Reno/Tahoe Memorial Day Weekend Activities and Events

Sand Harbor at Lake Tahoe
••• Sand Harbor at Lake Tahoe. Ken Lund/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

If you are one of the fortunate people living in or visiting the Reno/Tahoe region, you don't have to go far (or maybe nowhere at all) to enjoy a fine Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Memorial Day at Parks and Recreation Areas

The Reno/Tahoe region has excellent public parks suitable for everything from a quiet walk to big family gatherings. We are also surrounded by public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, offering a multitude of possible outdoor adventures.

If you want to hold your own event, you can rent a park shelter or pavilion for your activity.

Memorial Day Weekend at The Discovery

The Discovery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Memorial Day. Bring the family to enjoy a day of learning and having fun at The Discovery. The Discovery will also be open on Saturday and Sunday.

Blue Star Museums National Program at the National Automobile Museum in Reno

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, active duty military members (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard, and Reserve) and up to five family members receive free admission to the National Automobile Museum, 10 S. Lake Street in Reno, just by presenting their military ID.

Wild Island Family Adventure Park

Wild Island Family Adventure Park in Sparks opens its water park will be open over the Memorial Day weekend. Most days, the water park opens at 11 a.m. Other attractions, like the Coconut Bowl, Laser Mazes, Pirate Cove, and High Ballocity, will be open as well.

Things To Do Nearby

Black Rock Rendezvous

Here's your chance to learn more about the incredible Black Rock Desert, located within the BLM-administered Black Rock Desert High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area (or just NCA for short). This is a weekend of environmental workshops, tours of significant area features, history, camping, a variety of presentations, a fun Kids Camp, area tours, rocket launches, volunteer opportunities, and singing under starry desert skies.

Friends of Black Rock/High Rock is the main organizer, with assistance from organizations such as the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Outdoor School, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and several others.

The main Rendezvous events start on Saturday, 100 miles north of Reno at the campsite on the Black Rock Playa. A schedule of events, directions, and maps are available at the Black Rock Rendezvous website. This is a free, family-friendly event. Pets are not recommended but are allowed if under control at all times and on a leash while in camp.

If you plan on doing the campout, be sure to read this information about camping in the Black Rock Desert.

Virginia City Memorial Day Weekend Celebration of Heroes Parade

The parade starts at noon on Saturday and will travel down C Street, Virginia City's main drag. The parade celebrates the heroism and sacrifice of those Americans who have died defending our nation. All entries are welcome.

Ride the Virginia & Truckee Excursion Train

Come ride the Queen of the Shortlines on Memorial Day weekend. The train opens for the season on Saturday and there are departures all day from the depot at F Street and Washington in Virginia City, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. An all day pass is $15.

Reservations are not required. (Note: This is an excursion train, not the V&T that runs round trips all the way to Carson City.)

Ride the Virginia & Truckee Railroad (V&T)

Ride a real steam train on the restored Comstock route between Virginia City and Carson City/Mound House. Most of the line opened in 2009 and will be running round and one-way trips starting on Memorial Day weekend. Trains will run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October. You can get tickets online for this route. This is a popular attraction; get tickets in advance or you will probably be left at the station.

Nevada State Railroad Museum

The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City will be open on Memorial Day weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday through Monday. Come ride the historic Virginia & Truckee steam locomotive #25 each day.

Memorial Day train rides leave Wabuska Station from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The Museum is located at 2180 S. Carson Street.

Memorial Day at Lake Tahoe

Go to Lake Tahoe

Incline Village on Lake Tahoe's north shore is a mere 35 miles southwest of Reno. Even the drive this part of the lake is outstanding, but if you want to explore further, read my article with directions for driving around Lake Tahoe and other information and facts about this High Sierra scenic wonder and playground. Be prepared to share the road with lots of other drivers if you opt for the circumnavigation; the Lake Tahoe Basin gets plenty of visitors on holiday weekends.

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park and Beaches

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park offers two distinct experiences on the east side of Lake Tahoe, just south of Incline Village. Spooner Backcountry in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park is the place to go for both hiking and mountain biking. Some trails lead to spectacular views of the Lake Tahoe Basin. For a place to take the family for a day on the beach at Lake Tahoe, you can't beat Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.

Weather permitting, there are plenty of other beaches at Lake Tahoe, including Nevada Beach and Cave Rock on the Nevada side.

Opening Day at the Lake

Taking place Memorial Day weekend from Friday through Monday, this Lake Tahoe event features activities like kayaking, biking, big band dance parties, historic tours, and restaurant deck opening parties. The event is sponsored by Tahoe's West Shore Association, so that's where most of the action will be. See the calendar of events to find out what is happening and where.