I’ve lived in the United States all of my life but hadn’t heard much about Lake Tahoe until the past year when it came up as a suggested location for my reunion with my best girlfriends. After hearing some raving reviews from everyone we asked, we started booking flights for a five night get together. We stayed on South Lake Tahoe in the California side so all my recommendations are for places there, but the North side is probably just as popular. As you can probably tell from the fact I’m writing this post, I loved it. Here are six reasons to visit Lake Tahoe ASAP.
1. Lake Tahoe is a great destination any time of the year.
We went in the summer and though Lake Tahoe itself is pretty chilly due to the altitude, we soaked up plenty of sunshine from the beaches and our apartment complex’s pool. Swimming is not out of the question though – we definitely got hot enough at point to require a dip in the clear waters, and braver souls than us were swimming around.
2. There are activities for all interests.
Like literally all interests.
- Hiking? Check.
- Swimming? Check.
- Water sports? Check. Kayaking, canoeing, jet skis and wakeboarding are all options we saw.
- Boat rentals for those who don’t want to get wet? Check.
- Lounging by the pool or hot tub? Definitely check.
- Night life? Lake Tahoe is a big destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties, plus recreational marijuana is available and easily accessible in town. You’ll even find some casinos in the Reno airport which is a lot of people fly into over the smaller Tahoe airport. Basically a giant check.
- Winter sports? Hit the ski resorts for skiing, snowboarding, and more. Check.
You get the idea and I’m certain this is not close to a comprehensive list.
3. It’s absolutely gorgeous, everywhere.
Some of the photos we took truly looked like we were posing in front of a fake backdrop. Driving to the top hiking spots takes you through some mountainous scenes. Lake Tahoe also boasts a variety of beaches which, unlike your ocean-side beaches, are surrounded by mountains and trees, giving it a unique vibe. Did I mention the super clear waters?
4. Lots of delicious food options.
We didn’t experience this in its fullness because we cooked most breakfasts at home for money saving purposes. But what we did eat included some delicious Thai food, Mexican food (Azul Latin Kitchen, which we frequented several nights in a row after falling in love with the tacos) and so much more. We spent one entire day hopping from restaurant to restaurant ordering appetizers and wine. Boathouse on the Pier provided us with Rose and a lakefront table where we happily passed a few hours and a few bottles. 10/10 would recommend you do the same.
5. It doesn’t have to be ultra-expensive.
We split an Airbnb apartment which was plenty roomy for the six of us girls, and provided us a kitchen to cook our own meals, and a pool and hot tub for no extra cost. Lake Tahoe sits between California and Nevada which are not the cheapest of states, so things like Ubers from the airport to town can be rather pricey. But if you plan well and in advance you can find some fairly affordable housing options that put you within walking distance of town. We stayed in an apartment complex called the Bavarian Village, for location reference. Split six ways
Note: You’ll want a rental car to get to the hikes, beaches, and other viewpoints as things are pretty spread out and Ubers are not cheap. Make sure you leave for hikes and beaches early in the morning though as parking can be difficult (especially on weekends/high season) and can fill up by 10 am.
Lots of restaurants offer happy hour or lunch specials too, which you should definitely take advantage of when dining out. We hit up My Thai Cuisine for lunch where they had an $8.99 deal with soup, salad, a spring roll, and tons of entrée choices in portions guaranteed to leave you stuffed.
6. But luxury is absolutely accessible.
If you are into the finer things in life and want a luxury vacation, you can also find that in Lake Tahoe. For dining, try Lulou’s or Trokay for American and European food, Kalanis for Hawaiian food and brunch, The Oyster Bar for seafood, or Café Fiore for Italian.
Spa life is a thing in Tahoe too! Try Tahoe Facial and Body Shop for your skin care and spray tans, or Massage on the Lake Day Spa.
Boat rentals are a wonderful way to hit the water and can be done at a variety of price ranges and luxury levels. We spent 2 hours with a guide through Lake Tahoe Boat Rides on our own private boat, which split six ways came to about $84 per person. Pro-tips: it’s BYOB so pack a cooler to save some money, and don’t forget to tip your boat driver! Our guide, Steve, did a wonderful job sharing some fascinating history and info about Lake Tahoe and serving as our genial photographer for the two hours (which we appreciated to no end).
Finally, there are some luxury resorts and hotels that are sure to leave you pampered. The Landing Resort and Spa is South Lake Tahoe’s 5-star resort, located right on the lake with incredible views and beach access. There’s free transportation to the casinos and every room comes with a plush terry bathrobe! A golf course is a ten-minute walk away, and facilities in-resort include a full-service spa, rooftop terrace, 7 fireplaces and fire pits, fitness center, sauna, swimming pool, steam room, ski/snowboard storage, and two restaurants. I really can’t think of much more you could need on a luxury vacation.
The Marriot’s Timber Lodge and Lakeland Village at Heavenly also scored 4 stars, the later being perfect for those who really want that cabin-in-the-woods vibe.
I really stay sleeping on some of these US destinations! I didn’t expect to love Tahoe this much and I’m surprised I hadn’t heard much about it before. Another reminder that there is so much to see in my own home country.
South Lake Tahoe was an absolute blast and I think I would have enjoyed it with any group I visited, or even alone. That said, all the activities and night life make it a place that really caters to groups. If you can get some of your girlfriends together for a reunion, I promise you won’t regret the location choice.
THANKS FOR READING 5 REASONS WHY SEATTLE SHOULD BE ON YOUR BUCKET LIST!
Want to read more on US locations or other Suitcase Six travel guides? Try these next:
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