23 THINGS TO DO IN LAKE TAHOE
Guide to Resorts, Restaurants & Popular Activities
By Ken Faught
I’ve been working to rediscover some of the best vacation destinations in California since I overlook my home state so often. It’s full of all kinds of fun things to do, incredibly scenery, and overall diversity. It’s a huge state where you can go surfing at the beach in the morning and be snow skiing in the mountains by noon. It truly is an incredible place for the adventure and our band of Semi-Sober Travelers.
One of my favorite places in the summer is beautiful Lake Tahoe because of the weather and the amazing clear water. I love the outdoors and am constantly chasing 80-degree weather, watersports, and anything interesting that I can photograph. What follows are some of our absolute favorite activities, best places to eat and most-popular things to do in Lake Tahoe.
Sand Harbor is our favorite beach in Lake Tahoe and it’s on the northern side of the lake in Nevada. Vanessa Doleshal paddled around the boulders for several hours during our first day.
If you haven’t tried it, standup paddleboarding is fun way to skim across the top of a lake and soak up the sun and some sights. There are a variety of places to rent from, but we used Sand Harbor Rentals which is located in one of the most-picturesque places in Lake Tahoe. The place is so popular that it’s actually difficult to find parking. We recommend getting in line an hour before the gates open otherwise it’s a game of chance to get in during peak times. The lot at Sand Harbor fills up within an hour, so this is the only drawback.
The Semi-Sober Travelers Vanessa Doleshal and Ken Faught take on north Lake Tahoe by kayak.
We rented a tandem kayak from Sand Harbor Rentals and kept it at the beach just south of the parking lot. This is one of our favorite locations because there is a bar and permanent restrooms within 100 yards. The beach also is very calm and has a lifeguard during peak season.
WATERSKIING, PARASAILING & JET SKIING
Lake Tahoe is an extremely popular place for all things related to watersports. You name it, they have it. The most-popular rental company is Tahoe Sports and they offer a variety of water toys from Yamaha, Kawasaki and Sea Doo, plus they also have party boats and take customers out parasailing.
Ken Faught’s first-ever sky dive was in Lake Tahoe. Now he’s addicted.
This has been on Ken Faught’s bucket list for a while and it’s now checked off. Sky Dive Lake Tahoe, actually in Minden, Nevada, offers tandem jumps for people up to 250 lbs. They take thrillseekers to 16,500 people in a Cessna 210, and they freefall at speeds up to 140mph. It’s one of the absolute best things to do in Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is famous for its many ski lifts and it’s a great place for winter sports. Lake Tahoe is home to Diamond Peak Ski Resort, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Alpine Meadows, Northstar California, and Donner Ski Ranch.
MOUNTAIN BIKING / BICYCLING
Lake Tahoe offers a wide variety of bicycle activity, and it has everything from special paved trails to private parks. Northstar California is Tahoe’s only lift-serviced park, and they have a wide variety of high-tech rental bikes. Other places around the lake rent electric bikes, beach cruisers, and road bikes.
Vanessa Doleshal is always up for a good hike, and Lake Tahoe never disappoints.
Lake Tahoe has a variety of hiking trails including the famous 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. That’s not a typo, we said 165-mile hike. Check out this map which will show you the length of major trails, estimated time to hike, and all sorts of photos. It will also give you good ideas relating to Lake Tahoe Camping and hikes in Reno.
We are big off-road fans and there are lots of areas to ride in northern California and Nevada. You can learn more about where to go off-roading and rentals at Full Access Tahoe.
Tubing is one of the best activities in Lake Tahoe during the summer.
TUBING & RAFTING
The Truckee River is the best place for rafting and tubing and there are dozens of companies that offer rentals with a pickup service to bring you back to your car. The Truckee River Raft Company is one of the most popular and has an incredible fleet of rafts and tubes for rent
Vanessa loves her quiet time, especially in beautiful areas like Lake Tahoe.
SWIM OR CHILL
August is the warmest month for water temperature in Lake Tahoe, and it averages 65-70 degrees over the 30-day period. It’s a cold lake because the area receives about 216 inches of snow each year, so take note. Although we did swim in the lake for about an hour, we spent most of our time kayaking, on standup paddleboards, and simply chilling. The lake is also extremely crowded in the summer and the parking situation is ridiculous, and frankly, adds stress to any adventure. Some people like crowds, we don’t. We still had a lot of fun, but expect all major beaches to fill up quickly during the peak season.
We rented a VRBO in the woods and it was incredibly relaxing. Even checking emails and working on this travel blog was chill. There are also a lot of good Lake Tahoe cabins and we recommend searching Lake Tahoe Airbnb to make sure you are getting the best deal.
SUNSET DINNER CRUISE
Zepher Cove offers an old fashion paddle boat and also a luxury yacht for daytime and sunset cruises on the lake. This is at the south end of the lake and we understand it’s a cool experience, but we did not do this personally. Lake Tahoe weather will no doubt play a big part in your choice to do this activity, but they do offer indoor seating on all their boats.
OFF-ROAD MOTORCYCLE RIDING
I raced an AMA National Enduro in the Minden/Reno/Tahoe area about 20 years ago and love the scenery. There are a lot of great off-road motorcycle trails along with great places for dual sport and adventure riding.
We saw all sorts of wildlife during our four-day trip to Lake Tahoe
IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
We recommend driving all 72-miles around the lake and looking at all the stunning sites. This will take about three hours if you did it non-stop, but it offers hundreds of places to get cool photos and interact with nature. We saw everything from squirrels to bears during our 4-day Lake Tahoe vacation.
Sometimes just walking around the small towns can be relaxing.
There are hundreds of mom-and-pop style stores around Lake Tahoe, and it’s fun just checking things out. Tahoe is a collection of small towns in California and Nevada
Simple pleasures are sometimes the best.
One of the most-beautiful places to people watch.
We had a few cocktails, imagine that, while watching people float downstream in the Truckee River. There are over 100 restaurants in the area that are on the water, and it’s incredibly relaxing, especially when the temps are in the low 80s.
Vanessa crushed it at the mini golf course that has been around since the 1940s
There are three mini golf courses in lake Tahoe and we played at King’s Beach Mineature Golf. It’s been in operation for over 50 years and even has some of the original obstacles and design elements on the course. It’s one of the most inexpensive things to do in Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe has 44 golf courses in the surrounding area, and that is no surprise considering the beauty in the area. Vanessa and I looked at some homes that were priced above $25 million, just for fun, so that should give you an idea of the wealth in the area. The top 10 golf courses in Lake Tahoe include: Edwood Golf Course – Stateline, Lake Tahoe Golf Course – South Lake Tahoe, Northstar Golf Course – North Lake Tahoe, Resort at Squaw Valley Golf Course – North Lake Tahoe, Carson Valley Golf Course – Carson Valley, Bijou Municipal Golf Course – South Lake Tahoe, Genoa Lakes Golf Course – Carson Valley, Old Greenwood Golf Course – Truckee, Gray’s Crossing Golf Course – Truckee and Old Brockway Golf Course – North Lake Tahoe.
Top 10 Hotels & Resorts in Lake Tahoe
*Tahoe Edgelake Beach Club – 7860 N. Lake Blvd.
*Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe 3411 Lake Tahoe Blvd
*Hotel Azure Tahoe – 3300 Lake Tahoe Blvd
*Postmarc Hotel and Spa Suites – 3696 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
*Station House Inn – 901 Park Ave.
*Basecamp Tahoe South – 4143 Cedar Ave.
*Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa – 930 Balbijou Rd.
*The Coachman Hotel – 4100 Pine Blvd.
*Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel – 4130 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
*Grand Residences by Marriott – 1001 Heavenly Village Way
Top 10 Restaurants in Lake Tahoe
*Scusa Italian Ristorante – 2543 Tahoe Blvd.
*Lake Tahoe Pizza Company – 1168 Emerald Bay Rd.
*Cold Water Brewery and Grill – 2544 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
*My Thai Cuisine – 2108 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
*Jalisco Grill – 2660 Lake Tahoe Blvd
*Café Fiore – 1169 Ski Run Blvd.
*Bert’s Café – 1146 Emerald Bay Rd.
*Primos Italian Bistro – 2180 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
*Sprouts Café – 3123 Harrison Ave.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
*How to plan your trip. The ultimate guide loaded with all sorts of valuable information for best travel.
*Ultimate packing guide including things you never thought about or didn’t know exist.
*Where to find cheapest flights. This blog talks all about how to save money on travel, where to find the best travel deals and much more. This shows you how to become the best at travel.
*Best deals on hotels & resorts. See what 30 years of world travel teach you. An expert’s guide to saving money on resorts and hotels.
*4 most-important types of travel insurance. This is a must-read story to protect you on your journey. This could save you tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s important to have the best travel insurance.
*Our Travel Gear – What we take on our journey including the ultimate traveler’s packing list.
AVOID TRAVEL SCAMS
*16 Tips to help you avoid getting scammed. Important tips best for travel.
Q: What should you not miss in Lake Tahoe?
A: Sand Harbor beach
Q: What can you do for free in Lake Tahoe?
A: Hiking is one of the most-popular free activities.
Q: Which part of Lake Tahoe is best?
A: Sand Harbor beach
Q: How far away is Yosemite from Lake Tahoe? 1
A: 24 miles
Q: How far is the Grand Canyon from Lake Tahoe?
A: 476 miles
Q: How far are the Redwoods from Lake Tahoe?
A: 265 miles
Q: How far is Reno from Lake Tahoe?
Q: It’s about a 30 minute drive
Q: What are the best times to visit Lake Tahoe?
Q: March through September
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Hi! We are Ken Faught & Vanessa Doleshal. We love adventure travel, photography & share our journey with YOU! Our goal is help you plan that perfect trip & keep inspiring you to take the next one.