Under the Nevada Stars: 11 Camping Spots That Took My Breath Away

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Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.

Nevada, often celebrated for the glittering lights of the Las Vegas Strip, boasts a hidden gem for those seeing an entirely different kind of adventure – the great outdoors. Far removed from the dazzling casinos and bustling city life, the Silver State reveals its wild and rugged side, offering some of the most diverse and captivating camping experiences in the American West. 

From the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Valley of Fire to the serene beauty of Lake Tahoe, Nevada’s campsites showcase the state’s remarkable natural wonders and provide campers with endless possibilities for outdoor exploration.

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

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Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park offers one of the most unique campgrounds in not just Nevada but in the entire US. Home to 14 campsites, each with a fire ring, grill, and electrical hookups, tent campers and RVers with RV’s up to 25 feet long can enjoy the incredible history and nature that the state park is famous for.

The State Park gets its slightly unusual name from the Ichthyosaur, a large extinct marine reptile that swam the earth’s oceans 250 million years ago. In 1928, the very first Ichthyosaur fossil was discovered in the state park, and now, nearly 100 years later, a further 39 have been uncovered, with some even still preserved on site.

But even if prehistoric animals aren’t your thing, the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park boasts a mining ghost town, hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and picnicking opportunities.

Black Rock Desert Recreation Area

Camping Gear
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Black Rock Desert is most famously known for hosting the annual Burning Man Festival every summer in late August. And although roughly 50,000 people descend on Black Rock on that one given weekend, during the remainder of the year, it’s likely you’ll have the majority of the recreation area all to yourself. 

Spanning over 300,000 acres, Black Rock Desert offers visitors endless outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and off-roading. And as there are no dedicated campgrounds to make use of, you can pitch your tent wherever you deem fit!

Cathedral Gorge State Park

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Did you know that over a million years ago, the majority of Nevada’s desert was submerged under a lake? Well, in the Cathedral Gorge State Park in eastern Nevada, you can see evidence of the Silver State’s unbelievable past as the canyons have eroded to reveal soft bentonite clay. 

In total, there are 22 campsites in the Cathedral Gorge State Park, all of which include a table and a grill with electrical hookups available should you need them.

Cave Lake State Park

Camping National Park
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The Cave Lake State Park is open year-round and features a 32-acre reservoir that is perfect for boating, swimming, and fishing. In the State Park, there are two campgrounds, Elk Flat Campground, and Lake View Campground, which are available on a first come, first serve basis at Cave Lake. 

With spectacular mountain views, jagged rock formations, and opportunities to mountain bike, hike, and wildlife spot, Cave Lake State Park is any camper’s dream, which is why it is one of the best campgrounds in all of Nevada.

Echo Canyon State Park

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Nevada’s Echo Canyon State Park offers year-round opportunities to enjoy a variety of great outdoor activities, including camping, boating, and swimming in the park’s 65-acre reservoir. Home to a variety of waterfowl, fish species, deer, bobcats, and coyotes, campers, and hikers can take in the native wildlife all before returning to their tent or RV that they pitched on one of the park’s 33 campsites.

Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park Nevada
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Nevada is home to one of America’s 63 National Parks, and let me tell you, it is by far one of the best places to camp in Nevada. With five developed campgrounds containing more than 100 camping spots, there are plenty of areas for visitors to pitch a tent. All campsites in the Great Basin National Park are on a first come, first serve basis, with only one campground, the Lower Lehman Creek campground, being open year-round.

What adds to the experience of camping in the Great Basin National Park, however, is the fact that there are so many outdoor activities to get involved with. Whether you enjoy biking, hiking, stargazing, or wildlife spotting, the park has something for you, and it should definitely be at the top of your list of places to camp in Nevada.

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

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The Hilltop Campground in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is the perfect campground choice for those looking for a slightly cooler camping experience. Set on an elevation of 2,500m, the Hilltop Campground has single, double, and triple campsites—all with picnic tables, fire rings, and grills—for visitors to enjoy.

Thanks to the campsite’s elevation, you’ll have uninterrupted views of the Mojave desert and the opportunity to hike to the top of Mount Charleston.

Lake Mead and Lake Mohave

Lake Mohave
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Nevada is home to three famous US lakes, all of which have incredible camping opportunities for those who enjoy combining camping with time out on the water. The first of those three lakes is Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US in terms of water capacity. 

Spanning 1.5 million acres, the Lake Mead Recreation Area is a haven for hiking, boating, swimming, fishing, and camping, with various mountains, canyons, and valleys to explore. But although the recreation area was named after the giant reservoir, Nevada’s second famous lake, Lake Mohave, also calls the recreation site home. 

Thanks to the sheer size of the Lake Mead National Recreational Area, there are over 900 camp and RV sites to choose from in 15 different locations. Some sites have desert landscapes, while others have lakeside landscapes. However, all sites in the recreation area boast restrooms, running water, grills, and picnic tables.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe
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One of the prettiest lakes in all of America, Lake Tahoe has quite obviously and understandably made its way onto the best places to camp in Nevada list. Straddling the border of Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe, with its glistening blue waters, has become a popular getaway spot for both residents and tourists.

With over a dozen developed campgrounds encompassing the lake, there is more than enough space for everyone, including those with 21-foot RVs. Lake Tahoe formed roughly 2 million years ago, and today, visitors can scuba dive, swim, and boat, or hike, or cycle one of the many trails that wrap around the lake. 

Ruby Mountains Scenic Area

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The Ruby Mountains Scenic Area offers some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Nevada, and with five national forest campgrounds and unlimited back-country campsites to choose from, you can wake up surrounded by nature and the area’s pure tranquility. 

Aside from camping, visitors to the Ruby Mountains Scenic Area can hike the area’s scenic trails, fish in the Ruby or Robinson Lake, and even hunt for big game animals like mule deer, antelope, mountain lion, and elk.

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park
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The Valley of Fire State Park opened in 1935, making it the state’s oldest and largest state park. What makes the state park such a great camping spot is its scenery, as it boasts some of the most incredible rock formations you’ll ever get to witness.

As you hike through the canyons, you’ll witness 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone, as well as ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. In total, there are two campgrounds that offer 72 campsites, each equipped with shaded tables, grills, water, and restrooms. And don’t worry, if you prefer to camp in luxury, there are also RV sites with power and water hookups available.

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Miami Beach
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Ann Arbor for MSN
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