Just off Highway 50, the 77,000-acre Great Basin National Park (tel. 775/234-7331; www.nps.gov/grba) in the eastern part of the state may not be a Wonder of the World, but it is indeed filled with fine examples of how wondrous nature can be. Particularly stunning among the cool lakes, mountain peaks, and verdant meadows are the Lehman Caves, where 1- and 1-1/2-hour tours are given through limestone caverns, thick with stalactite and stalagmite rock formations. Also check out Wheeler Peak, the second highest in Nevada at 13,060 feet above sea level. There you can hike the trails around pretty Teresa and Stella Lakes and pitch a tent in one of the parks many available campgrounds.
On the western border, creating a splashy border between Nevada and California, lie the famous cobalt-blue waters Lake Tahoe (www.tahoechamber.com), which Mark Twain verbally painted as "the fairest picture the whole Earth affords." It's long been a destination for watersports enthusiasts and hikers who troll the piney surrounding hills, and also makes for fantastic skiing in the winter with 15 different downhill skiing spots.
Slightly north of the lake is Virginia City (www.virginiacity-nv.org), the 19th-century mining town that was for one short, shiny silver moment in history the wealthiest city in the world. The town has maintained much of its old-time feel, and it has some of the most interesting oddball museums that you'll ever find in one place, including the Bullette Red Light Museum, 5 C St. (tel. 775/847-9394), dedicated to memorabilia associated with the oldest profession and Virginia City's most popular fallen angel, Julia Bullette; the Nevada Gambling Museum, 50 S. C St. (tel. 775/847-9022); and The Way It Was Museum, 113 N. C St. (tel. 775/847-0766), stocked with mining artifacts.
If Las Vegas, with its bright shining lights the only illuminating factor for miles in the Mojave Desert, isn't alien enough for you, check out the part of Route 375 known as the Extraterrestrial Highway, a 98-mile run of road that takes you right to Area 51, where the most UFO sightings have been claimed nationwide. Also odd for a region made up mostly of desert and mountains, but far less controversial, is the notion that Nevada has some of the finest golfing around, with over 100 public and private courses spread throughout its north and south regions, many of which are home to championship matches.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.