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Never a Dull Moment Visiting the Famous Lake Tahoe


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The Lake Tahoe area is full of ominous-sounding destinations like the Desolation Wilderness and the infamous Donner Pass. But the region is overflowing with enough attractions to shame Yosemite and other national parks. Whether you're planning a simple day trip or an extended two-week stay, we hope the following guide will get your gears turning and seat burning!

Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in Summer

Aerial View of Lake Tahoe Shoreline by heyengel via Getty Images

Although the Sierra Nevada Mountains can get pretty hot in the summer months, it's during this time of year that the shores of Lake Tahoe have the most to offer. In addition to the range of water sports you can enjoy on the lake's sandy beaches, Tahoe offers many boating opportunities, from simple kayaking and paddleboarding to full throttle waterskiing.

Of course, suppose stand-up paddleboards and motorboats aren't your things. In that case, there are quite a few state parks to visit where you can enjoy outdoor activities and attractions, particularly mountain biking and hiking trails that offer amazing views of the lake and the region's natural beauty. As if these options weren't enough, the lake is surrounded by top-tier golf courses that are as great for business retreats as they are for family fun.

Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in Winter

Emerald Bay in the Winter by Dave Fleishman - Just a Little Light Fine Photography via Getty Images

When cold weather arrives, the Tahoe area becomes one of North America's most thrilling recreational hot spots--or should we say "cold" spots? The region has 10 ski resorts to choose from, including world-famous destinations like Squaw Valley, the Northstar Lodge, and the Heavenly Mountain Resort, just to name a few.

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But don't let the designation "ski resort" fool you, as these retreats aren't just for skiers. Along with prominent winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, many resorts offer sledding. These snowshoeing and cross-country opportunities are great for all types of groups, from families to bachelorette parties.

Things to Do in Lake Tahoe With Kids

Family plays and swim in and on Lake Tahoe, California by vernonwiley via Getty Images

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If you're taking the whole family to the area, you're in luck, as Tahoe's pockets of fun run almost as deep as the lake itself. Below are some of your best bets:

  • M.S. Dixie II: This Riverboat gives takes off from Zephyr Cove and offers tours of the lake.
  • Heavenly Gondola: This sky-tram takes visitors nearly 2.5 miles up a mountainside to incredible views of Lake Tahoe and other sightseeing opportunities.
  • SUP Adventures: No, we're not using the shorthand of "What's up?" here. SUP stands for stand-up paddleboard. SUP Tahoe offers rentals of these, kayaks, and more.
  • Snowboard Lessons: What kid doesn't want to learn how to snowboard? The area has several schools to choose from.

Things to Do in South Lake Tahoe

Paddle boarding Lake Tahoe by MariuszBlach via Getty Images

The South Lake Tahoe area is the easiest to reach if you come from Central and Southern California. This being, it has some of the most exciting and busiest attractions and activities to offer. The following are all top-rated:

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  • Emerald Bay State Park: This is probably the most popular of many state parks that line the lake's shores. Tried and true points of interest include the Eagle Falls trailhead, Vikingsholm Castle historic site, and Fannette Island. What's more, the scenic Rubicon Trail connects Emerald Bay with neighboring D.L. Bliss State Park.
  • Heavenly Village: This tiny town just before the state line is an excellent destination for shopping, dining, and more.
  • Fallen Leaf Lake: Find the south shore of the second deepest lake on earth a little overwhelming? Slide your kayak into this more petite body of water right of the Fallen Lead Campground.
  • Tallac Historic Site: Do you like rustic Scandinavian architecture? Since this thing doesn't work two ways, we'll just assume you said "yes," and suggest you head over to the site.

Things to Do in Lake Tahoe Nevada

While there are many attractions to choose from on the Nevada side of the lake, hitting the casinos just past the California state line is far and away from the most popular option for many visitors. Of course, suppose gambling isn't your thing. In that case, you can always consider heading to the North Lake Tahoe area to enjoy some of the finer things at spots like Sand Harbor State Park and Incline Village. You'll find great food, shops, and even some art galleries on the lake's north shore.

Things to Do in Lake Tahoe at Night

Donner lake is near Lake Tahoe by peilien via Getty Images

There's no shortage of excitement to be enjoyed all around the lake when it comes to nightlife. Whether you're into casinos and clubbing on the Nevada side in Stateline or a bonfire blowout on the north lake beaches of Tahoe City, you won't be disappointed. The party moves and changes with the season, so sure to stay up to date to plan your party train accordingly.

What's your favorite thing to do in the Lake Tahoe area? Share with us your favorite Lake Tahoe activities on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: 25 Cities, Parks, Forests & Attractions to Customize Your California Road Trip

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