Nevada and California: The Dry Desert of Reno (Part 1)

The first time I traveled out west was also the first time that I was ever on a plane. It was a great experience and I enjoyed both Reno and San Francisco, as well as the places in between.

For my first flight, we chose Southwest Airlines due to the fact that it was by far the best deal. If you are looking for an affordable flight, I suggest you check out Southwest. Our travel time from Nashville to Reno was around 5 hours, not including layovers.

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The first plane I was ever on!

I was surprised at how small the inside of a plane was when I first stepped foot inside. I am not sure what I was expecting, something more like a bus perhaps. It was not long before I adjusted and started enjoying the sights out of the window that were like no other I had seen before.

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Arriving in Reno

One of the first things that I noticed when getting off of the plane was the fact that the air was very dry. Coming from a humid area, I initially welcomed the different atmosphere. There was much less grass in Nevada (hence, the desert), something that I had never before witnessed.

We were staying at the Harrah’s Hotel and Casino in Reno.  Due to the fact that it is a casino, and casinos want you to spend your money there, their rooms were very affordable. It is not unusual to be able to book a room for $45 a night. We walked directly into a casino, the first one I had ever been in. Amidst the smoke, there were the extremely loud sounds of the slot machines going off all around us.

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Perks of a Casino Stay  

There are a few advantages to staying in a casino hotel, including the usually affordable rooms just mentioned above. At Harrah’s Reno, there are always a variety of shows occurring in their facilities. A monthly even calendar on their website will break things down for you.

Also, the convenience of having restaurants right downstairs from your room is a huge plus. At this particular hotel this includes a buffet, an upscale steakhouse, Starbucks, Quiznos and more. If you sign up for a membership with the casino, you can expect to receive offers in the mail for things such as free play (to spend at the slot machines), free or discounted rooms and even free meals at the buffet! Buffet meals are not always my favorite, but when they’re free, who would complain?

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Reno, the Biggest Little City in the World

Reno was much smaller than I had expected, though I should have assumed because of its slogan. As of 2014, Reno had a population of around 240,000.

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The original Reno Arch was built in 1926 with a different slogan.

After exploring a little bit of Reno, we headed to an outlet mall that we had heard about. A short ~11 minute drive from the hotel and we were there.

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Not only was this one of the biggest outlet mall that I had been to, but it was also one that had amazing deals as well as awesome views of the mountains that I had not yet gotten to truly admire. There were also sculptures throughout the mall that would catch your eye. I highly recommend you check out The Outlet at Sparks for some wonderful deals.

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Why Reno?

Reno is a great place for an affordable vacation. The flights there are generally more affordable than surrounding areas, and you can stay in a casino for practically nothing. You can always start your vacation out west in Reno and enjoy the scenery as you drive to other destinations!

Reno is a 1 hour drive to Lake Tahoe, a 2 hour drive to Sacramento and a 3.5 hour drive to San Francisco!

Next, we were headed to San Francisco; however, a mandatory stop at Lake Tahoe was in order!

 

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