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Nestled in the stunning Sierra Mountains lies a jewel called Lake Tahoe. The largest alpine lake in the United States, it sinks to over 1600 feet at its deepest point. Sparkling and mysterious, Lake Tahoe provides a beautiful backdrop for locals and visitors alike.
Things to do in Lake Tahoe
Besides carrying the unusual distinction of resting in both California and Nevada states, the town is split into two distinct areas: South Lake Tahoe, and North Lake Tahoe. The South Shore is where you will find an abundance of glittering casino hotels, while the North Shore tends to be less built up. Both sides offer several world-class ski resorts and endless sightseeing.
Go skiing or snowboarding
There are fifteen ski resorts in and around the Lake Tahoe area. Each offers a different flavour of Tahoe, with bunny runs for the beginners all the way up to black diamond runs for the experts. Many present an amazing view of the lake itself, and when the sun is reflecting off the lake’s surface, you may just feel as close to Heaven as ever before.
Try your hand at gambling
The South Shore area of Stateline (so named because it is the dividing line between California and Nevada) is home to several hotel casinos to choose from. You’ll find gaming ranging from tables to slots, to video poker and everything in between, along with five-star restaurants ready to seat you with a smile. World-class entertainment is never far, with musical groups and comedians presented daily. It’s much like a warm, intimate, and very friendly Las Vegas.
Go out on the lake
During the warmer months, you’ll find many ways to enjoy the cool waters of the lake. The lake stays cool, as the alpine water only reaches a maximum of about 68 degrees, but boating, wakeboarding and jet skiing are very popular here. Rentals and instructions are readily available. Of course, if you’d prefer to relax, nothing beats a chair and a good book for resting and wiggling your toes in the sand.
Search for Tessie
Tahoe Tessie is Lake Tahoe’s mythical resident sea creature. Unlike the Loch Ness Monster, Tessie is portrayed as a sweet, harmless gal who roams the lake’s deepest parts. If you can’t spot her in the water, be sure to visit one of the many gift shops, where you can at least purchase a magnet, postcard or coffee mug with her likeness on it.
Visit Emerald Bay
Easily one of the most photographed places in Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay is breathtakingly beautiful. Go for a hike, scuba dive or even camp along this stretch of the lake for an unforgettable experience. Overlooking Emerald Bay is the historic Vikingsholm Castle, built as a summer home in 1929. Tours are available.
Take a cruise
There are several elegant cruise options on the lake, from a simple two-hour ride all the way up to dinner and sunset cruises. The paddle wheelers are a big favourite, and all tours offer wonderful service, unlimited photo opportunities, and the chance to see the lake up close and personal. This is one of the best ways to appreciate how vast Lake Tahoe truly is.
Lake Tahoe is a memorable place to exchange wedding vows. There are quite a few chapels for hire with incredible views of the lake to one side and the magnificent mountains on the other. You don’t even have to go far to enjoy your honeymoonâ€¦Tahoe has it all.
Ride a gondola
Heavenly Valley Ski Resort operates the Gondola at Heavenly. The eight-passenger gondola rises up the mountain at a surprising rate of speed, ending 2.4 miles from its starting point. Breathe in the mountain air while enjoying unforgettable views of the lake itself.
Visit the Donner Party Museum
The tragic tale of the Donner party is told at this museum, along with artefacts and other memorabilia of the fateful party that got stuck trying to cross the Sierras in 1846. Out of the eighty-seven travellers that left California together, only about half reached their destination in Utah. Some of the party resorted to cannibalism as members died from the extreme conditions. The museum is located about twenty miles from the South Shore.
Lake Tahoe boasts some of the most fabulous spa resorts around. Located in various areas around the lake, you can opt to stay and be pampered with massages, spa treatments, elegant cuisine and superior service. Relax and enjoy all of this, and more, while being surrounded by the scenic wonder of Lake Tahoe.
Just as the surface of the lake barely shows what lies beneath, this list is only the beginning of your experience in Lake Tahoe. Each season is unique and beautiful, so be sure to return as the weather changes for a fresh look at this work of nature.