The glittering Lake Tahoe is a super fun trip for one and all. The thing I love about this place is that you can spend as less or much time as you like, alone or with a bunch of people all with different interests and levels of fitness, with a variety of activities all year round.
Geographically, the southern part is all in California, and the northern is split between California and Nevada. I personally find North Lake Tahoe more picturesque and serene, but South Lake Tahoe is a lot more commercial with plenty of activities.
Some suggestions gathered over our various trips, which can be clubbed together in a single visit, or spread over multiple trips.
- As you take Hwy 50 up to South Lake Tahoe, it pretty much drops you straight into the lake :P, or you can stop at the Commons beach if you prefer.
This is a fun family-friendly beach with a roped off swim area, kayak and paddle-board rentals, plenty of room to sit, picnic and BBQ. This place also looks spectacular in the winter, covered in ice and snow.
- Emerald Bay is one of the most stunning views of the lake, it’s also probably the picture that pops up when you search for Lake Tahoe. As you go for the drive, there is a clearly marked pullout for the Vista point, offering some history as well as a gorgeous view.
Emerald Bay view from
The options here are to :
- Heavenly Village is an excellent place for activities all year round, especially if there are people who can’t/don’t want to be a part on intense physical activities. This is actually our go-to place when we have guests over. The gondola ride takes you up to a platform with dramatic views of the lake, and continues further up the mountain for snow, skiing and other activities. (A suggests trying out Base Camp pizza at Heavenly Village)
View from the first platform
- Lake Tahoe has some superb campgrounds all over, the one we went to most recently was the Meeks Bay campground. We had a nice leveled site, with parking right at the site, flush toilets and even a shower! It’s right at the edge of the lake, so you literally only have to walk a few steps to enjoy the beach and water sports to your heart’s content. The next morning some of our friends drove up to spend the day and we hiked up to the Angora Lakes.
Near the Angora Lakes trailhead
This trail takes you to two lakes, and the upper one has kayaks, paddleboards and rowboats for rent. We rented a bunch of stuff as a group, and enjoyed taking turns on all of them!
- King’s Beach is an awesome beach located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, where I’ve been to for a product celebration from work. There is an event center that can be rented out for events and occasions, it has a sizable indoor space for catering, hook-ups for music etc. We had paddleboards and kayaks available, along with instructors . for newbies, which resulted in a super fun-filled team builder activity.
- We spent S’s birthday weekend at the Hyatt Regency in North Lake Tahoe and had an absolute blast!
A random beach in Incline village
Right from the champagne welcome, to the midnight cake they brought up as a courtesy, the gorgeous view of the lake, almost private beach steps away, and the spectacular sunset, the weekend was perfect to the T!
The aforementioned spectacular sunset
S chilling on the beach on his birthday. (He refuses to crop his legs out of the picture :-/)
As an added bonus, they have ski storage, and it is a very short drive from a lot of excellent ski resorts.
- Which brings us to the last, but definitely not the least item on this list, North Lake Tahoe is home to some of the best skiing in the country! My personal favorite is Squaw Valley. The slopes are excellent, with some of the most amazing views of the lake. I have taken lessons from the instructors and used the rental equipment here, the quality is of both is superior to a lot of other places by a long shot. Tahoe blanketed in snow is unbelievably Christmas-postcardy and serene, truly one of my happy places, so I’ll leave you with this picture.