One of the best ways to fully appreciate the bright lights of Las Vegas might be from 30 miles away. That’s where the Hoover Dam––rising 726 feet high and stretching 1,244 feet long––churns out enough hydroelectric power to keep every casino bulb burning through the desert night. One of the best things to see in Nevada, this massive man-made marvel of engineering reveals a peek inside one of America's great industrial feats and a rail-clinging view of the Colorado River.

Of course, no guide to Nevada would be complete without suggesting at least a brief stop in Vegas. The Las Vegas Strip is the city’s main artery and its gambling and entertainment mecca, where ringing slots and swirling lights cascade around Caesar’s Palace and the pyramid-shaped Luxor hotel. But there's also room for romance amidst the madness; the Paris hotel's Eiffel Tower replica beckons starry-eyed couples, who can wine and dine in a five-star restaurant, tie the knot at the Graceland Wedding Chapel—where Elvis performs the nuptials—and then honeymoon aboard a personal gondola inside the Venetian hotel. There’s plenty of things for families to do in Vegas too—indoor theme parks, magic shows, and arcades prove that the city is no longer just for adults.

Beyond the poker tables, recreational activities abound at Valley of Fire State Park, where hikers can spy 3000-year-old Indian petroglyphs as they stroll through fire-red rock formations and camp beneath the stars. Lake Tahoe’s crystal blue waters are perfect for a dip, and surrounding mountains draw skiers and snowboarders to their snowy peaks. History buffs will also find plenty to do in the Nevada wilderness. A trip to Virginia City, for example, where the preserved 19th-century prospector's town presents Victorian-era saloons, churches, and gold mines that bring the history of the Wild West to life.

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