The vast area of Nevada in the south-west of the USA spans many very different environments. This state is a land of contrasts, from the desert of the south, Las Vegas sparkling at its centre, to the snow-capped mountains around Lake Tahoe in the north. Holidays in Nevada will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts as much as the thrill-seekers who delight in the bright lights of Las Vegas. For visitors who leave the beaten track between Las Vegas, Reno and Tahoe, there are old silver mining towns waiting to be discovered. The area’s frontier identity evokes the days of the Wild West, with bizarre traditions and a strong cowboy culture.
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The entertainment capital world shines out of the desert. The world-famous Las Vegas Strip promises to cater to your every whim and fulfil every desire instantly. Visit Paris and Rome in the same day before taking a gondola through the canals of Venice. The infamous super casinos have no clocks, just a constant supply of indulgent food and drinks to fuel you as you play the heady gaming tables or slot machines.
Step out of the illusion and into the nostalgic downtown where the locals hang out at small bars, and shop in wacky vintage stores. If you’re feeling sedate, the Qua Baths & Spa offer an experience akin to the ancient Roman bathing rituals, and the National Atomic Testing Museum gives a fascinating glimpse into the ‘Atomic Age’.
Las Vegas is a thirsty city in the middle of one of the most arid areas of the USA. To feed its growing demand, the Hoover dam was built in the 1930s and remains one of the tallest dams in the world. It dams the mighty Colorado River, and this dizzying spectacle is a must-see during your holiday in Nevada. There is a museum too, telling the story of the men who migrated there during the Great Depression to build the dam.
In the north-west corner of the state, the cobalt waters of Lake Tahoe and the nearby city of Reno are worlds away from the desert of southern Nevada. Lake Tahoe shares a border with California, and more than a little of its love of outdoor activity. Watersports are popular, from swimming to sailing. This region is characterised by jagged mountain ranges and a pioneer spirit, left over from the days when this was the site of the state’s only trading post. Make time in your holiday in Nevada to take the short drive up to Carson City and you’ll discover a peaceful haven of tree-lined streets and stately buildings. There are fantastic walking and biking trails around the town, and maps are freely available.