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Top 10 Outlandish Things You Can Do in Nevada

by Nora McCaughey
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Most people know Nevada for its crazy shows and lax gambling rules, but the state extends far beyond Reno and Vegas. Desert oddities dot the Silver State, making it one of the most unexpectedly eccentric places in America. Here are some of the wildest and out-of-this-world things you can do in Nevada.

Related: 10 Mesmerizing Deserted Places

10 Eat at an Authentic Saloon

Pioneer Saloon and Old West Nevada

This is where you can finally live out your Wild West dreams.

The Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada, is the oldest working saloon in the Silver State, and it shows. Original tin walls and ceilings from 1913 make this building exactly like the kind you’ d imagine a cowboy striding into.

Actor Clark Gable spent three days straight pounding back drinks while waiting on the fate of his wife, Carole Lombard, who had recently gone down in a plane crash nearby. Lombard didn’t make it, and many say that her spirit haunts the saloon, searching for her lover.

Not just a place to eat, drink, and meet a ghost, the Pioneer Saloon is a kind of mini-museum, housing memorabilia from Goodsprings’ days of yore.[1]

9 Tell Time at Ryanhendge

Ryan Henge: Alamo NV Stonehenge Replica Revealed

Ryan Williams, CEO of Western Elite Landfill in Alamo, Nevada, paid tribute to his childhood love for the stars by creating his own solar calendar. Located over an hour outside of Vegas, far from the neon lights that ruin the view of the galaxy, Williams’ landfill is now home to a Stonehenge-themed sundial, labyrinth, and even a chess board.

The constellations are mapped to the 21st of each month, a reference to Williams’s own birthday (December 21). It took over ten years to complete the attraction, which also includes yin-yang symbols, Latin phrases, and other emblems to encourage visitors to relax and meditate.

And, of course, there are some aliens strewn about so you can tell all your friends back home that you had a truly otherworldly experience.[2]

8 Play with Construction Equipment

Drive Monster Machines At Construction Equipment Playground

Who hasn’t wanted to get behind the controls of a bulldozer and see what happens?

Thanks to Ed Mumm, creator of Dig This Las Vegas, now you can. Mumm was building his home and realized that using the excavator he had rented was a ton of fun. He “felt that it was something everyone could enjoy, and there was nothing like it out there.”

This construction theme park gives customers a choice between classic bulldozers or hydraulic excavators, then lets them into the Nevada desert to dig up holes, build mounds of dirt, or compete in skill tests such as moving tires and basketballs.

It’s all the fun of being a construction worker, but without getting paid. But hey, if you’re into that, you do you![3]

7 Send a Letter to an Alien

The Unknown Files: The Black Mailbox

When you think “Nevada,” no doubt you also think “aliens.” The 36th U.S. state has become synonymous with extraterrestrials thanks to alleged UFO sightings and the nearby secrecy of Area 51, a government-owned section of the desert rumored to be home to aliens (which I’ll get to again later).

If you’re not able to spot any otherworldly creatures, you’re in luck: You can send them some mail. Between the towns of Alamo and Rachel sits a mailbox marked “Steve Medlin,” a nearby ranch owner. Over the years, the mailbox’s proximity to Area 51 has attracted alien hunters and curiosity seekers, prompting Medlin to add a smaller, black mailbox a few yards away from his own for people to send letters (or perhaps receive them) from outer space.[4]

6 Get a New Stamp in Your Passport

He Started a Country Inside the U.S. Nobody Noticed.

Ever wondered what goes into making a country a country? If you ask Kevin Baugh, it just takes a lot of will.

In 1998, Baugh bought 11 acres (4.45 hectares) of land in Dayton, Nevada, and promptly declared it the Republic of Molossia. Baugh, of course, is the president (full title: His Excellency President Grand Admiral Colonel Doctor Kevin Baugh, President and Raïs of Molossia, Protector of the Nation and Guardian of the People), his wife the First Lady, and his daughter, who serves as Chief Constable.

Baugh welcomes tourists, but visitors should make sure to empty their grocery bags, as spinach and onions are banned from the country. Why? Because Baugh doesn’t like them.

If you break the rules, you’ll probably be thrown in jail, which, along with the post office, bank, and space force, was created by and run by Baugh. Even though the country is not recognized by the United Nations (or any other officials of the world), you can get your passport stamped upon entry. And while you’re there, be sure to grab the official drink of Molossia, the Molossolini: It’s a Shirley Temple with pineapple juice and fruits.[5]

5 Climb Mount Tikaboo


About 120 miles (193 kilometers) from Las Vegas sits an area of the Nevada desert that is surrounded by barbed wire, electric fences, “no trespassing signs,” and armed guards.

The Nevada Test and Training Range, better known as Area 51, has long been the subject of otherworldly speculation. There are reports from as far back as the 1950s pointing out mysterious objects in the air, but the public’s interest was really piqued in 1989 when a man claiming to be a former Area 51 employee told the public he had been hired to reverse-engineer extraterrestrial technology.

There’s a lot of evidence that this man, Bob Lazar, may be lying, but in a lot of ways, it doesn’t matter. Area 51 and, by association, the state of Nevada have come to be synonymous with aliens and other supernatural creatures.

Obviously, you can’t actually visit Area 51 unless you’re looking to get shot (there are signs around the area warning that deadly force will be used if necessary). However, a nearby mountain called Tikaboo Peak offers a partial view of the testing site from afar. It has become a popular attraction and a legal way to try to catch sight of a few aliens.[6]

4 Visit the Simpsons

What Happened to the REAL Simpsons House!?

As weird as it is to build an exact replica of the house from the long-running adult cartoon The Simpsons, the story of how it came to be is even weirder.

In 1997, as a publicity stunt for the then eight-year-old sitcom, Fox and Pepsi teamed up to raffle off a life-sized version of the house that the titular Simpsons family lived in. The designers watched over 100 hours of the show, and each room is accurate, down to the tiny irregularities in the architecture and the shade of the wallpaper. Pink walls and an orange couch helped create the illusion that visitors were really in Springfield rather than Henderson, Nevada.

Unfortunately, the winner of the raffle lived in Kentucky and wasn’t willing to relocate. She opted to take the $75,000 cash prize instead, leaving the house empty. With the odd layout and unconventional furniture (not to mention the home was located in an otherwise normal-looking Las Vegas suburb), the house didn’t sell. It was only after being repainted to more muted, beige colors that the home was bought. Today, it looks about the same as every other building on the block, but it still retains the same design as the famous family’s home.[7]

3 Drive on America’s Loneliest Road

The Loneliest Road in America – A Two Day Drive From Fallon to Baker

In 1986, Life Magazine dubbed the Nevada stretch of U.S. Route 50 the “Loneliest Road in America.” Even though it was meant as an insult, with the rest of the article stating the highway is “totally empty” with “no points of interest,” the state instantly embraced the nickname. Today, you can even see the title on official road signs and buy “survival guides” for the parts that Life recommended no one drive through “unless they’re confident of their survival skills.”

While Route 50 itself stretches over 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometers) across America, from Maryland to California, the 408 miles (656 kilometers) that go through Nevada are practically barren. Other than Carson City, the largest town the road goes through is Ely, with a population of less than 4,000 people. Other stops along the highway include near-ghost towns that once prospered as mining settlements or Pony Express stagecoach stops, many of which still have authentic Wild West saloons and other oddities.[8]

2 Go to the McFarthest Spot

Visiting the McFarthest Spot

No matter where you are in America (or most of the world), you can be sure you’re never too far from some McNuggets and a McFlurry. Unless you happen to be in Tonopah, Nevada, otherwise known as the McFarthest spot.

When you’re in Tonopah, you’re 120 miles (193 kilometers) away from the nearest McDonald’s, further than any other spot in the contiguous United States. South Dakota claimed the McFarthest spot until 2014 when Tonopah’s only McDonald’s closed for unknown reasons—but a quick look at the former location’s 1.6 Yelp review rating might give you an idea of why the remote town is now free of the fast food conglomerate.[9]

1 Stay at the Clown Motel

America’s Weird Clown Motel

Scared of clowns? Then, stay far away from Tonopah, Nevada.

The Clown Motel was opened in 1985 by Leona and Leroy David. The clown theme came from their father’s love of clown memorabilia, which they proudly stored in the lobby of the motel. It’s since come under new management twice, but both with the stipulation that the clown museum stays right where it is.

The motel offers regular rooms or clown-themed rooms. It makes patrons acknowledge that “By visiting The Clown Motel, you may encounter interaction with spiritual and/or unexplained phenomena” and states that “The Clown Motel will not be held liable for any bodily injury, damage to personal property, emotional distress, death or other harm caused by the former.”

Even if you’re not afraid of clowns, the Old Tonopah Cemetery, which is attached to the motel, will definitely send shivers down your spine.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen