Destination Guide: Lake Tahoe

Destination Guide: Lake Tahoe

On the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the highest alpine lake in North America. A Lake Tahoe trip combines natural beauty and high-end dining with outdoor activities that change with the seasons. We've created this collection of helpful Lake Tahoe travel tips to help you get the most out of your time in one of the USA’s most spectacular locations.

The Basics

Lake Tahoe is best known for the Lake Tahoe ski season. The lake and surrounding area offer plenty of outdoor activities during the summer, while the Nevada side of the lake hosts several lakeside casino resorts.

When to go

If you’re “wondering when does it snow in Lake Tahoe,” the area sees snow as early as September, with late snow flurries as late as June. The Lake Tahoe ski season runs from late November until the end of April, with peak season lasting from December to March. February generally offers the best skiing conditions.

Lake Tahoe's summer peak times are from June through August when temperatures average 73℉. April to May and September to November are the off-seasons and offer a chance to explore the lake’s natural beauty with fewer crowds.

Airport Options

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) is the closest airport to Lake Tahoe, and a 45-minute drive from North Lake Tahoe by car. Transportation from Reno Airport to Lake Tahoe includes car rentals, taxi and ride-share services, and shuttle buses. The North Lake Tahoe Express Bus also provides service to and from the airport.

Things to do in Lake Tahoe

Winter sports, camping, and hiking dominate the list of things to do in Lake Tahoe, and are well worth experiencing on your Lake Tahoe trip. However, if you prefer off-the-beaten-path activities, here are five Lake Tahoe travel attractions with fewer crowds.

  1. Emerald Bay Underwater State Park is an excellent high-altitude scuba diving destination with access to sunken boats and barges in Lake Tahoe’s exceptionally clear waters. 
  2. The Fannette Island Tea House is the shell of a 1920s stone building sitting atop the only island in Lake Tahoe and only accessible by boat or kayak.
  3. St. Francis of the Mountains is a rustic 1920s church on the shores of Fallen Leaf Lake.
  4. Pioneer Cemetery is in the oldest part of South Lake Tahoe and marks the burial grounds of the original European settlers. 
  5. Cave Rock Trail is a short 1.6-mile round-trip hike open year-round with amazing views of Lake Tahoe.

How to get around Lake Tahoe

Car rental in Lake Tahoe offers the easiest means of transportation; like most California cities, Lake Tahoe is very car-friendly. Driving isn’t your only option, however. The city has over 50 miles of walking and biking paths, and you can use scooter-share services in the summer.

The Tahoe Transportation District provides public transport in Lake Tahoe. Travelling around the city in the summer can also include the Emerald Bay Trolley service and sightseeing shuttles. Boat or kayak travel is possible thanks to the 20 public launches along the Lake Tahoe Water Trail.

For a unique transportation option, take the 2.4-mile Lake Tahoe cable car known as the Heavenly Mountain Gondola up Heavenly Mountain for breathtaking views.

Where and what to eat

The best places to eat in South Lake Tahoe include an eclectic mixture of restaurants and cafes. If you’re looking for the best food in South Lake Tahoe, we recommend the following eateries:

  • My Thai Cuisine is a popular, cozy restaurant with quick service. Be sure to try their Tom Kha soup and papaya salad. 
  • Scusa Italian Ristorante serves traditional Italian cuisine in a comfortable dining room or heated outdoor patio.
  • Hunan Garden Restaurant provides delicious Chinese food in a casual family atmosphere.
  • Curry & Grill offers affordable eat-in and take-out Indian dishes. 
  • Burger Lounge is a roadside restaurant on Highway 80 with sixteen burgers on the menu and six veggie burgers. 

You don’t have to be anexpert traveller to enjoy aLake Tahoe trip, and with year-round attractions, you can visit the city anytime. Weekend trips to Lake Tahoe are very popular, and you’ll only need what you can pack into aduffel bag orcarry-on bag. You may want to add achecked bag to your luggage or pick up aTravelpro luggage set for longer trips. 

Want more inspiration for your next adventure? Check out ourTop Travel Destinations.

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