Visit pristine Lake Tahoe, and you will immediately see that it is a vacation paradise at any time of the year. There are plenty of outdoor activities for all ages, such as swimming, hiking, and skiing. If you enjoy the history of the Old West, you will love the charming and historic downtown area of Truckee, while those searching for a peaceful waterfront getaway will fall in love with Kings Beach. From the luxury resorts of Incline Village to the exciting nightlife of South Lake Tahoe, you’ll find plenty to love in Tahoe. To help you find the perfect Lake Tahoe vacation rental, here are ten locations in the Lake Tahoe region where you should look for a place to stay.

1. South Lake Tahoe, California

south lake tahoe
Source: Flickr / Patrick Nouhailler

South Lake Tahoe is the largest city on the lake, and this is the place to go if you enjoy nightlife, bars, and restaurants. Several casinos, such as Harrah’s, provide some of the area’s biggest acts, so if it is entertainment you are looking for, make sure to catch a show. From your vacation rental, you will have a diverse range of stores and restaurants all within walking distance, so you can leave the car behind and enjoy the fresh air. You’re also right on the lake, so you’ll be within easy distance of some beaches on the lake.

2. Incline Village, Nevada

relax inside a vacation home
Source: Flickr / James Carnes

Incline Village is a small, luxury resort town with many upscale shops and restaurants. You can find many beautiful cabins to stay in here. A short drive from your vacation home lies Diamond Peak, which offers sweeping panoramic views of the lake and valley below. Take a drive along Lakeshore Boulevard to view some of the large estates bordering Lake Tahoe before heading back into town for an excellent meal. In the wintertime, this is a great place to stay if you’re interested in skiing at Mt. Rose, just a few minutes away.

3. Tahoe City, California

tahoe city
Source: Flickr / Doug Jones

Tahoe City is an excellent place to set up home base if you want easy access to the water. Staying in a vacation rental here gives you some of the best access to boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Boat tours leave the marina on a regular basis, and there is a beautiful walking and cycling path along the California side of the lake. The downtown area has the feel of a small village, with several cafes and boutiques along the main street for a pleasant evening stroll.

4. Truckee, California

truckee
Source: Flickr / Anthony Dolce

Truckee is the best place to stay if you love the atmosphere of the Old West. This charmingmountain town preserves much of its history, and you will see many restored brick buildings in the downtown district. Be sure to stop by The Truckee Variety Store — you’ll feel as if you are stepping back in time. On Thursdays during the summer, walk into town for Truckee Thursdays, where the main street closes and vendors set up shop to sell local crafts and food. In the winter, you’ll be close to great skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, as well as Northstar.

5. Heavenly Village, California

ice skating ring
Source: Flickr / nsobject

Heavenly Village is right in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, but it has a real ski village feel. This is a family-friendly village with several shopping options, so if you’re visiting from far away, this is a fantastic place to come. For a beautiful view of Lake Tahoe from above, take the family on a 12-minute gondola ride from downtown, and then hike along the trails. Heavenly Village is also an excellent choice for a winter vacation, with plenty of ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding within walking distance.

6. Zephyr Cove–-Round Hill Village, Nevada

sunset view over the lake
Source: Flickr / BernieCB

Zephyr Cove–-Round Hill Village is on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe and offers much in the way of water activities and history. In the summertime, this side of Lake Tahoe gets more sunshine, and the water is warmer. You can hike to the top of Round Hill to get a great view of the lake and take some pictures. Take a sunset dinner cruise on Tahoe Queen, or enjoy brunch on the water on the M.S. Dixie II. If you prefer to explore the water on your own, stop by Zephyr Cove Marina to rent a kayak, waverunner, or canoe.

7. Emerald Bay, California

lake at dawn
Source: Flickr / hbp_pix

For a more peaceful vacation in a gorgeous setting, rent a home in Emerald Bay. You can read a book while basking in the sun at Emerald Bay Beach or take a hike to Cascade Falls. Emerald Bay also provides you with access to Lake Tahoe’s only island, Fannette Island. A 1920s tea house still stands on the island and offers visitors a 360-degree view of the bay. Tour magical Vikingsholm Castle, a reproduction of an ancient Scandinavian castle and a fun place to take children. This area is known for its phenomenal hiking — you can take a day hike to the Velma Lakes, or plan an overnight trip in the backcountry.

8. Homewood, California

homewood
Source: Flickr / Gabi L.

Homewood is right on the lake, and is on the woodsier California side of Lake Tahoe. It is the perfect setting for a vacation rental, with direct access to the water and lake views from many of the homes. Chambers Landing Bar and Restaurant is a fantastic place to have lunch or dinner on the lake after spending a morning or afternoon cruising the lake in a motorboat. In the summer, you can end your evening with a concert at Homewood Mountain Resort before walking back to your vacation home.

9. Squaw Valley, California

squaw valley
Source: Flickr / Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley is remembered as the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and is one of the best ski resorts in North America. Even if you don’t ski, though, you’ll love coming here at all times of the year. The small village is charming and has many different shops, and the resort puts on tons of events all year round. In the summer, you can take the tram up the mountain for amazing views of the lake. While on the mountain, take a swim in the pool, have lunch in the restaurant, or enjoy live music in the bar. Back in Squaw Valley, you’ll find plenty of activities for the whole family.

10. Kings Beach, California

kings beach
Source: Flickr / Bill Couch

If you are traveling to Lake Tahoe for the beaches, there is no better place for your vacation rental than Kings Beach. Here you’ll find pristine sandy beaches plus spots for you to barbecue, so you can spend the entire day right on the shore. during the summer, Kings Beach hosts several free concerts, so you can swim to music.