The Perfect Lake Tahoe Itinerary
Ready to take on Lake Tahoe? Here's our itinerary for a perfect vacation.
Warm and dry in the summer and lined with snow in the summer, Lake Tahoe makes for the perfect year-round destination for adrenaline junkies, sun-seekers and all-round fun-wanters (that may be a new word, we can almost hear the dictionary writers scribbling it down for new 2021 entries). It’s right on the border between Nevada and California, meaning that if all else is lost, you can entertain your family by hopping back and forth between the states; one of which allows for gambling, just as you’d be doing with your relationship if you leave your partner to spend your holiday in the casino.
The fictional character of Fredo was killed on this lake in The Godfather Part II. We’re not suggesting you do the same to your partner. But, as part of your pre-itinerary, we demand you watch the (3-hour) film (not really). We’ve also done our homework at the Plum Guide, so here’s our Lake Tahoe itinerary.
So first of all, you’re hopefully staying at one of our gorgeous (and we do say so ourselves) homes around the lake, like Crackle & Spark or the The Edge Of Blues. If you’re lodging in Tahoe City, check out some of the museums to get an understanding of the area and its history. The Tahoe Maritime Museum and the Gatekeeper’s Museum could make up a fascinating morning, with the Watson Cabin Museum just to the north of the latter.
You're probably not looking for an entirely-indoors Lake Tahoe itinerary; you’re here for the nature (presumably). While in Tahoe City, relax and soak up the sun in the Tahoe State Recreation Area or the Commons Beach. It has a great play area that’ll keep the kids happy too, although they shouldn’t be getting too bored with the lake and the water sports. For something a little different, head inland for the Truckee River Raft, which floats gently downstream. If you’re a little more active (and not a total river sloth), delve into the jungle (not a jungle, but a forest) with the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks, where you can clamber over obstacles in the trees.
As evening falls, head back to the town centre and grab a bite at one of the more exclusive establishments in the area, such as the Christy Hill Restaurant, Six Peaks Grille and Wolfdale’s. After dinner, if you can still move, head back down to the Commons Beach for one of the family movie nights, before heading back to your beautiful Plum Guide lodging.
Now, it is very possible you’re visiting Lake Tahoe in winter, and that much of the above was utterly useless to you. In fact, it’s strange if you’ve even continued reading this far, with all that beach talk. If you’re on the northern part of the lake, get your ski on (is that an expression? It should be) at the Homewood Mountain Resort. You could also simply zoom down the Granlibakken Ski & Sled Hill or stay pretty horizontal in the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area.
For the sake of both argument and brevity, let’s assume it’s magically summer in Lake Tahoe again. And this Lake Tahoe itinerary is taking you to the other side of the lake for something a little different. Embark on a morning trek through the Van Sickle Bi-State Park, where you can enjoy criss-crossing back and forth over the state line, imagining what kinds of crimes you could get away with in each. Rest your legs in the Red Hut Café or the Riva Grill on the Lake at lunch, taking in the stunning views of the lake.
Speaking of that big watery thing in the middle of Lake Tahoe, it is time to chill out once more on the beach. Walk out along the pier of the El Dorado Beach and dangle your legs off the side. Try not to fall in. Find a spot on the sandy beach to lay your weary head and work on your tan. Make sure to apply suncream so as not to become one with the lobster. If you’re not a sand fan, the Regan Beach will be perfect for you. A little west of the town centre, it has a large grassy area by the water. Watch the sunset transform the sky into a Monet painting, and assemble your family for dinner. Evan’s American Gourmet Café is among the fine-dining highlights, as well as Café Fiore and Jimmy’s at The Landing Resort & Spa.
Once more, we do have to consider that the entire area might be covered in snow, if you’re there in winter. That’ll make the aforementioned beach stuff a little challenging, but if you’re ambitious enough, go for it. A more weather-appropriate idea would be to ride the Heavenly Gondola up to the Heavenly Mountain Resort. Take skiing and snowboarding lessons and learn how not to bash into everyone else, as you take to the slopes.