A Tahoe Valentine: Valentine's Day in South Lake Tahoe, California.

The beauty and serenity of Lake Tahoe are made for romance!
The beauty and serenity of Lake Tahoe are made for romance! | Source

Lake Tahoe for a Romantic Valentine's day!

Spend Valentine's Day in Lake Tahoe and enjoy some of the best of the Lake in a beautiful and romantic setting.

South Lake Tahoe


Plans for Valentine's Day? Come to South Lake Tahoe to spend a romantic weekend or mini-vacation. Its an easy drive from Sacramento, the Bay Area, Reno and other nearby cities.

The city of South Lake Tahoe sits in California. The South shore is considered to also include the area of Stateline, Nevada. Stateline is home to the casinos, containing many restaurants, games, show venues and clubs. Heavenly Ski Resort is easily accessible from South Lake Tahoe, as is Sierra-at-Tahoe resort. Locals often refer to a larger area, including Stateline, NV and also the Meyers, Christmas Valley and North Upper Truckee neighborhoods as "South Lake", even though many of these areas fall out of the city limits.

GETTING HERE

First, check the weather forecast.

  • If it isn't snowing and hasn't snowed for over a week, you should be good to go. **Keep in mind that even with mild temps and no fresh snow, if you are driving, there will still be icy spots - especially in shady curves.** Take your time and slow down before the curves.
  • If it is snowing or has recently snowed- a likely scenario for Valentine's day in Lake Tahoe, check the California Highway Patrol and Nevada Highway Patrol websites for chain control restrictions.


If you are flying in....

If you are flying in, you will probably come into Reno. If you are renting a car, rent it in Reno and make reservations in advance. South Lake Tahoe has one Enterprise Car Rental and they have few cars, run out quickly and won't be able to get one if you don't have a reservation.

If you won't need a car here, there is a shuttle (southtahoeexpress.com) that runs to South Lake dropping off at the casinos several times a day.

Tire chains are required if you don't have 4-wheel drive when there is snow on the roads. Other sizes are available through these links.

Contact Info for Popular Hotels

Lakeside - (775) 588-7777, 168 Hwy 50, Stateline, NV 89449

Harvey's - (775) 588-2411, 18 Hwy 50, Stateline, NV 89449

Harrah's - (775) 588-6611, 15 Hwy 50, Stateline, NV 89449

Mont Bleu - (775) 588-3515, 55 Hwy 50, Stateline, NV 89449

Embassy Suites - (530) 544-5400, 4130 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

3 Peaks Resort - (530) 544-4131, 931 Park Ave, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Fireside Lodge - (530) 544-5515, 515 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Where to Stay for Valentine's day in Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe has every type of accommodation. Make your reservations as early as you can for your Lake Tahoe Valentine's day get away.

  • Casino hotels - Stay here if you want to have every convenience within reach. The rooms are adequate to quite nice. There are restaurants, clubs, spas and access to Heavenly Resort. The casinos provide high energy entertainment. Harrahs, Harveys, Mont Bleu, Horizon and Lakeside are worth looking into.
  • Smaller hotels provide a quieter, more personal atmosphere. They may or may not have restaurants. Several smaller hotels and motels are located near the casinos and still have easy access for slopeside activity. Chains such as Embassy and Holiday Inn have locations here. In addition, local or non-chain hotels and motels abound. The Stardust Lodge, 968 Park, 3 Peaks Resort and the Deerfield Lodge (on Ski Run Blvd) get good reviews.
  • The Fireside Lodge is NOT in the main area near the resorts. If you want a more secluded, romantic and peaceful stay, this place is perfect.
  • Theme hotels are most popular around Valentine's day. The Fantasy Inn near all the action (no pun intended) has 8 "themed" rooms, which by reviews (no, I haven't been there) are cheesy with wall and ceiling mirrors and a jacuzzi. If you want a fun adventure, this might be your place. Read the Yelp reviews first so you won't be surprised when you get there.
  • Private home or condo rentals give you the ultimate in privacy. There are tons of rental companies and private owners who rent their homes or cabins. If you want the real "local" feel of just being in the mountains without any of the bright lights and activity of the main drag, look for something "out in the county". The Meyers, Christmas Valley, and North Upper Truckee neighborhoods are great areas.
  • If you do decide to rent a house, check out the amenities. Some have hot tubs and other provide "toys" like sleds or snowshoes. Be warned though, if you stay out here in what we call "the county", we get lots of comments about how quiet and dark it is here for those who are from more urban areas. It's quite the experience if you aren't used to it. And be careful, the stargazing will make you dizzy!

Beautiful, romantic Lake Tahoe

This is from out of town a bit, near Hope Valley - a favorite locale for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobile rides.
This is from out of town a bit, near Hope Valley - a favorite locale for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobile rides.
View of the Lake's South Shore from the observation station at the top of the gondola at Heavenly.
View of the Lake's South Shore from the observation station at the top of the gondola at Heavenly.
One of Tahoe's beautiful beaches with snow-capped mountains in the background.
One of Tahoe's beautiful beaches with snow-capped mountains in the background.
Skiing at Heavenly.
Skiing at Heavenly.

Where to Eat

From fabulous to basic, from moderately pricey to dirt cheap, South Lake Tahoe has restaurants to suit every taste and budget.

The most romantic dining venues, not surprisingly, are also the most expensive and require advance reservations.

  • Edgewood - Beautiful, on-the-lake restaurant. Being seated in the large, chalet-like dining room with full-length windows to take in the panoramic lake view, lets you know you are in for a great experience. * The photo at the top of the page was also taken after a dinner at Edgewood, from the parking lot.*
  • Evan's - An even more intimate dining experience, Evan's is located on Emerald Bay Road, about 7 miles from the casino area. Check them out online, but know that their specials menu is extensive and creative. Evan's is small and cozy so make reservations well in advance. Fantastic food and service.

Other romantic restaurants

  • Nephele's - on Ski Run Blvd has a friendly and intimate vibe. The service is friendly and the food is great.
  • Cafe Fiore - Very small (like 7 tables), Italian restaurant on Ski Run Blvd. Fantastic food, but plan well ahead to get a table, or try for "off" times.

Worth Checking Out

Riva Grill- This restaurant sits on the Marina at Ski Run Blvd. The food is good, the servings are large and the drinks are generally well made. It's a bit pricey, but the restaurant is large with a nice water view, so if you haven't gotten reservations elsewhere, this is a good option.

Blue Water Bistro- The food has always been excellent and the view is fantastic as the restaurant sits over the Lake. Service is hit or miss, but usually very good. Again, a bit pricey for dinner, but Valentine's day and other romantic outings are about ambience and the view and quality of food makes this place a winner!

Other recommendations - Freshies or Sprouts for healthy, organic vegetarian options (both are excellent, Freshies for sit down service, Sprouts for order at the counter); Steamers for a very not romantic but always fun time, Cafe Jalisco in town, Cantina on Emerald Bay Rd or Maya's in Meyers (near the bug station) for Mexican; Divided Sky for a relaxed, loud but casual bar that has unexpectedly creative and delicious food, also in Meyers near the bug station (on your right as you head out of town).

From Edgewood
From Edgewood

From Ellies' Run at Heavenly

For this romantic view, take Sky chair to the top of the mountain and turn left. Ellies is a black diamond run, but there are plenty of runs for all ability levels with fantastic views.
For this romantic view, take Sky chair to the top of the mountain and turn left. Ellies is a black diamond run, but there are plenty of runs for all ability levels with fantastic views.

What to Do

  • Ski or Board - If you are staying in the casino/resort area, Heavenly will be your choice. Many of the hotels are either in walking distance, or provide shuttle service to the base. For a little extra special time, take a lesson together.
  • Snowshoe - Snowshoeing by the light of the moon is quite a romantic adventure. Buy snowshoes before you come, or rent them here. No particular skill is required and there are no entrance fees to snowshoe along the lake, day or night.
  • Sleigh Ride or Carriage Ride - If the snow is deep enough, sleigh rides start near the casino area. A romantic two-seater sleigh encourages cuddling and closeness and blankets are included. Carriage rides may also be available if sleigh rides are not. Call (800)726-RIDE.
  • Picnic - Sometimes, in February, the temperatures warm into the high 40s and 50s. With the altitude and bright sun, this is really warm enough to enjoy your lunch outside. Gazing at the crystal blue alpine Lake rimmed by snow-capped mountains takes your breath away.
  • Take a Cruise - Board one of Tahoe's paddle wheel boats for a scenic and romantic cruise around the lake. The Tahoe Queen plans to depart around 6pm for a sunset cruise and reservations will be required for this popular tour.
  • Wine-Tasting - Apres Wine Co. on Ski Run Blvd is a friendly, comfortable place for tasting. If you've never done a wine tasting before, they will teach you the basics. Pichetti Wine from the Santa Clara valley also has a tasting room in Tahoe that hosts tastings.
  • Heavenly Village - This is the area near the base of the gondola. Walk around and browse the shops, grab a hot chocolate, go ice skating at the outdoor rink, catch a movie or try one of the restaurants. There is a great energy from skiers and riders moving on and off the mountain and lots of great people watching.
  • Snowmobile - There are a lot of companies that provide snowmobile tours. Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center (775) 580-4906 and Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Company on Highway 50 (530) 541-4869 get good reviews.
  • Get Married!!- The ultimate in romance!!!! Tahoe has no lack of wedding chapels. In Nevada, you may have to go to a courthouse to get a license. Here in California (including South Lake Tahoe), you can get a marriage license sometimes on the spot! (be sure to call and ask first). The minimum age is 18 and no blood test is required. Chapels are all over the place, including the casinos. I recommend checking Yelp and other review sites if you are planning in advance.

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Comments 4 comments

ImChemist profile image

ImChemist 5 years ago

That nice place i hope to visit it if i have money enough!!


TahoeDoc profile image

TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Thank you! I hope you get the chance, it really is beautiful.


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

Excellent guide work TD.. Parts of NZ are much like Tahoe minus the facilities, people and casinos. lol. But hey, we can't go down the road and rent a boat to go fishing on Lake Donner for 6 oz trout! Ours tend to be 15lbs 6oz...

Sorry... it's just that I almost lost my shirt there and I didn't get a chance to get her number so that I could check out the Valentine dinner at the 'Quick 'n the Dead' Wedding Chapel in South Tahoe. It's maybe not there anymore.

But seriously, this truly is beautiful country and I thank you for updating my knowledge of it. Happy Valentine's for you - this is a travel gem, well polished.. (maybe with my shirt even?) hahaha Take care.. Beware of kiwis in the foothills.


TahoeDoc profile image

TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

PearlD. I just love your comments, they are so kind and...not boring! Thanks for reading and leaving a message. Let me know if you come back to this part of the world for a visit and I'll buy you a beer.

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