Lake Tahoe, My Weekend Guide
The entire Lake Tahoe area is a mecca for hikers. From short walks leading to beautiful viewpoints, to long and strenuous climbs. One of my favorite hikes is on the Flume Trail. Hiking up to the top is tough but the views of Lake Tahoe are amazing. From Spooner Lake the hike is about 13 miles. There is a shuttle service available that can return hikers/bikers to their starting point. The Flume is also a popular mountain bike trail and I highly recommend it.
To drive around the entire lake would take three hours and is 72 miles long. Can you imagine how many restaurants there are to visit along the way? When I am visiting Tahoe, we usually stay in one specific area of the lake and enjoy whatever it has to offer. I have favorite restaurants all along the lake. Here are just a couple.
Lanza’s Restaurant Lanza’s is our favorite restaurant on the lake. The Italian food is excellent and reasonably priced. I usually order the ravioli, just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Lanza’s is across the street from the lake and doesn’t offer outside dining or views, but the food is worth it.
Tep’s Villa Roma This is another very good Italian restaurant, and is the perfect place to take a big family. The prices are excellent, and they have a wonderful salad bar.
Many of the popular bars and grills around the lake serve signature drinks. West Shore has a couple of my favorites, especially if you like rum. At Chamber’s Landing we always have the “Chamber’s Punch”, which is nice and slushy. An added bonus is sitting at the dock, watching the boats come in.
Just down the highway, another favorite bar and grill is the Beacon. They are famous on the lake for their “Rum Runners” and French fries. It’s a beautiful spot to sit by the lake and relax.
Over on the South Shore, we recently discovered a new beach bar. At Round Hill Pines Beach, they have the only rum bar on the beach at Lake Tahoe and it is “Alpine Caribbean” style. Their specialty drink is the “Pain Killer”.
If you are looking for a party beach, bar and grill, then just up the highway is Zephyr Cove. The Sunset Bar has a great food and drink selection with one of my favorites being the “Teaser”. It’s a vodka based drink and goes down way too easy.
The Lake Tahoe area offers a huge variety of bike riding for all levels. There are paved bike paths along different areas of the lake, as well as mid-range to strenuous single track trails, such as the Flume Trail. There are also cycling groups and events if you prefer road riding. A nice ride to do with families begins at Squaw Valley and has a path along the Truckee River up to Tahoe City, rounding out at around 8 miles.
5. Water Sports
The water in Lake Tahoe is very cold. In the summer the surface may warm to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but it usually averages around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I tend to choose water sports that will keep me dry! Kayaking and boating are a fun way to see the shores of the lake from another perspective. The huge, elaborate homes which are usually hidden behind gates, can be passed by and viewed from the water.
Parasailing and paddle boarding are two more very popular summer activities on the lake. Many beaches have stands where you can rent kayaks, paddle-boards, and other equipment.
Lake Tahoe, California
I am fortunate enough to live an hour from Lake Tahoe. We love to go for a day trip, a weekend, or for a week! I’m going to write about some fun things to do if you have a weekend to get away.
If you are a beginning at the South Shore of the lake, there is a wonderful hike that is not too steep or strenuous. We park at the west shore at D.L. Bliss Campground. If it’s closed for the season, it’s alright to park on the side of the highway. This makes for a longer, steep hike. The hike overlooks the lake on your way to Emerald Bay. It is called the Rubicon Trail. If you follow it all the way, it takes you into Emerald Bay State Park and passes by Vikingsholm. The trail will even go all the way around the bay. From D. L. Bliss it is about 3.5 miles each way to Emerald Bay. After the hike it is enjoyable to stop at the overlook of Emerald Bay and watch the boats drive around the bay or visit Fannette Island. This perspective of Emerald Bay allows you to see how far you have hiked!
After hiking, we like to head south and stop near Camp Richardson to visit their waterfront restaurant – The Beacon. We think that they have the best Rum Runner on the lake, for they are very fruity and sweet. It is a very pretty spot to relax.
As you make you make your further south around the lake, you will arrive at the casino zone. Just before Harrah’s on the right is the State Line Brewery. Their pizza is delicious and they are known for their beer! This is a great stop for lunch! It’s also a good area to do some shopping, for there are a variety of stores. The stores sell clothing for both winter and summer and also Lake Tahoe souvenirs.
After lunch, keep making your way around the lake and you will be heading towards the East Shore. There are plenty of beaches as you drive around this side of the lake that you may want to stop and visit. Beaches in this area include: Nevada Beach, Zephyr Cove and Sand Harbor Beach. They are all beautiful and different in their own ways! I find Nevada and Sand Harbor Beaches to be more family oriented, while Zephyr Cove Beach has more of a party atmosphere with a bar.
If you feel like stretching your legs some more, then Spooner Lake is the place to do it. Just off the highway, Spooner Lake is a picturesque spot to take a walk while learning about nature. There is a 1.6 mile nature trail around the lake with interpretive displays and benches along the trail.
Late in the afternoon it will be time to check into your hotel. You will need to drive the last thirty minutes around the lake and end at Tahoe Vista. This is a small town where you will find The Rustic Cottages. These charming cottages come in different options and include breakfast with your stay. The location is prime, and just across the street from the lake and Moondunes beach, but without the beach-front price! One of my favorite restaurants is walking distance away, so it is not necessary to drive.
The next day is perfect for lounging at the beach and relaxing. If you want to be more active, just five minutes away you can rent paddle-boards and kayaks. There is also the famous Old Brockway Golf Course as well.
Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite destinations. It really does have something of interest for everyone, no matter what your budget is. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful destination, for families it feels like a home away from home.