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50 Things To Do In Lake Tahoe in 2022

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake, and the second deepest lake in the United States. Straddling the states of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is 22 miles long, 12 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of 1,645 feet!

A lake that huge, deep in the mountains has led many to fall in love with all it provides as well it’s violent beauty. From skiing to rustic leisure, there’s a lot on offer here.

Lake Tahoe is widely considered one of the most beautiful places in the world–so beautiful, it makes one wonder if there’s a caveat to this.

Along with quite a few urban legends, Lake Tahoe remains a major tourist attraction, for the same reasons listed above. Here are 50 things to do while you’re there!

50 Things to do in Lake Tahoe

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Explore the waters of the Emerald Bay State Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 138 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay State Park is a 1,533-acre park that encompasses what is considered to be Lake Tahoe’s crown jewel–Emerald Bay. The Emerald Bay State Park also contains the only island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island. Emerald Bay State Park is one of Lake Tahoe’s most visited destinations, and is known for other landmarks that will be mentioned separately in this list!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Outdoor enthusiasts, tourists traveling with family, tourists looking to do some scuba diving, and even just casual tourists looking to enjoy the scenery and take pictures would love Emerald State Park. The park offers something for every type of tourist, and some tourists even go to Lake Tahoe just to visit the park.

What to do here?

Swim in the emerald green waters of Emerald Bay. Don some scuba gear and explore the Maritime Heritage Underwater Trail in Emerald Bay. Check out artifacts from the heyday of the Emerald Bay Resort, such as some early Lake Tahoe recreational watercraft and barges! If you’re not into watersports, take pictures of the park’s breathtaking scenery, and check out the park’s wildlife!

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the park would be around the months of March through May, and from September to November. That said, the park is open all year round, from 7 AM to 7 PM. It’s best to spend at least half a day here, and it’s recommended to visit as early as you can to avoid large crowds!

Go on a Tahoe Rim Trail hike

What’s special about this place?

The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 165-mile long trail that loops around Lake Tahoe. It follows the highest crests around Lake Tahoe and is one of the world’s best hiking trails! It has over 10 official trailheads, and a number of unofficial ones, so you can start on the trail from Nevada or California! While it’s a famous hiking trail, horseback riding and mountain biking (except for the wilderness areas) are also permitted on the trail.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Wildlife enthusiasts, avid hikers, and tourists who want to know all of the little villages and towns around Lake Tahoe, would all love the Tahoe Rim Trail. Taking a hike through the trail, whether you complete it or not, is one of the best ways to know Lake Tahoe better!

What to do here?

Start at any of the official trailheads, and take a hike through the Tahoe Rim Trail. Keep an eye out for the unique wildlife on the trail. Check out the butterflies, and watch out for bears!  If you’re keen on completing the 165-mile trail, make sure to make appropriate stops. It’s advisable to break the trail into 14 days.

Best time to visit

As the snow can get pretty deep in the winter, it is ideal to take the hike through the Tahoe Rim Trail during non-winter months. That said, while the area is generally cool, make sure to stay hydrated and make sure you have enough provisions for the hike!

Learn more about the Tahoe Rim Trail here!

Check out the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks

What’s special about this place?

With three locations around Lake Tahoe (Granlibakken Resort, North Tahoe Regional Park, and Olympic Valley), the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks feature a premier treetop park experience that include zip line tours, and interactive aerial adventure park tours! What’s an aerial adventure park adventure? Well, it’s essentially an aerial trek through the forest. The aerial park features tree platforms, climbing walls, a variety of bridges, zip lines, rope swings, tightropes, and cargo nets!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks are ideal for tourists and families who aren’t afraid of heights. That said, the parks do have features that accommodate less adventurous tourists, as the zip lines and aerial courses are divided into different levels.

What to do here?

Check out the various courses offered in the treetop parks. Check out the zip line and see how you fare on such heights. If you’re up for the aerial adventure course, try each of them; and take in the Lake Tahoe scenery and its surrounding wilderness from a great vantage point!

Best time to visit

The Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks are open daily, from 8 AM to 7:30 PM. It’s best to visit the parks on weekdays, around 9 AM to 10 AM, or 4 PM to 5 PM, to avoid large crowds.

Learn more about the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks here!

Explore Mount Tallac

What’s special about this place?

Located southwest of Lake Tahoe, over 20 miles away from Emerald Bay State Park, Mount Tallac is a mountain peak that lies within the Desolation Wilderness in the Eldorado National Forest. The Mount Tallac Trail is a 16.9-kilometer, heavily trafficked out and back trail that is rated as difficult. With great risk comes great rewards, though, as the ascent features unparalleled views of Lake Tahoe from 9,735 feet above sea level!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Experienced mountaineers, and tourists looking for an extremely challenging trail to test their limits, would love the trek to Mount Tallac’s summit. That said, the Mount Tallac Trailhead does receive high use for two other, easier trails–Floating Island Lake, and Cathedral Lake. As such, beginners can still enjoy a great hike!

What to do here?

Prepare your hiking gear and hiking provisions (bring plenty of water!), and take on the Mount Tallac Trail. Make sure to take the appropriate stops and appreciate the journey to the summit. The views before you reach the summit are quite spectacular as well, so make the most of the trek and take stops to take in the scenery.

Best time to visit

While some hikers do take hikes during the winter, it’s best to take on the trail during non-winter months, around May to October. Make sure to start early, as the hike is estimated to take around 6-7 hours out and back. Make sure to check the weather first before going on this trail, and it’s recommended that you don’t take the trail alone!

Go on a date at Soule Domain

What’s special about this place?

Located at 9983 Cove Street in Kings Beach on the northern part of Lake Tahoe, Soule Domain is an iconic restaurant that offers Californian cuisine featuring local, organic, and sustainable ingredients. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list.  The restaurant features an upscale, cozy, intimate design that is ideal for date nights. The restaurant has been voted as the “Best Place to Take a Date” by the North Tahoe Truckee Action Guide for thirteen years running!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

As mentioned above, Soule Domain is ideal for date nights, but don’t let that intimidate you! Soule Domain has a cozy, welcoming atmosphere–perfect for tourists traveling with family, or with small groups, or even tourists traveling alone.

What to do here?

Try the restaurant’s Fresh Fish of the Day, or their Sea Scallops! For dessert, their Queen of Sheba (flourless chocolate almond torte, whip cream filling, chocolate amaretto glaze) is a fan favorite! Soule Domain also has vegan options, like the Vegan Udon Noodle Bowl w/ Miso Shoyu Ponzu.

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. Soule Domain is open daily, from 5 PM to 8 PM. Reservations are required, and reservations should be made before the restaurant opens, as they don’t take reservations during service.

Learn more about Soule Domain here!

Check out Hidden Beach

What’s special about this place?

Located just off of Hwy 28 within the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, 1 mile south of Incline Village, Hidden Beach is, as the name implies, a “hidden” beach in Lake Tahoe. This is not because it’s hard to find, but because it’s a small 750-feet beach with rocky alcoves and plenty of adjacent boulder shoreline that effectively makes the area relatively private. As such, it’s one of the most sought-after spots in Lake Tahoe!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking for a warmer area on Lake Tahoe, and a relatively quiet and hidden place to relax and sunbathe and swim in, would love Hidden Beach. Hidden Beach is also ideal for families; however, it must be noted that although the beach is not a clothing-optional beach, some tourists do go nude here.

What to do here?

Enjoy the view of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains from this little beach. Sunbathe on the shores of Hidden Beach. Check out the rocky alcoves and take a dip in the warm waters of Hidden Beach. Take pictures of Lake Tahoe from a private vantage point. For more adventurous tourists, try doing all that in the nude!

Best time to visit

Hidden Beach is open to the public daily, from 7 AM to 1 hour past sunset. While it’s packed during the weekends, it’s relatively quiet during weekdays, so it’s best to visit around this time.

Go on a D.L. Bliss State Park adventure

What’s special about this place?

Located just 17 miles south of Tahoe City, at 9881 CA-89, D.L. Bliss State Park covers over 2,149 acres and is named in honor of Duane Leroy Bliss. The park has an interpretive visitor center with wildlife displays, campgrounds, beaches, and hiking trails. The park is home to the deepest section of Lake Tahoe, and Rubicon Point Light–the highest-elevation lighthouse in the United States.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and tourists looking for a perfect mix of hiking trails and beaches would love what the D.L. Bliss State Park has to offer! From guided nature walks to camping to scuba diving, you really can’t go wrong with whatever activity you choose to do here!

What to do here?

Take an easy hike through the Lighthouse Trail and check out the Rubicon Point Lighthouse. If you’re up for some swimming before finishing your hike, take the trail down to Calawee Cove! Check out the Balancing Rock on the Balancing Rock Nature Trail and take pictures of tons of granite precariously resting on a slender stone base. Make sure to stop by the Visitor Center for tips on the perfect D.L. Bliss State Park adventure!

Best time to visit

This largely depends on your itinerary, as while the park is open daily from 7 AM to 8 PM, some trails are only accessible during non-winter months. It’s best to ask a local ranger about weather conditions and the accessibility of the trails you want to take before visiting the park!

Visit Vikingsholm

What’s special about this place?

Located at CA-89, squarely on the shore of Emerald Bay, Vikingsholm is a historic 38-room mansion that is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture outside of Nordic countries. Vikingsholm is both a California and national landmark.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Architecture enthusiasts and history buffs would definitely enjoy exploring Vikingsholm. That said, tourists looking for a more subdued activity within the Emerald Bay State Park would love touring this historic mansion. Even tourists not looking to explore the mansion would enjoy the quiet hike from the lake shore to the mansion, or even the 1-mile trek from the parking lot on Highway 89 to the mansion.

What to do here?

Check out the grounds of Vikingsholm. Take in the scenery and take pictures. Explore the interior of the mansion and see how some parts of the structure contain no nails or spikes; check out the simplicity of the design and its functionality. Notice how the Scandinavian-design favors natural materials, and how, despite its size, it seamlessly blends with the Lake Tahoe environment.

Best time to visit

Vikingsholm is open daily, from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. While this really depends on your itinerary, it’s best to get there as early as possible, as it is a popular tourist destination. It’s also recommended to visit during weekdays.

Learn more about Vikingsholm here!

Explore Kings Beach

What’s special about this place?

Located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, just over 10 miles northeast of Tahoe City, Kings Beach is a quaint little beach town that features old hotels, a variety of quirky little shops, and nice restaurants. As it only has a total area of 3.4 square miles, it’s an easily walkable little town, and consequently, is one of the top vacation spots in Northern California!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Kings Beach is ideal for families looking for a nice town near Lake Tahoe that not only offers great views of the lake, but also has shops, hotels, and restaurants all within walking distance from the beach!

What to do here?

Explore the town. Head out to Kings Beach State Recreation Area for some easy shore swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. Grab a bite at one of the restaurants in the area. Blue Onion is known for its breakfast items, and Caliente! is an ideal place for brunch! Go shopping for souvenirs at Jai Yen Treasures.

Best time to visit

Kings Beach is a very popular summer destination, so it’s best to visit the town during non-summer months to avoid large crowds. That said, when you’re around the area, Kings Beach is still a must-visit regardless of the season.

Take the Bayview Hiking Trail

What’s special about this place?

Located at Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, the Bayview Hiking Trail is a steep trail that features great views of Emerald Bay and access to lakes like Granite Lake and the Velma Lakes. The Bayview Trailhead is the steepest entrance to the Desolation Wilderness, and as such, offers a challenging hike that’s compensated by some of the best views in the Lake Tahoe area!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Outdoor enthusiasts and tourists who are looking for a challenging hike would love the Bayview Hiking Trail. As it offers great views of Emerald Bay, it’s also a great vantage point for tourists looking to take pictures of Emerald Bay.

What to do here?

Get a wilderness permit and take on the Bayview Hiking Trail. Make sure to stop at Granite Lake for a short rest. You can also conclude your hike at Granite Lake, if you’re looking for a short hike. If you want, you can also take the trail on horseback, so you get the great view with virtually zero effort! You can also go camping at one of the designated campsites along the trail!

Best time to visit

The trail is not the easiest in the area, so the best time to take the Bayview Hiking Trail would be during the non-winter months. That said, the best time of the day to take the trail is either early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, so you can observe the sunrise or sunset, and you get to avoid large crowds.

Have a drink at Chambers Landing Pier Bar

What’s special about this place?

Located at 6300 Chambers Lodge Road in Homewood, on Lake Tahoe’s western shore, the Chambers Landing Bar & Grill is a popular tavern on a pier that offers a simple menu of typical American bar food and drinks, such as their iconic Chambers Punch! It’s known as the oldest bar on Lake Tahoe and has earned a huge following of locals and tourists through the years.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Although it’s a bar, it’s a great place for families, as Chambers Landing offers a kid’s meal and a variety of snacks, and maintains a family-friendly atmosphere. Tourists looking to unwind from a day of kayaking or swimming would enjoy Chambers Landing as well.

What to do here?

Enjoy the view on the pier, and make sure to watch the sunset while you’re there. Try out their Chambers Punch and strike up a conversation with the other patrons. It’s a great place to try to mingle with locals and other tourists!

Best time to visit

Chambers Landing Bar & Grill is open daily, from 11:30 AM to 11 PM. It’s best to stop by the bar at around 5 PM, so you can watch the sunset while enjoying your food and/or drink. It’s busier over the weekend, so try to visit during weekdays!

Learn more about Chamber Landing Pier Bar here!

Stop by Cave Rock

What’s special about this place?

Located atop the Sierra Nevada mountain range, on the southeastern shore of Lake Tahoe, Cave Rock is a popular stone formation on U.S. Route 50. Cave Rock is a remnant of a volcanic vent, and was created over 3 million years ago. It’s considered a sacred place by the Washoe tribe, calling it “The Lady of the Lake” due to the rock formation’s reflection on the water resembling a woman’s face. It is a designated Traditional Cultural Property, and is one of the most popular spots in the Nevadan part of Lake Tahoe.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists traveling through the Nevadan part of Lake Tahoe would definitely enjoy both the hike to Cave Rock, and the astounding view it offers! It’s also an important part of the Washoe Indians’ culture, so tourists who are keen on learning about the Washoe Indians’ way of life would love the trip to Cave Rock as well.

What to do here?

Park your car on the side of the road, and take the trailhead off of Cave Rock Drive. Take the short hike to the top of Cave Rock and enjoy the view! Take pictures of Lake Tahoe from Cave Rock. It is important to note that while this is a popular tourist spot, it is considered sacred ground, so treat it with the respect it deserves.

Best time to visit

It’s best to visit Cave Rock late in the afternoon to early in the evening, from 5:30 PM to 7 PM. It’s one of the best spots to watch the sunset in Lake Tahoe, because it offers a view of the entire lake as the colors of the sunset are reflected on its waters for a few minutes!

Visit the spooky Pioneer Cemetery

What’s special about this place?

Located at 709 Alameda Avenue in South Lake Tahoe, the Pioneer Cemetery, officially known as The Old Historic Al Tahoe Cemetery, is a historic cemetery established before Al Tahoe was subdivided and Alameda and Tallac were delineated. It contains the graves of local pioneer families. The original cemetery extended into adjacent lots on Alameda and Tallac Avenues; as such, to this day, there are still undiscovered graves in the area.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Horror enthusiasts, tourists looking to do some good old-fashioned ghost hunting, and those just curious about the history of the pioneer families in the area would all enjoy visiting The Old Historic Al Tahoe Cemetery.

What to do here?

Check out the old gravestones in the Pioneer Cemetery. Try to make out where some of the hidden graves might be, underneath the paved roads. Strike up a conversation with locals and ask them about the ghost stories in the area. As always, it’s the stories behind these types of places that make them interesting.

Best time to visit

As the grounds are usually not open to the public, the best time to visit the area would depend on your itinerary. Visitors typically only spend a few minutes here. For a better experience, it’s best to talk to a local and ask them about the history of the cemetery before your visit.

Have a blast at The Warp Zone

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1029 Takela Drive in South Lake Tahoe, The Warp Zone is a video game store that sells thousands of games, gaming consoles, as well as tabletop games! The Warp Zone has all the latest next-generation games and consoles, and it has an extensive collection of retro games and consoles as well!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Warp Zone is ideal for avid gamers of all ages, and tourists traveling with children. Its inventory appeals to multiple generations, as it has all the new games, as well as the timeless classics.

What to do here?

Check out their collection of retro games and gaming consoles. The Warp Zone sells, buys, and trades games, so consider trading your old games for new ones! Check out their next generation consoles, as well as their collection of tabletop games.

Best time to visit

The Warp Zone is open daily from 10 AM to 8 PM. It’s best to visit the store early, when it opens at 10 AM to avoid large crowds. That said, as it’s the most recognized gaming store in the area, expect it to get busy fast.

Learn more about The Warp Zone here!

Explore the Tallac Historic Site

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1 Heritage Way in South Lake Tahoe, the Tallac Historic Site is the former site of the 100-year-old Tallac Resort. In its heyday, the resort included two large hotels, a casino, and numerous annexes and outbuildings. The site is also home to three historic estates: the Baldwin Estate, the Pope Estate, and the Valhalla Estate. The site offers amazing views of Lake Tahoe as well as guided tours of the restored hotel and estates.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Tallac Historic Site is ideal for families and tourists who are curious as to the lives of the elite families that used the area as their personal summer retreat. Architecture enthusiasts would also enjoy the tour through the buildings in the Tallac Historic Site.

What to do here?

Take a guided group tour through the site and learn about the history of the Tallac Resort and all three historic estates. Check out the Baldwin Museum for Washoe Indian artifacts, as well as relics from the three estates. Take the Pope House Tour and learn about the luxurious lifestyle of the families who came to Lake Tahoe in the 1920s.

Best time to visit

The Tallac Historic Site is open daily, from 10 AM to 4 PM, although some areas might be closed during the winter. It’s best to visit the site when it opens at 10 AM during weekdays, as the site can get very crowded over the weekend!

Learn more about the Tallac Historic Site here!

Have brunch at Social House

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1001 Heavenly Village Way Suite 3 in South Lake Tahoe, Social House Craft Sandwiches is a cafe that features great sandwiches and coffee. Social House also offers craft beers and cocktails in their “secret” bar in the back!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Social House is ideal for tourists looking to get their sandwich fix. While it does offer alcohol, Social House has a kid’s menu that makes it ideal for tourists traveling with family. That said, its selection of cocktails and craft beers are as good as their sandwiches!

What to do here?

Try Social House’s Reuben sandwich and French Dip. Their breakfast items such as the Wake Up Call and Pig Out are fan-favorites as well. Make sure to check out Social House’s speakeasy in the back of the cafe, and try some of their signature drinks!

Best time to visit

Social House is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM, and on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 PM to 10 PM. It’s best to grab a bite at Social House during weekdays, around 10 AM to 12 PM–perfect for late breakfast or brunch!

Learn more about Social House here!

Explore Fallen Leaf Lake

What’s special about this place?

Located about one mile south of Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake is a 240-feet deep (415 feet at its deepest point) mountain lake which is fed almost entirely by Glen Alpine Creek, with Taylor Creek as its only outflow. The area surrounding the lake features numerous hiking trails, and the lake’s shore is part of the famous Kokanee Trail Runs held every fall!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Fallen Leaf Lake is ideal for families and tourists who are looking for a less crowded area near Lake Tahoe. Outdoor enthusiasts would also love Fallen Leaf Lake, as it’s a popular spot for birdwatching, running/hiking, fishing, and all sorts of water activities!

What to do here?

Try camping out at the Fallen Leaf Lake Campground. Take the 7.8-mile hike around Fallen Leaf Lake. If you’re up for it, pick a spot on the lake and go fishing for brown trout, lake trout, and rainbow trout! Don’t forget to bring your camera and take pictures!

Best time to visit

Fallen Leaf Lake is accessible year-round. It’s best to visit the area during the non-summer months, if you really want to avoid large crowds. That said, Fallen Leaf Lake is not as popular as Lake Tahoe, and shouldn’t be as crowded, regardless of when you’re visiting.

Ride the Heavenly Gondola

What’s special about this place?

Located at 4080 Lake Tahoe Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe, the Heavenly Mountain Gondola is a popular 2.4-mile glass cabin ride up the side of a mountain that features panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains, as well as a viewing deck with a cafe and a shop.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The Heavenly Gondola is one of the most popular attractions at Heavenly Village. It’s ideal for families and tourists who want to get some of the best aerial views of the Lake Tahoe area and its surrounding wilderness.

What to do here?

Take in the view of Lake Tahoe from within the Heavenly Gondola. Make sure to stop at the Observation Deck to take pictures, and if you’re visiting during the summer, once you get to the top, take the chair lift to the mountain and try exploring one of its hiking trails!

Best time to visit

The Heavenly Gondola is open daily, 9 AM to 4 PM on weekdays, and 8:30 AM to 4 PM at weekends. It’s best to take the ride during weekdays to avoid large crowds. It’s also recommended to take the ride during summer months, so you get access to the hiking trails at the top of the mountain!

Learn more about the Heavenly Gondola here!

Visit Sand Harbor

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2005 NV-28 in Incline Village, on the northeast shore of Lake Tahoe within the Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park, Sand Harbor is a popular site that features a large sandy beach, picnic areas, a nature trail, and a visitor center. It’s particularly famous for hosting the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival held every year during July and August!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Sand Harbor is an ideal site for families, water sports enthusiasts, and all kinds of nature lovers. Shakespeare fans and critics alike would definitely find the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor thoroughly engaging.

What to do here?

Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters near Sand Harbor. Take it up a notch and go kayaking and scuba diving! Have a nice family picnic on one of the many picnic sites in Sand Harbor; and if you’re in the area during the months of July and August, check out the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival!

Best time to visit

Sand Harbor is open daily, from 7 AM to 8 PM. If you want a less crowded Sand Harbor, it’s best to visit during weekdays. As mentioned above, it’s also ideal to visit during the months of July and August to catch the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival!

Enjoy a peaceful ride or hike through the Truckee River Bike Trail

What’s special about this place?

Following the Truckee River from Squaw Valley to Tahoe City, on the northwestern shore of Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River Bike Trail is a paved 12.1-kilometer multi-use trail that’s good for bikers and hikers of all skill levels. The trail is mostly flat with some moderately steep sections, and offers great views along the Truckee River!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Avid and casual cyclists and hikers would love the Truckee River Bike Trail. Tourists who want a reprieve from the crowded Lake Tahoe shores and are looking for a nice, paved trail would definitely love the Truckee River Bike Trail.

What to do here?

Bring/rent a bike and ride along the relaxing Truckee River Bike Trail. Take in the scenery of the Truckee River. Make a few stops and take pictures. If you’re not really into riding bikes, the trail is ideal for long hikes as well. The slower pace allows for a more meditative experience.

Best time to visit

The trail is accessible all year round, but it’s particularly beautiful during the spring and fall months. As such, it’s recommended to visit during those months. In the winter, the trail is often cleared of snow, but it’s advisable to just take walks along the trail during this time.

Watch the fall colors of the aspen trees in Hope Valley

What’s special about this place?

Just over 21 miles south of South Lake Tahoe, Hope Valley is a 6.4-kilometer trail that features a river and is ideal for all skill levels. It is popular for hiking, fishing, bird-watching, and skiing during the winter. It features a dense collection of aspen trees, and is one of the best spots near Lake Tahoe for foliage watching in the fall.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Hope Valley is ideal for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers. As it is a primarily undeveloped area, it’s a great spot to observe wildlife and the native plants and trees that thrive near Lake Tahoe. It also offers a great contrast from the largely gentrified areas on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

What to do here?

Go on an easy hike along Hope Valley. Get your camera ready and take pictures of the Hope Valley scenery. Try to spot some of the animals that thrive in the area, and check out the aspen trees (especially in the fall)!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. Hope Valley is accessible all year round, but it’s best to visit the area during the fall months. The aspen groves just give off such rich autumn colors that can’t be found anywhere else near Lake Tahoe!

Catch as many trout as you can at Tahoe Trout Farm

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1023 Blue Lake Avenue in South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Trout Farm is a family owned-and-operated fishing pond that features quality Rainbow Trout and Golden Lightning Trout. Tahoe Trout Farm doesn’t require a fishing license and only charges for what customers catch. It’s one of the long-standing Lake Tahoe institutions, and fishing here is a Lake Tahoe tradition!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tahoe Trout Farm is ideal for families, as guests of all ages can participate in trout fishing! It’s also great for fishers of all levels, as it provides a controlled environment for fishing. That said, it’s also a great place to just unwind, as it has a large deck with a great view of the mountains.

What to do here?

Go fishing! Test your fishing skills and try to catch as many trout as you can. There’s no limit to the fish you can catch, you just have to pay for each catch. If you’d rather hang back and watch other people fish, or if you’re done fishing, pass the time at the benches and enjoy the great view of the mountains!

Best time to visit

Tahoe Trout Farm is a seasonal business that’s usually open mid-April through October, Tuesday to Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM. It’s always best to start fishing early, so get there when it opens at 10 AM!

Learn more about Tahoe Trout Farm here!

Check out Inspiration Point

What’s special about this place?

Located along Highway 89 to Emerald Bay, Inspiration Point is an iconic vista point that towers 600 feet above Lake Tahoe! It offers a great view of Emerald Bay, Vikingsholm, and Fannette Island; and features a viewing deck with information boards on several landmarks in the area.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking to do a comprehensive ocular tour of the entirety of Emerald Bay would love Inspiration Point. Tourists looking for a nice spot to watch the sunrise or sunset over Lake Tahoe would also enjoy the trip to Inspiration Point!

What to do here?

Get your camera ready and take pictures of the view from Inspiration Point. Check out Emerald Bay from 600 feet above. Take in the view and try to catch the sunrise and the sunset from this iconic vista point.

Best time to visit

Inspiration Point is open all year round, but it’s best to go there during the fall or winter months, to avoid large crowds. If you can’t help it, though, it’s recommended to visit Inspiration Point either early in the morning, around 6 – 7 AM, or late in the afternoon, around 5:30 – 6:30 PM.

Explore the abandoned Donner railroad tunnels

What’s special about this place?

Located at 58977 Old Donner Summit Road in Truckee, just under 34 miles northwest of Lake Tahoe’s Incline Village, the Donner Pass Summit Tunnels are a historic series of tunnels built for the transcontinental railroad. The tunnels took more than 15 months to build. The hard labor and hazardous working conditions led to an untold number of deaths. The now-abandoned tunnels were used from 1868 to 1993, and has since become a popular hiking destination for curious tourists.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists curious as to the history of the railroads, and those looking for a spine-chilling hike through dark tunnels with more than a fair number of ghost stories, would love exploring the abandoned Donner Pass Summit Tunnels. The tunnels are also a famous spot for graffiti artists, so they function as an unconventional art gallery as well.

What to do here?

Put on your hiking gear and explore the abandoned Donner Pass Summit Tunnels. Bring a flashlight with you, and check out years and years of graffiti on the tunnel walls. Explore tunnel #6, #7, and #8 and marvel at these construction feats. Check out the petroglyphs near the tunnels and the China Wall.

Best time to visit

Despite being a famous tourist destination, the Donner Pass Summit Tunnels are one hundred percent private property (still owned by Union Pacific Railroad), so the best time to explore the area largely depends on how much time you’re willing to spend trespassing. That said, it’s ideal to explore the area during the day, and during non-winter months.

Have a homey Italian dinner at Izabella Ristorante Italiano

What’s special about this place?

Located at 3967 Lake Tahoe Blvd in South Lake Tahoe, Izabella Ristorante Italiano is an Italian restaurant that features traditional Italian fare and an extensive wine selection. The restaurant also has a vegetarian menu as well as gluten-free and whole wheat pasta for those with dietary restrictions. It’s one of the best Italian restaurants in the Lake Tahoe area.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Izabella Ristorante Italiano is ideal for families and tourists looking for reasonably priced authentic Italian food. Its cozy interior is also ideal for date nights, so tourists traveling with their partners should enjoy it here.

What to do here?

For starters, get their Crispy Artichoke Hearts or their Garlic Bread. Try some of their fan-favorites, such as their Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Marsala. Their Rigatoni Paisano and Sea Scallop and Shrimp Risotto are great as well!

Best time to visit

Izabella Ristorante Italiano is open daily, 5 – 9 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 5 – 10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s best to make a reservation to make sure you get a table. That said, if you didn’t make a reservation, it’s best to come to the restaurant around 5 PM!

Learn more about Izabella Ristorante here!

Get your donut fix at Glazed and Confuzed Tahoe Donut

What’s special about this place?

Located within Bijou Center, at 3447 Lake Tahoe Blvd #1 in South Lake Tahoe, Glazed and Confuzed Tahoe Donut is a donut shop that offers an assortment of small batch, handcrafted donuts, coffee, breakfast options and other beverages. It’s widely regarded as the best donut shop in the Lake Tahoe area!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking for their donut and coffee fix before/after a long day of kayaking or scuba diving in Lake Tahoe would love Glazed and Confuzed. Glazed and Confuzed is also ideal for tourists traveling with children!

What to do here?

Try one of their donuts, then try another. Try their Captain Crunch donut and The S’more. Pair your donut of choice with their Specialty Latte or with a classic Cappuccino. For those looking for something less sugary, Glazed and Confuzed also offers soups and bread bowls!

Best time to visit

Glazed and Confuzed is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 8 AM to 2 PM. It’s best to visit the shop at 8 AM to avoid large crowds. That said, do expect the place to get busy fast, as it’s the most popular donut shop in the area.

Learn more about Glazed and Confuzed Tahoe Donut here!

Pass the time at Bijou Community Park

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1201 Al Tahoe Blvd in South Lake Tahoe, Bijou Community Park is South Lake Tahoe’s only true community park. Constructed in 1992, the park has a basketball court, a BMX bike park with air pump station, a skateboard park, a disc golf course, a fenced dog park, volleyball courts, and a historic railroad exhibit!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists traveling with family and tourists looking for some quiet time and take a break from all the water-related activities on Lake Tahoe would enjoy Bijou Community Park. Tourists looking to play some disc golf should enjoy Bijou Community Park’s disc golf course as well.

What to do here?

Take a relaxing walk through the park’s open meadow. Pass the time reading a book or just observing people from the park’s benches. Rent one of the park’s gazebos and have a nice barbecue picnic at the park.

Best time to visit

Bijou Community Park is open daily, from 6 AM to 9 PM. The best time to visit Bijou Community Park would be early in the morning, around 6 – 7 AM. That way, you have most of the park all to yourself!

Try out the different brews at The Hangar

What’s special about this place?

Located at 2401 Lake Tahoe Blvd Suite B in South Lake Tahoe, The Hangar is a taproom and bottle shop with 30 rotating taps and an extensive can and bottle selection. The Hangar’s best feature, however, is its 17,000-square-feet of outdoor space. This makes it Lake Tahoe’s biggest beer garden!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists looking to enjoy the clean crisp Tahoe air while enjoying a pint or two would love The Hangar. The Hangar is also ideal for tourists traveling in groups, as great beers are best enjoyed with friends. Beer connoisseurs will also love The Hangar’s wide selection of beers, from their lagers to their stouts!

What to do here?

Try a sampling of their best selling beers on tap! They have a rotating selection, but rest assured every brew that’s worth its salt will find its way on The Hangar’s menu. If you’re feeling adventurous, try The Hangar’s specialty beers and kombuchas!

Best time to visit

The Hangar is open daily, from 12 PM to 10 AM. It’s best to stop by on Mondays through Thursdays, as The Hangar gets very busy on Fridays and Saturdays. If you have to visit on weekends, though, it’s best to get there at around 12 – 2 PM to avoid large crowds!

Learn more about The Hangar here!

Visit the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society

What’s special about this place?

Located at 130 W Lake Blvd in Tahoe City, the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society is a 501 (c)3 non-profit that is dedicated to preserving and presenting the natural and cultural histories of Lake Tahoe. The museum is subdivided into three parts. The Gatekeeper’s Museum has exhibits on ski history and black bears, the Marion Steinbach Basket Museum features an impressive Indian Basket collection, and the Watson Cabin is a living history museum!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society museums are ideal for tourists traveling with family, American history buffs, as well as tourists who are curious as to the history and culture of Lake Tahoe and its community.

What to do here?

Check out all the exhibits. Explore the two-story Watson Cabin, the oldest log structure remaining in the North Lake Tahoe area. Check out Native American craftsmanship at the Marion Steinbach Basket Museum. Learn about black bears and the 1960 Winter Olympics at the Gatekeeper’s Museum.

Best time to visit

The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society is open seasonally, Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 AM to 4 PM. The best time to visit the area would largely depend on your itinerary. It’s best to inquire ahead of time if the museum will be open during your Lake Tahoe trip.

Learn more about North Lake Tahoe Historical Society here!

Have a Greek lunch by the lake at the Artemis Lakefront Cafe

What’s special about this place?

Located at 900 Ski Run Blvd Ste. 111 within the Ski Run Marina in South Lake Tahoe, Artemis Lakefront Cafe offers great Mediterranean and Greek food that’s prepared fresh daily with the highest quality of ingredients. Artemis also has a full espresso bar, and a great selection of beers and cocktails. Just a few steps away from the beach, the cafe offers some of the best views of Lake Tahoe in South Lake Tahoe!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Artemis Lakefront Cafe is ideal for families and tourists looking for a nice spot in South Lake Tahoe where one can take in the view of Lake Tahoe while enjoying a nice Greek breakfast and a cup of coffee.

What to do here?

Try some of their pita wraps and sandwiches. Their Lamb Gyros and Chicken Gyros are particularly good. Pick a spot outside of the cafe and enjoy the great lakefront view; and don’t forget to try their Turkish coffee!

Best time to visit

Artemis Lakefront Cafe is open daily, from 8 AM to 10 PM. Since it’s one of the more touristy places around Lake Tahoe, it’s best to call ahead or join their online waitlist (yes, they’re that busy)!

Learn more about Artemis Lakefront Cafe here!

Have some breakfast at Heidi's Pancake House

What’s special about this place?

Located at 3485 Lake Tahoe Blvd in South Lake Tahoe, Heidi’s Pancake House is a quintessential American diner in Lake Tahoe that’s been around since 1964. Its menu has pretty much stuck to the classics–omelettes, bacon, sausages, waffles, crepes, burgers, salads, sandwiches. Heidi’s has all of the breakfast items you’d expect in a diner. That said, its simplicity and consistency have earned Heidi’s a loyal following.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Heidi’s Pancake House is ideal for families and tourists looking for a classic American breakfast in the Lake Tahoe area. There are many breakfast places near Lake Tahoe, but there’s a reason breakfast, lunch, or brunch at Heidi’s has been a Lake Tahoe staple for over 50 years!

What to do here?

Start your day with a classic Heidi’s Stack–a tall stack of six buttermilk or buckwheat pancakes. If you’re more of a waffle person, their Fruit Waffle is particularly good. As for sides, their Biscuits & Gravy is a fan favorite. Wash that all down with a mug of coffee or a glass of orange juice–you really can’t go wrong with any of their menu items!

Best time to visit

Heidi’s Pancake House is open daily, from 7 AM to 2 PM. Since it’s arguably the most famous diner on Lake Tahoe, it’s best to get there around 7 AM or at 12 PM. Expect a bit of a wait for your orders, especially during the summer.

Learn more about Heidi’s Pancake House here!

Try your luck at the casino in Harrah's Lake Tahoe

What’s special about this place?

Located at 15 US-50, Stateline, on the Nevada side of the southern Lake Tahoe, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is a 4-star hotel that’s primarily known for its old-school charm and great casino gaming floor. It’s generally regarded as the best place to gamble near Lake Tahoe!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tourists traveling with families who are staying in the Nevada area of Lake Tahoe would definitely enjoy staying at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. The rooms are reasonably priced, a nice gaming floor for the adults, and the hotel is conveniently located near South Lake Tahoe!

What to do here?

Book a suite with a great view of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding mountains. Check out Harrah’s casino gaming floor and try your luck at the slots, or at the poker table! Explore that Stateline area, or take the 7-minute drive to South Lake Tahoe and do some sightseeing!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. If you are craving for a little gambling action without the inconvenience of being far away from the South Lake Tahoe attractions, it’s best to book a room at Harrah’s from day 1 of your Lake Tahoe adventure!

Learn more about Harrah’s Lake Tahoe here!

Stop by Fredrick's Fusion Bistro

What’s special about this place?

Located within Incline Plaza, at 907 Tahoe Boulevard, Fredrick’s Fusion Bistro is a small, laid-back bistro that offers contemporary Asian fusion cuisine and a great selection of wines, draft beers, sake, and specialty drinks. “Fusion” can sound gimmicky to certain people, but Fredrick’s is a local favorite for a reason!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Fredrick’s Fusion Bistro is ideal for families looking for a relaxed dinner after a long day of exploring Lake Tahoe, and tourists looking for a restaurant with some of the best seafood in the Lake Tahoe area!

What to do here?

Try some of Fredrick’s Fusion Bistro’s most popular dishes, such as their Lobster Dogs and their Filet Mignon. Try some of their sushi rolls as well. Their Turf & Surf and Sea Worthy sushi rolls are particularly good!

Best time to visit

Fredrick’s Fusion Bistro is open Tuesday through Saturday, 5 PM to 9 PM. It’s usually quite busy, so the best time to visit would really depend on your itinerary. That said, although walk-ins are always accommodated, it’s recommended to make a reservation to make sure you get a table!

Check out the Old Jail Museum

What’s special about this place?

Located at 10142 Jibboom Street in Truckee, the historic Old Jail Museum showcases a wide variety of local historical artifacts, such as relics of important industries like lumbering, box manufacturing and ice harvesting. The museum is one of only a few surviving 19th century jailhouses of its kind in the West and one of the few remaining original buildings in Truckee!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A tour through the Old Jail Museum in Truckee is ideal for families, as well as for tourists who want to know more about the local history of Truckee and what role the town played in the development of the entire Lake Tahoe area.

What to do here?

Book a tour through the Old Jail Museum. Check out the structure of the jailhouse and learn about how jailhouses were constructed in the late 1800s. Learn about the lumber and ice industries in Truckee, and the history of the Washoe Indians in the area, as well as the importance of the Chinese in constructing the railroads!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. The Old Jail Museum is open seasonally; and operates on Thursdays (5 PM – 8 PM), Saturdays and Sundays (10 AM – 4 PM). It’s best to contact the museum to schedule a tour!

Learn more about the Truckee Old Jail Museum here!

Try some French fusion at Le Bistro

What’s special about this place?

Located at 120 Country Club Drive # 29 in Incline Village, Le Bistro is a small fine dining restaurant serving contemporary French fusion cuisine crafted with locally sourced, organic produce. This classy French restaurant is a hidden gem in Incline Village, and one of the top restaurants in the Lake Tahoe area!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Le Bistro is ideal for tourists traveling with family, as well as tourists looking for reasonably priced French fusion food. For some Tahoe locals, Le Bistro rivals both Soule Domain and Cafe Fiore as a prime spot for date nights!

What to do here?

Bring your date here after a day spent exploring Lake Tahoe. Try Le Bistro’s famous Hudson Valley Seared Foie Gras and their Duck Breast Confit. Pair your meal with a few bottles from their selection of Burgundy and Bordeaux wines!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary. Le Bistro is open Tuesday through Thursday, 6 PM – 9 PM, and Friday and Saturday, 6 PM – 9:30 PM. The restaurant does not accept walk-ins; it’s advisable to make a reservation at least a few days in advance to make sure you get a table.

Learn more about Le Bistro here!

Kayak at Speedboat Beach

What’s special about this place?

Found within Kings Beach near the end of Brockway Point just west of the state line, Speedboat Beach is a small scenic neighborhood beach with beautiful granite boulder formations and crystal-clear waters. It draws thousands of visitors to its shores each year, and is known as one of the more underrated wedding venues in the Lake Tahoe area!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Speedboat Beach is well-suited for families and tourists keen on doing some paddleboarding and kayaking in one of the lesser-known Lake Tahoe destinations. Its granite boulders are perfect sunning platforms and are great to snorkel around!

What to do here?

Swim and sunbathe with Tahoe locals and fellow tourists. Check out Speedboat Beach’s scenic granite boulder formations. If you’re up for it, try paddleboarding or kayaking to or from Speedboat Beach while exploring the north and east shore of Lake Tahoe!

Best time to visit

While Speedboat Beach is lesser-known than other Lake Tahoe beaches, it does fill up fairly quickly during the summer months. It’s best to go there early if you’re visiting in the summer. You’d have a great chance of having the beach to yourself if you visit during non-summer months, though.

Try your hand at being a fighter pilot at Sky Combat Ace

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1150 Airport Road within the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Nevada, just under 24 miles northeast of South Lake Tahoe, Sky Combat Ace is a flight school that offers a variety of aviation experiences including everything from simulated flight combat to advanced aerial acrobatics! Aside from offering flight lessons, Sky Combat Ace offers their clients a one-of-a-kind aerial Lake Tahoe experience, regardless of the package they pick.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Sky Combat Ace is well-suited for families and thrill seekers who want to live out their childhood dreams of becoming a fighter pilot. It’s also ideal for veterans who want to relive their days of flying. There’s nothing like exploring the Lake Tahoe skies!

What to do here?

If you’re a newbie, try their basic Recon package, which introduces students to fundamental aerobatics. If you want something more advanced, check out their Top Gun package and become your very own airshow pilot! If you want to take your experience up a notch, try their Sky Combat package and Adrenaline Rush package and experience what it’s like to be a fighter pilot!

Best time to visit

This depends on your itinerary, as Sky Combat Ace is available by appointment only. It’s a great way to end your Lake Tahoe adventure, so try to book an appointment at least a few months in advance!

Learn more about Sky Combat Ace here!

Get some classic Hawaiian food at Kalani's

What’s special about this place?

Located at 1001 Heavenly Village Way #26 in South Lake Tahoe, Kalani’s is another iconic South Lake Tahoe fine-dining spot. Kalani’s offers traditional Hawaiian fare, as well as a great variety of sushi rolls featuring fresh island ingredients that provide a nice contrast to the mountain landscape of Lake Tahoe. Kalani’s offers a variety of cocktails as well, and is the only restaurant in Lake Tahoe offering authentic Hawaiian Style Brunch!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Kalani’s is ideal for families and tourists looking for a taste of the Pacific Rim while being deep within the mountains! Tourists looking for traditional Hawaiian fare with a modern twist should look no further. Kalani’s is the only place offering the authentic Hawaiian experience in Lake Tahoe!

What to do here?

Try some of their most popular dishes. Try their famous Miso-Yaki Chilean Sea Bass and Wild Caught Halibut. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their Shrimp Ceviche and Mauna Loa Crudo. Try some of their signature cocktails as well. The Kalani’s Mai Tai and The Waikiki are particularly good!

Best time to visit

Kalani’s is open daily and has varying hours–Monday through Thursday (12 – 2:30 PM, and 5 – 9 PM), Friday (12 – 2:30 PM, and 5 – 9:30 PM), Saturday (11 AM – 2:30 PM, and 5 – 9:30 PM) and Sunday (11 AM – 2:30 PM, and 5 – 9 PM). It’s best to stop by anytime between Monday to Thursday, as they’re least busy during those days!

Learn more about Kalani’s here!

Try skiing at Mt. Rose

What’s special about this place?

Located at 22222 NV-431 in Reno, just 10.5 miles northeast of Incline Village, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is a ski resort offering over 1,300 acres of ski runs for all levels. There are uncrowded runs for beginners, trails and trees for intermediates, and face runs for experts. At Tahoe’s base elevation of 8,260 feet, Mt. Rose is favored with an abundance of snow that falls early in the winter and stays late into spring!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is ideal for families, avid skiers and snowboarders, and tourists who want to try their hand at winter sports. For beginners, the ski resort offers private lessons for all ages. For intermediates and experts (or at least, those who think they’re experts), the ski resort offers long runs, great glades, and some of the best powder conditions around Tahoe for improving their skiing form and riding skills!

What to do here?

Check out Mt. Rose’s different runs. If you’re just starting out, avail of their private lessons. Once you get better and develop your confidence, try some of the intermediate runs on the resort. After a day of skiing and/or snowboarding, there’s nothing better than getting a cup of coffee at the resort’s Higher Grounds coffee bar! Or a tall glass of beer at the resort’s Timbers tavern.

Best time to visit

For obvious reasons, the ski resort is only open seasonally, from late October/early November to late March/April. As such, the best time to visit Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe would depend on your itinerary. It’s recommended to spend at least a few days here to really get the full experience!

Learn more about skiing at Mount Rose here!

FAQ

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Lake Tahoe:

Is Lake Tahoe expensive?

Yes. Most vacation rentals in Lake Tahoe are quite expensive due to very high property costs. Staying at hotels in the area might actually be more cost-effective. Moreover, there are certain times when Lake Tahoe is relatively cheaper, such as mid to late September.

What is the best time of year to visit Lake Tahoe?

There’s no bad time to visit Lake Tahoe, but the best months are usually from March to May and from September to November.

Are there dangerous animals in Lake Tahoe?

There most certainly are a few dangerous animals in the area. There are black bears and mountain lions, as wells as rattlesnakes that come out of hibernation in the springtime. However, it’s important to note that these animals usually keep to themselves, and are rarely aggressive, unless provoked.

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