It is no coincidence that great artists like Mark Twain admire the breathtaking view of Lake Tahoe. The crystal clear turquoise blue waters correspond perfectly with the snow-capped peaks and wooded areas around. With a depth of 1,640 feet, the lake owes much of its beauty to the origin of the water – melted snow.
There is hardly a tourist who is not impressed by the view regardless of the season. It will take you several hours by car to tour the entire lake, which is located on the border between Nevada and California, but we advise you to spend a lot more time here so you can walk in nature and enjoy all the attractions around. If you are a fan of winter fairytale landscapes, the period from December to April is the perfect time to visit.
Last but not least, the area is known for some of the best alpine resorts. You will certainly not be bored here if you are a fan of winter or water sports and long hikes in the mountains.
Here are some of the favorite activities of visitors to Lake Tahoe.
- 1. Hiking at South Lake Tahoe
- 2. Emerald Bay State Park
- 3. Lake Tahoe Boat Cruise
- 4. Kings Beach
- 5. Alpine Skiing
- 6. Tallac Historic Site
- 7. Take a walk in Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park
- 8. Eagle Rock Hiking Trail
- 9. Sand Harbor State Park
- 10. D.L. Bliss State Park
- 11. Desolation Wilderness
- 12. Fallen Leaf Lake
- 13. Gatekeeper’s Museum
- 14. Homewood Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe
- 17 Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in the Summer
1. Hiking at South Lake Tahoe
One of the favorite places for hiking is the southern part of the lake, as here the routes offer a great view of the lake. If you are on holiday with your family, be sure to visit the Cascade Falls Trail, which stretches two miles from Bayview Campground to Cascade Falls.
It is easy to cross and reveals wonderful views of the lake. Another route is the Fallen Leaf Lake Trail, which starts at the campsite of the same name and continues parallel to the shore.
Last but not least, tourists prefer the Rubicon Trail, which reaches the Emerald Bay, passing through the fabulous Vikingsholm Castle.
2. Emerald Bay State Park
One of the best things to do in Lake Tahoe is a visit to Emerald Bay State Park in its western part. The area is surrounded by dense forests and there are many opportunities for nature walks. The vegetation creates a dense shade, which makes the water look dark blue and even emerald green.
This is where Vikingsholm Castle is located – a true example of Scandinavian architecture. There are also two campsites – Boat-In Camp (accessible only by water) and Eagle Point Campground which is only meters from the lake.
To get the most out of the view, visit the Inspiration Point, which rises to 600 feet in height overlooking Emerald Bay.
3. Lake Tahoe Boat Cruise
There are many companies around Lake Tahoe that offer a boat trip on its calm waters. This is a great way to relax, and the surrounding frosted peaks of the Sierra Nevada are a real delight to the eye.
Tours start from different points on the coast (Zephyr Cove, Camp Richardson, Incline Village, Timber Cove Marina, etc.). Some tours offer a tour of the waterfalls, Fannette Island, and Vikingsholm Castle.
4. Kings Beach
What to do in Lake Tahoe if you are a fan of water summer sports? Visit Kings Beach on the north side of the lake. In Kings Beach State Recreation Area you will find all the necessary amenities – barbecue areas, picnic tables, public restrooms, parking.
There are many hotels, shops, and boutiques in the Kings Beach area.
5. Alpine Skiing
In winter and spring, Lake Tahoe becomes a favorite destination for skiers captivated by the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The most famous of the winter resorts is Squaw Valley, known as the venue for the 1960 Olympic Games, and Heavenly, which offers 4,800 acres of ski slopes and stunning views of the lake.
In addition, here you can choose a gondola ride that will take you to the most picturesque views. Another favorite resort for skiers is the Sugar Bowl, offering European style and 12 lifts for its guests.
6. Tallac Historic Site
This attraction consists of 3 properties – the Pope, Baldwin, and Valhalla estates. Here, at the beginning of the 20th century lived some of the most noble and wealthy representatives of the area.
To find out more about its significance and history, you can tour them with a guide. In August, the Gatsby Festival is held here, which brings great excitement with jazz concerts and many other entertainments typical of the 1920s.
Today, the Baldwin Estate has become the historic Tallac Museum, which houses many artifacts from the area’s past, including the property’s original kitchen from the 1930s.
The Valhalla Estate is an ideal venue for celebrations or larger music events.
7. Take a walk in Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park
One of the must-see Lake Tahoe activities is a walk-in Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point, State Park. The park stretches for 2 miles around the lake among conifers and the highlight of this walk will be a visit to the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion. The property is furnished with all the amenities of its time and offers breathtaking views of the lake.
You can visit it in the days from Memorial Day until the end of September. The property is surrounded by a flower garden, often used for weddings and celebrations, and nearby is the Nature Center, offering exhibitions of wildflowers, birds, and more.
In summer you can go for a long walk in the shady forests or for a swim in the small beach of the park, and in winter you can go skiing. The park has plenty of campsites, picnic areas and barbecues.
8. Eagle Rock Hiking Trail
This is one of the most scenic hiking trails around Lake Tahoe. Located at an altitude of 6,000 feet, it is created by volcanic activity and is extremely easy to crawl for half a mile.
9. Sand Harbor State Park
Sand Harbor State Park stretches over 55 acres filled with sandy beaches and shady woodlands, ideal for sports and outdoor activities. The park is located in the northern part of Lake Tahoe and in the warmer months gathers fans of sailing, kayaking, and boating.
If you are unsure what to do in Lake Tahoe, take the Sand Point Nature Trail to enjoy the views. The park also has a restaurant, picnic areas, and the Sand Harbor Visitor Center and Gift Shop.
The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is also held here every year, during which there are performances in the open-air theater.
10. D.L. Bliss State Park
This area around the lake is named after Baron Duane L. Bliss, who made a fortune in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and donated 744 acres of his property to the California State park system. Here you will find many places suitable for walking among the trees and several secluded beaches hidden among the wooded areas.
The most famous are the crystal blue waters of Lester Beach and Calawee Cove, ideal for water sports. Here is the famous 4.5 mile long Rubicon Trail and offers breathtaking views.
In summer the park has 150 campsites ideal for family travel and equipped with the necessary amenities.
11. Desolation Wilderness
Desolation Wilderness is an area of 64,000 acres around the Lake Tahoe pool and the Eldorado National Forest. It consists mainly of alpine forests, mountain peaks, and small lakes formed by glaciers.
Here you have the opportunity to travel only by horse or on foot, as all mechanical vehicles are strictly prohibited. The place is ideal for those who love winter walks and landscapes.
12. Fallen Leaf Lake
Just a mile south of Lake Tahoe is the glacier-created Fallen Leaf Lake. You will not find the amenities of urban areas here, as only the Fallen Leaf Marina and Store is located around the lake.
On the other hand, you will have the full opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature, walks in the fresh air and time spent with loved ones. The lake has camping, water skiing, fishing, and other water sports.
13. Gatekeeper’s Museum
The museum was created and maintained by The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, which cares for the preservation and exploration of the history of the area around Lake Tahoe.
Interestingly, the Gatekeeper’s Museum is located in the original log cabin, where the gatekeeper was located in the past. In the museum, you will find many historical displays telling the story of the first settlers in the area.
14. Homewood Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe
We end this list with one of the favorite winter resorts, stretching over 1260 acres. Here you will find seven lifts and a huge selection of hiking trails, most of which are eastern and almost constantly lit by the sun.
The resort operates from December to April and in addition to winter sports is known for the beautiful views of the lake.
17 Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in the Summer
- Emerald Bay State Park
- Eagle Lake
- D.L. Bliss State Park
- Rubicon Trail.
- Sugar Pine Point State Park
- Gatekeeper’s Museum
- Olympic Valley
- Magic Carpet Golf
- Speedboat Beach
- Sand Harbor
- Cave Rock
- Heavenly Gondola
- South Lake Tahoe Restaurants
- Tallac Historic Site
- Glen Alpine Falls
- Cascade Falls
Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for a relaxing holiday. If you are a nature lover, have a huge selection of campsites around. The choice of Lake Tahoe activities is huge – winter sports, water skiing, or kayaking – it all depends on your preferences.
Of course, if you do not want to part with the amenities, there is a large selection of spa resorts nearby. You will certainly not be disappointed with your vacation here, whether you are traveling alone or with your family.