Are you planning an epic trip to the sunny state of Nevada?
Awesome! The Silver State is one of the most vibrant in the country, offering sights and activities you won’t experience anywhere else. Nevada may be famous for its casinos, but the state’s rich history and people will make your visit unique in every way.
If you think you know all there is to know about the state of Nevada, think again! Here are 20 facts about the Silver State that only a few people know about.
1. Area 51
The world-famous secretive facility is not so secret anymore and finally got some acknowledgment. The official name for State Route 375 is now “The Extraterrestrial Highway.” A ceremony featuring the cast and crew of the movie “Independence Day” made it so. The 98-mile stretch of road runs between Alamo and Tonopah, so keep your eyes peeled for UFOs when you’re there.
2. Mountain Ranges Galore
Nevada not only has the most casinos but also more mountain ranges than any other state. The highest point is 13,145 feet, at the top of Boundary Peak close to the west-central border. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area offers camping and hiking opportunities in a scenic mountain environment.
3. No Rain
The Silver State only gets around 10 inches of rain per year, making Nevada the driest state in the U.S.
4. Lucky Number 7
Nevada is the seventh-largest state in the U.S., stretching 110,540 square miles. The federal government owns about 86% of the land, including Area 51.
Speaking of government land, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas lies the infamous Nevada Test Site. Why infamous? Well, from 1951 to 1992, the military performed 928 nuclear tests there. The underground detonation sites remain radioactive to this day.
6. Hello, Honey
Nevada is the only U.S. state where prostitution is legal. However, the oldest known profession is not practiced in the entire state (or so they say). Prostitution is only allowed in regulated brothels in counties where the population doesn’t exceed 400,000. The thriving “activities” you see in Vegas or Reno are illegal.
7. The Party Never Ends
In Nevada, you can’t get arrested for being stone-cold drunk in public. Sure, other U.S. states don’t have any laws that ban public intoxication, too. But Nevada is unique – it’s the ONLY state that prohibits state and local laws from making intoxication a civil offense. Worried about a random Nevada arrest records search on you? It never happened! The state also has a law that allows establishments to sell alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day. Booya!
8. That’s Mine
Nevada used to be under the control of Spain until Mexico won its independence. The United States took over in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War.
9. Snow in the Desert
The word “nevada” actually means “snow-capped” in Spanish, but where’s all the snow? The Ruby Mountains (near Elko) and the Sierra Nevada mountain range (near Reno) snow for half the year.
10. The Native Americans and the Mormons
The Washoe, Paiute, and Shoshone tribes were the original inhabitants of Nevada. In 1851, the Mormons moved in and built the first permanent non-native settlement in the area.
11. What Taxes?
The Silver State is one of seven U.S. states that levy no individual income tax. Nevada also doesn’t charge income tax on corporations.
12. Capital Small
Carson City is home to the Nevada State Capitol and one of the smallest state capitals in the United States. The city is also one of only three state capitals which borders another state. In case you were wondering, the others are Trenton, New Jersey, and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Juneau, Alaska, shares its borders with Canada.
13. Hiding in Plain Sight
In 1949, researchers found the oldest known skeletons of early men who lived within the U.S. territories inside Hidden Cave.
14. Mr. Hughes
American icon Howard Hughes added real estate to his growing business empire. He bought swaths of property in Nevada and undeveloped land in the adjacent desert. Some of the properties Mr. Hughes owned include Harold’s Club, Silver Slipper, Castaways, Desert Inn, Landmark, and Frontier. At one time, he didn’t want to leave his room at the Desert Inn, so he bought the whole place.
15. The Sagebrush State
The state bird of Nevada is the Mountain Bluebird, and the state flower is Sagebrush.
Nevada is home to Highway 50, known as the Loneliest Highway in America, according to “Life” magazine. The 287-mile stretch of concrete has very few road stops scattered between Fernley and Ely.
17. Silver and Gold
They don’t call Nevada the “Silver State” for nothing. The stunning discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859 helped trigger a silver rush and population boom. In retrospect, Nevada is one of the leading gold producers in the world, but the name “Golden State” already has an owner.
18. Battle Born
Nevada’s mineral wealth and prime location made it a potential Union state during the Civil War, and it was. This battle is where Nevada’s third name, “The Battle Born State“, comes from.
19. Gambling City
Nevada is world-famous as one of the pioneers in luxury hotels, casinos, and gambling. Gambling became legal in Nevada as early as 1931. Las Vegas holds the record for the most hotel rooms -150,000 and counting to be exact-more than any other place on the planet. The majority of the world’s largest hotels are in Las Vegas.
Hoover Dam is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Nevada. Located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, construction started in 1931 and ended in 1935. The dam is one of the most significant single public works projects in American history. The dam was initially called Boulder Dam. Officials changed the name in 1947 after Herbert Hoover negotiated the Colorado River Compact.
At one point, Hoover Dam was one of the biggest in the world at 726-feet high and 1,244-feet long. It contained 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete and was the largest hydroelectric power producer in the world until 1948. Hoover Dam featured prominently in the movie “Transformers” and was the site of one of the most iconic scenes in the film.