Thoughts on Things to Do in South Lake Tahoe

A shore thing: here's how to spend your time in South Lake Tahoe


Lake Tahoe, USA

As the name suggests, the city of South Lake Tahoe is on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe. It’s technically in California, but sits right on the border between California and Nevada, meaning you can pop over to the latter to try your luck in the casinos or to wash your neighbours’ cars (washing cars is illegal in California, for some reason).

Anyway, now you know your geography and law, what are the best things to do in South Lake Tahoe? Leave it to us at Plum Guide to show you all the best bits of this resort city. It's one of our newest holiday home destinations, so you gotta try it out.

Hit the beach

Don’t literally hit it, or you’ll look nuts. But do make the most of the hot summers in Lake Tahoe and head down to the shore to work on your tan. There's a playground to keep your kids entertained at the Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach (we know – bit of a mouthful for a stretch of sand). Go for a swim in the shallow water and enjoy the tranquillity. After you've spent the day cooking in the sunshine, take a stroll along the lovely coastal promenade and take in the views of the lake. At the eastern end lies the city’s only water dog park, whatever water dogs might be. Nearby, El Dorado Beach has a boat ramp to take out kayaks and other vessels you can rent here.

South Lake Tahoe Beach, USA

South Lake Tahoe Beach, USA

Nature trails

One of the best things to do in South Lake Tahoe is to simply enjoy the great outdoors, and there's plenty of nature around to help you do so. In the north-eastern corner of the city lies the Van Sickle Bi-State Park. This undulating leafy area has a range of meandering paths with stunning views of the city and the lake down below. We know what you’re thinking: ‘All that walking is gonna be tough on my knees.’ Well, yes, it will be – but the trails here are known to be pretty moderate and manageable. Although one person’s moderate is another’s extreme… we’re tired just writing about it. If you're up for it, take on the Tahoe Rim Trail. It's been featured in National Geographic, so it's a bit of a must-trek trail.

Imagine living here

Ah, life by the lake. Must be nice, mustn't it? One of our favourite things to do in South Lake Tahoe is to pretend we're lucky enough to live there. Wander along the waterways of the Lake Valley district at the western end of the city and try to quell your envy as you check out the houses of this picturesque residential zone. Live like a local and browse the shops or relax in a café in the adjacent Tahoe Valley zone.

If you can't feasibly move here, you can always rent out a Plum Guide home nearby. This one has an indoor pool, after all...

Bear Claw, Plum Guide home in Lake Tahoe

Bear Claw, Plum Guide home in Lake Tahoe

Winter sports

On the eastern edge of the city lies the Monument Peak and the East Peak. These dramatic and imposing mountains serve as exciting skiing routes during the winter months. Criss-cross back and forth across the state border like an outlaw on the run in a filmic chase scene. The largest ski resort in the area graces the side of the municipality in the form of the Heavenly Mountain Resort. Ski, snowboard, snowshoe and do lots of other things involving snow, all with a view of the shimmering Lake Tahoe below. In summer, you can still make use of the resort’s gondola for stunning vistas of the area. In fact, the views are even better than you’d get from the top of the mountains, so trekking is just a waste of time and energy. Save your aching muscles and hop aboard that cable car.

Après Ski

The sun’s gone down during, the skis and heavy gear are off and packed away and you’re physically exhausted. Time for a pint? Lucky for you, the resort has a range of bars and restaurants spread across both the Nevada and California sides of the slopes throughout winter in Lake Tahoe. Get to the California Bar or the Tamarack in the afternoon for half price drinks. The same deal is available in the Boulder and Stagecoach establishments. That doesn’t mean you can drink twice as much without a hangover, unfortunately. Remember, you’ll be up early the next day for the morning ski.

Skiing at Lake Tahoe, USA

Skiing at Lake Tahoe, USA

Want to see more of Lake Tahoe? Check out our guide to the best things to do in Lake Tahoe, no matter which side of the lake you find yourself on. And don't miss our hand-picked selection of lakeside rental homes – we're particularly fond of the roomy Douglas Fir.

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