How to Enjoy a Perfect Lake Tahoe Summer
While away the days at the lake with our guide to spending summer at Lake Tahoe
Ah, the Lake Tahoe summer. There's emerald waters, beaches, mountains and nature trails, and the high altitude makes for a dry and comfortable summer climate. Mind you, you'll still end up like a lobster if you don’t put sun cream on. Especially being this much closer to the sun (is that how it works? It’s cooler but also... burnier?) Hey, what do you want from us, we’re travel experts here at Plum Guide, not scientists.
Anyway, you’ll be renting boats and hanging out on the water where Fredo was assassinated in The Godfather Part II. Just keep an eye on your boating partner at all times – who knows if they want to recreate the famous scene?
Hang out at the beach
The lake is so large that you’re spoilt for choice as far as beaches go. By South Lake Tahoe, there's the Regan Beach, with its children’s playground (is there any other kind of playground?) and stunning views of the water (that we’re sure your kids will appreciate). It claims to be South Lake Tahoe’s oldest beach facility – rather a strange thing to gloat about, but don't worry, it's far from run down.
Nearby, you can rest with a book in the shade of a tree on Pope Beach or rent a kayak from the boat ramp of the El Dorado Beach. At the northern end of the lake, enjoy a picnic or BBQ on the Commons Beach, which has family movie nights and other fun activities.
What's a Lake Tahoe summer without going for a swim? Be warned, though: the lake remains quite cold, even in the summer months. You’ll find it a little warmer near the shoreline (pee jokes end here), so stick to paddling if you're not used to swimming in the big wide open. Watch the cliff divers (do not even think about copying them) from the Angora Lakes, a little south of the main Lake Tahoe basin. The aforementioned Pope Beach is great for swimming, with hardly any rocks. To be fair, most of the beaches are ideal for swimming, but stay clear of the Secret Cove if you’re with the kids, as it’s a bit of a nudist hangout. Alternatively, opt for a private swim with your own indoor pool at this gorgeous Plum Guide home on the shore of South Lake Tahoe.
Go for a walk
Since it doesn’t get too hot at this high altitude in summer, Lake Tahoe makes for an excellent hiking destination. Clamber up and down the moderate trails of the Van Sickle Bi-State Park and enjoy the views of the lake down below. The Tahoe Rim Trail was written about by National Geographic, so you’ve sort of got to trek it, if only to tell everyone back home. Embark on the Balancing Rock Nature Trail to see exactly that – a rock that balances atop some other rocks. It’s actually pretty impressive; just don’t get squashed. Other top trails include the Eagle Rock Hiking Trail Homewood and the Lam Watah Nature Trail to Nevada Beach.
Rise above it all
Soar high above the mountains on the Gondola at Heavenly. In winter, this is part of the ski resort, but it stays open year-round, providing a view you can share with the eagles (yes, they really do have bald eagles and all manner of hawks in the area). Snap photos of the sandy beaches surrounding the lake and look down at those puny ant-like humans a million miles below you.
Enjoy fun activities
Well, all of the previous recommendations are technically fun activities – but these are activities with a capital A. Zip lining is available from the Heavenly resort, with its parallel lines allowing you to ride beside your partner. It’s a long way down, so make sure you’re both properly secured.
For less of a vertigo-inducing kind of activity, travel to the Tallac Historic Site to see the three wooden estates built here at the turn of the 20th century. Check out the displays at the museum and learn about the history of the area.
OK, so you’ve done zip lining and museums…how about a waterfall? You can’t really ‘do’ a waterfall, but you can hike to one and enjoy the rush of its cascades. The Lower Eagle Falls is one of the top spots in all of Lake Tahoe, and is easy enough for the whole family to reach.
Of course, we all know having fun is exhausting. Do yourself a favour and book yourself into a home with a hot tub, like this Plum Guide home called Stargazer that's on the shores of North Lake Tahoe. Don't say we don't treat you.
Even when it's not hot, Lake Tahoe has plenty to offer – check out our round-up of the best things to do in Lake Tahoe, rain or shine.
While Plum Guide has always focused on big global cities, international jetsetting seems a little way off for now. So our fastidious homes critics have been busy hunting for the perfect country boltholes and properties in laidback little towns that are perfectly placed for outdoorsy staycations. Visit our property pages to book into one of our expertly vetted Plum Guide homes.