If you are looking for a unique vacation spot with endless amounts of outdoor activity, look no further than Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful freshwater lake located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, with part of the lake in California and part in Nevada. The lake is absolutely massive and attracts tourist year-round for both it’s summer and winter activities. Surrounded by mountains, Lake Tahoe offers stunning views of its crystal blue water and scenic mountains; appearing like a site out of a magazine.
This past summer I had my first trip to Lake Tahoe and I can’t wait to return! When deciding where to travel, I was looking for a trip that had a beach, nature and plenty of outdoor activities. After doing some research I stumbled across photos of Lake Tahoe and was taken away by the breathtaking views. It was a match, I instantly knew where I wanted to go on my summer vacation. I assumed the pictures had to be edited but to my surprise it was truly that beautiful in person. Lake Tahoe is a must see location in the U.S that you don’t want to miss out on!
Inspired by my trip, below is a guide for where to go and what to do in Lake Tahoe!
Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe
When looking for a place to stay in Lake Tahoe, you will either want to stay in North Tahoe or South Tahoe. If choosing between North and South, North Tahoe has a relaxed and quite vibe while South Tahoe offers most of the action. Regardless if you choose to stay in the North or South, there are a variety of options for stay in terms of hotels, Airbnb’s, cabins, condos, camping and more! The nature of your stay really depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for, luckily everything is offered. When looking for a place for our trip, we narrowed down our search to either a hotel or an Airbnb. We ended up going with a hotel and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino which was a great location in South Tahoe, close enough to everything we did! We were really pleased with our stay and would definitely recommend the location to anyone who’s looking.
What to do in Lake Tahoe
Paddle Boarding: Paddle boarding in Lake Tahoe is a must! Even if you haven’t tried it before or are nervous, I would highly recommend giving it a go. Not to forget, Lake Tahoe is ranked one of the best places to paddle board in the world! We rented paddle boards through SUP Tahoe in South Lake Tahoe and North Tahoe Paddle in North Lake Tahoe. Both experiences were great.
Jet Skiing: If you want to cover some distance and go exploring, Jet Skis are a great option. We had a blast cruising around the clear blue water. Timber Marina is a great option for Jet Ski rentals that offers reasonable and competitive pricing.
Sailing: Sailing is a huge activity for Lake Tahoe which goes to show just how big the lake really is. We booked an evening Sunset Sailing Cruise with Sail Tahoe Blue Sailing Charters. The views were amazing but don’t forget a jacket. It can get quite chilly at night!
Kayaking: Kayaking is another fun lake activity for those who love to be outside and on the water. More effortless than paddle boarding but just as fun. There are endless kayak rentals around the lake so finding one shouldn’t be too difficult. Just make sure you book ahead. We also rented are kayaks through SUP Tahoe.
Hiking: There are countless hiking destinations around Lake Tahoe. If we had more time; we would have loved to hike them all. Some of my favorite hikes we did included: DL Bliss State Park, Emerald Bay State Park and Cascade Falls. We didn’t scratch the surface when it comes to hiking in Tahoe but these places were amazing!
Beaches in Lake Tahoe
Baldwin Beach: Baldwin Beach is a family beach with great mountain views. It is also a popular location for kayakers to unload. There was a fee to enter this beach, but it was minimal. Try to get there early, parking can be a pain!
Sand Harbor Beach: Sand Harbor was a crowed beach but for good reasons. It has a beautiful location with everything you need from food, to paddleboards, to kayaks and even fun drinks! This beach also has a fee but again is minimal.
Secret Beach: No fees, no amenities, just views. Nudity is optional. Keep in mind, you do have to follow a trail to get down to the beach so be careful if you plan to carry a lot (try to pack as light as possible). It’s a hike to get back up to your car.
Moon Dune Beach: Moon Dune Beach is located in North Tahoe. It’s definitely different than beaches in the south but it’s extremely peaceful and offers more of a “nature vibe”. In my opinion, it’s good to experience a beach in the North and the South as both offer different scenes.
Where to Eat
Being that I’m a foodie, finding amazing places to eat is always of high priority on my list. Lake Tahoe did not disappoint. Every restaurant we ate at had its own charm and was exceptionally tasty! Below were my favorite restaurants that left a lasting impression.
Breakfast: Red Hut Café – South Tahoe, Driftwood Café – South Tahoe
Lunch: Riva Grill – South Tahoe, Brooks Bar and Deck – South Tahoe, Boat House on the Pier – South Tahoe, Base Camp Pizza – South Tahoe (Heavenly Resort), The Hanger – South Tahoe (Drinks + Taco Stand)
Dinner: Lone Eagle Grill – North Tahoe, The Pier at West Shore Café- West Tahoe, Riva Grill – South Tahoe, Scusa Italian Ristorante – South Tahoe
Hope you find this guide of use and have a wonderful trip! Let me know what you try!