Summertime is here and the days are a blank canvas. Fortunately, Nevada is an exciting and diverse place to spend your sunniest days. Whether planning a road trip or looking in your own backyard, you’ll find tons of reasons to make Nevada your summer destination. Sunny days are ahead!
1. Sand Harbor Beach – Lake Tahoe
Located on the eastern shoreline of the beautiful Lake Tahoe, three miles south of Incline Village, Sand Harbor offers sunbathing, swimming, hiking and water sports with a background of tree-covered mountains. A hike along the Sand Harbor Nature Trail offers panoramic views of the harbor’s sandy beaches, rocky coves and crystal clear water.
2. Black Canyon Water Trail – Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Tucked quietly behind the Hoover Dam between beaches, coves, caves, waterfalls and hot springs, the 30-mile Black Canyon Water Trail at Lake Mead straddles the states of Nevada and Arizona. A National Water Trail, one of only 16 nationwide, it flows along the Colorado River, starting with a rarely-seen view of the base of Hoover Dam and ending at the historic Eldorado Canyon on Lake Mohave. Make this your summer destination and you can float, kayak or raft along with the ducks as desert bighorn sheep roam the hills.
3. Aceball! – Reno
The crack of the bat. The roar of the crowd. The excuse to drink local craft beer (like we need an excuse). With a brand new name for its downtown ballpark and a themed promotion every night (Fido is welcome on Wednesdays), the Reno Aces have an action-packed summer in store. This is a great way to spend a summer evening with family and friends. You may even catch some fireworks!
4. 51s baseball - Las Vegas
Vegas has a Triple-A baseball team too, the 51s (Area 51 reference intended). Games at Cashman Field make a great summer tradition filled with peanuts, hot dogs and (hopefully) home runs. Watch for special promotions including a special Viva Las Vegas firework show, an Elvis-themed jersey giveaway and everyone’s favorite $1 beer nights. Maybe you’ll even have a chance to snap a selfie with the team’s alien mascot Cosmo. He’s totally out of this world.
5. Nevada Northern Railway – Ely
Ride on a historic passenger train through tunnels and up mountain grades on the Nevada Northern Railway, 1100 Avenue A. Choose from a vintage Diesel locomotive or the same standard-gauge locomotives used to haul copper ore out of mining pits over a century ago. Relive the early 1990s as you’re transported past historic buildings and fascinating geology. Occasionally there’s even an old-fashioned robbery.
This summer brings specialty train rides including the Rockin’ & Rollin’ Geology Train on July 23 and Aug. 13. Local mining geologists will dig deep into the geology and history of the railroad and show samples of local ore. There will also be a Taste of Italy Dinner Train on Sept. 17 and a Star Train on Sept. 2. All aboard!
6. Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3 – Las Vegas
Boy do we love a good oxymoron. Almost as much as we love Frrrozen Hot Chocolate itself. Served at Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip, this delicious drink is the perrrfect summer treat. Served in a huge glass with two straws and topped with whipped cream, this treat is made for sharing.
7. Pahrump Valley Winery – Pahrump
Pahrump Valley Winery, 3810 Winery Road, and its Nevada Grower Partners prove that grapes can grow in the desert. Wine pioneers in Pahrump, Dryer, Amargosa and Crystal Heights are transforming Nevada into its own little wine county with their Silver City vineyards. Wine tastings are offered at this summer destination seven days a week. Sip on the winery’s fruit-forward, easy-drinking varietals, take a tour and grab lunch or dinner at the casually upscale Symphony’s Restaurant.
8. The Truckee River Whitewater Park –Reno
Explore the Truckee River by kayak, canoe, raft or tube at Truckee River Whitewater Park. Located in Wingfield Park, walking distance from the city’s casinos and nightlife, the water park offers a large variety of whitewater activities for various skill levels. This summer destination attracts crowds for wading, swimming and water sports. The Truckee River Whitewater Park is the centerpiece of the Riverwalk dining, shopping and entertainment district. With easy public access and spots for people watching, this is the place in Reno to cool off and make a splash.
9. Wet n’ Wild – Las Vegas
When it comes to water parks in Nevada, you can’t go wrong with Wet ‘n’ Wild. It isn’t Vegas’ original, single apostrophe Wet ‘n Wild of the mid-80s and 90s (oh, the memories), but it definitely does the trick for those seeking a fun way to cool off or bask in the hot Vegas summer sun. Nestled into the foot of a mountain, 7055 S. Fort Apache Road, the park features 26 attractions including a lazy river, wave pool, slides and kiddie area. For an extra special experience you can go Vegas resort pool-style and rent a private cabana. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
10. Cowabunga Bay – Henderson
Another great water park for cooling off and making a splash, Cowabunga Bay is located in Henderson, 900 Galleria Drive. It also has a wave pool, a lazy river, a kids’ cove, slides and poolside cabanas. Its surfing safari theme extends to the rides, with names like Beach Blanket Bonzai Wild Island Family Adventure Park and Surfin’ USA. Another reason to make this your summer destination: they are one of very few places that carry Dole Pineapple Whip. Cowabunga, dude!
11. Wild Island Family Adventure Park – Sparks
Facebook / Wild Island
Part waterpark, part family fun center, Wild Island Adventure Park, 250 Wild Island Ct, is a kid’s “wet” dream come true. Earn some serious parent points by planning a splashing, bowling, go-karting, mini-golfing day for the whole family. Float peacefully on an inner tube with an adult beverage plus win “parent of the year.”
12. Lehman Caves – Great Basin National Park
Tour the unique geology of the limestone stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, popcorn and other delicate formations of the cave. Afterwards, grab a refreshing ice cream at the Lehman Caves Gift and Café.
13. Wolf Creek golf course – Mesquite
Hit the links and enjoy gorgeous views at the award-winning Wolf Creek Course, 403 Paradise Pkwy. The 18-hole course was named among the Top 20 golf courses in Nevada in 2015, by Golf Advisor. People come from around the world to play here.
14. The Extraterrestrial Highway
With our reputation for harboring little green men at Area 51, Nevada is the perfect summer destination for alien-chasing fun. Head out on the Extraterrestrial Highway and stop at all the tourist attractions along the way. On your out-of-this-world journey be sure to hit up or even stay at the Little A'le'inn. If you're just passing through, fuel up with a tasty Alien Burger and go on your merry way.
15. Hoover Dam – Boulder City
You’ve seen it in movies like “Vegas Vacation” and “Transformers,” but this summer it’s time to see it in person. This man-made marvel was constructed during the Great Depression. It not only keeps Lake Mead in its place, but it also provides hydroelectric power to California, Nevada and Arizona. For another perspective on the dam, take the tour of the power plant deep inside it.
Don’t forget to bring bubble gum:
16. Lake Mead - Boulder City
Photo by Gary Hodum
A man-made reservoir that's shrinking fast, Lake Mead is as popular as ever for water activities like swimming, boating, water skiing and fishing. Hiking is also a great way to spend a summer day at the lake. Make Lake Mead a summer destination, just don't forget: yes, it's a lake, but it's still the desert. Bring sunscreen.
17. Middlegate Station - Middlegate
Add some monster protein to your summer drive along the “Loneliest Highway in America,” Highway 50. Stop into the Middlegate Station and take the Monster Burger Challenge. If you can finish the one pound fully-loaded Monster Burger you’ll be rewarded with an “I Ate the Monster” T-shirt.
18. Sand Mountain – 20 miles east of Fallon
Comprised of sand from the ancient, dried-up Lake Lahontan, this 600-foot-high sand dune is located just north of Highway 50. It’s an awesome place to hike, ride ATVs, camp or go sandboarding. Maybe you’ll even see a Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly.
19. Camp in Lamoille Canyon – Elko
Sculpted by glaciers during the Ice Age, Lamoille Canyon is sometimes called the Yosemite of Nevada. This scenic valley in the Ruby Mountains is a wonderful spot for summer camping. Choose from two different campgrounds: Thomas Canyon and Lyons Club. Both offer a variety of amenities.
20. Camp at Cathedral Gorge National Park, Panaca
Cathedral Gorge is one of the state’s original four national parks and a favorite spot for camping. Located along U.S. Route 93, the campground has 22 sites with plenty of amenities. Kick back and enjoy the stars at night and wake up to the gorgeous carved rivulets. Be sure to bring your camera.