Straddling the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a popular year-round vacation destination that offers everything from gambling and wine tasting, to hot air ballooning, skiing and sailing charters. The region is split between the pristine wilderness of the North Shore and the lively, diverse activities of the South Shore. Though vast natural attractions are abundant here, whether experienced by land, water or air, Lake Tahoe also offers a variety of arts and culture with its many arts festivals, theater and music venues, as well as top-notch restaurants and nightlife.
Lake Tahoe’s attractions span every season and appeal to a wide range of travelers. Surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountains, winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, tubing and snowmobiling are enjoyed by both locals and visitors. During late spring through early autumn, the majority of tourists flock to the lake for swimming, boating and water sports. Gaming is popular on the Nevada side of the lake, where several casinos and resorts offer premier 24-hour entertainment that includes gambling, music, shopping, dining and nightlife.
Located on the western edge of the North Shore, Tahoe Vista is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts looking to kayak along a hidden beach or mountain bike across Regional Park. Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, has everything from four-star hotels to log cabins, and some properties where a ski lift is no more than a few steps beyond the threshold of your door. Also on the North Shore is Tahoe City, where the Truckee River starts, and home-grown coffee shops, farmers’ markets, galleries and shops line the streets. The South Shore has a plethora of popular beaches, like Zephyr Cove, Emerald Bay Beach and Pope Beach, as well as historic sites and museums and picturesque parks and recreation centers.
It’s only fitting that the largest Alpine lake in the United States and its surrounding region should be well-versed in the crafting of classic and locally grown American cuisine. Evan’s American Gourmet Café serves up fresh dishes like butterleaf salad with blue cheese and pecans, orange-glazed halibut and duck confit. For an intimate Italian restaurant featuring locally grown produce and ingredients, Café Fiore is a must try. The Lone Eagle Grille offers panoramic views of the lake and signature Sierra region dishes that shouldn’t be missed while in Southern Lake Tahoe.
Out-of-state visitors will fly into Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO), which is about an hour’s drive from Lake Tahoe. When coming from the San Francisco or Sacramento area, drivers should use highway I-80 East toward Reno. Though there is a public transportation system (TART), the bus service does not have a large network of stops and cabs can be scarce, so it is recommended to rent a car for your stay, as the lake region is spread out, and many attractions are not within walking distance from each other.
Lake Tahoe’s climate changes drastically with the seasons. Summer months enjoy ideal warm temperatures, typically in the mid 70s, while the winter can bring powerful storms from the Pacific that can dump up to 20 feet of snow per season. As a whole, the region has consistently mild temperatures, paired with abundant sunshine and low humidity. Because it is a year-round destination, Lake Tahoe is ideal to visit during any month of the year.