Every once in a while, we should treat ourselves to a trip outdoors. There is nothing more relaxing than being at one with the wilderness. In the U.S., there are many natural wonders that keep us close to our serene and peaceful sides that’s why it gets a bit hard to find places that we’d like to venture into. Going outdoors isn’t always about trekking through lush forests or boating through calm waters as sometimes, it could be a mix of both. One tourist hotspot that’s popular with nature lovers is Lake Tahoe. If you are up for amazing sights and peaceful walks by the lake, then perhaps this is the place that’s been calling out to you.
This amazing freshwater lake is large and is located in the Sierra Nevada. With a surface elevation of 6,225 ft., the lake is large enough to become part of both California and Nevada. It also holds the record for being the largest alpine lake in North America. It also has a depth of 1,645 ft., making it te second deepest in the U.S. next to Crater Lake in Oregon which is at 1,949 ft.
According to experts, the lake was created about 2 million years ago when it was still a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The current shape we see it in now is formed during the ice age. As an attraction, the lake is most notably known for its peacefulness and scenic views. It is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California. It is even made as the home of winter sports and other extreme activities during various times of the year.
During the early years in U.S. history, the area around Lake Tahoe was the home of the Washoe tribe of Native Americans. It was also made as the heart of the Washoe Indian territory which also included Walker Carson and Truckee Rivers. The namesake of the lake was made from the Washo word “da’aw” which simply meant “The Lake.”
The first American to set foot in the area was Lt. John C. Fremont who was of European-American descent. He first came across the lake during an exploratory expedition in 1844. In 1853, William Eddy, the surveyor of general of California then identified the lake as Lake Biglar. There were a lot of people that went against the name Bigler at the time because he was an secessionist. The U.S. Department of the Interior then renamed the lake as Lake Tahoe in 1862.
During the early 20th century, the developmental projects around the lake was only for a few vacation homes. Still, this help boosted the lake’s economy. After the second World War, the population and building boom provided Lake Tahoe with the much needed boost it needed to become one of the main attractions near Nevada and California.
Its lush history aside, let’s now get you to exactly why you’re here for. Here is your travel guide to Lake Tahoe.
- 1 How To Get To Lake Tahoe
- 2 Best Time To Visit Lake Tahoe
How To Get To Lake Tahoe
We know you are itching to get to Lake Tahoe. The good thing is that you have many options to choose from when traveling to and from this amazing lake.
If you are coming from far off countries or states, then take a flight that gets you to Reno-Tahoe International Airport. This has over 120 flights per day. From the airport, simply ride either the South Tahoe Airporter or the North Lake Tahoe Express bus services. The routes of these buses will get you to the lake and also to the hotel you are booked in.
You can also fly into the Sacramento International Airport which has at least 145 flights per day. From the airport, you can book an on-demand van service to get you to Lake Tahoe. The trip itself will last at least two hours from the airport. This is rather expensive but at least you’ll get the van for yourself and your group.
If you are already in California, one easy path you can take is through the California Zephyr train at the Emeryville Amtrak Station. This is roughly 11 miles east off of San Francisco. This trip will last for 5 and a half hours. Although it’s a long trip, you can definitely enjoy the scenic ride that passes by Truckee. If you get hungry, there’s a dining car with a hefty selection of great dishes.
Best Time To Visit Lake Tahoe
If you are going to Lake Tahoe, you’re probably going to want to visit it when the temperatures are cool and breezy. This means you may want to visit from March through May. The temperatures play at around the high 40s and low 60s so it is not too cold and not too hot as well. During this small time frame, the crowds are smaller and the rates are a lot more affordable. During these months, you can participate in various events and activities such as Earth Day, Winterwondergrass Tahoe, Snow Golf Tournament and Crushing Crossing.
Another great time to visit is from September to November. The temperatures are definitely cooler at this period as it is around the low 70s to the high 40s. Aside from the cool and chilly weather, the prices of the hotels significantly drop as well. Of course, you can also enjoy winter attractions during this time. Definitely try to out skiing while you’re here.
There are many great events during these months. It’s a great time for food tasting with the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival in September and the Lake Tahoe Fall Fish Festival in October. With these travel essential covered, now it’s time for you to know about some of the things you can do in Lake Tahoe.
The United States has a lot of tourist spots where every traveler will surely find an activity that suits them. Whether one is looking for tranquility, for some adrenaline, or whatnot, the United States sure has everything. One of US’ treasures that travelers like you shouldn’t miss is Lake Tahoe. Its name might sound like a mere lake but don’t pass on it just yet as it has countless activities to offer more than you can imagine. To give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, here’s a rundown of the unique things to do in Lake Tahoe and what you can expect as you visit Big Blue.
Lake Tahoe is a well-known spot for skiing. It has the perfect slopes and terrain to boast of. And, of course, it has ski resorts that are also popular among tourists. One of which is the Squaw Valley, where the 196- Winter Olympics were held. There is also Heavenly where you can enjoy more than 4,000 acres of superb terrain with the most stunning views. Don’t worry much if you don’t ski as there is Heavenly Gondola Ride where you can get to enjoy a 2.4-mile scenic ride that fills your eyes with the beautiful views of Carson Valley, Desolation Wilderness, and of course, Lake Tahoe.
2Sign up for aerial tours
There’s nothing more exciting than signing up for aerial tours. This is because, with this, you won’t just get to see a place in a different perspective but such tours will also make your trip all the more memorable. Luckily, it is one of the unique things to do in Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe has a few different aerial tours for you to choose from. Here are the aerial tours that you can try.
If you want to see Lake Tahoe from above via helicopter, Heli-Vertex has tours for you. See Lake Tahoe like you’ve never seen it before as you hop on a helicopter that features posh leather seats and more that will make the ride all the more comfortable. And have we mentioned that its tours can accommodate three to six persons? It’s a perfect activity for the whole family or friends. There will also be a guide who will accompany you throughout the tour so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Via Hot Air Balloon
If you want a more laid-back aerial tour, try hot air balloon tours. Needless to say, you’ll hop aboard a hot air balloon and your experienced balloon pilot will also serve as your tour guide. With this, you can get a chance to see Fallen Leaf Lake, Cascade Lake, Desolation Wilderness, and Emerald Bay. If you’re lucky enough, you can get to see the mountains in Yosemite as well during clear days. Hot air balloon tours, particularly the ones being offered by Lake Tahoe Balloons, are typically available from mid-May through mid-October. Be sure to rise early, though, as Lake Tahoe Balloons’ flights often depart after sunrise.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not try paragliding? Yes, paragliding is also one of the unique things to do in Lake Tahoe. It’s much more filled with adrenaline. Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience as there are tandem paragliding tours that you can avail. However, note that this kind of tour is weather permitting. Also, if you’re planning to try out this experience, be sure to do it during springtime. You’ll enjoy the view of nature even more.
3Try out boat tours
If you think aerial tours are not for you, why not try signing up for boat tours instead? If you’re looking for some unique things to do in Lake Tahoe, exploring its waters via boat is what we highly suggest. This is because Lake Tahoe Boat Rides, for instance, offers tours that can be customized. You have the power to set your own schedule and the best part of it is that you can get to choose your boat! Thave sightseeing tours, sunset cruises, and more packages to choose from. And you don’t just spend the day riding a boat, taking pictures, and savoring the best views of Lake Tahoe but you will also have a tour guide with you who will explain Lake Tahoe’s history, stories, and some trivia. It’s also a family-friendly activity so don’t miss out on this.
4Go on photographic tours
If you’re a photography enthusiast, you’ll surely love going on photographic tours being offered in Lake Tahoe. Yes, in Lake Tahoe, there is such a thing as photographic tours and it’s one of the unique things to do in Lake Tahoe too.
For starters, this is a one-of-a-kind tour where you will be taken into some of Lake Tahoe’s most scenic spots where you can take photos. You won’t have to think about how you’re going to get there as tours often include shuttle services already. The best part of this kind of tour is that you can also get to hear some fascinating facts about the lake’s history, geology, and wildlife from your guide.
5Visit a mansion
Visiting a mansion is actually one of the unique things to do in Lake Tahoe. But we’re not talking about an ordinary mansion here. Rather, a historical mansion that is known as an architectural highlight of Lake Tahoe.
Situated in Emerald Bay State Park, Vikingsholm mansion boasts of Scandinavian architecture in the US. It is made with materials that you can only find in Lake Tahoe. Also, it’s made using old-fashioned construction methods, which makes it all the more interesting. It has nearly 40 rooms that you can tour for a nominal price during summer. The best part of it is that it has a beach and hiking trails nearby.
6Go mountain biking
Mountain biking is also an activity that is highly recommended when you’re in Lake Tahoe. However, the trails can be steep, making it a bit difficult and tiring. But you can go downhill biking instead which is one of the unique things to do in Lake Tahoe too. Don’t worry if you dread the part of going uphill. You can just ride a shuttle up and then just ride a bike down. Your adrenaline cravings will not be the only thing that will be satisfied but your eyes will be filled with the best views in Lake Tahoe too.
7Try whitewater rafting
We all know that lakes don’t usually have waves, unlike seas and oceans. But, apparently, you can go whitewater rafting in Lake Tahoe.
Interestingly, the northern part of Lake Tahoe is surprisingly home to the Truckee River. It flows more than 100 miles going to the Pyramid Lake. Here, you can go try out whitewater rafting. Apart from that, it features miles of tubing and kayaking as well. So if you’re looking for some more water adventure, head on to North Lake Tahoe to experience this one-of-a-kind activity in North America’s largest alpine lake.
8Go on a star tour
Going on a star tour is also one of the unique things to do in Lake Tahoe. But, no, we’re not talking about tours were you can tour a celebrity’s house, see personalities up close and personal or what not. Rather, we mean an astronomy tour.
Yes, it is possible. In case you don’t know yet, Lake Tahoe has low light pollution, high elevation, and dry environment. This makes it a nice astronomy destination. The best part of it is that star tours are lead by the award-winning astronomer Tony Berendsen in North Lake Tahoe on weekend evenings.
9Chill on a beer garden
If you want to just chill and enjoy live music, Lake Tahoe also has a place for you. Alibi Ale Works, for instance, is the best place to be. Here, you can get to enjoy the ambiance of its outdoor beer garden. On warm nights, it even plays a host to live music. What’s even better is that it has a long list of beers for you to choose from and many of which are European-inspired. Alibi Ale Works also has a beer society where you can enjoy several perks.
Lake Tahoe is one of US’ treasures that you need to see even for once. It has countless activities and sights to offer that you will definitely enjoy. And who knows, maybe these will make you come back time and again.