Wanderlust America

An Extensive Lake Tahoe Summer Guide

Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular places to visit in California and also a people’s favorite getaway from San Francisco. With the amount of natural beauty and scenery that is found in the area, it is not a surprise. This is a year-round attraction for families, couples, and for people who love adventure. It is a freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States on the border between California and Nevada. Let us delve deeper into how to spend your summer vacation when you’re visiting Lake Tahoe 

Lake Tahoe


  • Summer is Lake Tahoe’s peak season so expect it to be very busy. During summer, there’s usually some traffic to and from Lake Tahoe. Therefore, it is best if you book your accommodation fairly in advance. It would be best if you could visit Lake Tahoe during the week instead of the weekend.   
  • During summer, the days may be hot, but the nights are still cool. Therefore, make sure to bring layers of clothing and a warm jacket along with you. Also, remember to bring one pair of warmer shoes that can be used for activities such as hiking around the lake.   
  • Due to its high elevation of 6,200 feet, dehydration is a common phenomenon. You should drink plenty of water and bring extra water with you, especially if you plan to go hiking.   
  • You can easily get sunburned while hiking at higher altitudes, so in order to protect yourself from the sun, bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.   
  • If you’re staying near downtown South Lake Tahoe, it is a walkable area that can be easily explored on your own two feet. However, if you wish to explore the downtown area, it is best to have your own car. Public Transport is available in Lake Tahoe, but it is neither the fastest nor the most convenient.   
  • During summer, it is very common for forest fires to happen near Lake Tahoe. You should check the air conditions and quality before heading up to the lake.  

Getting to Lake Tahoe

To get to Lake Tahoe you can –  

  • Drive from Los Angeles, which will take about 8 hours.  
  • Take a bus, which will take about 12 hours.  
  • Go for a 90-minute flight from LAX to the Reno-Tahoe Airport, which is about 45 minutes away from Lake Tahoe.  
  • You can reach Lake Tahoe in a variety of ways including by car, shuttle, bus, or rideshare, such as Uber or Lyft. The North Lake Tahoe Express will also take you from Reno International Airport to North Lake Tahoe. 
Lake Tahoe Drive

Things to do

  • Hike to Eagle Falls – This is one of the most scenic regions in Lake Tahoe. Other than the waterfalls, you will also come across evergreen forests, granite peaks, and Eagle Lake. The hike will start near Emerald Bay, from the parking area on the west side of Highway 89. In total, it is a 2.5-mile round trip full of beautiful views and local flora and fauna to admire. You will also need a permit, as soon as you reach the backcountry portion of the trail.  
  • Kayak to Fanette Island – You should head next to Emerald Bay to rent a kayak and paddle out to Fanette Island. It is the only island in Lake Tahoe that is close enough to the shore to paddle to via kayak.   
  • Vikingsholm – Next you should look to go on a tour of Vikingsholm. This is a 38-room Viking-inspired castle that is nestled in the dramatic scenery of Emerald Bay State Park. It highlights one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States. The castle itself was built in 1929 and if you’re visiting in the summer, you can take a private tour of the property.  
  • Hike in D.L. Bliss State Park – If you’re looking for another short hike, head to D.L. Bliss State Park, which is on the west side of the lake. This is the perfect place to explore the natural scenery of Lake Tahoe and get some exercise and fresh air. You should try the Rubicon Lighthouse Trail, which is a 1.5-mile trail that takes you 250 feet up in elevation to Rubicon Lighthouse. On the way, you will encounter stunning views.  
  • Heavenly Village and Gondola – For an afternoon of shopping, eating, and gondola riding, head over to Heavenly Village. They have over 40 shops that feature international and local brands and more than that it is a place to get a good feel for the Lake Tahoe community. They will have live music, ice skating, spas, and mini golf around this village. You will also find some great restaurants around the village. You can later hop on the Gondola for great views of the Lake Tahoe area.   
  • Casino – Try your hand at slot machines or blackjack tables at one of the many casinos that are on the Nevada side of the lake. A few of the popular casinos are Montbleu, Harrah’s, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Even if you are not into gambling, it is still a fun activity to do while you’re at Lake Tahoe. You can also decide to experience the nightlife of Lake Tahoe by visiting the various nightclubs.   
  • Road Trip around the Lake – There is probably no better way to start off your day than taking a road trip around the perimeter of the lake. It is a 72-mile scenic drive around Lake Tahoe that will take you around 3-4 hours to complete. You should look to hit the road early to avoid the traffic. Meeks Bay, Sugar Pine Point State Park, Tahoe Maritime Museum, Gatekeeper’s Museum, Watson Cabin Museum, Kings Beach, Crystal Bay, Mt. Rose Lookout, Memorial Point, Sand Harbour, Spooner Lake, and Cave Rock Vista Point are some of the popular stops that can be added on your Lake Tahoe Road trip.  
  • Beach at Zephyr Cove – You should head to Zephyr Cove to experience one of Lake Tahoe’s best beaches. It is a perfect place to relax for a couple of hours and you can go swimming in the transparent alpine water, enjoy parasailing or jet skiing, play a game of volleyball, or take in the sun. 
Kayaking at Lake Tahoe


  • Alpina Coffee Cafe – It is a great spot to get your caffeine fix and start your day off in a welcoming atmosphere. It also offers mimosas, wine, and beer along with the usual coffee.   
  • Base Camp Pizza Co – One of the tastiest pizza places in Lake Tahoe is Base Camp Pizza Co. Other than pizza, they also have a selection of Italian fare that comes out in generous portions. It also has lively music and an outdoor patio for long and hot summer days.  
  • The Loft – This is a popular place for dining in Lake Tahoe. They are very well known for their nightly magic shows and offer a casual setting for a family-friendly service.   
  • Simple Bliss – Simple Bliss is Lake Tahoe’s first and only vegan cafe. You will find soy-free, organic, and gluten-free dishes on the menu.   


  • 7 Seas Inn at Tahoe (Budget Friendly)  
  • Grand Residences by Marriot (Mid-Range)  
  • Hotel Azure (Luxury)  

You can also read: Florida Highway 1 

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