The Best Things to Do in Lake Tahoe
You may not feel like a mob boss, but in Lake Tahoe you’ll be right by the Godfather’s lakeside mansion
Remember the heartbreaking moment Michael had his brother Fredo killed on a fishing trip on the lake? That could be you. Well, without the murderous part, of course (killing a brother is apparently known as fratricide, so… there’s your fact of the day). But, you can take a boat out to the place where the iconic scene took place and even catch a glimpse of the waterside mansion where much of The Godfather Part II was filmed.
But it’s not all fictional mob bosses and assassinations. In winter, you can ski down the surrounding slopes like a Bond villain, as views of the lake open up before you. It's great fun to take a trip in a gondola over the undulating terrain… like a Bond villain who is visiting a scenic lake in his down time. Or, forgetting the action movie comparisons, you could just enjoy a lovely vacation in this exclusive area. Choose a lakeside Plum Guide home and make your way through our list of things to do in Lake Tahoe. And try not to kill your brother, or anyone for that matter.
Enjoy the beaches
Lake Tahoe is so large that you should be able to effectively avoid any kind of human interaction, if you’re savvy enough. During summer in Lake Tahoe, if you're looking for a private place to top up the tan, head to the aptly-named Secret Cove Beach on the Nevada side of the lake or nestle in the rocky alcoves of the Hidden Beach. Or, on the California side, you can hang out in the Emerald Bay, go for a pious (not really) picnic in the Pope Beach and bring the kids to the family-friendly Commons Beach or the Baldwin Beach. Rather sunbathe on your own private deck? No problem: just book yourself a night or two in this lovely Zephyr Cove home, right on the edge of the lake.
Throughout winter in Lake Tahoe, snow graces the slopes surrounding the lake, making skiing one of the best things to do in Lake Tahoe – and you're spoilt for choice when it comes to ski resorts. Grand title aside, the Heavenly Mountain Resort is the largest of its kind in California and Nevada. Kirkwood Mountain Resort is known for getting more snow than anywhere else (who knows how that works), while Squaw Valley is one of the largest ski resorts and is the best place for snow tubing. Try snowshoeing, snowmobiling and a range of other (you guessed it) snow-based activities. And if you can't get enough of snowy mountain views, this Plum-picked home in Crystal Bay might be your perfect lakeside bolthole.
Once the snow clears, the lake reveals itself as a vast, glimmering… well, lake. It’s a lake. A ruddy huge one too, where you can do all sorts of water sports. Go parasailing to fly with the birds and rent out a jet ski to bump along the waves at ridiculous speeds. You can also take out kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. The brave among you will love the scuba diving in a lake known for its increased chances of complications due to altitude. Dive off walls and plunge to the depths to see the sudden drop-offs at the bottom. Take classes with the Tahoe Dive Center so you can show off your certificate to the folks back home after your trip.
Embrace the great outdoors
You don’t have to get wet to enjoy Lake Tahoe. The lake is surrounded by a dense forest and imposing rock formations that make for unforgettable scenery. Just don’t go ruining it by leaving all your rubbish everywhere. Although, you can leave your banana skins and apple cores…we think? Having looked it up, it’s apparently still not a good idea. You can’t throw anything out your car window these days, can you?
What you can do is hike along the Tahoe Rim Trail, which skirts the edge of the lake, or go mountain biking up and down the slopes. You can even stop to camp beneath the stars, if camping's your thing.
Mentioning gambling is a gamble in itself, as we have no idea how you’ll feel about it on this list to do in Lake Tahoe. But it is legal in Nevada, and you can find all manner of table games and slot machines on the South Shore and North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Try your luck at the Cal Neva Lodge & Casino and feel like a mobster in the Godfather, as the coins keep a-flowing. Disclaimer: you’ll probably lose money.
Ride the gondola
As far as things do in Lake Tahoe go, you might be thinking it's all a bit too... active. Don't worry – you can enjoy the scenery by simply sitting on your bottom and looking around. Just hop inside one of the cars of the Lake Tahoe Gondola Ride and enjoy the views of the water and the mountains around you. At the top, reach the observation deck and snap photos. Or, you could always stay at home and pass off the Google images as your own. We won’t judge.