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What could possibly be more epic in outdoor terms than centering yourself where the desert meets the mountains? If this sounds appealing, consider booking your next RV camping vacation at Ely KOA in Nevada. This pristine and quiet RV campground has a playground for kids and dog walking areas for your furry friends. The management arranges social activities such as outdoor movies and scavenger hunts at this family-friendly place. Once you're here, you can use the Wi-Fi to catch up with friends and family back home, use the restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities to freshen up, or put the volleyball court or horseshoe pitch to good use.
Individual sites are either pull-through or back-in, so you can choose which best suits you, and select between 15, 30 and 50 amp electrical service (most of the sites have full hookups). If you prefer to spend your first evening here relaxing by a campfire, the park has firewood available, and propane is offered for purchase too in case you need to top up.
Once you're set up in your spot, it's time to venture beyond Ely KOA and see what's waiting for you. This area of Utah has some unique environments you won't find many other places (if at all) and it's a good chance to experiment with driving an RV rental and see what it's about (you'll understand once you've done it). Start by peeking inside the Lehman Caves, a series of limestone caverns containing stalactites, stalagmites, and other intriguing crystallizations. An on-site visitor center conducts tours of the caves; if you join in, you should dress warmly as the caves can be slightly cold. Ely's history owes a considerable debt to the mines and railways that played an important part, so you might want to check out the Ghost Train of Old Ely, the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, and the Ruth Copper Mine, one of the largest still-operational open mines in the country (you can look down into the mine as you drive past).
RV rentals in White Pine County are diverse and plentiful, ensuring that you will find what you need to make your vacation comfortable. Start this dreamy trip by pointing your rental RV towards Wayne E Kirch Wildlife Management Area about 75 miles south of Ely KOA. This habitat refuge has a variety of landscapes, such as wet meadows, grasslands, and sagebrush shrublands. It is an important refuge for migrating ducks and Canada geese, whose numbers peak in October-November and again in March-April; many of the bird species come to this MA to hatch their young in July-August.
Great Basin National Park, a short 65 miles away, is home to Lehman Caves but has much more to offer. Here you will find sage-covered foothills, Wheeler Peak, and stands of ancient bristlecone pines; spend the night in your campervan rental, and you will experience the darkest of night skies where you can observe ancient stars and even the Milky Way. The park contains the Great Basin Observatory, a privately funded research-class astronomical observatory with both astronomical and solar telescopes that are available for use to the public. Spend the day, and you can enjoy fishing and hiking in the different areas that make up the park.
Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a multi-use area that combines land and wildlife preservation with public use. Hunting and fishing are allowed in season, but the park also offers environmental education experiences that are conducted by staff members. Take your Ely motorhome rental on the self-guided auto tour for a relaxing trip around the refuge; there are interpretive panels strategically placed in order to explain to visitors what you're seeing. You can hike within the park, choosing between the marsh areas or the Ruby Mountains with unparalleled views. The reserve is the most distant of the three attractions mentioned here and at 100 miles, takes about 2.5 hours to drive in each direction; if you're coming here, start early to make it a full day trip or consider staying overnight to get the most enjoyment out of your time here.
As the days wind down, you will want to start thinking about dining options and perhaps some nightlife or other entertainment. Eureka has a small but reasonable selection of places to eat that aren't too expensive; a few are diners, and a few more are pub restaurants, not too fancy but still serving good food. One of the venues is a small cafe with outdoor seating that was originally intended to be a drive-through. It's open for breakfast and lunch, and you can enjoy your food at the picnic tables or in your vehicle. If you want a surprise, this small town has an opera house that hosts occasional shows and events and is open for tours when there isn't a scheduled show (but you should call ahead to confirm).
A little closer to Ely KOA, you'll find Lund, a small town appearing in the middle of nowhere as if an oasis, and it could be. There's not much here except for friendly vibes, a place to gas up, a motel and a few restaurants, but it's enough. One of the restaurants has a bison burger worth sampling.
From open desert to towering peaks and underground caves, Nevada has whatever you're looking for, and Ely KOA is where it all begins.