Carson City, Nevada
Fun Things to Do in Carson City ...
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|Carson City is a great location for any family vacation and offers many fun and interesting attractions for the
entire family. The town is situated in one of the most scenic and historic areas in the country and provides a
great base camp for exploring the surrounding area. The High Sierra Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop to
Carson City, and the area offers plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing, and hunting. A large
concentration of ski resorts is nearby and there are plenty of courses for the avid golfer in your family to enjoy.
Carson City is located about 30 miles south of Reno on the west side of Nevada. It is directly east of Lake
Tahoe, which is about a half hour away. It is situated near the historic towns of Gold Hill and Virginia City in the
midst of the historic Comstock Lode mining area. It is the state capitol of Nevada, and has been so since
Nevada became a territory in 1861. For any of you who are movie buffs, there have been a number of films shot
here. In fact John Wayne’s last movie “The Shootist” was filmed here and was shot on location at the Krebs-
Peterson House. Also, if you are trying to escape the hustle and crowds of the big cities, then you will really
appreciate the ease at which you can get around town.
Our family particularly enjoys the outdoors and we also like history, especially history that deals with the “old
west.” We love mountain views, beautiful scenery and hikes that give us some good exercise, but don’t stretch
us too much and leave us too tired afterward to do anything else. We had seen pictures of Lake Tahoe and
heard that it was beautiful, but we wanted to visit it for ourselves. We also wanted to visit the historic Comstock
Lode area and do some other sightseeing while in the area. In the summer of 2011 we had a few days to spend
here on the way to the west coast, and here are a few of the things that we saw. If you are considering a trip to
Carson City we hope this helps give you some ideas for your next family vacation.
Fun Things to Do in Carson City, Nevada:
Lake Tahoe Area
On our first full day in the Carson City area we headed west toward Lake Tahoe. The drive up highway 50
started our ascent into the mountains and we made a nice climb in elevation, reaching the Spooner Summit at
an elevation of 7,146 feet. Here, we stopped and took the Spooner Lake Loop Trail, which branches off from
the popular Tahoe Rim Trail. This is a fairly easy 2-mile trail that circles Spooner Lake. Much of the hike is in the
shade of Aspen trees or Ponderosa Pines, and when we visited, we were treated to a very large flock of geese,
which allowed for some great photo shoots. After the hike, we continued on and took Highway 28 through the
state park and to the Incline Village area, where we stopped for lunch. The area near Sand Harbor State Park is
tremendous. The deep clear blue water of Lake Tahoe, along with the incredible rocks near the shoreline, lush
Ponderosa Pines and snow-capped mountains in the background made for an absolutely stunning view.
Train Ride to Virginia City
Molded by its early beginnings of logging, mining, and the railroad, this area has retained much of its distinct “old
west” character. So, with that in mind, it was only natural for us to take the train ride from Carson City to Virginia
City and visit the historic Comstock Lode mining area. This is a relaxing way to travel there and along the way
the train goes through the historic area of Gold Hill. This was the area where gold was struck first and mined in
large quantities before rich silver deposits were found, making the Comstock one of the richest mining areas in
the world. On the train ride up to Virginia City the conductor points out old mines and other points of interest.
Virginia City, itself, allows you to step back in history and walk down the boardwalks of main street and see
many restored buildings and businesses operating today. Walk around town and explore, or take a stage ride or
some other tour to learn about the area. Explore many of the fine shops, old hotels and saloons, restaurants,
book stores and museums in the area.
Wild Island Family Adventure Park – Sparks, Nevada
The town of Sparks is just outside of Reno and has a nice spot for family fun. It’s about a 30-40 minute drive
from Carson City. Continue through Reno, on Interstate 80 and you will come to the Wild Island Family
Adventure Park. It has a water park, a go kart track, bowling, two outdoor putt-putt golf courses, and an indoor
Pirate Cove black light mini course, laser mazes, and arcade games. Here, you could spend much of a day, or
just spend a few hours and enjoy the go karts and play some putt-putt golf. Either way, it will be a great time for
you and your family.
As I mentioned, we had just a few days to explore, and of course part of that time we wanted to relax by the pool
and just soak up the scenery, eat out, catch a movie and ice cream, and basically just hang out together as a
family. Whether you plan to stay just a few days like we did or you have a week or more, there is plenty to see
and do. We had a great family vacation in Carson City and we plan to come back someday and visit again. Plan
to visit Carson City on one of your upcoming family trips and you will be glad that you did. Have fun and stay
Nevada Vacation Attractions