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Lake Tahoe Travel and Information Guide for Dummies

Updated on December 27, 2008

Lake Tahoe, so much to do, so little time..

Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America and the second deepest lake of its size in the United States with a maximum depth of about 1700 feet. Lake Tahoe is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide. The water in Lake Tahoe is 99.9% pure and can be visible to a distance under 75 feet under. It is one of the more popular destinations for California and Nevada visitors in the United States. The lake is in the middle of the borders from both California and Nevada. Thousands of skiers flock Lake Tahoe for some of the best skiing along with breathtaking panoramic views. Most people associate the area of Lake Tahoe for its famous skiing; however Lake Tahoe is much more than that. You can enjoy family activities such as skiing, snowboarding, fishing, scuba diving, boat rides, camping, hiking and much more. If you want to satisfy your vices and go gambling, clubbing, drinking and much more. Come take a journey with me to Tahoe and see why it's considered one of the top places you should consider visiting when you are in the United States.

America's most beautiful Drive and Scenic place

Driving around Lake Tahoe, you will see panoramic views, a gorgeous view of the lake, shops, restaurants, and casinos. Going around lake Tahoe is about 72 of the most scenic miles you'll ever see. I will highlight some of the stops and give you more description on them. For directions and map to all places below get the pdf file for Tahoe's most beautiful drive use this link!. Among some of the stops:

Pristine crystal clear water in Lake Tahoe

The most popular way to reach Lake Tahoe is by driving. When you get to Lake Tahoe, make sure you take snow chains. Snow may even fall during warm weather months, so it's better to be safe than sorry. You can always check for the latest weather reports from the weather channel prior to going. If you don't know how to install snow chains, there will be some men in orange jump suits willing to help you for a fee. If you plan to arrive from the airport and travel here then you need to go to an airport in San Francisco, which is 4 hours away or in Sacramento, about 2 hours away.

Places to Visit in Lake Tahoe

West on Highway 50 to 89 North

Heavenly Gondola It is one of America's largest mountains and Tahoe's highest. Go on a gondola ride 2.4 miles up the mountain and enjoy breathtaking views. You will reach the midpoint station called "the Deck", where you can see magnificent views of Tahoe, get some souveniers from the local shop, or enjoy some hot coffee from Cafe Blue. Once you have recharged and are ready to continue to the top, you will reach the top of the Gondola. On the top you can go to hiking trails (and go tubing, snow biking, sledding, skiing, snowshoeing), eat, go to a climbing wall or just enjoy the panoramic view. At the bottom of Heavenly mountain is heavenly village with shops, dining and lodging.

Heavenly Gondola Ride

Camp Richardson - Many options for lodging near lots of restaurants and the closest marina to Emerald Bay. for a lot of fun water sport activies such as renting a seadoo, a power boat, biking, or just going to the beach.

Emerald Bay State Park and Lookout - Great for pictures. Inspiration point is one of the most photographed by visitors.

DL Bliss State Park - white sand beaches, hiking trail and picnic area. DL Bliss Park has one of the best places to hike and enjoy the scenery. Bliss Park was named after LeRoy Bliss, a 19th Century baron that nearly chopped all the trees in Lake Tahoe. From Rubicon Peak, you can look at and see hundreds of feet down into the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe. There is also a balancing rock, a massive 130 ton rock, sitting on top of another boulder. At the start of your trail you can pick up a brochure descrbing the different places along your hike as well as learning about the animals and plants found thoughout the park.

Balancing Rock at DL Bliss Park

Sugar Pine Point Estate Park - Inside it is Queen Anne Herman mansion, one of the more beautiful and historic mansions in Lake Tahoe. Now it is a museum, you can view how the rich lived and enteratined.

89 North to East on Highway 28

Squaw Valley USA - Home of 1960 winter olympics. There is much more to do than just skiing. You can ride cable cars to the top and enjoy the view. You can also go swimming, roller blading,

Truckee and Donner Memorial Park - A place for picnics, fishing, water-skiing and more. The park is named after the Donner party, one of the early emigrants to California, who got stranded here in the winter in 1846 and had to resort to cannibalism to survive. 41 of the original 91 members survived. You can also find in here the Donner Museum and nature trails.

From Tahoe City to 28 East

Watson Cabin - Historic cabin constructed in 1908, the oldest constructed site in Tahoe City. Now it is a museum selling vintage merchandise.

Kings beach - Named after Joe King, who won the site from playing poker. Beach with pier, shops, and street vendors.

Crystal Bay - Gambling baby. Right on the border of Nevada and California. In Cal-Neva swimming pool you can swim from one state to the other. Pretty cool isn't it?

stateline Lookout - Self guided nature trail leading to a fascinating view of Lake tahoe. The lookout will have fabolous views of Lake Tahoe. The lookout used to be a place for an old fire tower.

Mt Rose lookout - One of the easier hiking trails to get to the top for a spectacular view is Mount Rose. Lake Tahoe and Diamond Peak views. 11.2 miles to the top.

28 East Highway

Memorial Point - Nice walking self guided trail leading to views of Sand Harbor. Parking is free here but only for 20 minutes.

Sand Harbor - Great sandy beach and outdoor amphitheater. One of the best beaches in Lake Tahoe. Magnificent shoreline scenery with soft white sand, travelers often compare it to the beauty of the Caribbean or Hawaii. Even scuba diving and snorkeling can be done here. Great facilities with grill area, and running water. Every year around July-August, it is the site for a popular Shakespeare festival where Shakespearean classics are featured.

28 to 50 south.

Spooner Lake - Hiking trails, fishing and picnic areas. Very popular for fishing as well (limit 5 trout) . It is also the head to the back country. The back country has hiking, biking trails and a couple of campsites. While hiking you may observe wildlife such as ducks, geese, osprey.

View From Spooner Lake

Zephyr Cove - Nice modern campground, and lodging. It also has an RV park and paddleboat cruises. It has a nice bar and cocktail servers going around the beach. It has a reputation for being a great party beach.

Popular Ski Resorts

With so many ski resorts, it's hard to pick and choose, but here are some of the more popular ones.

Heavenly Mountain

Heavenly Mountain - 27 lifts and 82 runs, with a vertical drop of 3,590 feet and a descent of 5.5 miles. Amazing views of Lake Tahoe while going on the runs.

Squaw valley

Squaw Valley - hosting of 1960 Winter Olympics took place here. Lots of crowds, it may be better opting for a smaller ski resort sometimes. Known for the steepest terrain in Tahoe.

Alpine Meadows

Alpine meadows - Varied terrains and cheaper ticket prices. It also limits crowds. There are also programs and lessons forkids.

NorthStar At Tahoe

NorthStar - Very popular ski resort, especially for families since it tends to have smaller slopes.


Homewood - Cheaper tickets and less crowded. Great for mountain biking with great trails. It also has golf, skating & bungy jumping.

Toddler Friendly Places

Magic Carpet Golf Lake Tahoe - Great place to take toddlers. Miniature golfing at its best with spider webs, fish themes and more. Very creative holes. People who go claim it's the best miniature golf place ever.

2455 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe, CA (530) 541-3787

Comprehensive list of kid friendly activities in Lake Tahoe.

Resources for Lake Tahoe Travel: Travelocity, Expedia

Book your next travel to Lake Tahoe with Travelocity or Expedia. You can use a travelocity coupon code for additional savings. You may also find an expedia coupon to San Francisco or Sacramento to help you save.

Emerald Bay in Tahoe

Look at the colors

Lake Tahoe Poll

Ever been to Lake Tahoe?

See results

Please comment and rate my lens (5* please!) before you leave. It gives me incentive to make informative articles. Than you!

Lake Tahoe Feedback

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      Priyanka 3 years ago

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    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      This lens is featured on my Things to do in Lake Tahoe lens

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      No matter what the season, Lake Tahoe is one of the prettiest places around.



    • estherjane13 lm profile image

      estherjane13 lm 9 years ago

      Wow - great lens. And beautiful pictures. It makes me want to visit! 5*

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      sbucciarel 9 years ago

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