Covered largely by the beautiful sagebrush desert and semi-arid lands of the Great Basin, Nevada is full of wide-open spaces with flashes of town and city life around the state. In Nevada, meaning “snow-covered” in Spanish, winter is an enjoyable time for residents serving as a contrast to the sunny summers most think of when contemplating a move there.
Native Nevadans have a great sense of pride in their community and are proud of living in their homeland. Potential residents also find it attractive. In fact, the state population has grown over 35% in just the past 10 years. However, the population centers remain the same, largely dictated by the fact that about 85% of the state is government maintained in a series of national parks, military installations and other wilderness areas and protected lands.
The largest cities in Nevada are Las Vegas and Reno. Of course, most outsiders consider Vegas to be the hub of all livelihood in the state, but it is situated down in the extreme southeast corner close to neighbors California and Arizona. It is certainly a highly visited part of the state with Hoover Dam sitting just outside “Sin City”, yet the bulk of this massive state reaches north and west.
Directly up the angled southern border over 400 miles to the northwest, near the state’s namesake Sierra Nevada Mountains, is the other major center of tourism, Reno. Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno along with Lake Tahoe and Carson City, comprise the second most visited and populated area of the state. The Humboldt River, the only natural transportation artery across the Great Basin, runs through the north-central part of the state and is the other majorly populated area, which includes the town of Elko.
Attractions & Events
Tourism and Las Vegas are synonymous as the city serves as an adult playground for modern travelers. It boasts world-class restaurants, museums, gaming, and entertainment around town. The same can be said on a smaller scale for the Lake Tahoe area, which along with Reno has an array of excellent attractions including the Vikingsholm Castle. Many visitors to the region also love to peek into history with numerous ghost towns on the frontier as remnants from the initial mining boom stand in different states of preservation.
In May of each year the Reno River Festival brings together whitewater lovers and in June the rodeo rolls into town for ten days. A nationally televised event, the Reno Rodeo has been in existence for over 90 years. Some of the largest events of the year include the popular Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, Best of the West Nugget Rib Cook Off in Sparks and The Great Reno Balloon Race, while the Pahrump Powwow celebrates the area’s Native American culture each November.
Economy, Education & Resources
The largest employers in the state are school districts and casinos, with mining and farming dominating the economy in Nevada’s rural areas. Originally known as the “Silver State”, it seems that gold is the focus of the modern rush to mining in Nevada. The state produces about 80% of U.S. output annually and serves as the fourth largest producer of gold in the world. Coupled with the $25 billion gaming industry, profits abound for those wanting to do business there. In fact, many companies establish their headquarters in Nevada due to the lack of income taxes for individuals and corporations, along with favorable laws regarding incorporation.
Transportation in the state is handled via airports in both major cities and by AMTRAK service that runs along portions of the original transcontinental railroad. Several colleges and universities are across the state including University of Nevada campuses in Las Vegas and Reno. The Las Vegas Campus (UNLV) is known for their Runnin’ Rebels men’s basketball team and the city regularly plays host to rounds of NCAA “March Madness” action.
Nevada is the place for those looking for the best of both worlds: big city amenities and remote independence!