As anyone who has taken motorhome holidays in the U.S. before will know, not even a fortnight would be long enough to see all the highlights that any of the states have to offer. With so much to see and do throughout North America, it is important that you plan how you are going to spend your time away before you set off – especially if you want to explore an area as massive as Nevada.
Although it is perhaps best known as the home of the entertainment capital of the world, there is plenty more to Nevada and nearby California than the nightlife. In this article, we will recommend some of the amazing places you can visit as part of a road trip between two of Nevada’s greatest wonders, Lake Mead and Lake Tahoe.
1) Las Vegas
For all its natural beauty, however, where else could we begin any Nevada-related guide than at its number one attraction - Las Vegas? One of the world’s true must-see cities, Vegas is – incredibly – only 40 miles from the tranquil Lake Mead, meaning you can experience both total relaxation and unbridled excitement in the first couple of days of your lake-to-lake getaway.
There are over 150 casinos in Las Vegas and the surrounding area so, whether you are keen to try your hand at gaming or just want to soak up the uniquely vibrant atmosphere, stopping off in ‘Sin City’ would certainly make for a memorable start to your holiday.
2) Death Valley National Park
It is hard to imagine many places much further removed from Vegas in terms of its appearance than Death Valley, the fifth largest U.S. national park. Officially the hottest and driest location in the States, this extraordinary desert area - straddling the Nevada/California border – is nevertheless just over two hours’ drive from the city’s bright lights and must be included in your itinerary.
There are nine official camping sites within the park, and we recommend staying the night at one of them to enjoy the unbeatable stargazing opportunities presented by Death Valley’s gloriously clear skies.
3) Sequoia National Park
80 miles or so west as the crow flies is Sequoia National Park – an area of natural beauty that again demonstrates just how diverse this corner of the U.S. is. In stark contrast to Death Valley, much of this park is punctuated by lush, green meadows, a mighty river and, of course, the huge trees that gave rise to its name.
This much-loved location is, in fact, home to the tallest tree in the world, commonly known as ‘General Sherman’. 275 feet tall, this giant sequoia is also thought to be among the oldest trees on Earth, with an estimated age of around 2,500 years.
Under three hours’ drive from Sequoia and deeper into the heart of California is the city of Fresno. Often overlooked by holidaymakers in favour of its better-known neighbours - Los Angeles and San Francisco - there is still plenty going on here, and Fresno will represent a welcome change of pace if you have just spent a few days in the relative wilderness.
Some of the many highlights you can look forward to enjoying in the city are a trip to Fresno Chaffee Zoo (one of the most visited zoos in the U.S.), the beautiful Forestiere Underground Gardens, and the brilliantly fun Island Waterpark – perfect if you plan on travelling with the family.
5) Sierra National Forest
Around two hours to the east and back in the peace and quiet, the Sierra National Forest in Central California is arguably the most picturesque of all the destinations we’ve listed here.
With a seemingly endless landscape of amazing mountain, lake and forest to discover, it will come as no surprise to learn that this area is a massively popular spot for hikers. The forest is also great for fishing and even has its own ski area, China Peak.
6) Yosemite National Park
It may be a four-and-a-half-hour drive away from the Sierra Forest, but we can assure you that setting aside some time to visit Yosemite National Park will be well worth the effort.
One of the very first designated national parks in the U.S. (it was officially established in 1890), Yosemite is renowned for its truly awe-inspiring mountainous scenery, being home to such iconic cliffs and formations as El Capitan and Cathedral Peak. If you want to try rock climbing in the great outdoors, there is no better place to do so than Yosemite!
7) Inyo National Forest
Remaining in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Inyo National Forest - just 90 minutes or so from Yosemite – is remote, wild and undeniably majestic.
It may not be as famous as some of its peers, but Inyo still forms an important part of America’s natural landscape. A couple of its more remarkable features include the world’s two oldest trees (found in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest) and Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous U.S.
8) Stanislaus National Forest
Among the country’s oldest national forests, Stanislaus in Northern California is roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Inyo and is possibly best known for the vast and numerous stretches of water that run through it – in total, the forest boasts no less than 78 lakes and over 800 miles of rivers and streams.
The last city on our list, Sacramento is the capital of California and must be included as part of any trip to the area.
Sacramento is notable for its many cultural highlights that will appeal to a wide range of discerning visitors, such as the California State Capitol Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, and the Old Sacramento State Historic Park.
10) El Dorado National Forest
If you want to enjoy one last treat on your Lake Tahoe holidays before arriving at the waterside itself, why not stop off on your way from Sacramento at the stunning El Dorado National Forest?
A particularly versatile location that excels at offering a whole host of outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, cycling, horse riding and skiing, this is the perfect place to spend some quality family time together, however experienced you may be at any of the exciting pursuits available.