Thinking of heading to Lake Tahoe? Read on to find out our top 7 things to do in Lake Tahoe.
1. Skiing at Lake Tahoe
California may be the land of beaches and vineyards, but did you know it also has great skiing? Yep, Californians are the luckiest people on earth; not only do they have access to sunny beaches, great wine and hot springs (check out our post on Hot Springs near Mammoth), they’re also home to the incredible snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Famous ski resorts around Lake Tahoe include “Heavenly ski resort”, “Squaw Valley” (home of the infamous film/game, “GNAR”!), “Homewood Mountain Resort” and “Northstar California Resort”, not to mention all those Mountains within a few hours drive (Mammoth Mountain for example).
If you’ve never skied with a view of water before, we’d highly recommend heading up Heavenly Ski Resort. The breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe from the Ski hill are something we’ll never forget, and the vibe is totally different to any Canadian Ski resort we’ve been to.
Even if you’re not a skier, heading up the gondola is still one of the best things to do in Lake Tahoe. Grab your tickets and head straight to the top for some food and some of the most incredible and unique views we’ve ever seen.
The great thing about Heavenly is that the gondola leaves from literally the centre of town, so it really has that après ski hill vibe after a long day of skiing. Finish skiing and head to the bars at the top of the mountain, and then come down and roll straight into any one of the numerous bars that will welcome you with open arms!
2. Hiking at Lake Tahoe
Hiking is as big a deal in California as it is in Canada, and there are tons of places and national parks to explore in the area. Check here for a few ideas to start you off.
While most of these hikes are probably best in summer, one short hike we can definitely recommend (at least in the shoulder season – April) is the short jaunt up Cave Rock for sunset. There’s a small parking lot about half way up the total elevation, and it’s really a short walk/scramble for some epic views of lake Tahoe. We were there just as the sun was setting and it was probably our favourite thing we did. One couple even brought a bottle of wine up to toast the setting sun!
3.Watersports in Lake Tahoe
Without wanting to state the obvious, one of the most popular things to do in Lake Tahoe is water sports. With over 39 trillion gallons of water, 22 miles in length and 12 miles across, there’s plenty of space for every activity under the sun. Parasailing, sailing, Stand up paddling (particularly to Bonsai Rock), jetskiing etc. the list is endless! If you’re not a fan of the cold, you’re probably going to want to aim to do this in the summer, but there are still a few brave souls that head in during the winter months! Check here for a bunch of great watersport options!
We recently visited again and tried out clear kayaks and stand up paddling. It’s so much fun, and paddling on a clear day will give you unbelievable visibility under the water. You can read more about our clear kayaking experience here.
4.Head to the beach
Similar to watersports, you’re going to want to head to the beach on those warm summer days. The landing resort was kind enough to hook us up with an awesome room within 20ft of the beach which let us really explore the beach properly and not have to worry about getting sandy feet in our car!
Take a picnic or go for a swim; it’s definitely one of the most unique beach settings we’ve ever seen. How many places have you seen that have beaches, mountains and skiing all in the same place?!
This is one of the most iconic spots in Tahoe and definitely one of the more popular things to do in Lake Tahoe. The best thing? It’s totally free! Possibly the best spot for sunset in Tahoe (as it’s on the East coast of Lake Tahoe), the sun sets perfectly behind the rock, famed for the tiny tree growing on top of it (kinda like a bonsai tree!).
Get there early because it’s a photographer’s paradise and you don’t want to be fighting over a spot once the sun starts going down!
Railway Tracks into the Lake
The other lesser known photography spots are the ‘railway tracks to nowhere’. Formerly tracks for boat launches, they were abandoned when the National Parks reclaimed the property. They’re still a stunning relic of times past and are an incredible photo opportunity for any keen photographers out there.
6. Hot Spring Hunting
This one’s a bit of a road trip from Lake Tahoe to be honest (roughly 3 hours drive). We got up at 3am in Lake Tahoe to head over towards Mammoth Mountain and see some of the most incredible hot springs for sunrise!
If you’re making the trip from San Francisco, South Lake Tahoe is a great halfway spot before heading on to the hot springs near Mammoth.
7. Play the slots
This one isn’t really for the kids, but when you’re in this part of the world, you can never really get too far from a Casino. South Lake Tahoe is another one of those places where casinos dominate the skyline. The Hard Rock Café, Harrah’s and the Montbleu Resort are all casinos you can stop into if you’re looking to have some fun and play the slots.
We found that the Mexican food in this part of the US is out of this world. Definitely would recommend checking out Azul Latin Kitchen for some awesome tacos and burritos.
Where we stayed:
As we mentioned earlier, The Landing Resort & Spa was kind enough to put us up in their incredible waterfront 5-star property this time around.
We knew that staying right under the Heavenly gondola would be great option, but we were looking for something with a beachfront view! And we wanted something a bit more boutique. We definitely found that in “The Landing.
We were greeted with a glass of champagne when we arrived and were sent straight to one of the most decadent hotel rooms we’ve been to in a while!
Aside from the incredible balcony with a lakefront view and the beautiful boutique bedroom, the bathroom really stole the show. Sure the steam room and heated floors were awesome, but nothing could prepare us for the heated toilet seat! Totally unexpected but kind of brilliant!
The boutique bedroom was as luxurious as it was unique, and the champagne in the fridge definitely helped us wind down after a long day of driving! Not to mention a hot steamy jacuzzi to soak in (open 24/7! Something I’ve never seen before).
Oh also, the hotel restaurant, “Jimmy’s”, does incredible food (check out the tripadvisor reviews if you don’t believe us). We were feeling lazy and ordered breakfast in bed and it was food heaven. Order the smoked salmon bagel and I promise you won’t regret it.
Thank you to the Landing Hotel for putting us up! The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.
Feel free to get in touch with any more questions at [email protected]!