There is a popular (and I think helpful) example of etale covers, namely covers of Riemann surfaces with ramification points removed. Is there a similarly accessible example to motivate Nisnevich covers?

Well, a representative example is where you take some arbitrary etale cover Y of X which splits over a closed subvariety Z of X, then form the Nisnevich cover of X consisting of the open complement X  Z together with the open subscheme Y' of Y where you remove all but one of the copies of Z lying above Z. For instance Z could be a point, and our field could be algebraically closed. The intuition I find helpful is that descent for the Nisnevich topology is meant to be an easiertopreciselyphrase consequence of the principle "X is gotten by gluing XZ to a tubular neighborhood of Z, along the punctured tubular neighborhood of Z". The idea being that, in the situation of the previous paragraph, the tubular neighborhoods of Z in X and Z in Y should be the same, Y > X being etale. As an example of this intuition, note that if X is a smooth variety of dimension n (over an algebraically closed field for simplicity) and x is a point of X, then by choosing n independent parameters at x you can find a Zariski neighborhood X' of x and an etale map X' > A^n which, together with A^n  0 > A^n, makes a Nisnevich cover of A^n with intersection equal to X'x. This corresponds (ish) to the fact that the tubular neighborhood of x in X should be the same as the tubular neighborhood of 0 in A^n. 

