Come for the snow, stay for the sun. As many locals will agree, summers in Tahoe are just as beautiful and full of adventure as the winters inspiring many a seasonal resort worker to stay long after last chair. Just two hours east of Sacramento on Interstate 80, Tahoe’s sunny days on the beach, adrenaline pumping bike rides and wild night life of the South Shore are just a few reasons why a trip to the lake should be on your vacation agenda this summer.
Photo: Jeff Dow
Upon touching down at Reno-Tahoe International airport, you’ll be greeted by the flashing lights and loud noises of Reno’s casino culture, but don’t let the rows of slot machines distract you; the true adventure is yet to come.
Reno-Tahoe Shuttle Service offers private transportation from the airport to anywhere around the lake for a flat fee, but renting a car will give you the freedom to move around the lake at your own pace.
Photo: Jeff Dow
If you decide to spend some time in Reno, be sure to check out CommRow, tucked under the famous “Biggest Little City in the World” arch. CommRow is home to the world’s tallest climbing wall—measuring in at 164 feet—and a 7,000-square-foot bouldering park with a special kid’s zone. When you’re feeling pumped grab a pint and a Philly cheesesteak sandwich at Biggest Little Burger.
When you’re ready to get to the mountains, head west on Interstate 80 and visit the town of Truckee, Calif. Pack a picnic and a bottle of wine and check out Music in the Park every Wednesday at Truckee River Regional Park, also home to an 18-hole disc golf course and skate park.
Truckee Thursdays take place downtown every week through August and feature live music, art and food vendors, a beer garden, a farmers’ market and children’s activities such as face-painting and bounce houses.
Satiate your hunger in one of the nation’s oldest ski lodges, Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar.
Head south on Highway 89 and spend the day at Squaw Valley. Known as a world-class ski destination, Squaw also offers an abundance of summer activities including paint ball, swimming pool and hot tub, roller skating rink, zipline, disc-golf course, tennis, geo caching and an 18-hole championship golf course. Stop by the Olympic Museum to learn how the 1960 Winter Games helped put Squaw Valley on the map. Stay at Squaw and ask about the High Camp Adventure Package.
Photo: Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce
No trip is complete without breakfast at The Log Cabin Caffe in Kings Beach, Calif. Try the Cajun Eggs Benedict, or one of their many scrambles.
Head North from Kings Beach on Highway 267 to check out the hiking and biking at Northstar-at-Tahoe, California. The bike park at Northstar offers something for everyone from the seasoned XC rider to the downhill adrenaline junkie. First timers can get their feet muddy with the Bike 101 package; $80 ($139 on weekends) buys a lift ticket, bike and equipment rental and a 2-hour lesson with Northstar’s Bike Academy. If biking isn’t your thing, Northstar also offers hiking, scenic lift rides, geo caching and roller-skating for the whole family as well as an 18-hole golf course. Stay in the village at the Hyatt or the Ritz Carlton and ask about golf and bike packages.
The Tahoe Rim Trail offers 165 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding around the circumference of Lake Tahoe with trailheads at Brockway Summit and Mt. Rose highway on the north shore, Spooner Summit and Kingsbury on the east shore, Echo Lakes and Big Meadow on the south shore and Barker Pass and Tahoe City on the west shore.
Or beat the heat in Tahoe City by spending a few hours floating the Truckee River on a self-guided rafting tour from Tahoe City to the River Ranch Restaurant at the base of Alpine Meadows Road.
In the evening head to Common’s Beach in Tahoe City, where you’ll find live music every Sunday and free movies every Wednesday. A farmers market 8 a.m. – 1 p.m is a great way to spend a Thursday morning.
Enjoy a beautiful sunset during the dinner cruise on the Tahoe Gal departing at 6:30 p.m. Monday – Saturdays from Tahoe City.
Photo: Rod Hanna
Spend the day on the south shore and enjoy the contrast of hiking through waterfalls during the day and casino nightlife in the evening.
Emerald Bay State Park located 22 miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89, is your first stop. From the trailhead, it’s a short hike to both Upper and Lower Eagle Falls. The trail continues past Upper Eagle Falls to Eagle Lake and beyond into Desolation Wilderness.
Experienced SCUBA divers should check out the Emerald Bay Underwater State Park. Used as a dumpsite from 1884 to 1953 and the resting place of several boats and barges, the underwater state park is a collection of historical artifacts.
Just over two miles east of Emerald Bay State Park is the Vikingsholm Castle. Built as a summer home in 1929, Vikingsholm is an impressive example of Scandinavian architecture. Tours are conducted daily from Memorial Day weekend until the end of September.
After a long day hiking, grab a pint and a burger at The Brewery at Lake Tahoe before heading to Stateline to try your luck at the tables and slots or catch a show at the MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa and Harvey’s Outdoor Arena. Get a good night’s rest after an evening of booty-shakin’ because it’s back to the grind on Monday.