Lake Tahoe Travel Guide: Where To Stay, Best Hiking, Ski & Restaurants

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Travel Guide: Where To Stay, Best Hiking, Ski & Restaurants

April 22, 2018

Updated April 2018

Lake Tahoe Travel Guide

Frontier just launched a direct flight from Austin to Reno with fares starting at $39! Everyone knows that Lake Tahoe is one of the top ski destinations but did you know it’s the perfect summer getaway? Austin is impossibly hot and humid during the summer so I’m always looking for any excuse to getaway.

Lake Tahoe has a high of 80°F and low of 40°F during the summer, which makes it perfect for outdoor activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiking. You can even still ski right now. Yep, you can ski during the summer! California received so much snowfall this year that they’re expecting to ski year round this year. With the perfect weather and combination of outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe is the ultimate summer trip!

To learn more about North Lake Tahoe visit gotahoenorth.com and read on for the 13 top Lake Tahoe things to do.


August 2017: This blog post was originally sponsored by Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of A Taste of Koko.

Get away this summer with Chase Ultimate Rewards. Chase cardholders can earn rewards on purchases and redeem through Ultimate Rewards for just about anything you need to have a fantastic summer: travel, gift cards, experiences and more. Your points won’t expire as long as your account is open. I’m always on the go, but it is so easy to redeem wherever you are – online or through the Chase mobile banking app.

You’ll want to pick up a couple of new outfits for the trip and using Chase Ultimate Rewards allows you to redeem rewards for gift cards. And right now you can redeem for a Gap Inc. gift card and save 20% (while supplies last). Don’t wait — there is a limited quantity of discounted gift cards available! Use in-store or online at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic or Athleta.

Already a Chase cardmember with Ultimate Rewards? Sign into your account on the Ultimate Rewards portal to learn more about gift card offers and more. If you are not a Chase cardholder, check out the benefits provided through Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink.

SEE ALSO: Top 7 Weekend Getaways To Close Out The Summer

 


HOW TO GET TO LAKE TAHOE FROM RENO

Fly into Reno-Tahoe Intl Airport and rent a rental car with Chase Ultimate Rewards to drive to Lake Tahoe. It’s a 40-minute to one-hour drive.


THINGS TO DO IN RENO, NEVADA

There is more to Reno, Nevada than just the casinos!

  • Watch Cirque Paris – this award-winning acrobatic cast transports the audience to the cabaret nightclubs of France.
  • Play arcade games at Circus Circus
  • Shop the Riverwalk District – it’s filled with restaurants, museums, breweries, local clothing shops
  • Take a picture with the Burning Man sculptures 
  • Visit the Nevada Museum of Art
  • Shop the Midtown District – more eclectic, art experience with boutique shops, eateries, and breweries

 

WHERE TO EAT IN RENO, NEVADA

  • Madame Butterwork’s Curious Cafe – go to Madame Butterwork’s for breakfast. Start with the Dutch baby pancake and then choose from Madame B’s different liquid elixirs: 3 different kinds of bloody Mary’s and an all morning long mimosa for $11.50 (that’s unlimited mimosas).
  • Canter’s Deli – for a quick lunch, Canter’s serves up sandwiches, burgers, paninis, LA’s finest deli cuisine
  • Brew Brothers – grab a beer flight at Brew Brothers, the first craft brewery in a casino in northern Nevada and named Best Brewpub in America by Nightclub & Bar magazine.
  • Kanpai / El Jefe’s – Mexican or Japanese? You can have both at Kanpai and El Jefe’s! Kanpai has an all-you-can-eat sushi option at the bar for $24.95 for lunch and $27.95 for dinner on Friday – Sunday.
  • Rum. Sugar. Lime – Reno’s newest contemporary cocktail bar with a decidedly tropical twist.
  • Holey Schmidt Donuts – Reno’s first specialty donut shop

 


WHERE TO STAY IN LAKE TAHOE

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

Hyatt Lake Tahoe

HYATT REGENCY LAKE TAHOE RESORT

I stayed four nights at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe during my summer trip and absolutely loved the property. Hyatt Lake Tahoe is a hotel, resort, spa, and casino that’s surrounded by mountains and located right on Lake Tahoe. The hotel actually has its own private beach that can only be accessed if you’re a hotel guest. Hyatt Lake Tahoe is just minutes from Incline Village and has its own house car that can take you anywhere within a 1/2 mile radius. The lagoon-style pool is heated and there’s a fire pit that overlooks the lake.

Hyatt Lake Tahoe is an alpine paradise and I absolutely loved staying here and would stay here on my next visit to Lake Tahoe. I loved dining at Lone Eagle Grille and lounging at the cabanas by the lake! A week of hiking definitely took a toll on my feet so I got a pedicure at the Stillwater Spa (Hyatt Lake Tahoe’s on property spa) before flying back to Austin.

111 Country Club Dr, Incline Village, NV, laketahoe.regency.hyatt.com

 

Cedar Crest Cottages

CEDAR CREST COTTAGES

For our trip in the spring, we stayed on the west side of Lake Tahoe at the Cedar Crest Cottages. If you have more than one in your party, I highly recommend the Cedar Crest Cottages! These luxury cottages are designed, built, owned and operated by a local Tahoe family. Each cottage has a full kitchen, living room, dining room, washers/dryers, and spacious bedrooms. I had the best sleep thanks to the comfy beds and blackout shades. The property has a communal fire pit that’s perfect to huddle together and roast marshmallows.

4815 W Lake Blvd, Homewood, CA, cedarcrestcottages.com

 


LAKE TAHOE THINGS TO DO

13 Top Lake Tahoe Things To Do

 

Kayaking On Lake Tahoe

1. KAYAKING ON LAKE TAHOE

When visiting Lake Tahoe, you have to go to the lake and the best way to see it is by kayak. We did a kayak tour with Tahoe Adventure Company, a locally owned company that leads adventure travel trips and tours that focus on experiencing the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe. Other adventures include paddleboarding, mountain biking, snowshoeing, hiking, backpacking, and more.

Our tour guide gave us a 2-hour tour around North Lake Tahoe and explained to us the history of the lake and city. Did you know Lake Tahoe is over 2 million years old? The water is so clear in the lake that you can see 30+ feet down. I was blown away by the clarity of the lake! It’s a chilly 50 degrees in the Spring but I highly encourage you to jump in!

7010 N Lake Blvd Tahoe Vista, CA 96148

 

Sand Harbor

2. EXPLORE SAND HARBOR

We wanted to originally go paddleboarding at Sand Habor but ran out of time. Instead, we found an incredible photo opp by the boardwalk with a path of rocks leading out to the lake. There’s also a beach at Sand Harbor to lay out and enjoy the view. I want to come back and paddleboard at Sand Harbor!

2005 NV-28, Incline Village, NV, parks.nv.gov/parks/lake-tahoe-nevada-state-park

 

Jet Ski On Lake Tahoe

3. JET SKI ON LAKE TAHOE

Have a need for speed? Jet ski around Lake Tahoe! We rented jet skis from Hyatt Lake Tahoe’s private beach and did a lap around the lake.

 

Alibi Brewery

4. DRINK LOCAL BEER AT ALIBI ALE WORKS

Cool off after a day of outdoor activities at Alibi Ale Works. This local craft brewery is located in Incline Village that produces a wide range of rotating beers with pure Lake Tahoe water. The middle beer pictured above is their strawberry beer made with organic strawberries!

204 E Enterprise St, Incline Village, NV, alibialeworks.com

 

Shops in Tahoe City

5. GO SHOPPING IN TAHOE CITY

Tahoe City is filled with local clothing boutiques and shops. Check out Gatekeepers Museum if you’re there – it’s a reconstruction of the original Gatekeeper’s cabin that is now filled with Native American baskets and historical photographs.

130 W Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA

 

Commons Beach

6. HANG OUT IN COMMONS BEACH

Commons Beach is in Tahoe City – it;s a great place to hang out and a live band plays every Sunday night during the summer.

130 W Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA

 

Skiing at Squaw

7. SKIING AT SQUAW VALLEY

Lake Tahoe has several options for skiing but we went to Squaw Valley. Yes, we skied in mid-June and you can still ski this July! Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, California, is one of the largest ski areas in the United States that boasts the longest ski and snowboard seasons. For beginners like myself, I skied down the learning zones of this iconic Sierra Mountain Resort. There are 100 trails spread over 2,400 acres!

1960 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Valley, CA

 

Wanderlust Lake Tahoe

8. YOGA AT WANDERLUST

On my spring trip, I decided not to ski but still made the trip over to Squaw Valley. So if you’re wondering, if I don’t ski, what’s there to do at Squaw Valley? Take a yoga class at the Wanderlust Yoga studio, this is one of 4 studios in the world and the Wanderlust Festival is held here in the summer!

1750 Village East Rd #64, squaw.wanderlustyoga.com

 

Hot tub squaw valley

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

9. SOAK IN THE HOT TUB

Yep, there’s a hot tub on the ski slopes of Squaw Valley! Ski all morning, take a break and soak at the High Camp Pool & Hot Tubs before hitting the slopes in the afternoon. Or soak in the hot tub all afternoon like I did. It felt so good even through a snow blizzard! High Camp Pool is $15 per person.

Pro tip: Pick up a couple cans of beers or wine at the market.

1960 Squaw Valley Road, squawalpine.com/events-things-do/high-camp-pool-hot-tub

 

Lake Tahoe Cruise

Photo by Ready Set Jet Set

10. SCENIC EMERALD BAY CRUISE

Cruise around Lake Tahoe with Daytime Scenic Cruises and experience Emerald Bay from its very waters on a cruise. I loved the 2.5-hour scenic daytime cruise that allowed us to get the fresh Lake Tahoe air and see the entire lake!

Tickets: Adult (age 12 and older) $65, child (ages 3-11) $32.00, & child (under the age of 3) FREE

Zephyr Cove Resort, 760 US-50, Zephyr Cove, NV 89448

 


BEST HIKING TRAILS IN LAKE TAHOE

 

Eagle Rock

11. EAGLE ROCK

Hike to the top of Eagle Rock for an incredible panoramic view of Lake Tahoe. Eagle Rock is a volcanic outcrop that’s 250 ft above Lake Tahoe.

3370 W Lake Blvd, Homewood, CA 96141

 

Secret Cove

12. SECRET COVE

Secret Cove is one of the series of beaches located around Lake Tahoe. Park along the side of Hwy 28 and walk towards the signs marking the trails down the hill. Don’t be alarmed if you see someone nude like we did – it’s a popular nude beach!

NV-28, Incline Village, NV 89451

 

Emerald Bay

13. EMERALD BAY

Emerald Bay State Park is the state park of California and considered one of the most beautiful gems. It’s tucked in the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe but well worth the drive. Hike down the mile-long trail to the main beach at Vikingsholm.

138 Emerald Bay Rd

 

 


BEST RESTAURANTS IN LAKE TAHOE

 

Baked Tahoe Dessert

LONE EAGLE GRILLE

Our first meal after we checked into Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe was at their restaurant, Lone Eagle Grill. Located right across the street, Lone Eagle Grill is a gourmet lakefront dining on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. Loved having wine during dinner and watching the sunset across the waves. Order the Baked Tahoe (aka Baked Alaska)!

111 Country Club Dr, Incline Village, NV, loneeaglegrille.com

 

Sierra Restaurant

SIERRA CAFE

For breakfast, we’ve been grabbing something quick in the morning from Sierra Cafe. If you have time to sit down and enjoy the view, the huevos rancheros was so good.

111 Country Club Dr, Incline Village, NV, laketahoe.regency.hyatt.com

 

Jason's Beachside Grille

JASON’S BEACHSIDE GRILLE

After morning hike at Eagle Rock, we stopped by for a quick lunch at Jason’s Beachside Grille.

8338 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA, jasonsbeachsidegrille.com

 

Bite Restaurant in Lake Tahoe

BITE AMERICAN TAPAS

If you’re looking for a local dinner spot, try Bite American Tapas. Bacon wrapped dates, local andouille sausage & shrimp gumbo, Fulton Valley Farms fried chicken sliders, and onions rings were our favorite.

907 Tahoe Blvd, Incline Village, NV, bitetahoe.com

 

Rocker@Squaw

ROCKER@SQUAW

After a day of skiing at Squaw Valley, you’ll want to refuel at Rocker@Squaw. Start with cocktails and the pickle fries (available only during the summer) – they’re dangerously addicting. Loved the chicken and rice bowl!

1960 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Valley, CA, squawalpine.com/events-things-do/rockersquaw

 

 

Sunnyside Lake Tahoe

SUNNYSIDE

One of my favorite restaurants in Lake Tahoe was Sunnyside. Loved the fried zucchini, sesame crusted ahi tuna bowl, beer-battered fish tacos, and you have to order the hula pie!

1850 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA, sunnysideresort.com

 

Gar Woods Lake Tahoe

GAR WOODS

Gar Woods is another great restaurant with a lake view and patio seating right on the water. The California cuisine features hand-cut steaks, fresh Pacific seafood and a wine list of California’s best-known vintners featuring more than a dozen wines by the glass. Be sure to also to order their iconic Wet Woody (pictured above)!

5000 N Lake Blvd, Carnelian Bay, CA, garwoods.com

 

Wolfdale's Restaurant

WOLFDALE’S

If you’re looking for a date night restaurant, Wolfdale’s is the spot. Wolfdale’s serves locally sourced and fresh ingredients with an award winning wine selection by the lake.

640 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA 96145, wolfdales.com


 

WRITTEN BY:

Jane Ko is the blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog. She is a social media marketer, blogger, food photographer, and the host of the largest SXSW food crawl. Lives in Austin, find her on Google+

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