Nevada is the seventh-largest state in the US, covering 110,540 square miles, and it is a state of contrasts and contradictions. While being one of the most mountainous and unspoiled states in America, Nevada is also one of the most urban states, with 80% of its population residing in either Las Vegas or Reno. Some people spend their Nevada vacations enjoying the state’s natural environment, while others enjoy the man-made glitz and splendor of Las Vegas. Due to its diversity of geography and culture, Nevada tourism can center on a number of activities. Whether you enjoy the bright lights of the stars or the colored lights of Vegas, your travels in Nevada will never fail to amuse you.
If you decide to travel by road, you will be able to sample the infinite variety of the State of Nevada attractions. Because of the majestic panoramas created by Nevada’s natural landscapes, the state’s official scenic byways make Nevada travel by road an absolute delight. In some cases, the roads themselves are the highlights of Nevada tourism. For example, Angel Lake Road is referred to as the "highway to heaven." This beautiful road gains several thousand feet of elevation prior to reaching the spectacular Angel Lake. It’s truly a great way to travel Nevada.
Highway 50 in Nevada is known as The Loneliest Road in America. It parallels the Pony Express Trail, which goes from Silver Springs through the farming town of Fallon. Remnants of the original Pony Express Trail can be seen along the way. In his book Blue Highways, William Least Moon states that "for the unhurried, this little- known highway is the best national road across the middle of the United States."
Nevada Desert Image: Bob Graham (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0
While historical sites and natural beauty are excellent reasons for Nevada travel, there are also some odd State of Nevada attractions that add to its appeal. These uniquely bizarre places actually attract a significant amount of Nevada tourism. For example, Groom Lake, also known as Area 51 is a secret military facility 90 miles North of Las Vegas. The site was developed in the 1950s for the testing of the U-2 Spy Plane. Of course, the secrecy of the project was the catalyst for a number of UFO conspiracy theories. As a result, the highway that runs near Area 51 is known as The Extraterrestrial Highway. Apparently, it is one of the most "visited" roads in the United States. If you and your significant other are into the Sculley and Mulder thing, a trip down the Extraterrestrial Road might be a fun way to travel Nevada. Stop in at the A-L-Inn Bar, where you can enjoy specialty drinks such as the "Beam Me Up Scotty," consisting of Jim Beam and 7UP and Scotch.
While the sites that instigated conspiracy theories are fun to visit, keep in mind that some of the State of Nevada’s attractions have an eeriness that stems from natural causes. If you plan to travel Nevada along the Valley of Fire State Park Roadway, you will see purple, white and deep red rock formations. The rocks are particularly luminous during sunrise and sunset, when the light of the sun gives them a fiery red glow. Colored rock formations and petroglyphs are common throughout Nevada. They represent just one of the exciting State of Nevada attractions.