Whether you’re craving adventure or a relaxing beach retreat, the city of Reno, Nevada is where you should go. When you make one of many Reno vacation rentals your home base, you can enjoy the best of both Nevada and California. Head out to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California; soak up the wild west culture in Elko, Nevada; or hop aboard antique railways in Ely, Nevada. When planning your next weekend getaway in one of these seven cities from Reno, you can look forward to family-friendly fun, vibrant nightlife, and peaceful outdoor recreation.

santa cruz shoreline

1. Santa Cruz, California

Cross the state border into California after a four and a half-hour drive to see the amazing beaches of Santa Cruz. Stroll along the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, or make your way to the historic Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf to see the flowing waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This city offers the avid surfers a chance to ride the waves and see the artifacts at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Walk the trails of Wilder Ranch State Park, and then treat the kids to an afternoon at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.

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2. Elko, Nevada

Pack your cowboy boots and head out for a wild west adventure in Elko where the Great American West is alive. This small Nevada city, located four hours from Reno, is right in the heart of the Ruby Mountains, offering picturesque views while walking on the trails of the Humboldt National Forest. Check out the cowboy gear at the Northeast Nevada Museum Western Folklife Center, or join the locals of this ranching community on a fishing excursion at the Wild Horse Reservoir State Recreation Area. Golfers flock to the Ruby View Golf Course to get in 18 holes of golf before retreating back to their cozy vacation rentals.

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3. Wells, Nevada

Opt for a vacation rental that provides you with views of the Humboldt Mountains and Angel Lake when making Wells your vacation destination. This scenic Nevada town, located four hours from Reno, features an 11-mile long drive that takes you through thick forests with mountain and lake views, offering the perfect backdrop for a family photo. During your weekend getaway in Wells, take a dip in the 12-mile Hot Springs, or rent kayaks and tubes from Sierra Nevada Adventure Company to float down Angel Lake.

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4. Ely, Nevada

Delight train enthusiasts with a weekend getaway in Ely, located five hours from the big city of Reno. Hop on board the antique trains at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum before stopping in at the Ely Renaissance Village for a historical lesson about this Nevada city’s early beginnings. When you’re seeking out a vacation destination with some nightlife, Ely delivers with the Corner Tracks Saloon and Stage, as well as the Stardust Ranch country and western bar. If you’re feeling lucky, head over to the Jailhouse Casino to try your luck on the tables or slots.

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5. Nevada City, California

Known as California’s ‘Gold Rush’ town, Nevada City gives you a chance to enjoy big-city entertainment without the crowds after an hour and a half drive. Time your weekend getaway to coincide with the Nevada Film Festival, or indulge nature enthusiasts with hikes and walks through the Tahoe National Forest. When the weather is warm, take a dip in Deer Creek, and then soak up the culture in the city center, which offers exhibits detailing the history of the Nisenan tribe of Native Americans. When you’re ready to wind down, kick back with a fine wine at Double Oak Vineyards and Winery.

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6. Goldfield, Nevada

If you want to spend a weekend in an authentic ghost town, then Goldfield is the obvious choice for your destination. This Nevada town, located four hours from Reno, is home to one of the most haunted places in the state: the Goldfield Hotel. Take a tour of the hotel for a spooky adventure, and then head out to see the city’s interesting landmarks, such as the International Car Forest of The Last Church, the Elite Trading Post, and the Esmeralda County Courthouse. When hunger strikes, grab some grub at the Dinky Diner or the Hoist House Tavern.

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7. Ukiah, California

Travel four and a half hours to settle in your vacation rental in Ukiah, a small city that offers world-class cultural venues. Attend a festival at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds, hop on the historic Skunk Train, or pamper yourself at the Shambala Ranch Spa during your weekend getaway. This quirky California town gives you a chance to enjoy water-filled adventures with access to swimming and boating on Lake Mendocino, as well as horseback rides with guides from J Arena. See more sights of the city with a bike ride in the Cow Mountain Recreation Area before spending some quality time with the family at your vacation rental.

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