Reno â€“ More than a Casino Town
LEA ANN FESSENDEN
The Reno/Lake Tahoe area pretty much has it all when it comes to a fun destination. We immediately think of the casinos and nightlife when we think of Reno, but there are a lot of ways to lose yourself in this beautiful region.
For those who like a little adventure with their gambling, you may want to start with some their winter activities which include skiing, snowmobiling, ice-skating, sled rides, snowshoeing, dog sledding, cross country skiing and snowboarding. There are 18 different resorts offering a variety of winter sports for the beginner, the expert and the in-betweener's.
If snow doesn't excite you, try some of the other great land activities available in the area such as horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, rock climbing, backcountry tours and off-road ATV tours.
Then there is that gorgeous Lake Tahoe, "the Jewel of the Sierra," just minutes from Reno where visitors can enjoy all kinds of water sports. There are plenty of companies offering sailing, boat rentals, jet skis, party boats, parasailing, kayak rental, wave runners, wake boarding, sportfishing, speed boats and pedal boats.
But for a real thrill, I decided to check out the pristine rivers in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area for a little whitewater rafting! Whether you want a quiet glide down the Truckee River or a thrill-a-minute adventure, there are a number of excellent tour operators to safely oversee your fun. Or check out the amazing Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield ,right downtown Reno. This very unusual water park is open year-round with all kinds of cool water activities for people of all skill levels and a variety of equipment such as kayaks, canoes, rafts and inner tubes. There are 11 fresh water drop-pools covering a mile and a half which are covered with 7,000 tons of smooth flat-top rocks and boulder so you can practice all your tricky maneuvers.
If all of these adventures still haven't provided the ultimate rush you are looking for, head out to the Ultimate Rush and Speed Thrill Park located outside the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. The "Ultimate Rush" ride consists of you and two others being harnessed and hoisted 180 feet into the air. When ready, you pull a rip cord that sends you plummeting straight to the ground. Thankfully right before you hit concrete, they swing you out and over the parking lot until you are finally brought to a stop on the ground. The kids loved this, I opted to be the photographer! Another favorite thrill ride at this park is the "Sling Shot" where you are strapped into a steel cage and dangled by bungee cords. Sorry, once again, I preferred to take the pictures. This was way too much speed for me!
So although the Reno/Lake Tahoe area is famous for its 24 hour casinos and exciting nightlife there are all kinds of adventures waiting for everyone in the family. I just hope you have time to fit it all in!