On a tour of the southwest USA, a stop in Nevada for most will likely mean a visit to Las Vegas. There are even three national parks in the state that are worth a visit. In fact, nearly 5 million people visited them in 2012. Here’s a look at those parks:

Death Valley National Park: This park is located in both California and Nevada and is the driest and lowest national park in the country. However, there is a lot of wildlife here and after a big rain you will see gorgeous wildflowers.

Great Basin National Park: Experience the beauty of the desert in a whole new way. You will find Lehman Caves here, which is a system of caves made of marble with hundreds of formations for you to experience. Great Basin National Park also offers a beautiful view of the nighttime sky away from the lights of the city.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area: If you are an outdoorsy person, this is a great place to visit. It is located along the Arizona and Nevada border. You can enjoy everything from hiking to boating and it is a great place to work on those photography skills and get a beautiful shot.

More than 2 and a half million people live in the Silver State. It is the seventh largest state in the country, giving plenty of room for those into outdoor activities to enjoy nature. Take a step back into history and the Old West with a visit to one of the many ghost towns. See where mining towns really flourished before their drastic decline when many of the targets of their mining mostly dried up. A few to consider visiting: Rhyolite, Belmont, Berlin and Goldfield.

You can see more of the southwest USA history on your own custom tour of Nevada by traveling its unusual highways and scenic byways. There is even a road known as Extraterrestrial Highway. The 98-mile highway got the designation in 1996. It passes by the place known as Area 51 and military testing grounds. If you want to get away from it all, check out U.S. 50 going through Nevada. It’s known as the Loneliest Road in America because there is absolutely nothing for 287 miles.

If you are planning a private tour or family tour of Nevada, you may be expecting to just see desert sand. The state is desert, but you will also get to see beautiful mountains, gorgeous lakes and rivers and flourishing forests. You are thousands of feet above sea level throughout the state, so be prepared to take time to adjust to the elevation if you aren’t used to it already.