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Many visitors spend their entire Nevada stay inside the casinos of Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas. However, Nevada has far more to offer than legalised gambling. Visitors who prefer outdoor activities will undoubtedly enjoy Great Basin National Park’s centuries old pine trees and ancient Lehman Caves. Car rental in Nevada is the only way to reach Great Basin National Park and most of the state’s other hidden attractions.
McCarran International Airport has a separate building where car rental companies such as Advantage, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Payless and several others have their offices, though visitors would be advised to compare car hire in advance in order to secure the vehicle of their choice and the best price. Several suppliers operate among the mega casinos at the Las Vegas Strip and Nevada’s smaller gambling centres. Four-wheel drive vehicles are the safest way to travel on Nevada’s isolated desert and mountain roads, especially in winter.
Las Vegas is home to Nevada’s biggest airport, McCarran International Airport, while Reno-Tahoe International Airport serves Nevada’s two other major gambling centres. Public transportation options in Nevada are few and far between apart from a Las Vegas monorail and bus services in Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City. Sparks and Reno are also stops on Amtrak's California Zephyr rail line.
Most motorists entering Nevada from California use I-15 to arrive in Las Vegas or I-80 to enter Reno, but there is no major road linking Reno and Las Vegas. U.S. Route 50, known as America’s loneliest highway, contains only three tiny towns along its 409-mile stretch between the Utah community of Delta and Fallon, Nevada. Drivers should take extra precautions when driving on isolated Nevada roads, such as watching out for livestock, who have the right of way, and carrying extra fuel and water.
Despite its desolate nickname, U.S. Route 50 actually takes drivers using car hire in Nevada past many of the state’s finest tourist attractions. The route’s Nevada portion begins in Lake Tahoe and ends at beautiful Great Basin National Park. In between Fort Churchill State Historic Park, where a Pony Express way station stands next to some army fort remains, and Carson City, Nevada’s state capital, which contains many of Nevada’s legalised brothels.
Weather is rarely an issue for Nevada visitors who never leave the indoor casinos, but those who plan on spending substantial time outdoors should avoid the extreme desert temperatures, which can soar as high as 52°C on summer days and plummet as low as -46°C. Autumn and spring temperatures are far less extreme. Winters are much colder and longer in northern Nevada than in Las Vegas. The Sierra Nevada mountain range receives most of Nevada’s scarce showers.