Magnificent lake and mountain views await you in North Lake Tahoe, a stunning area that’s loaded with outdoor adventures. If you’re traveling in the winter, spend your days skiing and tubing with the kids; in the summer, little ones will love splashing in the lake and hiking in the nearby hills. As you make your vacation itinerary, look into these exciting, family-friendly activities situated conveniently near many North Lake Tahoe vacation rentals.
1. Take a Dip
Get the full Lake Tahoe experience at Kings Beach State Recreation Area. Set up your gear on the large beach, and allow your little ones to swim. The lake deepens very gradually at Kings Beach, so the water is warm and safe for children. Restrooms, barbecue grills, and picnic areas in the park make it easy to stay all day. Sand Harbor, with its beautiful rocks and clear water, also makes a great day trip.
2. Go Fishing
Pack your rods and reels and head to the lake for a day of fishing with the family. From July through September, head to shore in Lake Forest to fish for rainbow trout. Another kid-friendly fishing spot is the Truckee River between Tahoe City and Truckee; look for deep holes to find different types of trout, and be sure not to fish within 1,000 feet of the dam at Lake Tahoe.
3. Hit the Slopes
Experience North Lake Tahoe’s excellent snow conditions with a day trip to one of the area’s ski resorts. From Tahoe City, Squaw Valley, and Alpine Meadows offer runs for every level, including bunny hills for little ones who are just learning. Other great options north of the lake include Sugar Bowl, Northstar California, Mt. Rose, and Diamond Peak. If your kids need a gentler introduction to downhill sports, try the snow-tubing hill at Squaw Valley.
4. Attend a Summer Concert
After a day of hiking, pack up the family and head to Commons Beach in Tahoe City for an evening concert. Each Sunday afternoon from June through September, the town hosts a free concert series that’s popular with locals and visitors. Bring beach blankets, chairs, and a picnic dinner, and enjoy live music. Onsite vendors also offer snacks and drinks for purchase, so it’s easy to cater to each of your kids’ preferences.
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5. Try Cross-Country Skiing
Enjoy sunny winter days in North Lake Tahoe on cross-country skis. Head for Tahoe XC, where a network of well-groomed trails provides beautiful views and great conditions. Bring your own gear, or rent it at the pro shop. Children 12 and under ski for free, and kids 13-17 receive discounted trail passes. If your kids are very small, opt for a slower-paced snowshoe hike throughout the property.
6. Explore the Lake Tahoe Water Trail
Get out on the lake with a kayak trip along the Lake Tahoe Water Trail. Bring your own kayaks and canoes, or rent them from a local outfitter. Launch from a variety of public spots along the north shore of the lake, including Carnelian Bay Watermans Landing, Sandy Beach, and North Tahoe Beach. Paddle between launches to create a trip that suits your children’s abilities, using the signs along the way for easy navigation.
7. Go Hiking
Take in the stunning Lake Tahoe views with a family hiking trip. If your kids are small, start with the Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Loop. This easy, wide trail is less than 1.5 miles long, so you can explore it at a leisurely pace. Another fun option is the Ophir Creek Loop, which offers three different loop lengths to suit your kids’ abilities. Sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail are also great for day-hiking.
8. Check Out the Shakespeare Festival
If your North Lake Tahoe vacation falls in the summer, don’t miss the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival in Sand Harbor. Bring your older kids to see one of the festival’s professional productions, which happens in a spectacular outdoor area overlooking the lake. For little ones, the affordable D.G. Menchetti Young Shakespeare Program is a great choice; each performance is a one-hour, kid-friendly adaptation of the current shows.
9. Go Mountain Biking
See the hilly Lake Tahoe terrain on a fun mountain-biking trip through the hills. The Northstar California ski resort is the perfect place to start. Rent bikes in the shop; all rentals come with helmets and body guards for safety. Then, you can hike up to a low-grade trail with little ones, or take your teenagers up the lift to explore the steeper trails.
10. Visit the Northstar Kid Zone
While you’re at Northstar California, stop into the Kid Zone for an afternoon of child-friendly adventures. Climb the exciting rock wall, learn new tricks on the bungee trampoline, or send your smallest kids into the enclosed Spider Climb. As a family, enjoy a round of mini golf, go roller skating, or try your luck panning for fossils and gems.
11. Enjoy a Treetop Adventure
Spend a day flying high above the waters of Lake Tahoe at Tahoe City Treetop Adventure Park. Older kids and adults can fly through the Monkey Course, which features zip lines, bridges, and aerial activities. The Flying Squirrel course caters to little ones, offering child-safe zip lines and activities; parents can accompany kids on the course.
12. Learn About Tahoe History
Introduce your kids to the boating history of North Lake Tahoe at the Tahoe Maritime Center. Check out the collection of historic watercraft, marvel at old photos of the lake, and examine the exhibits that rotate through the museum. Don’t miss the photos of 1950s-era races or the vintage water skis.
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