43 Best Things to Do in Lake Tahoe: The Ultimate Bucket List

Things to do in lake Tahoe

From the South to the North, these are the best things to do in Lake Tahoe, no matter what season you decide to visit.

Even though I grew up in California, only a few hours southwest of Tahoe, I didn’t visit Tahoe for the first time until I was 27.

I had heard anecdotes about Tahoe trips throughout my childhood, but I somehow missed out on this California native rite of passage.

When I finally visited for the first time last year, I realized what all the hype was about.

The lake was even more beautiful than the pictures made it seem, and the hushed natural scenery was an interesting juxtaposition with the casinos and busy streets of downtown South Lake Tahoe.

I could see why people make an annual (or bi-annual) pilgrimage back to the lake every year, Lake Tahoe is a magical place.

If you’re looking for a destination to indulge in your cabin porn fantasies, to straddle two state lines, or to partake in the many adventure activities around the lake, use this guide to help you experience the best of the best in Lake Tahoe.

Here are 43 things to do in Lake Tahoe – from the South to the North, from winter to summer, this is your complete guide to the best things to do around the most popular lake in California!

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips. 

lake tahoe beaches

25 Best Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

Visit the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion

Back in the late 1800s, businessman I.W. Hellman bought enough land at Sugar Point to create a summer estate that later became dubbed Hellman-Ehrman Mansion.

After he passed, his daughter, Florence Hellman Ehrman, inherited the property where she and her family have entertained visitors for decades.

Now, it is maintained as a house museum and a stunning example of Tahoe summer vacation mansions. 

SUP to Fannette Island

The only island in Lake Tahoe is a small one called Fannette Island, located in Emerald Bay. 

Fannette Island is actually close enough to the shore to be accessed by SUP or kayak, so you can easily explore the island at your leisure.

There’s an abandoned tea house perched at the very top, so be sure to make the 10-minute climb and treat yourself to views of the gorgeous emerald waters.

Lake Tahoe summer- Fannette Island
The only island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island is a great spot to SUP or kayak to.

Hike to a Viking-Inspired Castle at Emerald Bay State Park

Did I mention that there’s also a Viking-inspired castle in Emerald Bay?

Vikingsholm is a tribute to fine Scandinavian architecture and seamlessly blends in amidst the trees.

Tours are only available in the summer, which is the perfect time to admire the castle while it’s bathed in the golden glow of the sun.

It is accessible by a steep 1-mile trail after you park near Highway 89 or a less steep 1.5-mile trail from Eagle Point Campground campfire center.

Recommended Experience: Emerald Bay Tour

Get your FREE California Travel Planner – including printable checklists and my favorite two-week itinerary for the state. 

Spend the Day Hiking

While it’s totally possible to spend all day lounging on the gorgeous Tahoe beaches, you can spend all day on the plentiful hiking trails in South Shore.

Tahoe has trails that will appeal to any nature lover’s tastes.

Want to see some striking waterfalls? Cascade Falls and Eagle Falls are both easy to moderate hikes that will take you to 60-90 foot falls.

For tougher hikes, Shirley Canyon Trail is a heart-pumping three mile hike that features steep inclines, high altitudes, and Shirley Lake.

Moraine Trail is a bit easier, so you can go on this trail if you want to go running along the lakeside instead.

DL Bliss State Park is a great place to hike and camp in Emerald Bay, so be sure to check out the highest-elevation lighthouse in the U.S. — the Rubicon Point Light — while you’re there.

Sugar Pine Point State Park is another great alternative for camping, with 175 campsites on its premises and some sites available for snow camping.

If you’re looking to get away from the crowds at Lake Tahoe, you can opt for camping at Fallen Leaf Lake instead.

Situated only a few miles away from South Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake also boasts crystal waters, strenuous hikes, and easy strolls.

For the most epic lake hike, you can either hike part of the entirety of the Tahoe Rim Trail.

This trail takes you around all of Lake Tahoe and will take you several days to complete all of it.

Thankfully, there are organized hiking camps that you can register for if you want to devote a few days to one of the country’s best hikes.

What to do in Lake Tahoe in summer - hike to Emerald Bay
The beautiful Emerald Bay is a great spot to hike to in South Lake Tahoe.

Go Gambling on the Nevada Side of the Lake

Gambling might be a no-no in most of California, but risk-takers can take their chances gambling on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

Hard Rock Hotel & MontBleu Resort are ideal for trying your hand at poker, blackjack, slots, and more.

Hopefully, luck will be on your side so you can spend your newly-earned dough on some luxury experiences around Tahoe!

Dance the Night Away on the Tahoe Club Crawl

There is truly something for everyone at Lake Tahoe, including the masses of party-going twenty-somethings that bring a lot of energy to Tahoe’s nightlife.

Tahoe Club Crawl takes you through multiple venues (all with welcome shots, duh) and ends at Opal Nightclub, where you can proceed to dance your pants off.

Jet Ski on the Lake

Thanks to its usually calm nature, Lake Tahoe is a water wonderland, where you can swim, sail, and even go jet skiing.

Several companies such as Tahoe Sports or Action Watersports offer services that allow you and a couple of friends to zip around on jet skis that you can rent for a half day or full day.

Jet skiing can cost a pretty penny though, so make sure you shop around for the best options!

Pick up your South Lake Tahoe jet ski rental here

Dinner Cruise on The MS Dixie II Paddlewheeler at Zephyr Cove

Zephyr Cove Resort not only gives you prime access to a mile-long beach, but also offers a dinner cruise on the MS Dixie II Paddlewheeler, a spectacularly charming boat.

You can purchase fine wines and delicious cocktails on top of enjoying a fresh and locally sourced dinner and violet-hued sunset against the backdrop of Emerald Bay.

Grab tickets for the MS Dixie II Sunset Cruise here

Take Wakeboarding or Wakesurfing Lessons

If you’re looking to take your wakeboarding or wakesurfing skills to the next level, Birkholm’s Water Ski School is at the top of everyone’s list.

They provide private lessons for all experience levels and equipment, meaning that you’re in the good hands of seasoned professionals.

Even better, if you’re staying on the lakefront, Birkholm’s Water Ski School can directly pick you up by boat for your lesson!

Relax on the Best of Lake Tahoe Beaches

If you don’t want to make the trek all the way up to Lake Tahoe’s North Shore to enjoy the beaches, South Shore has plenty of beautiful beaches too!

Emerald Bay State Park is by far the most popular with its outdoor activities and stunning waters, but Lester Beach (great for camping) and Meeks Bay (equally excellent for camping + water sports) also get an honorable mention.

Lake Tahoe things to do - Visit Meeks Bay
The beautiful Meeks Bay is a popular Lake Tahoe attraction, especially in the summer!

Go on a Self-Guided Craft Beer Tour

If you’re not really looking to go hard all night but just want to enjoy some of the finest brews possible, take yourself on a self-guided craft beer tour through South Lake Tahoe.

You can design your tour to include as many breweries as you want, but the following definitely deserve a shout-out for their ales: South Lake Brewing Company, South of North Brewing Co, the Brewery at Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe AleWorx, and Cold Water Brewery and Grill.  

Ride the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster at Heavenly

It might be a little out of place, but hop on the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush!

This gravity-powered coaster sails through the trees and rock formations, and can be booked as part of the Ultimate Adventure Pass or Scout Sampler Pass.

If you’re looking for a little more adventure to spice up your vacation, check out Heavenly’s Epic Discovery.

This summer playground features a ropes course, zip lines, and a climbing wall.

Visit the Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum

The Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum is home to many precious artifacts that date as far back as the Gold Rush Era in the Tahoe area.

You can learn more about the Pony Express, Chinese railroad workers, and the Native American tribes from the carefully curated exhibit.

You can even visit the oldest cabin in Lake Tahoe right next door!

Admission is free, but the museum is only open on Thursdays – Saturdays during the off-season.

Stand in Two States at Once

Okay, maybe it’s not as cool as standing in four states at once (looking at you, Four Corners Monument), but you can definitely stand in California and Nevada at the same time!

The 1872 California-Nevada State Boundary Marker sits in South Lake Tahoe and is marked by a simple line across the roads.

Head to the marker if you want to enjoy a small detour from the casinos and other Lake Tahoe attractions.

Ride the Heavenly Mountain Gondola

Another popular resort in the Lake Tahoe area, Heavenly Ski Resort is a fan-favorite for those who want superior powder and superior views.

If you ride the Heavenly Mountain Gondola, you’ll get to ride the gondola for 2.4 miles until you reach the observation deck.

From there, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views while enjoying a hot cup of cocoa from Cafe Blue.

lake Tahoe attractions - Heavenly Gondola
The Heavenly Gondola is a way to get around South Lake Tahoe with great views.

Go to a Magic Show at The Loft

Fill your night with laughter and awe as you watch a Magic Fusion show at the Loft Theatre & Lounge in Heavenly Village.

Blending comedy with magic, Magic Fusion is hosted every night of the week in an impressive 107-seat auditorium.

Not only can you witness some dazzling performances, but you get to wine & dine at the same time!

Be sure to buy your tickets in advance if you want good seats.

Let your Stomach Enjoy the Best Foodie Spots

Since South Lake Tahoe attracts so many visitors, it’s no surprise that the dining scene is on point.

Need to load up on carbs before or after a hard day of hitting the slopes?

Grab breakfast at the Getaway Cafe or burgers at California Burger Co.

Feeling Italian? Primo’s Italian Bistro has some great charcuterie and Scusa Italian Ristorante hearty portions of pasta.

Check out Artemis Mediterranean Grill if you want to treat yourself to some hummus and falafels!

Hike Part of the PCT

Starting from San Diego and ending at the Canadian-Washington border, the Pacific Crest Trail cuts through the coastal states.

2,650 miles long, the trail takes approximately five months or the entire snow-free season to hike in its entirety.

Thankfully, you don’t have to hike the entire thing if you don’t want to.

Instead, hike part of the PCT around South Lake Tahoe. You can start as early as Echo Summit and end at Desolation Wilderness or Highway 80!

It’s a long hike, so make sure you’re prepared to cross many miles and experience the full beauty of granite cliffs and glittering, green waters.

Things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer - hike the PCT Trail
If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer, hiking part of the PCT trail is a challenging outdoor activity to tackle.

Go on a Scenic Horseback Ride from Camp Richardson Corral

Camp Richardson Corral is a riding school that lets you live out your Pony Express dreams, without the threat of poor weather conditions or pneumonia!

You can ride through Lake Tahoe National Forest on a guided tour and experience the tranquility of Fallen Leaf Lake and Taylor Creek on horseback.

Camp Richardson Corral also offers hay wagon rides, pony rides, pack trips, and boarding facilities.

Shop ‘Til You Drop in Heavenly Village

If you’re sticking around Heavenly Resort, then you definitely can’t miss out on shopping in Heavenly Village.

Heavenly Village is home to over 40 shops featuring big and local brands, a stellar dining scene, and great music.

Pick up a couple of cozy fleece jackets before you head off to enjoy some tequila at Azul Latin Kitchen.

Ice Skate at Heavenly Village

Heavenly Village boasts an open-air ice skating rink from November to April, so you can enjoy gliding around in the morning before lunch or at night underneath the lights.

Skates are available for rent, and you can also reserve the rink for private parties.

Snowboard or Ski at Heavenly

Famed for its unparalleled groomed snow, Heavenly Mountain Resort might be more costly than other resorts in the area, but it makes up for it in a huge variety of runs and terrain.

If you ski or snowboard at an intermediate level, Heavenly will keep you entertained on all of its trails.

Or, if you don’t feel up to braving the lifts, you can go off on your own adventure and snowshoe through all that luscious powder.

Book your snowboard rental here (or ski rental here) for Heavenly 

Go Tubing at Hansen’s Resort

A family-favorite, tubing at Hansen’s Resort never fails to delight kids and adults.

You can either buy an all-day pass or pay at an hourly rate. Whichever option you choose, you will be allowed to use the tubes and saucers they have on-site.

The Snow Tube Run is approximately 400 feet long, so you’ll have a fun workout running up the hill and tubing all the way down!

Take a Snowmobiling Tour with Lake Tahoe Adventures

Speed through the breathtaking Hope Valley on the back of a snowmobile with Lake Tahoe Adventures!

Helmets, boots, gloves, and of course the snowmobile are included in the reservation, and you can rent goggles and a snowsuit for an additional fee.

Once you’re feeling adequately suited up to brave the cold, you’ll get to pilot your own snowmobile and follow the instructor as he or she takes you on a two-hour adventure in pure alpine bliss.

Snowshoe around Camp Richardson

Camp Richardson isn’t known just for their horse-riding lessons.

If you’re visiting in the winter, you can also go sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing on their carefully groomed trails.

The Camp Richardson trails take you along the shore of Lake Tahoe and are perfect for any difficulty level, from beginner to expert.

You can grab your snowshoe rental here

Lake Tahoe winter snowshoeing
If you’ve never been snowshoeing before, Lake Tahoe an ideal place to learn.

18 Best Things to do in North Lake Tahoe

Visit Donner Memorial State Park

If you’re an American history buff, you might remember how the Donner Party met their tragic fate in the Sierra Nevada during a brutal winter.

Now, this site has been converted into the Donner Memorial State Park, which is considerably more visitor-friendly than it used to be decades ago.

You can visit the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center to check out its history museum or stop by the Pioneer Monument.

SUP or Kayak at Sand Harbor Beach

Soft white sands and crystalline waters are the trademarks of the wonderful Sand Harbor Beach, an oasis at Lake Tahoe.

A fan favorite for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and swimming, Sand Harbor Beach is perfect for a day trip when the weather heats up.

After all, what sounds better than taking a refreshing swim, drying off underneath the cedar trees, and firing up the nearby BBQ grills?

Even better, if you’re a fan of plays, Sand Harbor Beach hosts the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival every summer.

Recommended: Kayak Tour of Sand Harbor Beach 

Hike into the Beach

As America’s largest alpine lake, Lake Tahoe is home to plenty of gorgeous beaches and walking paths.

You have the lion’s share of hiking trails that will lead you to the lakeside, including the Secret Cove (not-so-secret, but a very popular public beach), Thunderbird Cove (a popular destination for weddings and hopping onto a yacht), and Sand Harbor Beach (paddle boats and picnics galore!).

Enjoy Truckee’s Thursday Night Street Fair

Summers in Truckee are an absolute delight, with temperatures hitting a comfortable high of 70-80 degrees.

Even better are the night adventures to be had on Truckee’s Thursday, a weekly street fair that features local and regional vendors, live performances, and a beer garden.

Ride the Free Gondola at Northstar

Available year-round, the free Highlands Gondola near the Village at Northstar takes you up into the air and through the stunning vista that is Lake Tahoe and the surrounding landscape.

Once you arrive at the resort at the top of the mountain, you can go hike and picnic in the summertime or play in the powder during the winter.

Lake Tahoe winter - Northstar Resort

Devour the Specialty S’mores at Northstar

It’s pretty hard to beat the holy trinity of chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows, but Northstar has s’mores-making down to an art.

During the winter, the Village at Northstar makes complimentary s’mores, some of them simple and some of them decadent.

We’re talking bacon-wrapped s’mores, s’mores with chili or mint-flavored chocolate, sprinkle-covered s’mores… the list goes on!

Hang Glide or Paraglide over the Lake

Lake Tahoe is approximately 192 square miles of pure blue, which means that any view from the top is going to be mind-blowing. And possible!

Depending on your personal preference for flying high, you can either go hang gliding or paraglide with companies such as Uprising Paragliding.

Available year-round, treat yourself to views of snow-capped mountains, frothy waves, and the clear sky.

Things to do in North Lake Tahoe
Seeing Tahoe from above is one of the most magical experiences.

Visit the Olympic Museum

After Squaw Valley hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960, the Olympic Museum opened to the general public and recently underwent renovation.

Now, it is home to unique Olympian memorabilia, videos, and news articles.

Talk about a blast from the past and a chance to geek out over your inner hockey/ski/snowboard/skating fanatic!

Go Shopping in Tahoe City or Downtown Truckee

Tahoe City is a community hotbed, filled with locals and tourists who are always looking to unwind and explore after hitting the slopes.

As a result, the amount of places to shop, eat, and check out in Tahoe is pretty impressive.

For example, the Gatekeeper’s Museum is a great place to learn about the Washoe tribe, the logging and mining eras, and establishment of the tourism industry in Tahoe.

After you check out the museum, you can go from village to village to look around the charming boutiques!

Or, you can shop in downtown Truckee, home to plenty of artisanal boutiques and mom-and-pop shops.

If you have a hankering for olive oil, you can visit the tasting room at Tahoe Oil & Spice to sample over 50 olive oils, balsamic vinegar, and spice blends.

Go Whitewater Rafting on the Truckee River

The increase in rainy days means better seasons for whitewater rafting during the summer.

Truckee River is definitely no exception to thrilling rapids and peaceful scenery, perfect for a vacation with family and friends.

Tahoe Whitewater Tours, Tributary Whitewater Tours, and I.R.I.E. Rafting Company are just some of the many companies that you can reserve a half-day, full-day, or multi-day excursion.

Grab a Pint at FiftyFifty

FiftyFifty Brewing Co is a beer lover’s dream sitting right in Truckee.

They offer an impressive array of beers on tap, including the gentle CAPA, fan-favorite Storm Chaser, and the potent Barrel Aged Eclipse.

If you can’t grab a seat at FiftyFifty, no problem.

Just grab a bite to eat and a pint to drink at the Truckee Pub & Pilot Brewery, where FiftyFifty is also featured.

Snowboard or Ski at Squaw Valley

Lake Tahoe is legendary as the best place in NorCal to “shred the gnar,” boasting luxury ski resorts and some of the best snow that you’ll get in California.

Squaw Valley recently acquired Alpine Meadows, which means that you get twice the terrain to cover with the price of one lift ticket.

That, plus its large variety of slopes and less-crowded lifts make Squaw Valley a popular choice for daredevil snowboarders and skiers who like to zip down from the mountain top.

Book your snowboard rental ahead of time here (or your ski rental here)

Things to Do in North Lake Tahoe - Snowboard or Ski at Squaw Valley
One of the most popular things to do in North Lake Tahoe – snowboard or ski at Squaw Valley.

Go on Squaw Valley’s Aerial Tram to High Camp

You know High Camp at Squaw Valley is a special place when they choose to host the Winter Olympics there.

Open all year, High Camp at Squaw Valley is a must-see if you want to experience nature at its finest.

To access High Camp, take a 10-minute tram ride up the mountain from the Village at Squaw Valley where you can enjoy 360 views of Lake Tahoe.

Once you arrive at the top, you can indulge in a number of outdoor activities, including hiking, playing lawn games, roller skating, geocaching, and more.

Go Hot Tubbing in Squaw Valley

There’s no better way to après-ski (AKA relaxing so hard you turn into a limp noodle after spending all day in uncomfortable ski boots) than hitting the hot tub in Squaw Valley.

The hot tub at High Camp will give you stunning views of the granite peaks while all your muscles relax.

Get an Adrenaline Rush at Granlibakken

A Tahoe resort that doesn’t focus on skiing or snowboarding, Granlibakken is proud to include the Treetop Adventure Park as one of their many features.

The Treetop Park has 97 tree platforms, 10 ropes courses, 27 zip lines, and 60 bridges that allow you to navigate from one tree to another with no problem.

If you’re looking for a sporty activity to challenge your family all day, look no further than the Treetop Park.

Parasail at King’s Beach State Recreation Area

Located on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, King’s Beach is a popular spot to go parasailing with friends!

When you parasail at King’s Beach, you are lifted up to heights as far up as 800 feet, giving you a stunning vantage point of the entire lake and then some.

As a bonus, you get to sail for free on your birthday if you fly with North Shore Parasail.

Things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer - Parasailing

Enjoy a Massage at Stillwater Spa and Salon

Located at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, the luxurious Stillwater Spa and Salon boasts a number of services, including two couple’s sanctuaries, an infinity room, dry cedar sauna, and eucalyptus steam room. 

Wrapped in a fluffy robe, you’re in relaxation central.

Go to WinterWonderGrass Festival or Tahoe Snowfest!

With so many tourists gathering in Lake Tahoe during the winter, it’s no wonder that the city wants to throw as many cool events as possible.

WinterWonderGrass Festival showcases the best of big name bluegrass talents like Trampled by Turtles, Greensky Bluegrass, and more.

Tahoe Snowfest seeks to celebrate the best of the local community with the intensity of Mardi Gras.

Ski races, ice carving, polar bear swims, and pancake breakfasts are some of the many cool events you can participate in during this weeklong festival.

Lake Tahoe elevation is high enough for plenty of snow for SnowFest

Other Recommended Experiences for Lake Tahoe

Wild West Tour from Lake Tahoe with Train Ride

Zephyr Cove Helicopter Tour

Small Group Tour of Yosemite from Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Circle Tour Including Squaw Valley

South Lake Tahoe Boat Rental 

Quick Tips for Visiting Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is truly a one-of-a-kind destination in California, as it fits different climes and activities all in one spot.

It’s also huge and a very popular vacation spot, so it makes a difference to plan out your trip a bit before heading up the mountain.

Quick Tips - What to Do in Tahoe

Here are a few tips to get you started: 

  • Since there are so many places to visit in Lake Tahoe, book hotels and restaurants way in advance. Summer slightly edges out winter in terms of popularity, so expect hotel rates to be more expensive during Thursday-Saturday and dip back down on Sunday.
  • Since a lot of the hiking trails are in the forest or state parks, there isn’t a bevy of convenience stores or vendors at your disposal. If you plan to take a long-day excursion, be sure to pack plenty of water/snacks/supplies so that you can enjoy your day with minimal inconvenience!
  • If you plan to take a dip in the lake, make sure that you’re able to swim or have a life vest! While there are lifeguards posted along the shore, there are plenty of swimming holes that are unmanned so you don’t want to be caught out on the deep end if an emergency arises.
  • Lake Tahoe is located high up. Like, 6000-feet-above-sea-level high up. Lake Tahoe’s high elevation means oxygen is not as plentiful, so hiking and other strenuous activities might take a greater physical toll on your body than anticipated. Ditto if you plan to drink, since the effects of alcohol are much more pronounced at a higher altitude.
  • If you’re driving up to Lake Tahoe in the winter, check the snow conditions a couple of days before you make the drive. Sometimes road conditions can get really icy and highway checkpoints will require you to put snow chains on your tires before you can proceed. Otherwise, you will be forced to turn around. If snow conditions are really bad, you might not even be able to get to or out of Lake Tahoe.

What to Pack for Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a great place to visit all seasons of the year, but temperatures fluctuate so dramatically that it’s best to pack for either a moderate to hot summer or a snowy winter.

Places to Visit in Lake Tahoe
Make sure to pack for more seasonal extreme climates when you visit Lake Tahoe, compared to other parts of California.

If you’re packing for a summer stay, make sure to bring the following with you:

  • Swimsuit: Since you’re planning to participate in summer activities in Lake Tahoe, it’s a no-brainer that you have to pack your swimsuit! Otherwise, good luck drying off in your jean cut-offs while taking a dip in the lake, jet-skiing, paddle-boarding… you get the idea.
  • Sunscreen: Proactively protect your skin by slathering on the sunscreen so you can avoid the telltale angry sun marks on your skin. Most importantly, apply sunscreen regularly. Chances are sunscreen will wear off as you go swimming, hiking, etc.
  • Light Layers: Just because it gets warm during the day doesn’t mean that it can’t cool down dramatically at night, especially if you’re by the waterfront. The summer uniform of choice is a t-shirt/tank top, shorts, and light sweater of some sort.
  • Brimmed hat: If you’re particularly susceptible to getting sunburns on your face, wearing a brimmed hat can do wonders!

If you’re packing for a winter vacation, bring these items along:

  • Gloves: Keep your fingers well-insulated and safe from frostbite with a good pair of gloves! Waterproof gloves are especially useful if you’re playing in the snow or trying to get up after falling on the slopes.
  • Sunglasses/goggles: So many people assume that because it’s wintertime and it might be less sunny that they don’t need to wear any form of eye protection. Wrong! The snow reflects the sunlight so effectively that you risk getting snow blindness if you don’t shield your eyes properly, so please bring a pair of sunglasses or goggles if you’re staying out in the snow for long periods of time.
  • Wool socks: Don’t be the victim of forgetting to pack socks! Especially if you’re wearing different shoes for some type of snow activity, your feet will definitely not be as comfortable as they’re used to, so a thick pair of wool socks is worth it.
  • Long underwear: The only thing worse than cold feet are cold, WET feet. Thankfully, tucking your long underwear into your socks helps a lot in making sure snow doesn’t sneak its way to your feet. Long underwear also keeps the rest of your body toasty warm. Silk long underwear is extremely effective in capturing body heat while not being annoyingly bulky at the same time.
  • Heat warmers: Slip a couple of these suckers into your gloves, pockets, socks, shoes, and anywhere else that you think might be susceptible to the cold. These heat warmers can keep you nice and cozy for hours at a time.

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

Since tourism is the lifeblood of Lake Tahoe, rest assured that there are plenty of accommodations ranging from budget-friendly to luxury affairs all around the lake.

If you don’t feel like staying in a hotel or are part of a large group, Airbnb and VRBO cabin are hugely popular for short-term rentals.

Keep in mind that Tahoe has been cracking down on Airbnb and VRBO due to the influx of tourists not taking good care of their surroundings (e.g. excessive partying, littering, etc.), so be a mindful and respectful guest if you plan to stay at someone else’s house.

Where to stay in Lake Tahoe
There are plenty of options for where to stay in Lake Tahoe – these are my picks for both South and North.

South Lake Tahoe

7 Seas Inn at Tahoe

Just a five-minute walk away from Heavenly Village, 7 Seas Inn is a charming motel that boasts an impressive breakfast spread.

I’m talking about Belgian waffles, seasonal fresh fruit, and egg frittatas-impressive.

Private beach passes and its convenient location makes 7 Seas Inn perfect for those who want the most bang for their buck.

Grand Residences by Marriott – Lake Tahoe

This Marriott property sits smack dab in Heavenly Village and is literally steps away from the Heavenly Gondola.

Their onsite spa and wellness center, Serenity, offers massages and facials, perfect for getting out those knots in your muscles after a long day on the slopes.

You can’t beat the Marriott for luxury and convenience in Tahoe.

Hotel Azure

Hotel Azure recently went through a remodel and it clearly paid off.

Not only do they have one of the best-looking pools in the Lake Tahoe area, but they have a fitness center, spacious rooms, and even a bowling alley.

Hotel Azure is also in a great central location, so it’s really easy to access the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Heavenly Ski Resort, and the local restaurants & bars around South Lake Tahoe.

North Lake Tahoe

Firelite Lodge

An independent hotel in Lake Tahoe, Firelite Lodge strives to provide its guests with superior comfort and value with a friendly local touch.

They have a spa and pool onsite, as well as a flat-screen TV, bathtub, microwave oven, coffee-maker, and more amenities in each room.

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

A quick five-minute drive from Lake Tahoe, Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe is a great option for couples who are looking to unwind.

Equipped with bars, restaurants, a year-round heated pool, and two hot tubs, the Hyatt is ideal for relaxing by the waterfront, playing golf at the nearby Incline Golf Course, and shopping.

There’s also a 24-hour casino onsite for all of you itching to hit the tables!

Squaw Valley Lodge

For all the snowboarders and skiers, Squaw Valley Lodge is the perfect haven for those who want to hit the slopes first thing in the morning.

This lodge provides ski in and ski out access to Squaw Valley, which means that you don’t have to fight all the other visitors for a coveted parking spot.

On top of the typical amenities, some select units offer in-house washer/dryer so you don’t have to deal with wet snow clothes the entire time.

Get your FREE California Travel Planner – including printable checklists and my favorite two-week itinerary for the state. 


Find accommodationbook your rental car, or sign up for a local tour.

Book a vacation rental on AirBnB (and get $40 off your first booking).

Buy your Lake Tahoe Guide here.


Looking for more bucket list ideas for California? Check out my related posts below!

101 Things to Do in California

The Ultimate List of Things to Do in LA

6 Free Things to Do in Santa Cruz 

Things to do in Mendocino, California

43 Things to Do in Lake Tahoe

Best Things to do in Lake Tahoe, California

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