Carson Valley: Mild-To-Wild Overnighter
Know Before You Go
Thanks to a consistently low test positivity rate for COVID-19, Douglas County’s businesses, museums, restaurants, and bars have reopened, all emphasizing limited capacities and appropriate spacing of tables and seating.
Help keep it that way by practicing proper social distancing, observing public health standards, and being prepared to #MaskUpNV inside businesses and in public spaces. On outdoor trails and in parks, have face coverings at the ready when crossing paths with other people and groups. These simple courtesies make Carson Valley an easy place to be safe and have fun.
- Take to the skies on a glider ride with Soaring NV, or jump out of them with Skydive Lake Tahoe
- Sunset-soak in some Nevada hot spring history at David Walley’s Resort
- “Basque” in a traditional family feast at the J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room
- Walk through history in “Nevada’s oldest settlement”—or drink it in at “Nevada’s oldest thirst parlor”
Ready to get out of town? Head south to Carson Valley, where a close-to-home adventure awaits. This charming community, with its mountain-studded backdrop, brims with hands-on Nevada history, amazing eats (grown a fork’s throw from your plate), and some of the Silver State’s most prized antique shopping, but also plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities, outdoor action, and sunset soaks to ensure there’s something for the whole fam—even for just one night.
Kickstart Your Cruise By Capitalizing On Some Coffee
As you make your way south, help yourself to a halfway perk up in Carson City. Comma Coffee offers classic blends, hot snacks, and a funky, eclectic, vintage-shop-esque atmosphere, just across the street from our Capitol Grounds. For more caf-fiend-ish espresso and painstaking pour overs, hit up Old World Coffee Lab.
Head For The Hillside: Crafts, History, And A State Park Picnic in Genoa
While away your A.M. hours in “Nevada’s oldest settlement,” founded in 1851, where the past meets pleasantly present. Hunt handcrafted treasures Dancing Deer and old-school wares at Petersunn Antiques, then peruse pre-statehood history at the Genoa Courthouse Museum, before picking picnic provisions.
Finger-food it up with The Pink House’s elaborate cheese boards and charcuterie, or pop into Genoa Country Store for pesto panini and other deli delights, and hoof it down to Mormon Station State Historic Park for an al fresco 1850s-era fort feast (entry costs only a buck).
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Keeping It Mild? Discover Your Nevada Heritage
The history train continues to Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park in Minden, the town founded by this property’s fascinating family of early Silver State movers-and-shakers, whose life sits frozen in time in the form of more than 18,000 artifacts and nearly 4,000 photographs throughout the stunning property. (Call ahead for tours.)
Then gallop over to Gardnerville’s Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center, offering glimpses of local and state history, from Basque and American Indian heritage to early Carson Valley Life, across the old high school campus.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Rather Go Wild? Step (Or Fly) Right Up
Carson Valley is no stranger to adventure. There are few better ways to elevate your Nevada perspective than in the actual air. Take to the skies with Soaring NV and pilot a glider plane over Carson Valley (the silence is magical), or jump out of them with Skydive Lake Tahoe, offering one of the most sweeping (and intense) views of our famous alpine lake, the mountains, and Carson Valley below.
If you’d rather stay on the ground, Genoa is also the starting point for beautiful, forested, interconnected hiking (and mountain biking) trails that carry you up to stunning views of the bucolic valley, a waterfall, and even peaks rising from the Sierra Nevada’s western slopes. Watch for birds.
Evening Eats In Gardnerville & Minden
The king of local cuisine out here is unquestionably the J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room. You probably know Louis’ up in Reno, but come here for the 1910-era, cowboy-hatted atmosphere, authentic oxtail soup, and traditional Basque family feasts, but stay for the Picons (you know, Nevada’s unofficially official state cocktail)—because you may have to, at least for a bit; the hands here are heavy.
Or head across the street to the Overland Restaurant & Pub, a former Basque boarding house that now serves a Mark Estee menu of farm-to-table plates sourced from local farms and ranches. In Minden, the more modern Cook’d has your stomach’s back with fresh salads, artisan pizza, hearty burgers, and beyond in a great-vibed, family-friendly atmosphere.
Or Spring For A Sip, A Savor, And A Soak
Back in Genoa you’ll find a perfect one-property-stop to feel the day’s adventure melt away. Nestled against the hillside with a beautiful view of where you’ve been all day, David Walley’s Resort boasts beautiful rooms, upscale breakfast, lunch, and dinners in the 1862 Restaurant and Saloon, and—the best part—a warm, mineral hot spring-fed pool, on the site of hot springs where people have been soaking for eons, including famous ones like Mark Twain, who remarked post-soak: “I now leave without crutch or cane, entirely well, not only relieved from pain but gained in spirit.”
Small Towns, Big Breakfasts
If you wake up in Gardnerville or Minden, do it hungry. For ample American classics, swing into Jerry’s Grill or the Cowboy Café. For chai lattes, fresh pumpkin bread (with a gluten-free version available, to boot), and adorable, art-lined walls, 88 Cups Coffee & Tea is your jam. If a sleep-in has earned you a hankerin’ for something heartier, head to Minden Meat & Deli for tri-tip sandwiches, burgers, panini, and delectable fresh-made sides (not to mention 31 craft beers on draught)—also an amazing after-antiquing lunch choice.
In one of the true hearts of Nevada history and heritage, you better believe there’s some evidence left behind, with some of the best antique shopping in the entire state all under one roof at 12,000-square-foot, 50-dealer Cheshire Antiques. You could easily spend the entire morning here, but similar vibes can be found at Red Barn, purveyor of rustic, repurposed wood products, and, if you’re there on a third weekend, the ornately curated Eddy Street Vintage Market.
Travel Nevada Pro Tip
Way-Home Pit Stops
All good trips must come to an end—but why so soon? If you’re hungry on the highway, pull off in Carson City for British pub fare at The Fox Brewpub, elevated entrees at The Union, or delightful soups, sandwiches, and home-baked goodies at L.A. Bakery.
Then consider the scenic route through Washoe Valley to watch for wild horses, or to visit Bowers Mansion—the incredible residence of one of our favorite “Legendary Nevadans,” Eilly Bowers—offering an in-depth at how Comstock millionaires lived the high life back in the day.
Got an extra day to keep living #ThatNevadaLife? Head up for history, mine tours, and ghost hunts in Virginia City, or explore more amazing eats, shopping, and outdoor action in your capital city and keep this Discover Your Nevada near-cation going!