This location has become a family favorite! We try to spend a few glorious days in the Lake Tahoe area every summer. If you are like me, when you think about visiting a lake, your mind immediately pictures brownish stagnant water where you can’t even see your feet once you get in. However, Lake Tahoe proves these assumptions to be incorrect.
Why visit Lake Tahoe?
Tahoe is a great place to visit during any season, but if you are not a fan of hot weather, then this is a perfect getaway during the summer months. Having no humidity and relative temperatures during the day between 70 and 80 degrees, this location makes for a lovely vacation spot during the hotter months. Rain is not especially frequent and generally only occurs less than 90 days a year. If you are an avid skier, then look no further. This area receives an average of 125 inches of snow each year and there are plenty of resorts and ski runs to choose from.
- The lake itself is massive with over 72 miles of rocky shoreline and beaches.
- A depth of over 500 meters (1,645 feet) makes it the second deepest lake in the United States of America.
- Two states actually share the lake, California, and Nevada, with California having the bigger piece.
- Lake Tahoe is over two million years old and is among only twenty lakes in the world considered to be ancient.
- The area’s residents are very committed to preserving the lake’s natural beauty for future generations. It has remained pristine for so long because of the hard work of those that call Lake Tahoe home and the visitors that travel many miles to see it. For more information on their efforts check out Keep Tahoe Blue.
- The lake water is actually 99.994% pure making it one of the purest lakes in the world!
The easiest way to reach Lake Tahoe is to fly into the Reno, Nevada Airport, and drive 30 minutes to the east side of the lake.
Things to do
Watch the Sunset
Watch the sunset at Bonsai Rock or Sand Harbor State Park! I was able to witness two beautiful sunsets at these locations. Word of warning, however, should you decide to go to Bonsai Rock, make sure you take a flashlight and cell phone with you because you have to hike down and hike back up for the best views. I use the term “hike” loosely… it’s more like scaling a rocky cliff…
Jump off the large rocks and into the clear brisk water in Sand Harbor State Park, if you dare…
There are also many other places to engage in this stomach in the throat activity all around the lake.
Anywhere – everywhere. There is no shortage of beautiful hiking paths available to every level of hiker. Be sure to consult some area maps to verify each path’s level of difficulty. A great website with the top ten hikes is on LakeTahoe.com.
Kayaking, paddle boarding and boating
Emerald Bay is a must if the weather allows. Unfortunately, during my stay, the winds and waves were a bit too strong to kayak or paddle board.
I would recommend Clearly Tahoe for their use of see-through kayaks and guided tours.
There are multiple places to rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards, so keep your eyes open as you travel through the area if you decide not to make reservations ahead of time.
Other Lakes Worth Visiting in the Area
Fallen Leaf Lake
This is a great getaway from the crowds of Lake Tahoe. There are excellent trails for every skill level and places to rent kayaks and boats.
Should you just want to drive around the lake, take Fallen Leaf Road (closed during the winter) which will give you amazing views of the water and surrounding mountains. There is also a small cafe/store to pick up a quick snack or use the restrooms.
If you want to stay out of the hustle and bustle of some of the big resorts and cities, check out Angora Lake. There are only nine small cabins/homes to rent right on the water and a nice sandy beach for relaxing.
If you do not plan on staying overnight in this location, you will need to hike the half-mile trail, over rugged terrain, from the parking area to the lake itself. It is uphill the entire way there, (thankfully downhill on the way back to the car) but completely worth it.
As with every place in the area, kayaks, rowboats, and paddle boards are available. Grab something cold like an ice cream bar or iced mint tea from the small cafe just steps from the water.
During the winter months, check out all the world class ski runs, enjoy hot chocolate by the fire, and play in the powder that covers everything!
Where to stay
My family and I stayed at Squaw Valley Resort (soon to be changing its name) the first time we visited Tahoe and truly enjoyed it. It hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics and is one of the largest resorts in the country catering to more than 600,000 skiers and snowboarders each year.
The KT-22 chairlift has continuously been voted among the best in North America for its descent through incredibly steep and expert-level terrain. The resort itself offers exceptional views of the mountains and valley. The pool and hiking around the area are exceptional. Each of the six restaurants at the resort offers a variety of different cuisines and is delicious!
Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is located in Truckee, California just north of Lake Tahoe. This luxury hotel offers guests an amazing spa and comfortable rooms in a gorgeous mountain environment.
If you visit during the winter season, the resort provides ski-in/ski-out privileges and even a ski and snowboard school to instruct people of any age or skill level so they too can participate in these exciting sports.