teresa lake great basin national park nevada

10 Only-in-Nevada Resolutions to Make in 2024

New Year’s resolutions—every year we make ‘em, but it’s just so easy to break ‘em. After all, resolving to do things like exercise more, eat better, and spend less time on social media are worthwhile efforts, but they’re not the most exciting goals to stick with. That’s where the Silver State comes in.

Stunning skies. Art oversized. A Monster Burger with fries. When the ball drops, resolve to have a ball exploring Nevada.

Kick off this brand-new year with our list of 10 only-in-Nevada resolutions, packed with adventure inspiration, surprising discoveries, and something for everyone. With goals this fun, the last thing you’ll want to do is skip out on these memory-making experiences.

Kayak in a state most people think of as being one big desert

When some people think of Nevada, all they picture is Las Vegas, tumbleweeds, and a whole lot of desert. Time to think again!

There are endless ways to make a splash in the Silver State, and one of our favorite ways to get out on the water is by kayak. Grab (or rent) your gear and pick a direction—you can find scenic lakes and rivers to dip your paddle into practically everywhere in the state. Lake Tahoe and Lake Mead are a given, and so are lesser-known spots like Comins Lake (near Ely), Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge (about an hour from Elko), and the Black Canyon Water Trail, which offers unbelievable views of Hoover Dam.

Tour an Only-in-Nevada museum

Nevada is home to history and heritage you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Take yourself on a field trip and explore the stories and relics that’ll give you a new appreciation for what makes this state so extra special.

Las Vegas is jam-packed with one-of-a-kind cultural destinations. At The Neon Museum, you’ll walk among hundreds of now-retired neon signs that once lit world-famous locales. For in-depth and interactive stories about the Mob and the law enforcement agencies that fought it, head to The Mob Museum. You’ll also have a blast at the National Atomic Testing Museum, which details Nevada’s front-and-center role in nuclear history. And make sure you have lots of quarters for the Pinball Hall of Fame, home to the largest known collection of pinball machines on the planet.

More fascinating museums await beyond Las Vegas. Outside of Ely, the McGill Drugstore Museum is a true time capsule of an experience—when the pharmacy closed up shop in the 1970s, it went untouched (and therefore preserved) for decades. The Eureka Sentinel Museum transports you back to an 1860s newsroom, complete with printing press, type cases, and notices from more than 150 years ago.

black rock desert sunrise in nevada
Black Rock Desert

Pair unbelievable stargazing with a magical sunrise in the Black Rock Desert

massacre rim stargazing in nevada
Massacre Rim

Stargazing in the Silver State is an outta-this-world experience thanks to our remarkably dark skies. Outside of Las Vegas and Reno, it’s quite common to look up and be dazzled by stars, constellations, planets, meteors, and even galaxies, all viewable without a telescope. There’s no shortage of stellar stargazing in rural Nevada, but we’re calling out one place in particular—the Black Rock Desert.

Go off the grid and onto the playa, a distinct and sprawling landscape known for being the home of Burning Man. Soak in hot springs, go off-roading, and scope out wildlife as you wait for the night sky to appear, then kick back and enjoy the show. For even more remote stargazing, go further north to Massacre Rim, certified as an international dark sky sanctuary. Camp overnight and you’ll get doubly wowed by a gorgeous sunrise, illuminating seemingly endless stretches of Nevada’s natural beauty. Sunsets are supremely colorful, too.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Travel smart and plan ahead when venturing into the Black Rock Desert. Bring extra fuel, a spare tire, and plenty of food and water, and remember that cell service is basically nonexistent. And if there’s any kind of wet weather, don’t drive on the playa—you’ll get stuck in a quicksand-like mess.

Tackle the Monster Burger challenge at Middlegate Station

Bring a big appetite to Middlegate Station, a Loneliest Road in America landmark that absolutely deserves a visit. Originally established as a Pony Express station, this roadhouse restaurant and bar (what we call a Sagebrush Saloon) is less than an hour from Fallon. On your way inside, peruse the exterior for time-tested and photo-worthy features like a phone booth, stagecoach wagon, and notable signage.

The menu offers plenty of tasty (and reasonably portioned) eats, but it’s the Middlegate Monster that continues to lure diners looking for a challenge. Cooked hot and fresh right in front of you, the legendary burger is more than a pound of Angus beef piled high with fresh veggies, pickles, and cheese. The Middlegate Monster fully emerges once the burger gets topped with onion ring and green olive eyes, a pepper nose, and a tomato tongue to taunt you. Finish the entire thing—plus the massive pile of fries on the plate—and you’ll hoist a free T-shirt as your hard-earned prize. Don’t forget to bring a dollar bill or two to decorate the ceiling!

Celebrate Spooky Season all year long with the Paranormal Passport

Halloween is the perfect time of year to explore all kinds of haunted hot spots and otherworldly oddities in Nevada—but it’s not the only time of year to embrace the spookier sides of the Silver State. If you’re all about discovering unique and unusual attractions, our Paranormal Passport was made for you.

Before your next road trip, download the free Paranormal Passport and get ready to go supernatural sightseeing. As you visit one, two, or all 50 of the featured locations, digitally check in and you’ll earn points toward ghostly Travel Nevada goodies. Destinations include:

  • The Black Mailbox, where you can leave letters and mementos for extraterrestrial friends
  • Coffinwood, a home and business dedicated to coffin-shaped everything (tours by appointment only!)
  • Boot Hill Cemetery, where 72 folks were laid to rest before anyone died of natural causes
  • Metropolis, a ghost town plagued by jackrabbits, typhoid, Mormon crickets, fire, and drought

Walk on the Moon at Lunar Crater

Destination dupes are all the rage right now, and if you’ve ever dreamt of walking on the Moon, have we got the second-best option for you.

Lunar Crater wasn’t formed by a UFO or meteor—it’s a natural volcanic crater and the largest in Nevada. The name came from its resemblance to the Moon’s craters, and in the 1970s, that resemblance went one step further. NASA used Lunar Crater as an actual astronaut training site because the landscape so similarly mirrored the Moon’s geographical features.

Hit the Lunar Crater Backcountry Byway (roughly 80 miles from Tonopah and close to the Extraterrestrial Highway) to check out this 430-foot-deep maar along with more extinct volcanoes in the surrounding hills and ancient lava beds where you can find obsidian.   

Get a little out there for art

We love our galleries and museums, but nothing says Nevada like strolling larger-than-life artworks in equally picturesque natural settings. You’ll have to get a little out there to experience these slices of Silver State culture, but we promise the effort will be well worth it.

Just outside Beatty, the Goldwell Open Air Museum is home to oversized sculptures of a cinderblock “Venus of Nevada,” a ghostly recreation of “The Last Supper,” and a steel prospector accompanied by a penguin. At the International Car Forest of the Last Church near Goldfield, more than 40 cars, buses, and trucks have been driven into the ground and stacked atop each other, serving as always-evolving art canvases.

Land artist Michael Heizer has spent decades constructing two large-scale sculptures in Nevada. “Double Negative,” near Overton, is two massive trenches measuring 30 feet wide, 50 feet deep, and 1,500 feet long. Visiting this installation is free and accessible year-round. “City,” which took more than 50 years to complete, is on private property and reservations are required to experience it. Found outside Alamo, “City” is a sprawling series of mounds and depressions made with dirt, rock, and concrete.

Visit Nevada’s national park

While a small portion of Death Valley National Park sits in the Silver State, there’s only one national park that’s fully found within our borders—and it’s our pride and joy.

Spanning 77,000 acres, Great Basin National Park is tucked along Nevada’s eastern edge. It’s one of the least visited national parks in the country, making it feel like you have this high-elevation paradise all to yourself. Hike your heart out, fish backcountry lakes and streams, or stand in awe at groves of ancient bristlecone pines (some of the oldest, gnarliest living trees on Earth). Reservations are required to tour Lehman Caves, but you’ll absolutely want to go underground and surround yourself with hundreds of shield formations and thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.

Camp overnight and you’ll immediately discover why “half the park is after dark.” The remoteness of Great Basin National Park means there’s practically zero light pollution nearby, which is why DarkSky certified it as an international dark sky park in 2016. Stargazing here is enchanting any time of year, but the annual Great Basin Astronomy Festival is a major celebration of these natural wonders.

Complete a triathlon—Nevada style!

Go for gold in the easiest (and tastiest) way possible. Instead of swimming, biking, and running, the Carson City Triathlon invites you to grab a beer, dine deliciously, and enjoy a hot springs soak.

Three businesses—Shoe Tree Brewing, Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint, and Carson Hot Springs—are steps away from each other in the same parking lot. In whichever order you most fancy, visit all three in the same day and you’ll be able to boast being a triathlon finisher!

Shoe Tree brews a variety of award-winning beers, ranging from stouts and sours to ambers and IPAs. Sassafras has one of the most diverse menus in Carson City (and maybe all of Nevada), and everything is good. Carson Hot Springs is fed by a natural hot spring that’s been bubbling for more than 150 years, and there are both outdoor swimming pools/hot tubs and private hot baths.

Spend the night at an Uncommon Overnighter

You’re gonna need more than a day to complete all these resolutions, so why not make the sleepover part of the only-in-Nevada experience? We call them Uncommon Overnighters, and they’re some of the most unique places to stay in the Silver State (or anywhere else).

In Virginia City, you can spend the night in what used to be a 1950s train caboose. At the Yellow Petal Flower Farm in Fallon, wake up surrounded by acres of flower fields. Get to Lamoille for two fully furnished backcountry yurts at the Ruby 360 Lodge. Near Beatty, you can bunk up at a former brothel that’s now a quaint bed and breakfast. And trust us—this short list of Uncommon Overnighters is only the beginning.