Christine Tran Virginia City Nevada

The Best Day Trips from Reno

Looking for some ideas for day trips from Reno? While Lake Tahoe is our heart and soul, sometimes we’re in the mood for something new, or maybe old. If you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, a road trip aficionado, or all of the above, you’ve come to the right place.

The best day trips from Reno come with plenty of sights to see, things to do and tons of historical landmarks to uncover. Northern Nevada is rich in history that begs to be explored, so grab a snack for the road and get out there.

Discover Historical Landmarks of Nevada

From Virginia City’s historic district to the Nevada State Capital to Fort Churchill and more, Northern Nevada offers plenty of interesting landmarks to visit, all within a short drive from downtown Reno. Hit up all of these unique stops in one day or take it easy and check out one landmark at a time. Whatever your preferred pace, there are plenty of Nevada landmarks within a short drive from Reno.


Virginia City

Virginia City is definitely one of the most unique destinations in the state of Nevada, and some would say in the country. Once a thriving mining town, Virginia City is a must-visit place for anyone looking for rich history, a refreshing sip of sarsaparilla and a hint of spookiness.

When you walk along the wooden sidewalks of Virginia City, you will truly feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Between Mackay Mansion, the Silver Queen Hotel, Historic Fourth Ward School and several other historic landmarks, Virginia City is reportedly one of the most haunted places in Nevada.

The driving distance from Reno, NV to Virginia City is about 26 miles, winding into the Virginia foothills and offering incredible views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. You can almost imagine being in the early settlers’ dust-covered shoes as you trek up Nevada State Route 341. With its sharp twists, turns and panoramic views of Reno below, this is certainly not a boring drive.

Carson City

Take a drive to Nevada’s state capital, a short distance from Reno. Interesting architecture, quaint neighborhoods and educational museums are abundant in Carson City, NV.

Some of the most notable historic landmarks in Nevada can be found along the Kit Carson Trail. With more than 60 stops at historical landmarks and only a hop, jump or skip away from Reno, Carson City makes one of the best day trips from Reno with the Kit Carson Trail as your destination.

Learn about the Comstock mines and Carson City’s history at Nevada State Museum or visit Nevada State Railroad Museum. The whole family will enjoy time spent at The Children’s Museum. Visit the Nevada State Capitol, a stately building that is rife with history and breathtaking architecture.

The Reno to Carson City drive time is about 30 minutes, making this one of the easiest day trips from Reno.

More Adventurous Northern Nevada Trips

The open road is calling, and you should answer. Adventurous spirits will love this category of Nevada trips, including ghost towns, mining relics and historic lore.

Fort Churchill State Historic Park

Located about an hour southeast of Reno, Fort Churchill stands as a piece of the past in beautiful ruin. Fort Churchill was used as a stop along the Pony Express route and a protected space for settlers in the 1860s. Follow the trails and you will reach the historic ruins. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or a history buff, you will have a great trip to Fort Churchill State Historic Park. Plus, the short travel time to such a beautiful and historical destination can’t be beat.

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is full of history and Native American lore. The Paiute tribe fished for giant Lahontan cutthroat trout in Pyramid Lake for centuries and it continues to be a destination for fishermen in search of the big one.

The lake’s deep turquoise waters are set against several large rock formations, including the sacred Stone Mother. Pyramid Lake is also home to Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge, a larger island located in the lake.

The history and legend of Pyramid Lake are enticing and warrant a day spent exploring the shores and area around the lake. Be mindful of tribal boundaries and permits needed for day use or camping at the lake.

To learn more about the Paiute Tribe’s ties to Lake Pyramid, visit Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum when you arrive.


Looking for a drive from Reno Tahoe that leads to a ghost town? Discover Mark Twain’s old cabin near Unionville, located about two and a half hours from Reno, southwest of Star Peak.

Whether you’re looking for some of the most interesting historical landmarks in Nevada or you are just in the mood for a day trip from Reno that isn’t to Lake Tahoe, driving out to any of these locations is sure to quench your thirst for adventure. You might learn something, too!

Traveling from Las Vegas to Reno? Learn more about our recommendations on where to stop on the Las Vegas to Reno drive.

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