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What To Do In Lake Tahoe In The Summer

The best thing about retreating to Lake Tahoe is that you’re bound to have the best time of your life whether you choose to have a tranquil weekend to meditate or reconnect with nature or a full-blast casino-hopping getaway with the entire group. What’s even great is that Lake Tahoe is an awesome destination regardless of what time of year you plan your visit. It is indeed a year-round palace for you — and even with your entire gang!

So to help you with your trip, we have listed the top things to do in Lake Tahoe during summer and winter — and of course, some bonus activities that you can do any time of the year.

The first part of this article will be about things that you can do during the summer season. Here’s our top ten.

Attend a Concert

Harvey’s Lake Tahoe is the coolest venue in the world for concerts. It’s an intimate amphitheater located in the back of the hotel. The concert line up each year is always great and there’s no bad seat. I would recommend either the side stadium seats or the first half of the floor seats. The back half of the floor seats are closer to the bar, but a little tougher to see the stage since it’s all flat. 

I’ve attended Journey, Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban here. All were great, but Keith Urban had the best celebrity watching. We had 7 cast members from The Bachelor sitting a couple rows behind us, including the “Crier”. If you’re a fan of The Bachelor, you know who I’m talking about. 

It is important to note that, however, that due to COVID-19, show schedules may have changed. Do not forget to check their website every now and then to keep yourself updated with the most recent changes.

What’s great about this place is that they also have their own hotel and casino, so it could be your one-stop shop for a weekend of fun with family and friends. 

Cruise The Lake

There are several ways to explore the beauty of Lake Tahoe, and one of the ways to do that is through lake cruises. 

A lake cruise with Tahoe Dixie II is definitely a must-do tour at least once in your lifetime. The Dixie is a mainstay of Tahoe and offers a variety of daytime and evening cruises of the lake. 

I celebrated many childhood birthdays and family dinners on the original Dixie. The Dixie II went into service in 1992 and has been entertaining guests for 30 years.

On the other hand, if you’d rather do the lake cruise with a smaller number of people and in another way, then cruising through a catamaran is the way to go. This is the best way to go if you are travelling with a large group composed of family or friends. You can even take this cruise a notch higher by relaxing on the mesh netting of the catamaran. You may want to check out the Sierra Cloud Cruise that leaves from Incline Village just around the Thunderbird Lodge.

Ride A Mounting Coaster & Go Zip Lining

Marvel at the beauty of Lake Tahoe from the top! Try the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster at Heavenly and be mesmerized by the breathtaking views. This adventure coaster ride is located at the top of the gondola at Heavenly Ski Resort at South Shore. You park in Heavenly Village and hop on the gondola for a picturesque ride to the top of the mountain.

This is my home mountain where I ski raced for 8 years as a kid. I love this mountain and all the memories it has for me. We enjoyed a day here at the end of summer before Marcus went back to school. It’s a perfect break from the valley heat and you can waste a full day in this beautiful spot. 

Plan to make this trip a full day event. You can enjoy zip lining, ropes course and so much more at the top of the resort looking out at Lake Tahoe. 

Go Paddleboarding or Kayaking

Lake Tahoe boasts of clear waters that makes kayaking and paddleboarding an experience you don’t want to miss. This is a must do summer activity. If you’re brave enough you can do it in the winter too. I can speak from experience, paddleboarding in the winter is a unique experience, just don’t fall in.

You can paddleboard or kayak pretty much everywhere on the lake and they are all awesome spots. If you’re on the Nevada side I would suggest 2 great routes. 

  1. Do the 6-mile paddle from Cave Rock to Nevada Beach

  2. For something more adventurous, opt for the 13-mile paddle from Sand Harbor to Cave Rock

This route is one of the most scenic in all of Tahoe. The East shore of Tahoe between Cave Rock and Sand Harbor is lightly developed and filled with cliffs. It’s a spot most people don’t get to see and most spots are only accessible from the water.

Choose wisely based on your your skill and fitness level. Tahoe can be unpredictable and the water is cold, always paddle or kayak with a buddy. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to stay near the beach.  

Go at your own pace and see as deep as 70 feet, if you’re lucky, during mornings. However, the best time to do these activities is in the morning or early evening, when the lake is calm and there are now cruel winds to scare you.

Several beach resorts and rental companies offer paddle boards and kayaks for rent. If you’re staying in one of those resorts, you might get a free use of these.

Play Golf

If you’re golfer, there’s no cooler place to play than Lake Tahoe. There’s several great courses around the lake. Here’s my three favorites. 

Edgewood

I grew up just down the street from Edgewood and took summer golf camp here every year. Situated right on the lake at Stateline, the course is one of the most beautiful anywhere in the world. It’s the host of the annual Celebrity Golf Tournament, which is one of the most popular events in Tahoe every year. If you can get tickets, you can walk with your favorite celebrity for 18-holes. If you’ve got a boat, drop anchor just off the beach and watch everyone come through the 18th hole. 

Northstar

This is one of the older courses in Tahoe. I remember playing this course as a kid with my parents (yes, it’s that old). It’s a very playable course for all skill levels. I love how the course winds it way through the woods then opens up into the Martis Valley. 

Coyote Moon

Probably on of my favorite courses in Tahoe. Located up the hill in Truckee this course brilliantly winds its way through the woods. If you’re staying in Truckee, this is a must play course. If you’re staying in North Shore, this is only about a 25 minute drive. 

The Links Course at Squaw Creek

A great course located in Olympic Valley at the base of Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley). If you’re staying at the resort, you can walk right out, grab your cart and hit this 18-hole course that winds through the valley with epic mountains all around.

Hang At The Beach

The Tahoe area is a paradise for those who love the beaches! In fact, there’s a lot of places you can choose from where you can just spend the entire day doing nothing except sunbathing and making sure your mind is free from the stress of everyday life.

The following are some of my favorite spots:

Camp Richardson

This place has been a go-to spot for campers and beach goers for decades. There is a large campground that spans both sides of Highway 89. This is also the home to The Beacon, home of the famous Rum Runner.

Pope Beach

Just about three miles northwest of the City of South Lake Tahoe lies this sandy public beach that’s perfect for swimming and picnics with your family and friends. It also offers an awesome view of Lake Tahoe. Pope Beach is located on National Forest land and offers the perfect relaxing place that stretches to about three-quarter miles. One can also do some kayaking here. 

Sand Harbor

Sand Harbor is your choice if you are looking for a more adventure-filled beach day. It has rock formations, shady forested areas and of course the panoramic lake views. Those who want a more serene environment can set up something under the pines and cedars, away from the crowd. Sand Harbor is also home to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival happening every summer.

Kings Beach

Now this one is for those who want a trip down memory lane. Surrounded with hotels inspired by styles of decades ago, hippy shops, and mouthwatering restaurants, this hip, laid back beach town is perfect for those who are into some throwback vibes. And while it is slowly adapting to present times, you will feel the old vibes in this area.

Take A Hike

Everyone knows just how majestic the views are around Lake Tahoe. So why not take it a notch further and actually explore what these woods and forests have to offer? In addition to all that water-based activities and beach bumming, Lake Tahoe has a fair share of land activities, including hiking. 

One of the most challenging trails is up Mt. Tallac. Upon reaching the top, you will see awesome views of the Cascade Lake, Fallen Leaf Lake, Desolation Wilderness and the South Lake Tahoe. You can also hike to Mt. Rose where you can have the perfect view of the Washoe Valley, Carson City, Reno, and the entirety of Lake Tahoe. Other popular treks that you should consider are the Emerald Bay Trail, Squaw Valley, Tahoe Rim Trail, and the Glacier Meadow Loop. 

For beginners or those who aren’t so fond of hiking, the Eagle Falls trail is the perfect one for you. It could be a bit of a challenge, especially if it is your first time, but what awaits you at the end of the trail makes the sweat and effort all worth it. Just imagine: cascading waterfalls, lush vegetation, large granite peaks, and endless evergreens. 

Mountain Bike

Mountain biking is what Tahoe was built for. You have so many options, from fun casual rides on the trails around the lake to a hardcore ride on the Tahoe Rim Trail to an adrenaline rush of down hill riding at Northstar Ski Resort.

Check out the Top 10 Places for Mountain Biking In Lake Tahoe.

Tour Emerald Bay & Vikingsholm

All Lake Tahoe trips are never complete without a tour at the Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm. Emerald Bay provides you with the setting for “one of the first summer homes at Lake Tahoe” while Vikingsholm is “considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States.” The tour is filled with so much history — not just about Lake Tahoe but of the country as a whole. It will take you back to the old days, and it easily becomes the highlight of your entire Lake Tahoe stay, so don’t you dare miss it! 

 TIP: If you’re planning to go, go early. Parking is a challenge. There is a lot at the top of the trail to get down the property, but it fills up quickly and you’re left to park on the edge of Highway 89, which is sketchy at best.

On to plan our next adventure. We hope you enjoyed the Maldives experience. We’d love to hear your comments below and hear more about your experiences.

Christopher

Author Christopher

I'm a 40 something father, husband and entrepreneur. I love to travel and experience life in between being involved with my son's activities, and running 4 companies, one of which I own with my wife of 21 years. One month after taking the plunge to do an epic 26 day trip from Sydney Australia to Honolulu Hawaii I had a heart attack. I survived because of the quick actions of my wife and the fact that I had been a triathlete for the years leading up to the event. Now, more than ever before, I appreciate what life has to offer and making time to go experience it, not just dream about it.

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