(Carson City, Nev.) — Carson City (www.visitcarsoncity.com) was named the country’s No. 3 Family Destination for its old west heritage, special events and value by away.com (http://away.com), one of the nation’s premier vacation planning websites.
For its annual Top 5 2012 Best Family Destination Getaways, away.com focused on several American gems, “places that go beyond kiddie rides and water slides” to offer authenticity and character. Other top-rated places included Mackinac Island, Mich., Amelia Island, Fla., and Salem, Mass.
“Carson City provides families a taste of the Wild West with its heritage as a former Pony Express way station and a major player in the Gold Rush of the 1800s,” commented Meagan Francis, away.com blogger. “This small, laid-back city offers big fun for families.”
Notable highlights of a visit to Nevada’s capital city in the rating included special designation of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Nevada State Museum and the Carson Hot Springs.
According to away.com the Nevada State Railroad Museum is “entertaining for kids of all ages — and grown-ups, too” with its restored steam locomotives and cars, a model train display, and a toddler play area with wooden trains and a locomotive. The museum is open Friday – Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 2180 South Carson Street, (775) 687-6953.
Visitors today can enjoy a vintage steam train ride over nearly 16 miles of the original line on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, once the country’s richest short line. The route includes scenic vistas of the Sierra Nevada and Carson River as riders pass through two tunnels and by abandoned mine shafts and old cemeteries, while being treated to occasional sightings of Nevada’s wild mustangs. The V&T travels the same silver path paved by the excesses of the Virginia City mines of the infamous 1860s Comstock silver boom.
The Nevada State Museum is noted for its minted gold and silver coin collection and 1800s presses, a mammoth skeleton exhibit, as well as an authentic replica of an underground mine. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 600 N. Carson St., Carson City. (775) 687-4810.
“The designation reflects the attractions, quality lodging and overall value for families,” said Candy Duncan, executive director of the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Visitors are intrigued by the Old West heritage then discover a comfortable place to visit with friendly, welcoming residents.”
The area invites visitors to explore the history and sample a plethora of outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, the Divine Nine golf courses, river rafting, narrated walks through its historic Victorian neighborhood and buildings as well as steam train excursions to Virginia City on the famous V&T Railway. The variety extends to special events from car and motorcycle shows to wine walks.