Reno with Teens: A Perfect Family Day
Reno, also known as the "Biggest Little City in the World," is home to more than just cacti and casinos. Reno's close proximity to Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, and Washoe Lake make this city a hit with teens. Reno is a great place to hike and bike in the summer, and snowshoe and ski in the winter. The semi-arid climate means that the temperature is almost always comfortable and dry, so you will not have to worry about the weather spoiling your fun as you find things to do in Reno.
Start your day off right at Squeeze In. One of Reno's best family vacation restaurants, it offers the best omelets in the entire Reno-Tahoe area. They have a gigantic menu that features more than 60 omelets along with a host of other great choices.
The best omelet is Gary's Gord which has spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and mushrooms on it. Ask for it with extra feta cheese and their homemade tomato pesto and you won't be sorry! Each omelet comes with home fries, toast, and your choice of special sauce.
The portions here are huge, and the average omelet can easily be split between two people. They also have pancakes, other egg dishes, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, excellent French toast, and several unique breakfast burritos and sandwiches. Everyone will walk away ready to take on family adventures in Reno, with teens full and happy after eating here.
5020 Las Brisas Blvd,
Reno, NV 89523
After breakfast, drive to the Galena Creek Regional Park. The park is located on the eastern slope of the Sierras and has only three trails. The park is perfect for varying levels of hikers on family vacations in Reno. You will not find any barren desert trails here, only forested mountainous terrain along pleasant streams.
The longest and most difficult trail in the park is the Jones-Whites Creek Loop Trail. It takes you through the Mt. Rose Wilderness to ridges with splendid views of the Carson Valley and Washoe Lake and by some lovely waterfalls. At about nine miles round-trip, the trail is long, so it is best to start early and take your time to enjoy all it has to offer. You can complete the full loop in three or four hours depending on your pace and how many stops you make. You can shorten your time on the trail by turning around when you start to feel tired. Fortunately, the trail is not as exposed as many other Reno trails, so you will not have to worry about getting too hot or getting a sunburn.
Insider Tip: Pack hiking sandals for crossing the creeks if you decide to do the Jones-Whites Creek Loop Trail. Also, make sure to bring bug spray in case mosquitoes are lurking on the trail.
If some family members are not in the mood for a nine-mile hike, try the two smaller hikes in the park. Both the Bitterbush Trail and the Nature Loop are relatively flat trails that are each less than one mile, a more tame Reno family adventure. Pick up a brochure for the Nature Loop and follow the numbers on the trail markers to learn more about the history, plants, and geology of the area.
The Bitterbush Trail, the longer of the two trails, follows the Galena Creek through the center of the park and is definitely worth a look. The two shorter trails are both easy and can be done in under an hour or two, even if you really take your time to look around and explore.
Galena Creek Regional Park,
18350 Mt. Rose Hwy,
After hiking in the morning, you are probably starving, so make your way to downtown Reno, with teens in tow, to Pizza Reno. They have many delicious gourmet pizzas on the menu to choose from, or try one of their calzones or salads if you want something other than pizza.
The ingredients are high quality and fresh and the pizzas are not greasy. Try the Greek Mediterranean pizza. It has kalamata olives, pine nuts, feta cheese, artichokes, and onions over the best sundried tomato pesto sauce that has the most amazing flavor. Other standouts are the Baja Lime Chicken and the Thai Chicken pizzas. Both are unusual and have intense flavors. Your family can create their own pizza if you want something a bit less unusual.
26 W Second St,
Reno, NV 89501
If you decide against returning to the Park to do the nine-mile Jones-Whites Creek Loop trail after lunch, you will need plans for another Reno family adventure in the afternoon. The Ultimate Rush Speed and Thrill Park is the place to go with teens in Reno for a variety of fun family activities.
Start with a round of miniature golf on the 18-hole course. The course is well maintained and the holes are challenging. They also have several pleasant waterfalls and streams along the course which makes the experience even more enjoyable.
The more adventurous members of the family can try the Ultimate Rush ride. It's a combination of bungee jumping, sky diving, and hang gliding that will leave you screaming even after the ride is over. Or, perhaps you would prefer to be shot in the air at 70 miles per hour on the reverse bungee jumping ride, the Slingshot. Of the two, the Ultimate Rush is the most frightening. Of course, this means your kids will most likely want you to go on that ride with them.
If you still have your wits about you after those rides, try racing the go-karts on one of the tracks. They have both a slick track and a long and winding road-racing course, and both are a lot of fun.
Ultimate Rush Speed and Thrill Park,
2500 E Second St,
Reno, NV 89595
Open daily at 11AM
In case you haven't had enough of a Reno family adventure during the day, your taste buds will definitely have an adventure at the Zagol Ethiopian Restaurant. This is an unexpected gem in the heart of Reno. The restaurant surroundings are not that inviting, but the inside really transports you to another place.
You can sit at a traditional Ethiopian table that adds to the authenticity of the experience. Order one of the combination platters so you can get a taste of several dishes. Your food will be served on Ethiopian flatbread, called "injera," and the entire family will eat from one huge plate using their hands – a perfect selection for a Reno family vacation with teens. Adults can try the delicious Ethiopian honey wine for an authentic experience.
Insiders Tip: Call ahead and make reservations for dinner as well as the coffee ceremony. It is a real treat!
Zagol Enthiopian Restaurant,
855 E. Fourth St,
Reno, NV 89512
Tue-Thu Noon-9PM, Wed-Sat Noon-10PM, Sun 11AM-3PM