Nevada is definitely the place for “small-town,” rural living with many tiny towns scattered around the state. While they may seem small, these towns are often rich with history and unforgettable outdoor recreational opportunities.
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Jackpot is a small town in Elko County right near the border with Idaho. Jackpot is known for its several gaming establishments, including Cactus Pete's and the Horeshu Club, which were casinos originally formed in Idaho and moved across the border when gambling was prohibited in the state.
Visitors come to Jackpot for more than just the casinos. The Little Salmon River and its tributaries run just south of the town and its a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. The town is also a close drive to the Jarbidge Wilderness Area. There's also a large area for RVs, an enclosed swimming pool and a golf course for recreation.
Verdi is located in Washoe County, just off the state line with California and by the Truckee River. There is a lovely park at the river's edge, Crystal Peak Park, that is an excellent picnic spot.
The small town, population 1,415 as of 2010, was once a booming area for the timber industry in Nevada. The Boomtoom Casino is a popular location for visitors, as well as the Cabela's location and the Von Schmidt Monument Historic Park.
Panaca can be found in eastern Lincoln County, just by the border with Utah. The town population was 963 during the last (2010) census. Panaca was founded as a Mormon settlement and is the only "dry" municipality in the state. It also one of only two cities in Nevada where gambling is outlawed.
Panaca has some lovely historical architecture among the town buildings. It's an excellent spot for outdoor recreation lovers. Panaca Hot Springs is a great place for swimming, tubing and just having a relaxing warm soak. And the absolutely stunning Cathedral Gorge State Park is right outside the town.
4. Smith Valley
Smith Valley is located in Lyon County, which is just southeast of Reno. This town is largely an agricultural community and you can see sheep and cattle on the roads.
Outdoor recreation enthusiasts are the primary visitors to Smith Valley. Walker River Resort is a popular location with many RV sites, cottages for rent, and a riverside location. The town is located near hundreds of miles of BLM land with ATV and hiking trails with views of some wild mustang herds, and the Walker River Resort has two large sporting clay courses. Visitors also enjoy relaxing "float trips" down the rivers on inner tubes.
Caliente is located in Lincoln County which is in the southeastern part of the state. The town derives its name from the nearby hot springs. A favorite attraction near Caliente is the Kershaw-Ryan State Park, which has camping sites, hiking trails and picnic areas with scenic views of Rainbow Canyon.
Another attraction in Caliente is the Union Pacific train depot, which now serves as a museum, city hall, art gallery and a library. The depot's Spanish mission architecture is striking and the city chose to make the building their city hall in order to continue preserving it's unique beauty.
Beatty is a small town that serves as a gateway for visitors to Death Valley and the nearby ghost towns of Gold Center, Bullfrog, Amargosa, Bonanza, and Rhyolite.
Not only is Beatty an excellent base for your adventures in Death Valley, it's also close to the Furnace Creek Gold Course, one of the hardest courses in the U.S. You can also visit Bailey's Hot Springs for a relaxing soak, and there are many "Old West" themed events around this small town. Visitors may also enjoy the art galleries and Beatty Museum with exhibits on the town's mining history.
Pioche is located in the southeastern part of the state in Lincoln County. Pioche is home to Boot Hill, a landmark to 72 men who were killed in gunfights during the town's Old West days.
Pioche began as a silver mining town and there is still much of the old mining history to be found in the town. The Overland Hotel was originally built in the early 1900s and rebuilt in 1948 after it was destroyed in a fire. It still serves as a hotel and saloon today. Another example of early 1900 architecture is the Mountain View Hotel building. And if you enjoy buildings, check out the "Million Dollar Courthouse." It was built in 1872 and after cost overruns, it went far past its original budget of $88,000 to eventually be refinanced with $1 million dollars in bonds.