Insider’s Guide to Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is the perfect vacation spot. No matter what time of the year it is, this popular California destination offers fun events and activities to people of all ages and interests. In addition to being a fun place to explore, Lake Tahoe also boasts extraordinary natural beauty. In fact, Budget Travel named Lake Tahoe one of the 33 most beautiful places in the U.S.
With the Lake Tahoe’s attractions varying greatly by time of year, here are the top activities to experience and enjoy by season.
Summer in Lake Tahoe
American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament
One iconic event that brings many people to Lake Tahoe in the summer is the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament. Many famous celebrities and athletes participate in this tournament, such as the NFL quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers.
Harvey’s Casino Summer Concert Series
A summer concert series happens every year at Harvey’s Casino. This summer long celebration features many popular artists of different generations and genres.
Ride on the MS Dixie II
For a scenic experience of Lake Tahoe, buy a ticket for the MS Dixie II paddle wheeler. This fun boat ride, which tours passengers around Emerald Bay, offers dinner dance cruises.
Lake Tahoe Outdoor Activities in Summer
If you love outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe is the place for your summer getaway. Visitors have countless water activities like boating, swimming and paddle-boarding at their finger tips as well as numerous on land activities like mountain biking, hiking, and camping.
Spend the day at Fallen Leaf Lake, a beautiful and secluded spot. Extend your visit by bringing your camping gear and spending the night.
End a summer’s day in Tahoe with a relaxing Gondola ride at Heavenly. Take in killer views of the entire town and an aerial view of the lake as you ride up, up above.
Fall in Lake Tahoe
The Lake Tahoe scenery changes with the transition into fall, as local Aspen trees showcase their stunning golden leaves. In addition to taking in Lake Tahoe’s transforming landscape, experience some of these standout activities.
Labor Day Weekend in Tahoe
During Labor Day weekend, many locals and tourists watch the annual fireworks show on the lake. In this same weekend, boats the MS Dixie II and the Tahoe Queen race in a special event called the Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler Race.
Oktoberfest in Lake Tahoe
Several places in Tahoe have big events celebrating Oktoberfest with great food, beer, and music. Enjoy authentic German food year round at local restaurant Himmel Haus.
Pumpkin Picking Near Lake Tahoe
If you are looking for a fall day trip, venture to Apple Hill (45 minutes from Tahoe). Pick up an apple pie when you visit this pretty spot, home to a beautiful pumpkin patch, numerous apples trees, and much more.
Winter in Lake Tahoe
Winter sport enthusiasts will be in heaven in Tahoe whether at Heavenly or not! Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, and sleigh rides are all fun activities to consider during your winter visit to Tahoe.
Ski or Snowboard at Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts
Heavenly, Squaw Valley, North Star, Kirkwood, Homewood, and Diamond Peak attract skiers and snowboarders of all ages and levels every winter.
Attend SnowGlobe Music Festival
Make sure to check out the elaborate SnowGlobe concert that takes place on three nights ending with a New Year’s Eve celebration. This popular outdoor event holds true to its name, as snow often falls over its crowd of attendees. Make sure to dress warm for this late night party!
Get Creative at Lake Tahoe Paint & Sip Studio
To avoid the cold weather for a bit, you might want to stay inside and express your creative side at Lake Tahoe Paint & Sip Studio. The perfect place for a fun night out, this spot allows creative types to sip their favorite beverage and simultaneously produce a masterpiece with guided instruction.
Trip Tip: If you need to rent a car while visiting Tahoe in the winter, it is wise to choose one that is all wheel drive to best manage any snowy or icy roads.
Spring in Lake Tahoe
Drive Around The Lake
Spring is a great time to drive around the lake and experience scenic views like Emerald Bay, several beaches, and unique shops. Something extravagant about Lake Tahoe is that it is a famous stop for the AMGEN Tour of California bike race.
Spring Events in Lake Tahoe to Attend
The Rotary International organization hosts a fancy Saint Patrick’s Day Event every year with decadent food and a silent auction. There are also philanthropic events that take place like the Polar Plunge, which supports the Special Olympics. Every year people dress up in themed costumes and jump in to the freezing cold lake for a good cause.
Lake Tahoe Restaurants and Cafes
Perhaps Tahoe’s restaurants can be as much of an attraction as its ski slopes. Here are some of Lake Tahoe's best dining options.
- The Best Pizza in Tahoe: Blue Dog Pizza
Try it’s Pesto Chips and delicious signature pizzas.
- Best Happy Hour in Lake Tahoe: Chart House
Stop by from 4:00-6:00pm to for a yummy beverage and an impeccable view of the lake.
- Best Mediterranean Restaurant in Lake Tahoe: Artemis Mediterranean
- Best Thai Restaurant in Lake Tahoe: Orchid’s Thai Cuisine.
- Best Italian Restaurant in Lake Tahoe: Tep’s Villa Roma
This fine restaurant boasts exquisite entrees and an elegant ambiance.
- Best Sushi Restaurants in Lake Tahoe: Off The Hook, Naked Fish, Sushi Pier, and Harumi
- Best Breakfast in Lake Tahoe: Red Hut Café
This Tahoe favorite has been serving waffles and other delicious foods since 1959.
- Best Healthy Restaurant in Lake Tahoe: Sprouts Café
Stop by for a variety of heavenly smoothies and organic food specialties
- Best Bagels in Lake Tahoe: Rude Brother’s Bagels and Coffee
With an abundance of bagel flavors, this is the spot for a quick, delicious breakfast.
- Best Ice Cream in Lake Tahoe: Camp Richardson’s Ice Cream Parlor
Dessert lovers line up for its scrumptious flavors and generous scoops
Visiting Tahoe: Tips From a Local
- If you are hiking Mt. Tallac, plan extra time for parking and transportation, especially on holiday weekends.
- Wake up early to hike in order to escape the heat of the day.
- Ride your bike to Round Hill Pines Beach Resort and you will have free entry to the beach. If you decide to drive make sure you leave early enough because they have limited parking spaces.
- Bears are all over Tahoe and it is important to not underestimate them. They will tear off your car door if you leave a bag of chips visible in your car overnight. With that in mind, bears usually do not mean any harm if you keep your distance. You can take as many pictures as you would like, but please do not feed the bears.
Ready to plan your visit? Compare Lake Tahoe rentals now!
This article was written by Tori Jimenez.