Great Outdoor Towns for Families

Lake Tahoe
  |  Gorp.com

Is that a harrumph we just heard? Yes, we'll admit that tourists descend here en masse. But most people drive to a Lake Tahoe overlook, snap a few shots, and then head to casinos. That leaves the rest of this gorgeous terrain for us purists to play in. And gorgeous it is. A deep cerulean lake surrounded by towering mountain ranges and lush forest, all glowing under sun-filled skies. The area boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and average snowfall of 40 feet or more. This adds up to year-round outdoor fun.

The first thing our tweens and teens do is grab all the brochures on off-road riding. We steer them away from the Hummers and head first to the shores. For more information, call (888) 434-1263, (530) 583-3494, or visit www.tahoefun.org.

Don't Leave Town Without:

1. Kayaking Lake Tahoe. What better way to see the lake? Rent equipment from local outfitters or sign up for a guided paddle with Emerald Bay Kayak Tours (916-581-2441). If foot power is more your style, head to the mountains. You'll find plenty of family-friendly hiking. With tots in tow, we like Echo Lakes Trail, with lots of high-altitude scenery and water for relatively little effort.
2. Biking the paved trails surrounding the lake. Try the South Lake Tahoe Trail, taking you an easy 10 miles through lush forest and along the shoreline. For more rugged mountain biking, head to the dirt roads and single-tracks along the lake. Ski areas offer chairlift-accessed biking, too.
3. Skating on the Olympic Pavilion rink at Squaw Valley's High Camp (530-581-7246). Ice skating is offered year-round. Come winter, save time to hit the slopes, too. Three-day (or more) interchangeable lift tickets let you ski or board at six major North Tahoe resorts


Up next . . . four more great family outdoor towns. What are your favorites?


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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