Whether you are traveling alone or with family vacations do not have to break the budget. And what better place to take a vacation than in Nevada where some of the best experiences are entirely free of charge. So, if you are looking for domestic travel destinations this holiday season then our list of ‘15 free things to do in Nevada’ can help you create the perfect low-cost itinerary.
Want to get a hunch into these 15 free things to do in Nevada? Check out the slides below for a quick look:
- 1 15 Free Things to Do in Nevada
- 1.1 Ethel M Chocolate Factory
- 1.2 Great Basin National Park
- 1.3 Las Vegas
- 1.4 The Pioneer Saloon
- 1.5 Rhyolite Ghost Town
- 1.6 Fremont Street
- 1.7 Praying Mantis
- 1.8 Truckee River Walk
- 1.9 Cathedral Gorge State Park
- 1.10 Lessons in Gaming
- 1.11 Extraterrestrial Highway and Area 51
- 1.12 Atomic Survival Town
- 1.13 Circus Circus Hotel and Casino Performances
- 1.14 Reno Hot Air Balloon Event
- 1.15 Fountains of Bellagio
- 2 Wrapping Up Free & Affordable Experiences
15 Free Things to Do in Nevada
Ethel M Chocolate Factory
What sweeter way to begin your vacation than by taking a tour of a chocolate factory? The Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson, Nevada engages in the production of gourmet and famous treats including Mars Bars, Milky Way, and M&M’s.
The self-guided tours are free of cost and visitors are even given a free sample of the chocolate factory’s delicious products at the end of it. But that is not all. The factory grounds also include a cactus garden where you can see some of the most popular native cacti species. All in all, a visit to Ethel M Chocolate Factory is a must for every vacationer in Nevada.
Great Basin National Park
If your image of Nevada consists only of Las Vegas and large swaths of desert then you are mistaken. The state of Nevada is also home to exotic flora and fauna, and there is no better example of this than the Great Basin National Park.
In complete contrast to the party-scene of Las Vegas, the Great Basin National Park offers peace and serenity to nature lovers. Popular sites include the Lehman Caves with their rare cave formations known as helictites – features that seem to defy gravity. The spectacular mountain terrain and high elevations offer beauty at every bend. Here you will find yourself in the company of the native bristlecone pine trees, some of which are believed to be more than four thousand years old!
Other attractions like the Snake Mountain Range are frequented by avid hikers in the months between June and September.
Stargazing is another unique experience to be had in the Great Basin National Park and is popular during the Great Basin Astronomy Festival that is held every year in the autumn.
From the Great Basin to the great Casinos Nevada has so much to offer. One of the most popular attractions in Las Vegas is absolutely free. We are talking about the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada’ sign-board that is the most sought-after background for a picture in this vibrant city. Nearly every tourist has a picture taken in front of it, almost as a rite of passage to enjoy this unique city. Interestingly, the signboard, along with most of the Las Vegas Strip, is not located in the city of Las Vegas but in nearby Paradise which is more than 4 miles outside of Las Vegas city limits.
The Pioneer Saloon
During the gold rush, the town of Goodsprings was the largest town in Nevada. While it may not be hustling and bustling today, the town is replete with historical structures like the Pioneer Saloon that tell the story of a bygone era.
Stepping into the saloon, which opened in 1913, is like stepping back in time. The original bar and brass foot rail welcome you to sit where countless others have sat before you. Here you will be surrounded by genuine Sears and Roebuck stamped tin walls and a veritable cornucopia of history.
The charm of this quaint tin building also stems from its Hollywood connection. The building has featured in films like Miss Congeniality 2 and The Mexican. A visit to the Pioneer Saloon would not be complete without a sampling of one of the famous Ghost Burger.
Rhyolite Ghost Town
From ghost burger to ghost towns – Nevada has it all. Located in Beatty, Nevada, the Rhyolite Ghost Town is another prominent relic of the state’s gold rush history. The town once boasted of over five thousand residents, an opera house, a school, its own railway station, a bank, and even a stock exchange. However, the glory was short-lived, and the town was abandoned when the nearby hills ran out of gold.
Today, the town is a museum with few preserved structures for the past. The admission is free of charge and the town is maintained by a couple of dozen residents catering to mainly the tourists who visit here.
In complete contrast to the Rhyolite Ghost Town, the Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas is anything but deserted. In fact, the Fremont Street Experience is one of the best free things to do in Nevada. The attraction includes a high LED screen canopy covering nearly four blocks on Fremont Street.
The entertainment begins every night after sundown as the city never sleeps. No visit to Las Vegas is considered complete without the Fremont Street Experience.
The Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas is not just home to restaurants, bars, and shops, its main attraction is a giant fire-shooting praying mantis. In this free show the animatronic statue moves a bit and shoots fire from its antennae. The performance is powerful and not-to-be-missed!
Truckee River Walk
The watercourse in the Truckee River Whitewater park is free for everyone to use. This river park in Reno, Nevada is frequented by waders, tubers, rafters, and kayakers alike. The whitewater rapids also offer deep water pool fishing for those who are less keen on water sports.
Cathedral Gorge State Park
This park has one of the most unique origins in the history of nature. Located in Southeastern Nevada, the Cathedral Gorge State Park is home to carved patterns on bentonite clay that are a result of hundreds of layers of volcanic ash deposits.
The park derives its name from these ‘cathedral-like’ formations that have taken shape over millions of years of geologic activity. This makes for some exquisite walking trails and photo-ops. Apart from nature study, you can enjoy a day of hiking, camping, and picnicking.
This place is one of the top road trip destinations in Nevada. If you want to know about more such places, check out our comprehensive Nevada trip guide.
Lessons in Gaming
The lucky gambler stands to win big in Las Vegas! For everyone else it is just another day in “Lost Wages”. Sadly, gambling and gaming cannot be experienced for free even in Las Vegas. However, if it is an experience that you are after then you can enjoy the free gaming lessons that are offered by most casinos. Tourists can take part in free gaming lessons to learn how to play table games. But be sure to show up early as these lessons are popular and fill up quickly.
Extraterrestrial Highway and Area 51
The Extraterrestrial Highway drive is a rave among fans of science fiction. Even if you are not an alien enthusiast you can drive Route 375 for the sheer scenic beauty of the vast and open space on either side. You never know, you may end up spotting some UFOs. Although you are highly unlikely to be allowed inside, you can also drive up to the Area 51 site to complete your Alien Experience.
Atomic Survival Town
The Atomic Survival Town is another free tourist attraction in Nevada. Built for the purpose of testing the atomic bomb blasts, this picture-perfect ‘town’ has been home to 14 nuclear explosions that were conducted in 1955. This is also known as Operation Teapot.
The area is spotted with ‘Town Survivors’ or buildings and structures that held their ground during the impact. Out of these, the Behlen building is probably the most visited site.
Fortunately for the tourists, the Army decided not to destroy the ‘Atomic Survival Town’ after the operation was concluded. Even though no cameras are allowed on the site, it is a unique experience that many tourists choose to enjoy.
Circus Circus Hotel and Casino Performances
The world’s largest permanent circus is one of the most popular attractions at the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas. Free performances are held for ten minutes every half an hour and a joyful sight for young and old alike. If you are lucky, you can catch acts like juggling and flying trapeze without buying a ticket.
You may also be able to catch local musicals that are offered by hotels as small free shows to attract customers. They are an excellent display of local talent.
Reno Hot Air Balloon Event
The annual hot air balloon held in Reno every September is the largest of its kind. The weekend event sees a free collection of activities built around hot-air balloons. As these hot-air giants float through the skies in a race across the desert, the sight is mesmerizing, to say the least.
Fountains of Bellagio
The Bellagio Water Show takes place every day and is choreographed with over 30 songs in the background. While these shows run throughout the day, they are most beautiful after sunset. So, do not conclude your vacation without experiencing one of these fantastic shows—it is one of the finest free things to do in Nevada.
Wrapping Up Free & Affordable Experiences
Travel and vacations should never be postponed, least of all due to budget restrictions. Our list of ‘15 Free Things To Do in Nevada’ are guaranteed to offer a unique perspective to new as well as seasoned budget travelers as you are more than likely to enjoy each day of your trip without worrying about spending anything on attractions. Along with these ideas you can also reduce your vacation expenses by booking a rental vacation home instead of hotel accommodations. You can easily do this by visiting our website rentaltrader.com to view the current selection of properties. For more details you can fill out the web form or call us directly.