Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

One Tank Trip for Nevada Camping

While it’s true that the great outdoors might not be the first thing we think of when we hear the word “Nevada,” the Silver State’s got a lot more going on than slot machines and extravagant buffets. Mother Nature created a paradise in the middle of the desert sands long before Bugsy Siegel turned the state into a famous vacation destination.

Entering Reno via the I-80 on this one tank trip, you’ll get a preview of some of the natural wonders that await you in Nevada. Thick forests of pine trees grow along majestic mountain ranges wherever you look, and this area is renowned for being a skiers’ paradise. There are more than a dozen ski resorts in the area, along with more hiking and biking trails than can be counted on one hand. When you factor in all the shopping, fine dining, a thriving nightlife (and of course the casino scene), it’s easy to see why Reno is called “The Biggest Little City in the World.” Reno is also host of Hot August Nights, an annual event that draws almost a million lovers of classic cars. There are more restored, “cherried-out” classics on display than you can shake a gearshift at, and if you happen to be the proud, lucky owner of such a vehicle, bring it along and enter it in the best of show contest. This car show offers younger ones the chance to experience a part of the 50s and 60s, and allows those who lived it to go back and get another taste of life in a simpler time.

You’ll find that this route will take you up and down Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore. At any point along the way, if you feel inclined to make a side trip to the lake you’ll find it’s easily accessible. Lake Tahoe offers so many opportunities to pull over and hook up the rig, and enjoy the boating, fishing, or swimming while Nevada camping. This is an area that Marilyn Monroe used as an escape from the bright lights of Hollywood, as did several members of the notorious Rat Pack, including Sinatra himself. When the sun begins to set, the sky turns orange, and the waters of Lake Tahoe darken, you’ll find that this area serves as one of the most romantic getaway spots on the globe.

Leaving Reno via the US-395, head south for a little less than 30 miles and you’ll find yourself in Nevada’s state capital, Carson City. This area is as rugged as the frontiersman for whom it’s named, “Kit” Carson. Carson City is equipped with all the up-to-date amenities you could possibly want, but retains its Old West atmosphere. You can hit the links at any of the nine golf courses in the area, and see how little resistance the thin air gives to the ball. It’s enough to change your game, mainly for the better. There are plenty of antique shops to investigate, some of which sell authentic memorabilia from the 19th century. Other places of historic note include the Old Mint Building, the Nevada State Railroad Museum, and the Kit Carson Trail. In neighboring Virginia City, you’ll enjoy touring through the Historic District and “The Way It Was” Museum, which showcases the tools and other implements of the mining days of the region and various other articles from the Bonanza era (for which the show, set in this area, was titled). You’ll also enjoy riding the V & T Railroad up to Gold Hill and back, and get a sense of what travel was like during the Old West.

Zephyr Cove sits at the southeastern end of Lake Tahoe, and is reached by driving 19 westbound miles on the US-50. If you’ve planned your Nevada camping visit for the winter, you might want to take advantage of the snowmobile tours offered here in town. Skim across the snow’s surface and take deep breaths of that crisp mountain air. This is also a particularly great place to enjoy Lake Tahoe year-round.

Continue east on the US-50 for 9 miles, then take the NV-28 north for 13 miles until you reach Incline Village. Located at the northeast shores of Lake Tahoe, you’ll find that this peaceful resort community is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to a vacation haven. Kick back on the shores of the lake, or toss on a pair of skis and feel the wind in your face as you slide on a downhill run. Or, just relax with a hot beverage in front of a fire at any of the several cozy, inviting lodges in the area.

As you head north on the NV-431, you’ll cruise through 20 miles of some of Nevada’s greenest, most awe-striking scenery. You’ll find no shortage of places to pull over for photo opportunities – assuming you haven’t filled your camera already (which is very likely). Merge with the northbound US-395 and take it the remaining 11 miles back to Reno where you began this one tank trip. No sense rushing home just yet, though…enjoy one more night in the Biggest Little City in the World and head out in the morning.

Other Area Sponsors in Nevada:
Rivers Edge RV Park
Bordertown Casino & RV Resort
Silver Sage RV Park

Woodall's Recommended Nevada RV Campgrounds