A Guide to Visiting Lake Tahoe
In a country that boasts many spectacular natural attractions, Lake Tahoe is a stand-out. For decades, travelers have ventured to the Nevada state line to soak in the natural beauty and fun adventure activities that the area offers.
One of the best things about Lake Tahoe is that it is a great summer or winter destination, with fun and exciting activities on offer during both the hot and cold seasons. There’s so much variety, you could even visit in both!
Lake Tahoe is located just over the border of California in the state of Nevada. It’s a very popular road trip destination, and driving comes with the added convenience of having a car to do some exploring and day trips.
If you’d prefer to leave the car (and the stress of traffic jams) behind, however, there is the conveniently located Lake Tahoe Airport that you can fly into from 120 destinations in the US. There is also a scenic train ride that takes about 5 hours from San Francisco in California.
When to Go and What to Do
Lake Tahoe in Summer
Think endless blue skies, fantastic hikes and heading off on canoeing adventures. Summer at Lake Tahoe is all about the outdoors and spending quality time enjoying nature.
Once the snow and ice melt, the lake becomes a hub for watersports such as canoeing, water skiing and upright paddle boarding. The calm lake is perfect for everyone, from skiing enthusiasts to young swimmers – and at nearly 500 square kilometres, there’s plenty of lake for everyone!
For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there is a fantastic network of hikes around the Lake Tahoe area, such as within the Emerald Bay State Park where you can hike to Vikingsholm, a unique Scandinavian-style mansion.
Lake Tahoe in Winter
Don’t think that just because the temperature drops, there’s nothing to do at Lake Tahoe – on the contrary, a whole new world of adventure activities opens up! The region gets about 400 inches of snow annually, making it one of the country’s premier skiing and snowboarding destinations.
In fact, the resort of Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, and it is today one of the most beloved resorts in the area. There are many others, however, that cater for everyone from the skiing master to the absolute novice.
For those who are still a bit wobbly on the skis or snowboard, there are other fun wintery activities to try, such as a snowy carriage ride or the eternal classic of making snowmen!
Lake Tahoe Year-Round
While the outdoor activities are somewhat weather dependent, there is plenty else that remains open all year round.
A fun daytrip is to the Wild West-inspired Carson, the capital of Nevada which looks like it could have been the backdrop to a wild west film. There’s a good selection of restaurants, museums and even a casino to keep you entertained.
We’ve already mentioned Squaw Valley, which was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics. Today, the resort hosts a museum full of Olympic memorabilia as well as the eternal Olympic flame which has been burningly brightly for more than half a century. It’s well worth checking out.
For the grown-ups, there are also several casinos in the town of Reno, where you can bet it all on black and try to beat the house! If you prefer pampering to gambling (or would like to try both), there’s also a selection of great spas where you can get a relaxing and rejuvenating treatment or two.
What to Eat and Drink
No relaxing vacation is complete without indulging in some delicious food and drink with loved ones.
For an upmarket meal, try elegant The Bistro at Edgewood Tahoe on the lake, which serves amazing local dishes with an innovative and dynamic twist. The views and decor are also outstanding.
For something more casual, the Hard Rock Café has been a Tahoe institution for years. Serving hearty comfort food in a family-friendly environment, it’s a great place for a laidback lunch or dinner.
After the sun goes down (or over breakfast - it is a holiday, after all), there are a number of great drinking spots to savor a cocktail or glass of bubbly. We love Revive Coffee & Wine Bar, which serves fabulous espresso as well as a range of cocktails, wines and beers.
To go right to the source, there are a number of excellent breweries including the South Lake Brewing Company which also puts on fun events such as trivia nights, food trucks and live performances by local musicians.
Whether you visit when the land is snow-covered or once it has melted away, Lake Tahoe is a fantastic place to visit as a couple or family, or even as an intrepid solo adventurer. Be prepared to soak in the fresh air and beautiful views, and leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
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