The city of South Lake Tahoe is nestled at the southern edge of its beautiful namesake lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, stretched across eastern California near the Nevada border. Among its numerous attractions are magnificent scenery and opportunities for summer and winter sports. Enjoy summer activities such as swimming, water skiing, boating, fishing, and hiking. In the winter, you can go snow tubing, sledding, skiing downhill, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. Book a stay at one of many unforgettable South Lake Tahoe vacation rentals. Check out the top 10 things to do in and around South Lake Tahoe.
1. Lake Tahoe Water Ski School
The lovely calm blue waters of Lake Tahoe are perfect for water skiing, and the licensed captains and trained instructors at Lake Tahoe Water Ski School can help you get started. The school’s close personal technique allows instruction of even young children. Lessons include equipment such as a wetsuit and water skis. If you like, try your hand at tubing and wakeboarding.
2. Lakeside Marina Boat Rentals
Boating on Lake Tahoe is the perfect way to tour the lakeshore. Cast in your line and angle for rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, and Kokanee salmon. If you own a boat, Lakeside Marina on the east side of South Lake Tahoe has a launch ramp, slips, and a fueling station. If you want to rent a ride, the marina has 18- to 26-foot-long powerboats available. The marina also provides a convenient water taxi that takes you to various towns around the lake.
3. Camp Richardson Corral
Camp Richardson Corral is a family-run facility that allows you to explore the incomparable landscape around South Lake Tahoe on horseback. Trail rides of an hour or more take you through forests and meadows to beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. Special pony rides for young children follow a shorter loop within the ranch. Summer hay wagon rides take you along the lakeshore. In the winter, take a sleigh ride through the snow as you quaff hot cocoa or hot apple cider.
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4. Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay State Park lies a few miles west of South Lake Tahoe. Because of the unparalleled beauty of the glacier-carved granite, the forest, and the waters of the bay, the park is designated a National Natural Landmark. Take advantage of this park for swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, and hiking. The waters under the bay, designated Emerald Bay Underwater State Park, are full of derelict boats and barges from the 1800s, inviting you to scuba dive the clear waters to explore these historic artifacts. Within the park is Vikingsholm Castle, a former residence built in the Scandinavian style of architecture. It is now a state and national landmark and open for public tours.
5. Lake Tahoe Balloons
For a thrilling and unforgettable adventure, take a hot air balloon tour high over South Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe Balloons has the unique launching technique of taking the balloon out onto the lake, inflating it, and sending it up from the deck of a specially-built boat known as the Tahoe Flier. Once aloft, you have a panoramic view of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When you come down, the balloon is again retrieved from the surface of the lake.
6. Lake Tahoe Kayak Rentals
Kayaking on the calm clear waters of Lake Tahoe is a great way to explore the beaches, coves, and bays around the shore. Gather your equipment and some sunscreen from your vacation rental and set out for any of the superb kayaking locations on the southern shore, including Emerald Bay, Timber Cove, and Camp Richardson. If you don’t have your own, Lake Tahoe Kayak Rentals offers various models of single, tandem, and fishing kayaks as well as stand-up paddleboards for your paddling adventures.
7. Tahoe Trout Farm
Tahoe Trout Farm, located on the southern edge of South Lake Tahoe city, provides a family-friendly fishing experience at two ponds surrounded by lovely forest and mountain vistas. The facility provides bait and tackle and requires no fishing license. Enjoy a serene afternoon on ponds that are well-stocked with rainbow trout; if you want company, it’s the perfect place for your kids to learn to catch their first fish.
8. Heavenly Mountain
Heavenly Mountain is an immense, multi-faceted resort on the eastern side of South Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border. Scenic gondola rides take you up the mountain for a multitude of activities. During the summer, enjoy the zip lines, climbing walls, and rope courses. In the winter, glide down the tubing hill or go skiing in the terrain parks. Heavenly Mountain also offers ski and snowboarding lessons for children and adults.
9. Nordic Ski Center
Located on the campus of Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe, the Nordic Ski Center has over 3 miles of groomed trails where you can go cross-country skiing. Volunteers maintain the trails several days a week, and your dogs are welcome to join you as you ski. There is plenty of level terrain for beginners as well as trail diversity and occasional slopes for experienced skiers.
10. Sierra Mountain Sports
Sierra Mountain Sports on the south side of South Lake Tahoe offers you high-powered fun on a snowmobile. The facility has a long snowmobile circle track for adults and a smaller loop for children. Helmets are included, and up to two people can ride on a snowmobile together. If you prefer something with less muscle, rent snow tubes and enjoy sliding down the tubing hills.
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