Nicknamed the “biggest little city in the world”, Reno is famous for its booming gambling industry.
Hidden in the shadows of Las Vegas, this city provides similar entertainment opportunities with fewer crowds.
Aside from the many activities Reno itself has to offer, there are a bunch of popular locations in close enough vicinity to plan some awesome day trips.
Also, the fact that Reno is located on the western edge of Nevada means day trips don’t have to be limited to in-state. Cross into California for even more new experiences!
Take a look at these fifteen, one of a kind adventures to try something different when staying in Reno.
Table of Contents
- 1. Sand Harbor Beach
- 2. Snow Valley Peak
- 3. Carson City
- 4. Secret Cove
- 5. Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint
- 6. Sand Mountain Recreational Center
- 7. Kings Canyon Waterfall
- 8. Washoe Lake State Park
- 9. Hang Gliding Tahoe
- 10. Steamboat Hot Springs
- 11. Incline Village
- 12. Fort Churchill State Historic Park
- 13. Chollar Mansion and Mine Tour
- 14. Fly Geyser
- 15. Lassen Volcanic National Park
1. Sand Harbor Beach
Located along Lake Tahoe, the water here is crystal clear and so bright in color that these sandy beaches will have you feeling like you are in the Caribbean.
Sand Harbor Beach is protected by Nevada State Parks so there is a small fee to enter this beach but the abundance of activities makes it worth the price!
There is an onsite boat launch, as well as kayak and paddleboard rentals, to give everyone the opportunity to get out on the water.
The crystal clear waters are great for swimming and make for the perfect location to scuba dive!
Want to get away from the crowds? Head down Memorial Point Trail to check out some of the secluded beaches or walk the Sand Point Nature Trail to take in the view of the stunning Lake Tahoe.
Be sure to plan a visit in July or August for the chance to enjoy the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. Large Ramadas make these events possible and also makes for a unique and beautiful wedding venue.
(Winter horse-drawn sleigh rides make this a great place to visit all year round!)
2. Snow Valley Peak
Known as the highest peak in Carson County, there is no wonder why this is the most popular hiking spot in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is your golden ticket for breathtaking, panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Crest, Carson Valley, and Pine Nut Range.
This trail is rated as moderate due to its out and back length of 11 miles, but the slow incline makes this hike suitable for all experience levels.
Although there is not much of an incline, it is important to pace yourself as you gain over 1,800 ft in elevation.
Because of this destination’s popularity, you will want to get an early start to ensure a spot at the trailhead parking lot. As this tends to fill up quickly, many must pay to park at the Spooner Lake State Park lot.
3. Carson City
No trip to Nevada would be complete without making a stop at the state’s capital.
Aside from its historic significance, there are a plethora of things to do here.
Take a ride on the railbike as you enjoy views of Carson River Canyon.
Spend the day shopping downtown at the many local shops known for their individuality.
Get lucky at one of the many casinos located in the area.
Walkthrough history on Kit Carson Trail as you visit over 60 of the city’s landmarks. If time permits, be sure to check out one of the many museums along the way!
4. Secret Cove
This beach has gained popularity so it’s safe to say it’s not so much of a secret anymore. However, the fact that it is hidden from the main road helps to keep the feeling of a private oasis alive.
There are not many signs to guide you which adds to the feeling of secretism but it is easy to find if you know what you are looking for.
The hike is only half of a mile one way but it is important to note that the incline is pretty steep.
The clear, bright blue waters of Lake Tahoe make it all worth it.
Bathing suits are optional here so don’t be alarmed if nudists are present.
5. Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint
This unique restaurant is definitely worth a trip for dinner and show.
Originating in 2010, Sassafras was once located within a bar in downtown Carson City but their growing popularity gave them the opportunity to open a place of their own by 2015.
Thanks to chef Anthony Fish, the eccentric menu is inspired by a variety of different cuisines.
Enjoy an empanada as an appetizer, a pizza burger for dinner, and finish up with fried ice cream for dessert. The options are endless!
Whatever mood you are in, there is bound to be something on the menu to get your mouth watering.
Draft beers are on rotation and there is live entertainment every weekend.
6. Sand Mountain Recreational Center
With nearly 5,000 acres to explore, there is something to do for everyone. Thrillseekers and nature lovers alike.
Considered to be the largest dune in the Great Basin, it is 600 feet tall, one mile wide, and over 3 miles long. There is no surprise that this dune draws in off-roading enthusiasts from all over the country.
If zipping around the dunes in an ATV doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can take the dune on by foot. Granted climbing the dune is no easy feat, but the view from the top makes it all worthwhile.
There is also nothing wrong with taking it all in from the base of the dunes as you listen to the sand sing and watch rare blue butterflies flutter by.
7. Kings Canyon Waterfall
This 25-foot waterfall is one of the few waterfalls in the state of Nevada and just so happens to be the easiest one to access.
The 0.6-mile trail provides a quality view with minimal effort. The short distance and minimal elevation gain make this a great hike for all ages.
The waterfall is at its peak during the spring season as the snow melts away but people flock here year-round.
Even though the hike is short, it is important to wear sunscreen in the summer months as there is no shade along the way.
Want to keep going? Take the loop trail to add an extra mile of cascades.
8. Washoe Lake State Park
Established in 1977, the park gets its name from the Washoe people who once called this place their home.
The park is surrounded by views of the Carson and Virginia mountains and, like the park’s name is centered around the beautiful Washoe Lake.
With over 10 trails to choose from and nearly 50 campsites to rest your head, this day trip could easily turn into a weekend extravaganza.
Keep an eye out for birds, like the bald eagle, as the bird population here is very diverse.
The lake’s excellent fish selection brings in fishermen from near and far for a chance to catch fish like bullhead catfish and Sacramento perch.
9. Hang Gliding Tahoe
Stop in for a thrill of a lifetime as you glide across the sky with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierras.
The FAA-approved N66PH Evolution Revo trike is one of the safest light-sport aircrafts around and the 2 person seating gives that personalized experience between you and your flight instructor.
Flight instructor Paul Hamilton has over 30 years of experience and an exemplary safety record. This along with GPS and backup parachutes add to the feeling of security on every trip.
Not only do you get to enjoy the views but Paul gives you the chance to glide the aircraft yourself and create a memory that will last forever.
Traveling in the winter? No problem! Heated clothing, boots, and gloves make it easy to glide all year round.
10. Steamboat Hot Springs
Take a break from all the excitement and spend a day relaxing your muscles at this one-of-a-kind spa.
Aside from the fact that this hot spring is the only natural hot spring in the area, the natural minerals specific to the area make this location unlike any other hot spring in the country.
Focused on protecting the natural state of these waters, guests can enjoy the positive health effects of all the organic minerals.
A dip in the springs along with one of the many massages available will have you rejuvenated and ready for the next adventure.
11. Incline Village
Named after the Great Incline Tramway, this village is nothing short of amazing.
Home to many luxurious resorts, this area is considered to be very uptown in comparison to other areas along Lake Tahoe.
Support local business by visiting one of the many mom-and-pop shops.
Check out the 37,00 square foot fitness center.
Watch a movie at the local theater or channel your inner child at the arcade.
Bike down the iconic flume trail.
Grab dinner and drinks at one of the many highly acclaimed restaurants in town.
There is an ample amount of things to do here to meet all interests. The hardest part will be deciding what to do first!
12. Fort Churchill State Historic Park
Fort Churchill was built in 1861 and the historic ruins tell a story of the early settlers.
The park is more than 3,000 acres long and is located along the Carson River.
It is a popular location for hikers, campers, horseback riders, bird watchers, and history enthusiasts.
The visitor center and Buckland Station Museum are great places to start your journey as they provide insight into the park’s history.
Once educated, walking around the ruins can help picture just what life was like.
Various hiking trails and 20 campsites allow visitors to take it all in and spend the night at a historic landmark. There is even a camp to mount your horse for the night!
Gaze at the stars, completely free of light pollution, as you travel back in time.
13. Chollar Mansion and Mine Tour
Located in (and beneath) Virginia City, Chollar mine is one of the only mines still intact and allows guests to get a glimpse at what mining life was like in the late 1800s.
Take the 30-minute mining tour to travel down 400 feet and explore a mine that once brought in over 15 million dollars in its prime.
The educational tour will teach you how the mines were originally built, the importance of silver-rich ore and the conditions miners endured back in the day.
Aside from the historical significance, this is an awesome opportunity to check out the unique geological features that are hidden underground.
Be sure to visit the Chollar Mansion to see what luxurious living looked like during this time. Step inside the vault that once held millions of gold and silver.
14. Fly Geyser
Located on Fly Ranch, the geysers here are the only of their kind in the state of Nevada. Geysers are not native to the state which makes this manmade geyser that much more special.
Right on the edge of the Nevada Black Rock Desert, this six-foot-tall, vibrantly colored geyser can be seen shooting water over five feet into the air!
Please keep in mind that this geyser is located on private land so you won’t be able to venture out on your own.
The good news is Friends of Black Rock High Rock offers walking tours to get you up close and personal with the iconic Fly Geyser and two other small geysers along the way.
15. Lassen Volcanic National Park
With over 150 miles of trails to explore, this California park is worth the trip.
Home to dormant volcanoes, boiling bodies of water, steaming fumaroles, multiple lakes, and meadows, this national park is out of this world!
Drive through Sulphur Works to see the hydrothermal area in action. Roll down the windows to take in the natural smells or walk along the boardwalks for a closer look.
Take a few minutes to walk the Devastated trail to see what remains after the eruption of Lassen Peak in 1915.
Watch the sunset over the water at Manzanita Lake and take in the sounds of wildlife.
Make reservations at one of the seven campsites and spend the night watching the stars.