updated 7/14/2006 3:32:35 PM ET 2006-07-14T19:32:35

You could go to Reno just for the gambling, but you'd miss out on a lot of other things to see and do around that corner of Nevada, from historic spots to water sports to mountain trails. And if you're going this month, you can even take in an arts festival that has events and exhibits all over town.

Get acquainted at the Reno-Sparks visitors authority which also covers part of the North Lake Tahoe area. Most people will head straight for the lodging and gaming sections for links to the casinos and a long directory of hotels, motels, resorts, RV parks and bed & breakfast inns. "Gaming" also has a directory of nightclubs. Look up at the top of the page for links to package deals and the event calendar.

For other things to fill your time, click on "Plan Your Trip" to access details on golf, skiing and shopping _ in case you have any casino winnings to spend. Then click on that page's "Outdoor Adventures" category to see what else you can do after a hard day at the slot machines, including day trips, beaches, parks and "Air Adventures."

There are more guides to outside-the-casinos fun at Reno/Tahoe Visitor where "Recreation" gives you descriptions of mountain bike riding in real mountains, fishing, rafting, parks including Lassen Volcanic National Park, and more skiing. Look for "3 Great Hikes" for places to stretch your legs after long spells of sitting at the gaming tables.

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Now, about that art festival. It's called Artown and it's going on all through July. There is something for every preference and taste, from dance to pottery, from music to sculpture and painting, and even antique cars. The Web site is laid out for easy browsing; just click on the dates when you'll be in town and see what's going on.

Pick up more details on the area's deep blue lake from the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and take a few minutes to try out the Web cams. There are more casinos and clubs around the lake, but the big attractions here in the summer are the scenery and recreation on the lake and in the surrounding mountains. Click on "What to Do" for indoor entertainment, and then go to "Outdoors" to see where you can rent sports equipment, track down the best camping and hire guides to explore the backcountry.

Hiking, anyone? There is also have a link to the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail.

A half-hour drive south of Reno, Virginia City was one of the West's great mining boom towns, with Mark Twain as one of its chroniclers when he was a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise. The city's history lives in its museums, including the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

There's enough history in the region to serve as a theme for your entire visit. Get some ideas for an itinerary with the help of Three Historic Nevada Cities from the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.

And if you have time to explore more of this corner of Nevada, there's a tourism region called the Reno-Tahoe Territory that shows the way to other communities. Look for the links on the left side of the page to the state's other tourism regions.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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