Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out – Your Northern Nevada Summer Must-Do List

Summer in Northern Nevada is the ultimate playground for anyone looking to soak up some serious fun in the sun! With stunning landscapes, crystal-clear lakes, and a never-ending list of entertainment options, there's always something exciting to discover. Trust us, you won't have a single dull moment here!

Whether you're up for heart-pumping adventures, exploring new trails, or just indulging in some delicious food and drink, Northern Nevada has got you covered. And with so many choices, there won’t be enough time to fit everything into one season. That's why we've handpicked the top must-do activities for an unforgettable summer experience. Get ready to embark on an adventure-filled journey that will have you coming back for more!

Man paddleboarding in the crystal clear lake tahoe waters

Outdoor Activities

Summer in Carson City, Reno, and Sparks is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. And with Lake Tahoe, just a short drive away, you're in for a real treat. The stunning scenery of Lake Tahoe is unbeatable, with scenic views and beautiful beaches to relax on. Lake Tahoe is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding, there's an abundance of activities to keep you busy year-round.

  • Hiking and Biking: Northern Nevada offers an abundance of hiking and biking trails for all skill levels. Some top trails to explore include the Mount Rose Trail, Hunter Creek Trail, and the Flume Trail.
    • With over 300 miles of trails, Tahoe is a hiker's and biker's paradise. From leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, there's something for everyone. For a scenic hike, try the Mount Tallac Trail or the Emerald Bay State Park trail. For mountain bikers, the Tahoe Rim Trail offers a challenging ride with stunning views.
  • Water Activities: With its numerous lakes and rivers, Northern Nevada offers a variety of water activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, and fishing. Pyramid Lake, and the Truckee River are popular spots for water activities.
    • The area is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches. Take a kayak or paddleboard out for a spin and explore the shoreline. For the more adventurous, try water skiing, wakeboarding, or parasailing. Don't forget to bring your fishing gear and try your hand at catching some trout, salmon, or bass.
    • With numerous lakes and rivers in the area to explore, fishing and boating enthusiasts will never tire of the summer season.
  • Camping and RVing: Northern Nevada offers a variety of camping and RVing options, including the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the Black Rock Desert, and the Ruby Mountains.
  • Golfing: Golfers will love Northern Nevada's world-class golf courses, including the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Montreux Golf and Country Club, and the Incline Village Mountain Course.
  • Horseback Riding: Experience the beauty of Northern Nevada's outdoors on horseback. Several ranches and stables offer guided trail rides and lessons.
  • Rock Climbing: Northern Nevada offers a variety of rock climbing options for all skill levels, including the famous Lover's Leap area near Lake Tahoe and the Red Rock Canyon area near Reno.
Women enjoying herself at a festival in northern Nevada

Events and Festivals

Summer in Northern Nevada is jam-packed with exciting events and festivals, making it the perfect time to immerse yourself in the local culture. The region's most iconic events include the Great Reno Balloon Race, Reno Rodeo, and Artown, a month-long celebration of art and culture featuring concerts, performances, and exhibitions.

Another must is the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, where you can enjoy a stunning performance against the backdrop of the lake's crystal-clear waters. And for adventurous and creative people, there's Burning Man, a unique and one-of-a-kind festival that attracts people from all over the world.

There are many summer events and festivals to enjoy, including music festivals, food and wine events, and cultural celebrations.

  • Great Reno Balloon Race
  • Reno Rodeo
  • Artown
  • Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
  • Burning Man
  • Basque Festival
  • Nugget Rib Cook-Off
  • Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off
  • Hot August Nights
  • Brew Haha
  • Reno River Festival
  • Virginia City Camel and Ostrich Races
  • Reno Art Fest
  • Lake Tahoe Music Festival
  • Food Truck Friday
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Summer in Northern Nevada is the perfect time to indulge in the region's delicious food and drink scene. Here are some of the best places to eat, drink, and enjoy:

  • Best restaurants and cafes for summer dining: The region offers an array of dining options, from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. Some of the best options include:
    • Campo - Reno
    • The Gas Lamp Restaurant and Bar - Reno
    • Bistro Napa - Reno
    • Jack's Cafe - Carson City
    • Nashville Social Club - Carson City
    • Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint - Carson City 
    • Six Peaks Grille - Olympic Valley
    • The Soule Domain - Kings Beach
  • Farmers markets and food festivals: The region's farmers markets are a great place to find fresh, locally grown produce, while food festivals offer a variety of food options from local vendors.
    • Reno Farmers Market - The largest farmers market in Northern Nevada, offering fresh produce, flowers, and artisanal goods. Open Saturdays and Thursdays during the summer months.
    • Carson Farmers Market - Held every Saturday in downtown Carson City, offering locally grown produce, flowers, and handmade crafts.
    • Sparks Farmers Market - Featuring over 30 vendors, this market offers fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts. Open Thursdays during the summer months.
    • Tahoe City Farmers Market - Held every Thursday in Tahoe City, this market offers locally grown produce, live music, and a variety of artisanal goods.
    • Truckee Farmers Market - Featuring over 50 vendors, this market offers fresh produce, flowers, and handmade crafts. Open Tuesdays during the summer months.
  • Wineries, breweries, and distilleries: Northern Nevada boasts a growing wine, beer, and spirits industry. Some of the best spots to visit include Frey Ranch Estate Distillery, Great Basin Brewing Company, and Churchill Vineyards.
  • Local ice cream and gelato shops: When the weather gets hot, there's nothing better than a cold treat. Local favorites include Rolled Mountain Creamery, Bibo Coffee Company, and Dorinda's Chocolates.

Get ready to indulge in some of the region's best food and drink options this summer.

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Attractions and Sightseeing

Northern Nevada is filled with unique and exciting attractions. Here are a few must-see options for your summer itinerary:

  • Carson City scenic views: The capital city of Nevada offers breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Check out the scenic drive up to Lake Tahoe or hike the nearby trails for spectacular views of the area.
  • Virginia City historic district: Step back in time and experience the history of the Wild West in Virginia City's historic district. Take a tour of the old silver mines, visit the many museums, or simply stroll the charming streets.
  • National Automobile Museum: Car enthusiasts won't want to miss the National Automobile Museum in Reno. The museum houses over 200 vintage cars and exhibits on the history of the automobile.
  • Animal Ark wildlife sanctuary: Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Animal Ark sanctuary. This nonprofit organization provides a safe and permanent home for a variety of rescued animals.
  • Recommended tours and attractions: Other must-see attractions and tours include Lake Tahoe boat tours, the Nevada State Museum, and the Reno Riverwalk. Consider a guided tour for a more immersive and informative experience.
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Summer Camps For Kids

  • Discovery Museum Summer Camps: The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno offers a variety of summer camps for kids ages 4-14, including STEM-focused camps and outdoor adventure camps.
  • The Little Gym Summer Camps: The Little Gym in Reno offers summer camps for kids ages 3-12, including gymnastics, dance, and themed camps.
  • Galena Creek Nature Camps: Galena Creek Recreation Area in Reno offers nature-based camps for kids ages 4-17, including hiking, survival skills, and outdoor education.
  • YMCA Summer Camps: The YMCA of Northern Nevada offers summer camps for kids ages 5-15, including sports, arts and crafts, and adventure camps.
  • Sierra Nevada Journeys Summer Camps: Sierra Nevada Journeys offers summer camps at Grizzly Creek Ranch near Portola, CA, for kids ages 8-17, including outdoor adventure, STEM, and leadership camps.

Northern Nevada offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions for summer visitors. From scenic views and outdoor adventures, and unique historical sights, there's something for everyone in this region.

There's no doubt that spending summer in Northern Nevada offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. So, if you're looking for a summer adventure, start planning your trip to this vibrant and lively region. Whether you're a local or a visitor, there's always something new and exciting to discover in Northern Nevada. So, pack your bags and get ready for a summer of fun and adventure!

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