Fernley, Nevada may not be a town that many people think about or even plan on visiting. However, the Western Nevada destination does offer a surprising amount of things to do, and a vast cultural history that’s waiting to be explored. You probably didn’t know it was the former home of a big Amazon fulfillment center, and that it’s also home to the Fernley Speedway. There are many things to do in Fernley for a weekend getaway or week-long vacation.
1. Get your adrenaline pumping at the Fernley Speedway
The Fernley Speedway is Nevada’s premiere motorsports complex, featuring different racing events such as the National Sprint Car Racing Series, Go-Kart racing and off-road competitions. Because of its close proximity to Reno, it houses many large local, regional and national competitions. The track includes arena seating and sky boxes that hold ten people each. Tickets may vary per event, but generally cost 15 USD for general admission and 30 USD for a sky box.
Address: 1965 S Hwy 95a, Fernley, NV 89408
Website: Fernley Speedway
2. Attend the magical Fernley Lantern Festival
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The Fernley Fire in the Sky Lantern Festival is a beautiful experience that can’t be missed if you’re visiting Fernley during the spring season. Held at the Fernley Speedway, the festival offers two nights of live music, demonstrations of realistic wild west gun battles, and wild mustang viewing areas. Of course the main attraction of the festival is the lantern night, in which thousands of lit lanterns are released into the night sky. It truly is a magical experience that people from all over the state and country come to witness. At the site, there is a wine bar available as well as fire pits available for attendees to cook their own food. For the kids, fun activities are offered such as face painting, bounce houses and roping practice.
Fernley Lantern Festival
Address: 1965 S Highway 95a, Fernley, NV 89408
Website: Fernley Lantern Festival
3. Head to Out of Town Park if you’re from out of town
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Although its name may be due to its location, Out of Town Park is certainly a great spot for out-of-towners! Whether you’re looking to be active or simply stroll around outdoors, the park offers softball, baseball, and soccer fields as well as a separate dog park. Because of its abundant green space, the park is also home to many community events like festivals and farmers’ markets. In the middle of the park, there is also a rodeo arena where the community holds both standard and junior rodeo competitions as well as other events such as BMX racing.
Out of Town Park
Address: Fernley, NV 89408
4. View historic Nevada history at Fort Churchill
The ruins of Fort Churchill are an amazing glimpse into the early communities of Fernley. The fort served as protection for early settlers as well as a guard location for Pony Express mail runs during the late 1800s. Today, the fort is in ruins but many parts are preserved and designated trails allow visitors to study the different parts of the fort. The Fort Churchill park also holds Buckland Station, which was an important way station, also in the 1800s. The park encompasses more than 3,000 acres (1,214 hectares) of land among the Carson River, perfect for hiking, horse riding, bird watching and canoeing.
Fort Churchill State Historic Park
Address: 10000 Hwy 95A, Silver Springs, NV 89429
Website: Fort Churchill State Historic Park
5. Stroll through the beautiful Fernley Wildlife Management Area
The Fernley Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is one of many WMAs located in Nevada that offer a unique blend of Nevada-native plants and animals. The area offers many different trails as well as camping sites, and hunting is permitted during appropriate seasons and with various firearm regulations. Depending on where you decide to stroll throughout the park, there’s a great chance you’ll run into one of the intermittent ponds throughout the area.
Fernley Wildlife Management Area
Address: Fernley, NV 89408
Website: Fernley Wildlife Management Area
6. Discover ancient Native American petroglyphs
While Fernley has its own special history and culture to offer, there are also many special Nevada activities to enjoy just a short drive away from town. About 45 minutes away from Fernley, you can head to either the Grimes Point Archaeological Area of The Hidden Cave Archaeological Area. Both areas offer picnicking spots, and of course trails where you can view the ancient petroglyphs. Unfortunately, the cave at the Hidden Cave site is actually closed off to visitors due to an ongoing excavation, but the surrounding trails will still allow you to see petroglyphs. There are also guided tours available throughout the month so you can learn about the petroglyphs straight from an expert.
Nevada Archaeological Sites
Address: Churchill County Museum, 1050 S. Maine Street, NV
Website: Nevada Arechaeological Sites
7. Weekend getaway to Lake Tahoe
Because of Fernley’s location in West Nevada, it’s only about an hour drive away from Lake Tahoe, which is a must see whether you’re visiting in winter or summer. The Nevada side of the lake is a great mix of beautiful nature and lively nightlife – you can relax by the lake during the day and get a taste of Nevada’s claim to fame with the all-night dance clubs, casinos, lounges, restaurants and spas that are in the area. Daytime activities include hot air balloon and helicopter rides over the lake as well as canoeing and kayaking on the lake.
Address: 39°05.5′N 120°02.5′W
Website: Lake Tahoe
8. Drive through Silver City and stop at the Red Dog Saloon
While Reno is only about 30 minutes from Fernley, another great spot to visit is the ghost town Silver City. With a population of only about 200, it’s quite an experience to drive through and see a lot of the saloons and historical buildings. It offers almost a completely accurate view of what a traditional Nevada gold outpost looked like back in the day. The town has been used for many movie sets, and many of the people who live there now offer great ghost stories about the spooky things that go on in the historical buildings. After you’ve seen the town, drive another ten minutes to get to the Red Dog Saloon, a fun bar and live music venue located in Virginia City, which happens to be another historic mining town in Nevada. The bar is famous for its important role in the American psychedelic music scene throughout the 1960s.
Red Dog Saloon
Address: 76 North C Street, Virginia City, Nevada 89440
Website: Red Dog Saloon
Enjoy Fernley and its surrounding attractions
Even if you’ve never heard of Fernley, Nevada, there’s no denying that it’s a great spot for a vacation or getaway. Between the events it brings to town through its speedway as well as its vibrant culture, history and nature, the surrounding areas are also amazing places to check out. You won’t be disappointed if you decide to visit!
Get Trip101 in your inbox