Lake Tahoe: Top Attractions

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe, California  (PhotoDisc)

Lake Tahoe is a large alpine lake surrounded by the high Sierra Nevadas straddling the border of Nevada and California. And it makes the perfect place for a family retreat. Nestled in the mountains are glorious cabins and cold-water streams perfect for family fun. World-class winter skiing is aplenty at numerous resorts in the mountains framing the lake. Summertime fun includes waterskiing, swimming, boating, bicycling, and hiking. And at least one night, let the grandparents take care of the kids and hit the casinos and nightlife of South Lake.

Lake Beaches
North Lake Tahoe's King Beach Recreation Area, the largest of the 21 beaches in North Tahoe, is a 3,000-foot-long beach with swimming, picnic areas, boat rental facilities, and a raft more fun. Sand Harbor, a beach on the northeast shore eight miles from Incline Village, offers sand, great vistas, picnic areas, and a nature trail. Baldwin Beach, accessible to bikers pedaling the South Shore Bike Trail, is quiet and has shallow water. The South Shore's Zephyr Cove is popular for its marina and restaurants.
North Lake Tahoe Resort Association: 888.434.1262, www.mytahoevacation.com
South Lake Tahoe Visitors Association: 800.AT.TAHOE, www.bluelaketahoe.com

Hiking the Sierras
The hiking in Tahoe offers glorious views and wondrous animal encounters—and isn't all mountains and uphill exhaustion. The moderately difficult Tahoe Rim Trail circles the lake for 165 miles. In the north, a one-mile path leads to the much-photographed Eagle Falls. The Squaw Creek Meadow Trail starts behind the Olympic Village, off Highway 89 between Tahoe City and Truckee. This beginner's route starts out steep but the terrain levels quickly. In summer the meadows bloom with wildflowers.
North Lake Tahoe Resort Association: 888.434.1262, www.mytahoevacation.com
South Lake Tahoe Visitors Association: 800.AT.TAHOE, www.bluelaketahoe.com

Cycling the Lake
The South Lake Tahoe Bike Path, an easy 3.5-mile trail paralleling Highway 89, is simply a lovely place to bike. Along the route, take breathers at Pope or Kiva beaches. The North Lake Tahoe Bike Path hugs the lake all the way to Sugar Pine Point State Park, ten miles south of the trailhead. Pedal north from the access point and you ride along the wild and scenic Truckee River for five miles.
North Lake Tahoe Resort Association: 888.434.1262, www.mytahoevacation.com
South Lake Tahoe Visitors Association: 800.AT.TAHOE, www.bluelaketahoe.com

Squaw Valley USA
Site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley USA is one of the premier ski resorts in the country, as well as being a year-round locale that hosts summer fun and fantastic hiking. At the Adventure Center's Sky Jump, get harnessed and hooked up to bungee cords and bounce up to 25 feet in the air. On the ropes course, families bond as they plan strategies to conquer towers and giant swings. And for indoor fun, take the cable lift to High Camp, a mountaintop recreational village offering year-round ice skating and swimming.
Squaw Valley USA: 800.403.0206, www.squaw.com

Tahoe Queen Cruises
Boating on the lake will invert the usual shore-bound perspective and gift you with spectacular 360-degree mountain views. From May to mid-September, the Tahoe Queen, which departs from Ski Run Marina on the South Shore, offers two sailings geared to kids. On the Family Fun cruise, children participate in a scavenger hunt, while the Tales of Tahoe outing puts you face to face with a Mark Twain impersonator recounting legends of Lake Tahoe en route to Emerald Bay. The real Twain first hiked the area in 1861 and purred it was "the fairest picture the whole earth affords." High praise, indeed.
Tahoe Queen Cruises: 800.238-2463, www.laketahoecruises.com

Published: 8 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in South Lake Tahoe

$89-$149
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#1
The Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe
$112
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#2
Inn By The Lake
$129
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#3
Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa
$81-$188
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#4
Camp Richardson Resort & Marina

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