20 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Nevada

Jul 22, 2021

Nevada is a land of astonishing contrasts. On the one hand, it's home to the world's tallest structure, the Hoover Dam, as well as sites like Death Valley, Mt. Charleston, and the Glamour Gulch at Lake Tahoe. But Nevada is also one of the country's oldest states, and the state's cultural, natural, and historic attractions make it the perfect destination for a family vacation or romantic getaway.

Here are the best places to visit in Nevada, as well as a few great outdoor activities you can enjoy in the state's diverse landscape.

Lake Tahoe

Photo of Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe: en.wikipedia.org

Lake Tahoe, with a population of fewer than 8,000 and a vacation population of more than 10 million, is the largest lake in the lower 48 states and a magnet for visitors. It covers 550 square miles and, while it varies in depth, generally is 50 to 500 feet deep and is 1,000 feet above the highest mountain peaks in the range. It is surrounded by an unbroken array of mountains up to 10,000 feet high, from Nevada's tallest peaks to the Sierra. Most of the eastern shoreline lies in California, and has a picture-perfect atmosphere with natural beauty and stunning scenery. One thing you might not know about Lake Tahoe is that, in addition to its beauty, it is a national park and recreational resource. Day-use areas, hiking trails, campsites, and watersports facilities abound. If you're planning a trip, consider taking a trip on the self-guided walking tours of the area available online or at visitor centers in Stateline and South Lake Tahoe. These tours take you around the gorgeous white-sand beaches and into the spectacular scenery, pointing out interesting Tahoe landmarks and showcasing Tahoe's exceptional wilderness as well as the surrounding area's fascinating history.

Mt. Charleston

Photo of Mount Charleston
Mount Charleston: en.wikipedia.org

Mt. Charleston (Mt. Charleston, Nev.) is a peak located west of Las Vegas. It is the 14th tallest mountain in the state of Nevada and the third highest in the Basin and Range region of Nevada. Although it is a dormant volcano, it is covered with snow-white, loose volcanic ash that could easily hide a landscape of scenic beauty. A series of mountain passes on U.S. Highway 50 provide access to the peak. Although little is known about Mt. Charleston, the mountain's proximity to Las Vegas has made it a destination for recreation enthusiasts. To reach the summit, hikers can walk to South Lake Mountain Resort, approximately 2.5 miles south of Las Vegas. The lower slopes of Mt. Charleston offer spectacular views of the Mojave Desert, the surrounding mountain ranges and the city of Las Vegas.

Death Valley National Park

Photo of Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park: en.wikipedia.org

A sightseeing stop on your travels from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Death Valley National Park is located in the Mojave Desert in western California. It offers great views of stark beauty at the most exposed spot in North America at nearly 400 meters below sea level. While most people visit the park to enjoy its scintillating landscape and striking geologic features, a significant number of visitors travel here to experience an otherworldly night sky—perhaps the best view in the world.

Grand Canyon

Photo of Grand Canyon Skywalk
Grand Canyon Skywalk: en.wikipedia.org

The Grand Canyon, less than 500 miles southwest of Phoenix and now a top attraction for people around the world, has a stunning natural beauty. Its sheer magnitude and vastness, as well as its indigenous art forms and the grandeur of its landscapes, are awe-inspiring. The only way to reach the Grand Canyon is by taking one of the two scenic flights that leave Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and fly directly over the Grand Canyon's South Rim, or on one of two scenic railroads that follow the Colorado River on the north rim. The South Rim has many stops with sights and shops that appeal to tourists, from ranger-led activities to sandstone bridges, viewing platforms, and quiet desert trails. You can even take a raft ride on the Colorado River, the first public river float that takes you through the Grand Canyon.

Fremont Street Experience

Photo of Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street Experience: en.wikipedia.org

Fremont Street Experience is the world's largest urban musical theater, where a soundtrack of urban rock music is played in between video screens which feature artists such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, David Bowie, Katy Perry and Guns N' Roses. It is designed to be like a musical billboard, with the soundtrack constantly updated and two screens projecting images of the performers' acts and show in action. The original "Grammys on the Strip" venture began in the 1990s and expanded in 2002 into this ambitious, multimillion-dollar effort, which has reinvented the center of Las Vegas.

Red Rock Canyon

Photo of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: en.wikipedia.org

There is something truly magical about the rugged desert terrain of Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. The red and orange rock structures were formed over eons by violent volcanic eruptions that tore open layers of rock thousands of feet beneath the surface and form towering pillars that create a striking appearance. With its majesty and peacefulness, this is an excellent destination for a getaway from the daily grind. Get out and enjoy the attractions. You can take a leisurely bike ride along the Dead Horse Point Road that passes red and orange striped cliffs, pebbled roads, and lush greenery. On the north end of the canyon is Ten Thousand Foot Falls, an impressive waterfall created by a tributary of the Virgin River. Or, if you want a shorter trip, visit the Big Springs Nature Area, which is home to the Silver Lake, a warm, crystal clear pond with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round. While in the area, take a side trip to Mesquite, just south of Las Vegas. This is the location of the original Seven Peaks Ranch Hotel, once frequented by celebrities like Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, but now home to the Mesquite Hotel Casino, a sleek and modern place where you can enjoy a new breed of poker games and tables.

Great Basin National Park

Photo of Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park: en.wikipedia.org

The Great Basin National Park in Nevada, established in 1930, was the first national park in the U.S. and was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Part of the Basin and Range province of North America, this park is actually a high plateau covered in sagebrush and volcanic formations. The park is rich in water and covered with limestone cliffs. Here you will find a number of beautiful natural lakes and waterfalls. The most important of these is Jordan Lake, which is the main destination of the park and lies in the heart of the park, on the northern edge of the town of Shoshone. A series of colorful formations and colorful cliffs provide the best view of the lake. A trip to Great Basin National Park is an enjoyable day excursion from Las Vegas, which lies just 45 minutes from the park's entrance at Shoshone. If you visit in the summer months you should be prepared for very high temperatures and a shortage of drinking water.

Hoover Dam

Photo of Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam: en.wikipedia.org

Home to the manmade marvel that is the Hoover Dam, this remote, beautiful valley on the Colorado River has both impressive geography and a fascinating history. Completed in 1936, the dam is the largest concrete-face structure in the world and a tribute to the American Dream. Not only is it visually stunning, it's also home to excellent restaurants and cafes and some fun adventures for those who want to get away from the crowds. The Bureau of Reclamation is responsible for the Hoover Dam and most of the surrounding land. For visitors, the best way to see the site is by car or on foot. The Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, which crosses the Colorado River just outside the dam's southern side, provides a great opportunity for a short stroll to a number of interesting sights along the river and at Canyon Point (built on the highest point of the dam and named after John Hoover, father of Herbert Hoover). For history buffs, the dam's massive generators still in place from its original construction are home to the National Historic Electrical Power Association and are open to visitors by appointment. You can also take a tour of the facility, which offers a fascinating look at how it all worked and a chance to see the massive generators up close.

Death Valley

Photo of Death Valley
Death Valley: en.wikipedia.org

Located in the Mojave Desert of California, the vast area of Death Valley stretches across much of the state, comprising the largest valley in North America. Its dramatic, arid landscape is bounded by mountain ranges including the Sierra Nevada, and surrounded by deserts and mesas. Death Valley has been called the hottest and driest place on earth; it is located in a unique area of the world and in July and August it can often reach a temperature of 120° F. Temperatures as low as -131° F and as high as 114° F have been recorded. Even though the air in Death Valley is extremely dry, Death Valley National Park boasts many unique geologic wonders such as sandstone canyons, lava formations, and mud springs. The wonders of the landscape can be explored on both back country and pavement. The majority of Death Valley's roads are gravel roads that wind through the valleys. The narrow, curving roads that connect the towns in the valley are relatively flat but often wind to the steep sides of the valley, making some of them dangerous for those not experienced with desert driving. Drivers should be especially alert at the "funnel-shaped" curves. The highway that connects Death Valley to the surrounding regions is known as the Valley Highway. Along the highway there are several hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Grand Canyon National Park

Photo of Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park: en.wikipedia.org

The word "canyon" is usually used to describe a spectacular landscape, and the Grand Canyon surely deserves the description. At 9.5 miles long, it is one of the longest canyons in the world, and for travelers, it's simply stunning. Canyon country attracts thousands of visitors every year, but if you time your visit right, you'll avoid some of the crowds. The park is open year-round and offers excellent hiking, water-sports, and camping. Visit the canyon in spring to see the wildflowers, or in the fall to enjoy the changing color of the cliffs. Best restaurants in Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest:

Washington, DC

Photo of Nevada's 4th congressional district
Nevada's 4th congressional district: en.wikipedia.org

Washington, DC is in the northeast, while Las Vegas is in the southeast. Washington's dome can be seen from Las Vegas, and vice versa. In addition, some of the state's capital cities are on the Utah border. Washington, DC is the capital of the United States of America and its largest city, with almost 630,000 people. Though the city and its suburbs are one of the most diverse places in the United States, it has a relatively small number of museums. Things to do in Washington, DC include walking the historic streets, looking at the city's many sights and exhibits, and enjoying the large green space, Constitution Gardens.

Eiffel Tower

Photo of Paris Las Vegas
Paris Las Vegas: en.wikipedia.org

Established in 1887 by inventor Gustave Eiffel in honor of the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower now stands as a symbol of Paris. The design of the tower was changed several times between 1892 and 1901, with the original design producing an arch at the top. Eventually a modified design that allows the tower to withstand wind and weather extremes was chosen. A visit is not for the faint of heart as the narrow steps that have to be traversed to reach the observation deck are not for those with mobility issues or those who are claustrophobic. On the tower's 130th anniversary, a small bronze statue of the Eiffel Tower was lowered to its current height to remind visitors how tall the original tower was.

Cleveland, Ohio

Photo of Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic: en.wikipedia.org

Cleveland and Las Vegas are both located on the I-40 East-West Expressway, and are approximately one hour's drive from downtown Las Vegas. In Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an interactive, permanent museum and venue, featuring concerts, interactive displays, exhibits, and daily programs. Other top attractions in Cleveland include Great Lakes Science Center, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Oriental Land Co. (reservations are advised at this one) as well as world-famous Cleveland State University, home to NCAA Division I basketball and hockey teams. In addition to the shops, hotels, and casinos on the Strip, several options exist in Cleveland for dining.

Lexington, Kentucky

Photo of Southland Christian Church, Lexington, Kentucky
Southland Christian Church, Lexington, Kentucky: en.wikipedia.org

Lexington is a city rich in history that's packed with interesting sights and outdoor activities, including the renowned Kentucky Horse Park, which is home to the National Equestrian Center. In the 1800s the park was the largest animal park in the world. Today it's home to the worlds best and biggest Thoroughbreds. What to do? Well for starters, you can visit the stables and learn about the working horses, watch a show and admire the horses in their natural environment. You can also visit the Kentucky Museum, which has exhibits that cover the wildlife and plants of the Bluegrass State, as well as the area's history, from prehistoric settlements to its settlement by European settlers.

Covington, Kentucky

Photo of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport: en.wikipedia.org

Situated on the Ohio River, Covington is the capital of the state of Kentucky, and is considered the youngest city in the United States, having incorporated as a town in 1906. Stroll down the pretty tree-lined tree-lined streets and you'll find this laid back town of 17,000 has a sense of "anything goes" about it. There are many small shops filled with locals along the main street, and the St. James Theatre, home of the famous local musical group "Phish," is one of the biggest theaters in the region. The presence of the river lends the city an inviting feel and one popular attraction is the Covington aquarium. As its name suggests, it is the largest in the region and is home to over 250 species of fish. You can easily enjoy a day of shopping, touring, and visiting Covington's various attractions by following the P&W Railway Trail along the Ohio River. There are few hotels or restaurants in Covington but a variety of recreational opportunities are available.

Carson City

Photo of Carson City, Nevada
Carson City, Nevada: en.wikipedia.org

Carson City, the state capital and a major Nevada mining center, is one of the most scenic places in America. When you visit the beautiful Lake Tahoe shoreline area, be sure to check out the old Italian miners' town of South Lake Tahoe, with its Victorian buildings, Irish pubs, and neon signs. A 1.3-mile hike along the Emerald Bay Trail passes through lush grasslands and meadows, groves of trees, and clear mountain lakes, as well as views of the lake and Mt. Eddy, the highest mountain in Nevada. If you want to visit the Nevada-California border, drive along Lake Tahoe to Yerington or Carson City. If you're driving from Reno, take U.S. 395 north to Elko, Nevada, then Nevada State Highway 371 through Boca Park.

Caesars Palace

Photo of Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace: en.wikipedia.org

Caesars Palace, in Las Vegas, was opened by builder-philanthropist developer Steve Wynn in 1989. It is renowned for its 60,000 square meter casino, with 1,500 slot machines, gambling tables, exotic restaurants and spectacular showrooms. More than 80,000 people visit the palace each day. There are over 200 guestrooms and suites which are available in the main tower, the Delano towers, and the Grand Imperial tower. Situated on Las Vegas Boulevard, the palace is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. While you are in Vegas, don't miss the Fremont Street Experience, one of the great shows of the modern era.

Palms Casino Resort

Photo of Palms Casino Resort
Palms Casino Resort: en.wikipedia.org

Palms Casino Resort is one of the most popular casinos in Las Vegas, having been the only one to go after Macau, another gambling hot spot on the China coast, when it opened in 1999. With a large, rectangular shape, the resort is open to the tropical, palm-studded desert where temperatures are averaging 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it is in the desert, the casino receives fewer days of intense sunlight than other Las Vegas venues, with significant discounts from mid-May through mid-October. The resort has something to suit most tastes, including the Asian-style Pak Nam Garden, which offers daily cultural performances. The Palms also has the most elegant and spacious bars in the Strip.

Truckee

Photo of Truckee, California
Truckee, California: en.wikipedia.org

The most expensive zip code in the United States is indeed in Truckee, with a median house price of $2.4 million. This town of 40,000 people is known for its location nestled between Lake Tahoe and Nevada's tallest peak, Mount Rose, making it an excellent place to live. The 18th hole of the Whistling Straits Golf Club is considered the most difficult hole in the country, with an ace rating of 335. Since most of the businesses here cater to wealthy retirees, a short drive from Truckee takes visitors to other historical and cultural attractions, including the Mount Rose Ski Resort. The city offers a slew of cultural attractions, too. Some of the major landmarks in Truckee include the Truckee River, which flows from Lake Tahoe through the city; City Hall, with its historic Lafferty Building; the district's central landmark, the Beale Street Mall; the Trolley Barn; the Grace Cathedral; and Nevada's oldest bar, the Napa Saloon.

Lone Pine

Photo of Lone Pine, California
Lone Pine, California: en.wikipedia.org

Lone Pine is an 8,000-foot granite mountain in the high desert in the eastern portion of the Mojave National Preserve in southern California. On its top is a grave containing the cenotaph of an unknown soldier who fought in the First World War. One mile south of Lone Pine is Joshua Tree National Monument, home to millions of boulders that form huge arches and cairns. As the air temperature in July and August averages 50 degrees, you can hike several miles into the mountain or climb to the grave and bask in the cool shade.