesting to pass up, like rumors of the Washoe Club being haunted.
Take a scenic drive around Virgin River Gorge National Conservation Area
The Virgin River Gorge National Conservation Area can be found 20 miles northeast of Mesquite, Nevada, and 20 miles southwest of St. George. Easily accessible from both of these cities, Virgin provides a peaceful escape into the wilderness.
At Virgin River, you can camp, hike, or enjoy the scenery from your car window while listening to your favorite songs. You’ll see the endless desert scenery cut by the Virgin River, a fairly narrow river, but at any point could reach about 70 feet deep.
Marvel at the beauty of Seven Magic Mountains
The Seven Magic Mountains is a mystical art installation showing that there can be beauty everywhere, even in the driest deserts.
Seeing the contrast of the bright pink, yellow, and green rock towers against the dull desert landscape should definitely be on your Nevada bucket list. This is also an excellent place to add a few aesthetic photos to your Instagram.
Dine at Hell’s Kitchen
Created by the famous, renowned chef, Gordon Ramsay, Hell’s Kitchen is one of the most frequented restaurants in Vegas, and for good reason! Serving only the finest dishes of steak, ribs, seafood, and vegetarian options, this might just become your new favorite restaurant.
And we’re all aware of the chef’s fiery reputation, but chances are good he won’t yell at you… probably.
Attend one of Vegas’s shows
Las Vegas is known for extravagant performances and shows that are something only Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world, can produce.
If you’re looking for what to see in Nevada, I would suggest Cirque du Soleil. It’s a quintessential Las Vegas experience with shows for all audiences. They are currently performing the Beatles, and Michael Jackson shows as well as their classics.
Final Thoughts: Best Things to do in Nevada
Nevada is a state of so much more than Las Vegas, gambling, and the desert. It is full of diverse and breathtaking scenery, thrilling indoor and outdoor activities, and educational, cultural experiences, and we believe your Nevada bucket list should reflect that.
Jump into this list and get to know the Silver State a little better. You won’t regret it!
Nevada is one of the coolest states in the USA. Check out more of our Nevada posts below!
- 15 Instagrammable Valley of Fire Photo Spots
- 15 Fun-Filled Weekend Trips from Las Vegas
- Discover the 10+ Best Outdoor Activities in Las Vegas
- 13 Best Hikes in Valley of Fire State Park
- 15 Best Things to do in Valley of Fire State Park
- 10 Mouthwatering Food Tours in Las Vegas for 2023
- 14 Photo-Worthy Las Vegas Instagram Spots
- Las Vegas Bucket List: 49 Best Things to do in Las Vegas
- How to Spend the Perfect One Day in Vegas