The 10 Most Unique Towns in Nevada
Founded in 1862, Austin is a charming community located in central Nevada along Highway 50 or ‘The Loneliest Road in America’. Once an old silver mining town, the area is steeped in history and today boasts a historic Main Street lined with unique shops, tasty eateries, and lodging. History buffs will be interested in the historic sites found around the area, which includes three churches from the mid to late 1800s, Stokes Castle, which is a three-story tower made of granite, and the Toquima Cave Rock Art site to name but a few. The great outdoors provide plenty of fun adventures, including camping, hiking, biking, and even wildlife watching, for outdoor enthusiasts. Many events also take place in and around Austin throughout the year.
Located in southeastern Nevada, Caliente is a picturesque town with its roots firmly planted in the railroad industry. What might be considered the centerpiece of the town is the 1923 Caliente Railroad Depot. A beautiful mission-style building, the depot of today houses city offices along with an art gallery and a library. As for outdoor scenery, the town is peppered with lovely cottonwood trees and is near several state parks and other wonderful sites, including Rainbow Canyon and Kershaw-Ryan State Park, making it a great spot for adventurers. The area is also home to hot springs and mineral baths for which Caliente is named.
Ely is another gem on the ‘loneliest road,’ except on the eastern end. Starting out as a stagecoach station and post office on the Pony Express, this history-rich town provides something for every explorer. From the large murals that grace many of the buildings — there’s over 22 murals and sculptures — to unique sites and museums showcasing its early days, learning about Ely’s history is a lot of fun. The Renaissance Village is a definite must-visit with its various small cabins decorated to represent the area’s various early ethnicities, which included Spanish, French, Greek, and Chinese residents. Other attractions include the Ghost Train and numerous recreational opportunities for the outdoor lover.
Located between Austin and Ely, Eureka is a lovely town brimming with history. Settled in 1865, this present day mining community features several historical treasures, including a beautifully restored 1880s opera house that, today, serves as a multi-use facility. The town’s history can be further explored at the Sentinel Museum, an 1879 building that once housed the Eureka Sentinel Newspaper and now highlights displays of original press equipment plus lifestyle accoutrements of the early days. The scenic landscape provides a great playground for those who seek outdoor adventures, and events are held throughout the year as well, including a fantastic Independence Day celebration.
Settled in 1851, Genoa is the oldest settlement in Nevada. Nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada Range on the eastern slopes, this beautiful community is brimming with charm at every turn. While it is small, the area has something for everyone from unique shops, top-notch eateries, and bars — visit the Genoa Bar, which is the oldest saloon in Nevada — to picturesque outdoor spaces like the Mormon Station State Historic Park to wonderful historic buildings. The town also hosts various events throughout the year, including the annual Candy Dance Arts and Crafts Faire where guests can not only pick up unique items but also purchase delicious homemade candies.
Not long after it was established in 1902, Goldfield became the state’s largest city due to the success of gold mining. Today, this historic town is very small but offers a lot in the way of fascinating historical gems. From the 1916 G.L. ‘Rex’ Rickard House to the 1907 Goldfield High School, the small community has many buildings all of which tell a story about the past. Quite possibly the most famous building still standing is the Goldfield Hotel. Built in 1907, this grand building was one of the most luxurious hotels during its time while today, it is very popular among paranormal enthusiasts. Other attractions include the International Car Forest of the Last Church outdoor art installation, which features over 40 cars partially buried or stacked upon each other.
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Incline Village is simply a gorgeous gem with beautiful mansions and stunning scenery. In addition to the majestic, forest-covered mountains, the town also has the jewel known as Lake Tahoe — the largest alpine lake in the country — at its front door. A lovely place from which to explore the surrounding area, which includes other great towns in both Nevada and neighboring California, the area has something for everyone. Not only are there delicious eateries and boutiques but also incredible outdoor activities from water sports to great skiing adventures. Events are also plentiful, including the Red, White, and Tahoe Blue Festival celebrating the nation’s independence.
Located in northeastern Nevada near the Idaho border is the charming former mining town known as Jarbidge. Nestled in a canyon, this tiny town finds itself surrounded by breathtaking scenery called the Jarbidge Wilderness Area, which includes 65,000 acres of lush vegetation, lakes, streams, and wildlife. Best explored during the warmer months as winter finds this remote town hard to access, the area offers many recreational activities from hiking to biking to packhorse trips. If visitors can get there during the winter, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are also available. Within the town, visitors will find old miners’ huts and stables along with former brothels plus other highlights like the Jarbidge Community Hall, which was built in 1911 and displays historical items.
Lamoille is a picturesque, small village nestled in the foothills of the Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada. Settled in 1865, this ranching community is a lovely place from which to explore the gorgeous outdoors either for adventure seekers or photographers and other artists wishing to capture its beauty. From hiking to fishing to camping, there is something for every outdoor lover, and for the true adrenaline junkie, the Ruby Mountain Heli-Experience provides an incredible winter adventure for skiers. And while the town itself is small, visitors will find eateries, lodging, and charming buildings, including The Little Church of the Crossroads — built in 1905.
A charming Victorian-era town with a rich mining history, Virginia City is a must-visit when touring western Nevada. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this lively town is brimming with historic buildings many of which line C Street and house unique shops, tasty eateries, and other fun attractions. Perfect for strolling by foot, guests can further explore the town’s history by visiting various museums and sites, including the Pipers Opera House, the Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise, and The Way It Was Museum, to name but a few. Art lovers will take delight in the St. Mary’s Art Center, a historic 1876 hospital that is now a wonderful art center. Mine tours, a ride on the V&T Railroad plus many events, such as Hauntober, also await guests.
By Marcelina Morfin