Why Reno, Nevada should be on your family travel radar

Never considered spending family vacation time in the Biggest Little City in the World? I get it: Reno, Nevada is usually a stop-over for road tripping families, a pit stop en route to Tahoe, Vegas, or the San Francisco Bay Area. However, Reno has grown in both population and stature, helping this ‘little city’ deliver big on family-friendly attractions. The city is affordable (hello, casino-hotel deals), close to outdoor recreation, and its calendar is packed with kid-friendly events. Here’s why a Reno family vacation is worth considering:

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1. Mt. Rose hiking and skiing:

Yes, Lake Tahoe skiing is adjacent to Reno, and yes, we love Tahoe skiing. But for families who want to save vacation cash by staying in Reno and don’t relish the idea of a commute, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe provides the absolute fastest access to slopes. And Mt. Rose is a four-season destination: in summer, hikes on Mt. Rose range from half-mile nature walks to full day adventures. Mt. Rose is the second tallest peak in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the highest in Nevada. Mountain biking reigns here as well.

2. Virginia City:

Located only 30 minutes outside of downtown Reno, Virginia City offers a true glimpse at Old West mining history and a genuine feel for Northern Nevada. Tour museums, walk the boardwalks of the historic streets, take part in living history exhibits, enter crumbling mines (not for the feint of heart!) and check out saloons with sordid pasts (yes, there are more than a few). En route to Virginia City,  look for the wild horse herds that still run free in this part of the country.

3. Scheel’s Sporting Goods Store:

Scheel’s is more than just your average sporting goods store. In fact, it’s starting to get a bit of a cult following in travel  circles, aka Wall Drug in South Dakota. But intend of kitchy goodness, Scheel’s offers 248,000 square feet of retail space, earning it the title of World’s Largest Sporting Goods Store. Scheel’s features a 65-foot tall ferris wheel, two 16,000 gallon aquariums, 32+ flavors of fudge in the Fudge Factory, 14 presidents in the Walk of Presidents (random!), a NASCAR Simulator, and a 35-foot tall Wildlife Mountain in addition to 85+ specialty shops that feature the hottest brands in clothing, footwear and sports equipment.

4. Great Reno Balloon Race:

Every September, Reno becomes a premiere destination for balloon enthusiasts. The Great Reno Balloon Race is the largest free ballooning event in the world. Bring the kids, enjoy free entertainment, and take in a truly spectacular sight. There are fly-overs, tethered rides, glowing balloons, pre-dawn events, and more.

5. Pyramid Lake:

Thirty miles northeast of Reno, prehistoric Pyramid Lake is perhaps the most unusual natural landscapes you’ll ever encounter. Intrigued? This vast, pure jewel in the heart of the Northern Nevada desert mountains stands out like a eye…and is filled with trout. Plus, we hear it’s the default photo on the iPad. If it’s good enough for Apple, I’ve got to check it out.

Photo credit.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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