Carson Valley is a beautiful, exciting area in western Nevada that’s a rapidly growing vacation destination as travelers are realizing that there’s a lot more to Nevada than Vegas. Carson Valley is an outdoorsman’s dream, brimming with lakes, mountains, nature trails, and outdoor activities at every turn. It’s a great place for a family vacation, a buddies weekend away, or just a solo trip to relax and recharge your batteries while gazing upon nature’s splendor.
Every beautiful countryside should boast a beautiful golf course or two to take advantage of the scenery and rolling terrain, and golfers will be more than satisfied by Carson Valley’s offerings. Genoa Lakes resort delivers two incredible championship golf courses, the majestic and daunting links-style Lakes Course and the magnificent Ranch Course at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. The crown jewel of the valley is the Johnny Miller-designed Ranch Course, which features dramatic elevation changes, stunning scenery, mountainside terrain, unpredictable winds, and even a waterfall to test every aspect of your golf game. Make sure you keep your phone charged up, as the back 9 has the unbeatable views and Kodak moments. Insider tip: bring mosquito repellent, as if the winds die down the bugs may come out.
If you’re looking for a breather, the Carson Valley Golf Course is a shorter option, clocking in around 6,000 yards with a course rating of 68.0 from the back tees. You’ll still need to bring your A-game to avoid the numerous water hazards, but the shorter yardage and friendlier greens make it more accessible to golfers of all skill levels. The winding Carson River, the tall cottonwood trees and the mountains looming in the distance make for a lovely, fun golf experience. Don’t forget to wear your golf shirt and pants.
Carson Valley is bordered by the Sierra Nevadas, just on the other side of the towering peaks from Lake Tahoe. But Carson Valley has lakes and rivers on its own just waiting for you to explore. Fly fishing enthusiasts can also find joy by heading east to the many rivers and lakes of Gardnerville, where The Angler’s Edge provides all the equipment and local knowledge you could need. Whether you’re looking for a trophy fish from Topaz Lake, the right river bend, or hidden spots and high country lakes that are off the beaten path, they’ll get you set up right.
Speaking of Gardnerville, it’s well worth a trip to the Museum and Cultural Center where you’ll learn about the deep, rich history of the area, from Genoa (the oldest non-native settlement in Nevada) to the Pony Express and, of course, legendary frontiersman Kit Carson. The museum’s historic “Main Street” represents real life in the Old West from the 19th century, with shops appropriate to the time period. Native American history is also explored.
Dining in Carson Valley is a uniquely welcoming experience, with local ingredients spotlighted in classic preparations. No trip to the area is complete without a visit to JT Basque Bar & Dining Room, which remains family-owned and operated since its opening in 1955. The family-style Basque restaurant offers adventurous eaters unique dishes like pig’s feet, sweetbreads, and roasted rabbit; if you’re looking for something more traditional though, don’t worry — you can get a perfectly grilled steak too.
Bently Heritage Estate Distillery is a must for those who enjoy a nice libation, as they create super-premium spirits from grains grown on the grounds of the estate. It’s a perfect circle of life: the grains are grown, crafted into incredible spirits, and then composted and used to fertilize the next round of grains. Distillery tours and tastings are available Thursday through Sunday.
There’s so much more to do in Carson Valley too: rent a boat for a lake cruise, hike the numerous nature trails, get married in the panoramic beauty of the mountains, take a mountainside tour on horseback, soak in the regenerative hot springs, visit the numerous local art galleries, or take it all in from high in the sky aboard a hot air balloon! It’s a one-of-a-kind destination with unique and inspiring natural beauty all around.