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Nevada is a huge sun-baked state with only two major cities and vast expanses of wilderness. Gambling is Nevada's big draw, centered on Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe. Las Vegas is a 24-hour glittering kaleidoscope of luxury hotels, neon lights, bare-skinned cabaret acts and non-stop casino action, but also has family theme parks, golf, and no shortage of wedding chapels for folks who want to get hitched on the spur of the moment. Though much of the state is parched desert speckled with haunting ghost towns, Nevada offers astounding diversity.

To the west, the azure waters of Lake Tahoe stud the pine-clad Sierra Nevada ...

Nevada is a huge sun-baked state with only two major cities and vast expanses of wilderness. Gambling is Nevada's big draw, centered on Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe. Las Vegas is a 24-hour glittering kaleidoscope of luxury hotels, neon lights, bare-skinned cabaret acts and non-stop casino action, but also has family theme parks, golf, and no shortage of wedding chapels for folks who want to get hitched on the spur of the moment. Though much of the state is parched desert speckled with haunting ghost towns, Nevada offers astounding diversity.

To the west, the azure waters of Lake Tahoe stud the pine-clad Sierra Nevada mountains — a hiking and mountain bicycling paradise in summer and a skiing mecca in winter. In contrast, bone-dry Death Valley National Park, in the southwest, is the lowest and hottest point in North America. Lake Mead, less than an hour from Las Vegas and formed by Hoover Dam, is a center for boating. The Colorado River below the dam offers exhilarating whitewater rafting, as does the Truckee River near Reno, a city known for its museums and festivals, from classical music, jazz, and ballooning to the anything-goes Burning Man Festival in the harsh Black Rock Desert.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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