Things To Do In South Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is known as the “Switzerland of America,” but it’s so much more than a beautiful alpine lake in the Sierra Nevada. Lake Tahoe has everything from beaches to mountains, hiking trails, and ski resorts—so much that you may need a vacation just to recover from all your adventures! Here are 21 activities in Lake Tahoe that will make you want to come back for more:
Camping is a great way to spend time with family and friends. It’s also a great way to get away from the city and relax. Camping can be done in many different ways, depending on the type of camper you are. There are many campgrounds in Tahoe where you can stay for a few days or just for the evening.
Visit Emerald Bay State Park
State park-goers can enjoy a seemingly endless number of activities at Emerald Bay, including hiking, biking, and swimming. The park is also home to several trails that are perfect for nature lovers and history buffs alike. History buffs will want to visit the Nymph Lake Overlook Trail, which offers views of Lake Tahoe’s most photographed area: Emerald Bay. Nature lovers will love exploring the surrounding forest on the Valley View Trail or taking in sweeping views from one of its three lookout points: Panoramic Pointe, Inspiration Pointe, or Inspiration Point Lookout Tower.
The park also has plenty to offer those who prefer their recreation indoors: One popular activity is enjoying dinner at The Cliff House restaurant while overlooking Lake Tahoe’s famous blue waters before heading back into town for some more exciting nightlife options!
Check Out Lake Tahoe Cruises and Tours
Lake Tahoe Cruises and Tours
If you’re itching to see Lake Tahoe from a different perspective, we’ve got your ticket. There are plenty of options available for cruises—some with food and drink included some that are strictly educational and others that focus on entertainment. You can even book activities like kayaking or parasailing while on board! Prices vary by length, size, and type of vessel used but all offer visitors an up-close look at this natural wonder.
Visit the Tallac Historic Site
The Tallac Historic Site is a great place for history buffs. The park’s main attraction is the Tallac House, which was built in 1887 and served as a summer home for several wealthy families. The house has been restored to its original condition and visitors can tour it on their own or take an hour-long guided tour.
Ski or Snowboard at Heavenly Ski Resort
One of the best things to do in South Lake Tahoe is to ski or snowboard at Heavenly Ski Resort. It’s located just 10 miles from town and has everything you need for a fun day on the slopes: 100 runs, 3 terrain parks, and even a half pipe. The resort also offers exceptional views of Lake Tahoe as well as distant mountainscapes that are simply breathtaking.
The resort boasts an impressive 4,800 feet of vertical drop—that’s over 1 mile straight down! The longest continuous vertical drop in California can be found here at Heavenly Ski Resort, making it one of the best options for serious skiers looking for big thrills.
Hike the Rubicon Trail
The Rubicon Trail is a challenging and scenic hike in South Lake Tahoe, California. The trail starts near Tahoe City and goes up to the Sierra Crest, where you can see breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. The trail is about 12 miles long but most people take two days to complete it because of its steepness. The trail has many rocky areas and some parts involve a lot of elevation gain and loss; therefore, it’s not suitable for beginners or dogs since they may get injured easily on this difficult trail.
Try the Tahoe Rim Trail (with or without a bike)
The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) is a 100-mile route around Lake Tahoe, and it’s one of the best ways to see the lake and its surrounding mountains. The trail takes you through some of Lake Tahoe’s most beautiful areas, including Desolation Wilderness, Mount Tallac, and Emerald Bay State Park. You can do the trail on foot or by bike—it does not matter which way you choose! However, if you want to hike or bike the entire TRT in one day from beginning to end, then plan because this will take approximately eight hours (and that’s if there are no stops along the way).
Do Some Ice Skating
Ice skating is one of the best ways to work up a sweat during the winter, but it’s also a fun activity to do with friends or family. No matter where you live in South Lake Tahoe, there are several options for ice skating.
- The Washoe Meadows Recreation Area has an outdoor rink that can be used by adults and children alike. You can rent skates here if you don’t have your pair; however, you may want to bring protective gear (e.g., helmets), as the rink is not supervised.
- There are also indoor rinks in town that provide skate rentals and lessons for those who haven’t mastered this sport just yet!
Go Sightseeing on the Aerial Tramway
The Aerial Tramway is one of the most popular things to do in South Lake Tahoe. This tram takes you to the top of Mount Tallac, which is over 6,000 feet above sea level. On your way up the mountain, you’ll be able to see all of South Lake Tahoe and even some of Reno if you’re lucky!
At the top of Mount Tallac, there will be a viewing area that offers views from all four directions as well as a restaurant and gift shop. There are also hiking trails that lead out from this point so you can explore for yourself if you want even more adventure!
Take a Tour of Taylor Creek Visitor Center and Stream Profile Chamber
- Make a day of it by going to the visitor center and stream profile chamber. They’re open from 9 am to 4 pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to wander around both.
- Stop in at the visitor center for all sorts of information about the area and its history, including exhibits on local wildlife, geology, and more. The visitor center is located in Taylor Creek State Park near Highway 89 in South Lake Tahoe.
- Take a tour through the stream profile chamber, where you’ll learn all about how water flows in streams & rivers! This unique exhibit takes visitors through a series of steps that mimic how water moves through natural landscapes like Sierra Nevada forests & meadows (and yes—it’s as cool as it sounds). Tour guides are available if you’d like some extra info!
Take a Tahoe Trolley Tour
The Tahoe Trolley Tour is a great way to see the area, as it’s easy and fun. The trolleys have a narrated audio tour that details the history of Lake Tahoe and its surroundings. You can also hop on and off at any of the nine stops along the 30-minute route for photo opportunities, lunch, or shopping at one of their retail partners. You’ll even find an onboard gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs for friends back home (or yourself).
Price: $12 for adults; $10 for children ages 2-12 (children under 2 are free)
Spend a Day at Action Watersports Lake Tahoe
Action Watersports Lake Tahoe is a top-notch boat rental and water sports company. They offer a variety of rentals, including kayaks and paddleboards (both single and tandem), surfboards, standup paddleboards, canoes, row boats, and more. They also offer bike rentals if you want to explore the surrounding area by land.
If you’re looking for a fun day on the lake but don’t want to rent gear yourself or be left wondering what kind of outfit would suit your needs best, look no further than Action Watersports! Their friendly staff will help you select the perfect boat for your trip based on whether it’ll be just you or with friends/family members as well as your skill level in different areas such as paddling or surfing. Plus their location at South Shore Lakeshore Park makes it easy to access from all over town without having too far travel when not renting anything from them directly!
Climb to Inspiration Point in Emerald Bay State Park
The climb to Inspiration Point in Emerald Bay State Park is a short, easy hike with great views of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding mountains.
You can start your journey at Inspiration Point Trailhead, which is about a mile south of Emerald Bay on Highway 89 (about 8 miles north of South Lake Tahoe). There are restrooms here as well as picnic tables and other facilities.
The trail ascends steadily through lush meadows before reaching Inspiration Point itself (which you’ll see straight ahead), which offers amazing views of Emerald Bay and the surrounding area. From here you can go back down or continue up to Sand Harbor Overlook for even more vistas!
Spend Time at Sand Harbor Beach in Incline Village, Nevada
Sand Harbor Beach is a great place to spend the day and enjoy everything Lake Tahoe has to offer. There are many activities to do at Sand Harbor, including swimming, boating, and fishing. It’s also a fantastic place from which to watch the sunset.
There are many restaurants and shops nearby if you want to grab something good to eat after your day at the beach!
Go to Pope Beach in South Lake Tahoe, California.
Pope Beach is located on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe and has a sandy beach and lots of picnic tables. There’s also a playground, volleyball court, restrooms, showers, and more. It’s a great place for families as well as teenagers who want to hang out with their friends.
There’s so much to do in Lake Tahoe!
There’s a lot to do in Lake Tahoe, and whatever your interests are, you’ll find something that’s right up your alley. The list of activities is long and varied: hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are all popular options; the area also has world-class golf courses. For those who prefer the water instead of land, there’s boating (in season) and kayaking to be done.
So, there you have it! The 21 best things to do in South Lake Tahoe. If you’re still not sure where to go and what to do in this beautiful area, we would love to help. We offer a variety of tours that will give you an authentic experience while exploring the California side of Lake Tahoe. And don’t forget about our ultimate guide on everything great about Tahoe!