Sure, Las Vegas may be the destination for most travelers flying into Nevada, but that doesn't mean it's the only spot worth seeing, particularly for those who love history and the great outdoors. Nevada defines the "Old West" and if that theme piques your interest, then the following is a must-do day trip:
Breakfast in Beatty. Situated at the southern end of the state, the little town of Beatty is a historical goldmine, having been founded back in 1900 as a railroad service center. The town is named after Montillus Murray Beatty, aka "Old Man" Beatty. It's also renowned for being a gateway to neighboring Death Valley National Park and serving up hearty breakfasts at Gema's Wagon Wheel Cafe.
Then Out to Rhyolite. Post-breakfast, take the short 4-mile trip to the first main attraction: the ghost town of Rhyolite. This unique place began as a small mining camp in 1905 that exploded after a prospecting discovery happened in the surrounding Bullfrog Hills. Thousands of gold-seekers, developers, miners and general opportunists flocked to the city to cash in. By 1908, an estimated 5,000 residents called this place home. But just two years later, the once-promising mine began operating at a loss and in 1920, the population had dropped to nearly nothing. Town ruins later became a tourist destination and set location for early Hollywood motion pictures. You can still wander Main Street and wonder at the three miner-built 'bottle houses' that still stand today.
Goldwell Open Air Museum. Next on the trip list is the interesting Goldwell Open Air Museum & Artist Residency. The late Albert Szukalski established this self-described art mecca in the Mojave Desert as a place in which he and fellow sculptors could work freely and create large scale, on-site sculptures that paired well with the surrounding desert landscape.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Located about an hour's drive away from Rhyolite and the Goldwell Open Air Museum, this park is a must for nature-lovers. Here, you'll see gorgeous turquoise springs fed by one of the largest underground rivers in the world. The refuge encompasses one of the rare oasis of the Mojave Desert and is home to nearly 300 different species of birds. It’s also the only place where the Devil's Hole Pupfish, the rarest fish in the world, can be found. Its habitat is an attraction in itself as some believe it to be the entrance to the underworld.
Finally, Relax at Bailey's Hot Springs. After a long day of trekking and exploring, head back to Beatty and sink into the warm waters of Bailey's Hot Springs. Access is $8 a person or use is included for those who opt to camp at the RV park.
Before you head out to any of these Nevada destinations, be sure to download our updated Packing List 2.0 to ensure you grab all the essentials!