Download Travel Guide for Lake Tahoe California PDF version here or read it below:
How to get to Lake Tahoe
DRIVING FROM SAN FRANCISCO
Take the ‘80’ Freeway East, traffic dependent it will take about 3-4 hours. To avoid heavy traffic start your journey before 1pm, bottle necks are typically near Fairfield and Sacramento, they can lengthen your journey time by several hours.
On route Break your journey by visiting the gold rush towns of Auburn, Grass Valley and Nevada. Auburn is by the ’80’, Grass Valley and Nevada City, 25 miles North East of Auburn, they are 5 miles apart on historic Route 49.
From Nevada city take Route 20 for 30 miles rejoining the ‘80’ freeway at Yuba Pass.
If you have an extra 3-4 hours stay on scenic Route 49, a beautiful tree lined drive though the mountains passing the very first gold rush town, Downieville, well worth a visit!
Why go there? Quaint, historical towns with small museums and original mining equipment on display. Read more about Downieville here
FLYING INTO RENO
Reno airport is 40 minutes from Lake Tahoe; either follow I-580 N for 5mins to I-80 W or take I-580 S and NV-431 W/Mt Rose Hwy to Incline Village via 431. This is a stunning mountain drive over Mount Rose Lake Tahoe’s highest peak, down into Incline by the lake where you either continue east to south Lake Tahoe or west into the north shore just 10 minutes away.
WHERE TO STAY IN NORTH LAKE TAHOE
We always stay in North Lake Tahoe. The south is mostly in Nevada where gambling is permitted, hotels tend to be larger and most have casinos. The scenery is still beautiful with the lake and the mountains but there is a very different vibe.
West Shore Café 5160 West Lake Blvd. Homewood CA 96141 Tel: 530 525 5200 Price: from $250 per night Comments: On the lake! 6 gorgeous, beautifully decorated suites & 2 villas, some with lake views.
Sunnyside 1850 West Lake Blvd Tahoe City CA 96145 Tel: 530 583 200 Price: from $175 per night Comments: Rustic charm on the lake.
The Hyatt 111 Country Club Drive, Incline Village, Nevada, USA, 89451 Tel: 775 832 1234 Price: from $180 per night Comments: Large rustic lodge style, full service hotel on the lake.
The Ritz Carlton 13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Ct, Truckee, California 96161 Tel: 530 562 3000 Price: from $220 per night Comments: Fabulous, right on the slopes at Northstar.
The Village at Northstar Truckee, CA 96161 1800 Tel: GO NORTH Price: from $180 per night Comments: Superb 1,2 & 3 bed suites in the village!
The Village at Squaw 1960 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Village CA 96146 Tel: 866 818 6963 Price: from $180 per night Comments: Central to everything in the village 1,2 & 3 bed rooms.
Plumpjacks 1960 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Village CA 96146 Tel: 530 583 1576 Price: from $250 per night Comments: Lovely place to stay in Squaw.
The Resort at Squaw Creek 400 Squaw Creek Rd ,Olympic Valley, CA 96146 Tel: 530 5836300 Price: from $200 per night Comments: Upscale with easy lift access to the main ski runs.
For other lodging: Booking.com, Trip advisor & airbnb.com. For a cabin rental: homeaway.com & vrbo.com
WHERE TO EAT in NORTH LAKE TAHOE
West Shore Café 5160 West Lake Blvd. Homewood CA 96141 Tel: 530 525 5200 Lakeside, accessible by boat.
Sunnyside 1850 West Lake Blvd Tahoe City CA 96145 Tel: 530 583 200 great patio on the lake.
Fire Sign 1785 West Lake Blvd Tahoe City, CA 96145 Tel:530 583 871 Great for breakfast.
Bridge Tender 65 W Lake Blvd Tahoe City CA 96145 Tel: 530 583 3342 Riverside for lunch!
The River Grill 55 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA 96145 Tel: 530 581 2644 Fabulous happy hour!
Christy Hills 115 Grove St, Tahoe City, CA 96145 Tel: 530 583 8551 Great food & lake views.
Wolfdales 640 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA 96145 Tel: 530 583 5700 Wonderful fusion style food with lake views!
Garwoods 5000 N Lake Blvd, Carnelian Bay, CA 96140 Tel: 530 546 3366 Lakeside, accessible by boat, famous for its ‘Wet Woody’ cocktails, often half price on a Wednesday!
SpindleShanks 400 Brassie Avenue, Suite B, Kings Beach, CA 96143 Tel: 530 546 2191 Tasty!
Caliente 8791 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143 Tel: 530 546 1000 Great Mexican!
The Soule Domain 9983 Cove St, Kings Beach, CA 96143 Tel: 530 546 7529 Delicious home cooked food in a European cabin setting!
Bite 907 Tahoe Blvd, Incline Village, NV 89451 Tel: 775 831 1000 Delicious, small plates!
The Hyatt Lone Eagle Grill 111 Country Club Drive, Incline Village, Nevada, USA, 89451 Tel: +1 775 832 1234 Good traditional American.
Moody’s Bistro The Truckee Hotel, 10007 Bridge St, Truckee, CA 96161 Tel: 530 587 8688 Often has fabulous live music, our local favourite great atmosphere and vibe!
Pianeta 10096 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161 Tel: 530 587 4694 reliably good
Cottonwood 10142 Rue Hilltop, Truckee, CA 96161 Tel: 530 587 5711 a Truckee icon!
Fifty Fifty Brewing Company 11197 Brockway Rd, Truckee, CA 96161 Tel: (530) 587-2337 great Brewery and good American fare!
SUMMER IN LAKE TAHOE
Lake Tahoe East Shore Beaches
Many of Lake Tahoe’s stunning beaches are accessible by boat, a few can only be reached by boat! Stop for a cocktail on the deck of The Hyatt for a fantastic view down the lake! Thunderbird Lodge – built in 1936, an incredible residential estate from an era when prominent San Francisco society built homes on the lake.
Lake Tahoe West Shore Beaches
Boating at Lake Tahoe
BOATING NB: All boats at Tahoe are subject to an annual inspection. Call Tahoe Boat Inspections 1-888-824-6267 for inspection locations & hours.
Homewood Marina (West Shore) 5190 West Lake Blvd.Homewood, CA 96141 Tel: 530 525 5966
Meeks Bay Marina (West shore) 7941 Emerald Bay Road, Tahoma, CA 96142 Tel: 530 525 5588
Lake Forest Boat Ramp (near Tahoe City)Next to Coast Guard station. $15 launch fee for CA residents, non $20.2500 Lake Forest Rd. Tahoe City, CA 96145 Tel: 530 583 554
Tahoe Vista Recreation Area and Boat Launch Launch Fee $5, $7 daily fee to park Hwy. 28 and National Ave. Tahoe Vista, CA 96148 Tel: 530 546 4212
Tahoe City Marina Easy foot access to town 700 North Lake Blvd. Tahoe City, CA 96145 Tel: 530 583-1039
Some hotels rent boats, check out options at GO TAHOE NORTH
THINGS TO DO AT LAKE TAHOE
Water cruises Take a cruise around Lake Tahoe on the Tahoe Belle
Hiking trails in Lake Tahoe range from easy strolls to steep switchbacks leading into the clouds. GO TAHOE NORTH is good resource to discover where to enjoy this and other activities: Golfing fishing, golf, cycling, horse back riding
The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, runs from mid July to the end of August, enjoy some exceptional performances at Sand Harbor, just beyond Incline Village against the backdrop the lake – simply stunning!
There are several museums to visit at Lake Tahoe, one of the most interesting being The Donner Memorial State Museum and Emigrant Trail MuseumPark 12593 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161 Tel: 530 582-7892
Learn about the early pioneers & the incredible story of the Donner party, who in 1846 were trapped in early winter storms in the Sierra’s and forced to resort to cannibalism to survive.
Farmers Markets at Lake Tahoe
Truckee Truckee River Regional Park 10500 Brockway Rd off Highway 267 8am-1pm mid June – October
Tahoe City Commons Beach and N Lake Blvd – Mid May-mid June late August-late September 8am -1pm
Tahoe Lake Elementary School 375 Grove Street – late June-late August 8am -1pm
Crystal Bay, NV at the Tahoe Biltmore Early May-late September 10am to 2 pm
Incline Village Tunnel Creek Incline Village NV Early May-late September 8am -1pm
Truckee Thursday nights near the train station late June – late August 20 4pm -7pm
WINTER IN LAKE TAHOE
NORTH LAKE TAHOE SKIING
Lake Tahoe is a world class destination for skiing, both down hill & cross country.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows – Squaw Valley was home of the 1960 winter Olympics and is now twinned with beautiful Alpine Meadows. Squaw offers some of Tahoe’s most challenging slopes. They were originally two separate resorts but now one ski pass allows you to enjoy both, a free shuttle transports you between them
Northstar – (above ) Over 3000 acres of breathtaking skiable terrain, having undergone a recent billion dollar improvement it just gets better every year, our favorite place to ski!
Diamond Peak – By Incline Village, a friendly smaller resort
Homewood – On the west shore, smaller but quaint with fantastic lake views
SKI MOBILE TOURS
Download the Travel Guide for Lake Tahoe, California, USA PDF here
Do let me know your own recommendations AND please contact me if you would like additional help