Summer in South Lake Tahoe:
Welcome to South Lake Tahoe in the Summertime!
Welcome to South Lake Tahoe in the summer!! Make your plans now for an unforgettable summer vacation in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. Moderate temps, beaches, the Lake, hiking and mountain biking are all here waiting for you!
If you are visiting from out of town, you will quickly become familiar with the tourist attractions in the area and many of them are worth experiencing. If it's summer, take a ride on one of the paddleboats, hang out on the beach and take a gondola ride for the unbelievable views of the lake from high on the mountain. Yes, those things are "touristy", but definitely worthwhile and most of us have done them too.
But mostly, in the summer, after work and on the weekends, we locals are hiking, mountain-biking and making plans with friends.There are good guidebooks for hiking and biking (see links below). One of the best ways to find bike trails is to rent a bike and ask the people working in the shop. My favorite shop (because it's close to where I live and they are awewome) is Whattabike, near the RoadRunner gas station in Meyers. There are other great ones in town too. Some of the standard trails get pretty crowded so look for alternatives if you want to enjoy nature and not so many of your fellow humans. Head out toward Meyers or to Hope Valley and find a trail there.
A note about BEARS: Bears live here. You may very well see a bear during your adventures in the outdoors. So here's what you do: Fight your instinct to run. Do not run - it triggers their chase instinct. Instead, stay calm (or pretend to). Back away and walk in the other direction. That's it, just walk away. If you feel threatened by the bear, remember that their sense of smell is good, but their eyesight is not. Make a lot of noise and make yourself appear large- If you are alone, hold something or just your arms over your head. If you have more than one person, stand close together and put your arms out or up, again maximizing your appearance and make noise. Generally, bears want to find food, they don't want any trouble either.
Which brings me to another point. Do not leave food or garbage out. If you are renting a house in one of our neighborhoods, do not leave barbeque or picnic supplies out after you are done. Pick up scraps of food from the yard or porch or you may have an unwanted visitor during the night and bears DO break down doors to get into houses - happens a lot actually. So, it's best not to attract their attention. If you are hiking or having a picnic, do not litter. Seems simple, but you would be surprised...
And, especially do not leave food or garbage in your car: Not in a cooler, not granola bars in the wrapper, not open soda on your seat. They will find it. And while some of them have learned how to open door handles without scratching your car (true story), most will destroy whatever they have to, to get in. If we accidently leave food in our cars, we almost expect that a bear will have found it by morning, we are pleasantly surprised if they dont- at least in the neighborhoods where they have been. And once the bears identify a target neighborhood, they keep coming back. After your visit is over, we and our children still have to deal with the bears. Please help us keep them out of our neighborhoods.
**steps down from soap box to give more fun info**
Summer in Tahoe
Ahhh, summer in Tahoe. As locals, we mostly do what visitors do, just sometimes on a slightly different schedule. We will go to the beach, too. We'll even put up with the crowds at Camp Rich on Sundays, because as the visitors start packing up to get in the line to drive home, we start filling up the seats at the Beacon to listen to the live music and drink some rum-runners. If you can stay and hang with the locals, you'll see it gets much less hectic and much more relaxing on Sunday evenings. You may notice that it seems like everyone knows each other. Despite the population of Lake Tahoe, it is truly a small town. Tahoe locals are friendly though and we love our town, so ask us anything, especially about Tahoe, and we'll be happy to talk (and sometimes talk and talk...)
FALLEN LEAF LAKE: Saturdays at the beaches are crowded, so instead of a beach on the lake at Tahoe, check out one of the other beautiful lakes in the area. Fallen Leaf Lake is ohhh, so gorgeous. It can get crowded too, but get there early and bring your lunch.To get there, you need to get to Emerald Bay Drive. Drive down highway 50 to the "Y", and make a right. Follow the road almost to Camp Richardson and watch for signs on the left for Fallen Leaf Lake and Campground. Follow the road to the parking lot, then the trail to the beach. If you want to go to the other end of the lake where the restaurant and general store are located, you need to keep following the road around past the parking lot. You will reach a point where you can go straight-ish or bear right. Bear right and continue down the (mostly) one-lane road for a couple miles. It's narrow and it's slow, take your time and move off to the side when you come upon another car and there is room on your side. Other cars will do the same for you when they have the option. (The narrow road has just enough room on either side for one car to move aside to allow another car to pass, but the side with the pull-off varies so watch out for them).
Local's note: For the love of doG, do NOT bring your rented RV that you have never driven before and that you aren't sure just how wide that thing is, down that narrow one-lane road during busy times. You will not be happy and neither will anyone else trying to navigate the road. If you must bring an RV all the way down that road, do it at off times, not on Friday afternoon, early Saturday morning or back out on Sunday evening. Aggravating for everyone-I have had to pull my car up on the side of the roadbank at an angle that my kids were sure we would tip over, and I wasn't sure we wouldn't, to let those things by. The look on the drivers' faces and the beads of sweat on their foreheads, said they had no idea what they were getting into.
Where to eat: Well, this will definitely be influenced by what kind of food you want (d'uh, right?), where you are staying, your budget and whether or not you are willing to wait.
Near the casinos: Fire and Ice. Yeah, so this restaurant at Heavenly Village gets pretty crowded but it's a cool place for visitors and locals alike. Pick your own fixins and sauces and they cook it up on the big room sized grill in the center of the place. You will likely have to wait- up to an hour - on crowded evenings but pull up to the bar and have a drink. They aren't (too) overpriced. Taj Mahal and Nina's Chaat Cafe both have good Indian food. My family especially enjoys the lunch buffet at Taj Mahal, because the kids get unlimited rice pudding. Freshies and Sprouts both offer high quality, organic and super yummy food. Freshies is small inside, but they have a deck upstairs that's open in the summer for your dining pleasure AND a view of the lake.
A little farther away: If you venture back down Lake Tahoe Boulevard, toward the "Y", you can go to Tahoe Keys Deli for lunch, for an original and delish sandwich. Steamers (named after the boat, not the seafood preparation) is open for lunch and dinner in the summer and is the ultimate local hangout. We go after work or on the weekend for lunch. Ball games are on the tvs and I think Saturday and Monday are still the special taco days. Service is sometimes slow when they get crowded but always friendly.
On your way out of town: If you are headed home up over the 50 to the Bay area, you pass through my neck of the woods. Just after you pass the "bug station", you will see a couple restaurants on your right. If it's before 2pm, you can have lunch at the Downtown Cafe. The friendly owners will fix you a yummy, hearty lunch. The Getaway Cafe is also right there. This is one of my favorite places. I always have good food and their bloody mary's are fantastic. The little Mexican food place used to be called Papagayo and just changed names. I think it's like Maya's or something. If it's the same menu as it used to be, it's so, so good. I like it best for takeout and they have lots of veggie options! Upstairs from the Downtown Cafe is The Divided Sky. I love this place. They open with their dinner menu at 2pm. My kiddos love the French bread pizza and I always take a long time deciding which amazing sandwich to eat. The Amsterdam is the current fave!