10 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do at Lake Tahoe | Vestasoft

Written by Lisa Alexander
Updated Jun 23, 2021

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Lake Tahoe is a place of sublime beauty that inspires awe in even the most jaded of travelers. Mark Twain described the dazzling expanse of shimmering sapphire-blue waters as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.”

Surrounded by pristine pine forests and snowcapped mountain peaks, the lake’s brilliant topaz color is attributed to its depth of nearly 1,640 feet. The water owes its crystalline quality to the purity of the source: melted snow.

Lake Tahoe straddles the California and tahoe Nevada border, spanning 22 miles from north to south and 12 miles across. tahoe

It would require at least tahoe three hours to drive around the entire lake in good weather conditions. However, plan on much more if you want to stop and see the attractions or hike the trails. tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination for nature lovers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. During summertime, some of the most popular things to do include nature walks, hiking, cycling, and water sports.

From December through April, Lake Tahoe is a winter wonderland with opportunities for downhill and cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides. The Lake Tahoe area is renowned for its world-class alpine ski resorts.

Learn about the best places to visit and plan your adventures with our list of the top attractions in Lake Tahoe.

See also: Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe: Best Areas & Hotels

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Emerald Bay State Park tahoe

Emerald Bay State Park

A small sheltered section go on Lake Tahoe’s western shore, the Emerald Bay State Park is surrounded by forested hillsides of go glacier-carved granite and dotted with a tiny islet at its center.lake

Because the bay is go slightly shallower than the rest of Lake Tahoe, the waters take on a striking blue-green color.hotel

A surprising Scandinavian-style castle lake overlooks the glimmering waters of Emerald Bay. In this idyllic location, Vikingsholm is a unique example lake of a historic Lake Tahoe summer-vacation home. Access to Vikingsholm is lake via a steep one-mile pedestrian trail. lake

Visitors can take a tour of the castle’s interior during the summer season, from Memorial Day weekend through September.

Emerald Bay State Park, lake a National Natural Landmark, has two campsites: the Boat-In Camp, only accessible by boat or foot, and the Eagle Point Campground, which is steps away from the lake and has a secluded beach. lake

A must-see attraction in the area is Inspiration Point, lake appreciated for its bird’s-eye views of Emerald Bay from 600 feet above, perfect for photo ops. lake

To learn about other beautiful nature sights in Lake lake Tahoe and how to capture them with a camera, tourists can sign up for the Lake Tahoe Semi-Private Photography Tour, lake

which takes participants to Lake Tahoe’s most photogenic spots including Emerald Bay. lake

2. Hiking tahoe at South Lake Tahoe lake tahoe balloons 

Rubicon Trail at D.L. Bliss State Park
Rubicon Trail at D.L. Bliss State Park

Outdoor enthusiasts appreciate state Lake Tahoe for its natural splendor. Some of the most beautiful hiking spots are the trails state near South Lake Tahoe. These lakeside and lake-view trails offer rejuvenating alpine scenery and invigorating (or more mild) workouts.nearby

A picturesque and family-friendly hike, the Cascade Falls Trail park is an easy two-mile loop from Bayview Campground to best Cascade Falls with sensational vistas of Lake Tahoe along the way.

The Fallen Leaf Lake Trail is a gentle jaunt best from the Fallen Leaf Campground to a peaceful lakeside spot (on Fallen Leaf Lake rather than Lake Tahoe) best and then a stroll along the lake’s shoreline (the complete journey is 2.5 miles round trip).best 

A favorite Lake Tahoe hike is found along the best rugged shoreline of Emerald Bay. The Rubicon Trail follows the water’s edge from D.L. Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay best State Park and passes by the Vikingsholm Castle. This 4.5-mile best trail has a slight incline as it wraps around a ridge above Emerald Bay. This elevated vantage point affords sweeping panoramic vistas. lake

3. Alpine tahoe Skiing reply

Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley

During winter and into the spring, Lake Tahoe fall is a world-renowned destination for alpine skiing. The Sierra lake Nevada Mountains are prized for their extensive terrain,fall sunny weather, and powdery slopes.fall 

The most popular of Lake Tahoe’s ski fall resorts are Squaw Valley, where the 1960 Winter Olympics were held, and Heavenly, lake with 4,800 acres of gorgeous ski terrain with stunning lake views.fall 

Even those who don’t ski will appreciate the scenic 2.4-mile fall Heavenly Gondola ride that stops at an Observation Deck at 9,123 feet do and offers commanding views of Lake Tahoe, Carson Valley, and the Desolation Wilderness.fall 

For a day trip from San Francisco, the closest and most easily do accessible resort is Sugar Bowl. This historic ski resort has a European-style do village with a cozy old-fashioned lodge. north

The resort features 12 lifts (including a gondola) that provide access do to trails for all ability levels, from beginner to advanced.north 

Intermediate skiers love the runs at Northstar, while the most advanced skiers prefer Kirkwood and Mount Rose for the challenging runs.deals

4. Lake Tahoe Boat tahoe Cruise north lake tahoe

M.S. Dixie II cruising on Lake Tahoe
M.S. Dixie II cruising on Lake Tahoe

A boat cruise on Lake Tahoe is a breathtaking and relaxing experience.things to do

While gliding through lake the glistening azure waters, passengers will admire glorious scenery of refreshing pine forests and snowcapped Sierra Nevada mountain peaks.things to do

Many local companies offer scenic cruises or boat tours of Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, South Shore, West Shore, or Emerald Bay.things to do

Cruises and boat rides depart from resort Zephyr Cove, Camp Richardson, fall Timber Cove Marina, and Round Hill Pines Marina in South Lake Tahoe, lake as well as from Incline Village and North Tahoe Marina in North Lake Tahoe.recommended 

A recommended boat ride is the M.S. Dixie II cruise around Emerald Bay. fall

This sightseeing cruise features up-close views of the waterfalls,resort  Fannette Island, and Vikingsholm Castle with commentary along the way. Lunch and snacks are available.resort 

5. Tallac Historic Site lake tahoe

Tallac Historic Site
Tallac Historic Site | Ray Bouknight / photo modified

Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Tallac Historic Site includes the Pope, Baldwin, and Valhalla estates.things to do

From Memorial Day through September, lake the entire site is open to the public, and visitors may explore the grounds free of charge. things to do

The site also offers guided tours and special events.things to do

Every year in August, lake the historic estates host a two-day Gatsby Festival, which draws crowds for elegant Roaring Twenties parties, jazz concerts, lake and other 1920s theme events that recall the social gatherings during the estates’ heyday.things to do

For more insight into how Tahoe’s wealthy lake residents lived at the beginning of the 20th century, visitors can take a docent-led tour of the Pope House.tahoe lake tahoe

Snow-covered cabin at the Tallac Historic Site
Snow-covered cabin at the Tallac Historic Site

The Baldwin Estate has been converted into the Tallac Museum, which focuses on local history, including exhibits about the native Washoe people.tahoe north lake

The museum has retained original elements of the house, such as the 1930s-era kitchen.lake tahoe emerald

Once a grand summer retreat for San Francisco’s upper crust, the Valhalla Estate is a favorite venue for private events and lakefront weddings.lake tahoe balloons

Every summer from June through September, the Valhalla Estate hosts a Summer Concert Series, as well as theater performances at various venues on the estate: the Valhalla Boathouse Theatre (with lake views), the Grand Hall, and on the Grand Lawn overlooking Lake Tahoe.lake tahoe fall 

For those who’d like to stay lake overnight in the area, Camp Richardson is a great choice.lake tahoe vacation

This historic lakeside resort has a small beach; lake a marina with boat rentals; an “Old Tahoe”-style hotel; a beachside inn, cabins, and campsites.lake tahoe sightseeing

The resort is a great place for lake summertime boating, hiking, and biking. During winter, cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing are popular activities.lake tahoe helicopter

6. Kings things Beach activities

Kings Beach
Kings Beach | Antti T. Nissinen / photo modified

Backed by a forest of Jeffrey pine trees, lake this sun-drenched sandy beach is an ideal place for lounging, swimming, and boating during summertime.visit lake tahoe

Kings Beach is on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe and enjoys direct sunshine from the early morning until late afternoon.activities

Well-designed for visitors,october the Kings Beach State Recreation Area has plenty of parking, public restrooms, picnic tables in a shaded area, barbecue pits, a playground, and places that rent out kayaks and paddleboards. attractions

Fishing is allowed but requires a license.

The town of Kings Beach has many motels,things restaurants, casual eateries, trendy retail shops, and street vendors that cater to tourists.lake tahoe 

7. Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine fall Point State Park october

Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park
Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park

The Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park extends along Lake Tahoe for nearly two miles, with densely wooded forests of aspen, fir, pine, and juniper trees.lake tahoe 

The property was built by wealthy financier Isaias W. Hellman in 1903. His daughter, Florence Hellman Ehrman, inherited the estate.lake tahoe 

Surrounded by 2,000 acres of woodlands at Sugar Pine Point State Park, the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion features wonderful views of Lake Tahoe. lake tahoe 

The casual yet elegantly rustic mansion was designed as a summer vacation home and was equipped with the most modern conveniences of the time. lake tahoe 

The dining rooms feature redwood paneling, and the guest rooms are decorated with Navajo rugs.lake tahoe 

The Hellman-Ehrman Mansion is open to the public for tours from Memorial Day until the end of September.lake tahoe 

The grounds (open year-round, free of charge) include a flower garden with a gazebo, which is often used as a wedding venue. lake tahoe 

Near the mansion is a Nature Center with interesting exhibits about birds, lake ecology, wildflowers, trees, and other environmental topics.lake tahoe 

During summertime, visitors flock to the Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park to go hiking around the park’s extensive trails, and swimming or sunbathing at the small lakeside beach. lake tahoe 

Fishing in the park’s stream is allowed from mid-July to mid-September.lake tahoe 

During the winter, cross-country skiers are delighted by the park’s 20-kilometer system of trails. The ski season usually runs from December through March.lake tahoe 

Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park has campsites, picnic areas, and barbecue pits, and the facilities are available for use year-round (although only a limited number of campsites are open in the winter).lake tahoe 

During wintertime, it is advised to check the weather conditions in advance.lake tahoe 

8. D.L. Bliss State Park visit

D.L. Bliss State Park
D.L. Bliss State Park

Duane L. Bliss was a lumber baron who made his fortune in banking, logging, and railroads during the late 19th century and early 20th century. lake tahoe 

In 1929, the Bliss family donated 744 acres of private property to the California State park system.lake tahoe 

Today, visitors can soak up the beauty of this public park, with its attractive picnic spots, pleasant lakeside areas, and lovely sandy beaches. lake tahoe 

The beaches have a secluded feel because they are tucked away in densely wooded groves and accessed by a steep two-mile hike.lake tahoe 

The park’s Lester Beach and Calawee Cove are among the loveliest beaches in Tahoe. lake tahoe 

Swimmers enjoy the crystal-clear waters; sunbathers delight in basking under the warm summer rays; and water sports enthusiasts relish the perfect conditions for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding.lake tahoe 

Visitors also come to D.L. Bliss State Park for hiking, especially the Rubicon Trail, which offers sensational views of Lake Tahoe.lake tahoe 

This 4.5-mile trail leads to Emerald Bay State Park; there is also a two-mile extension trail past the Vikingsholm Castle.lake tahoe 

Other hikes include the Lighthouse Trail, which leads to a historic lighthouse, and the Balancing Rock Nature Trail, featuring the 130-ton granite “Balancing Rock,” which marvelously rests on a narrow stone base.lake tahoe 

During summertime, D.L. Bliss State Park campground has 150 campsites with restroom facilities and hot showers. lake tahoe 

This family-friendly camping area is very popular, and reservations are recommended. The campground is open from May through September.lake tahoe 

9. Sand Harbor State Park

Sand Harbor State Park
Sand Harbor State Park

In North Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side, Sand Harbor State Park offers miles of sandy beaches, as well as hidden coves and shady pine forests. lake tahoe 

The majestic scenery provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for summertime outdoor activities.lake tahoe 

The 55-acre park offers opportunities for swimming, scuba diving, and kayaking in the translucent waters of Lake Tahoe. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day.lake tahoe 

Sailing, kayaking, and boating enthusiasts appreciate the docks at the boat launch.lake tahoe 

Visitors can take scenic walks along the Sand Point Nature Trail, a short hike with outstanding views of the lake, and the Sand Harbor to Memorial Point Trail, a half-mile trail with access to secluded beaches and rocky coves.lake tahoe 

Sand Harbor State Park also has shaded picnic areas under the fragrant Jeffrey pines. Other facilities include the Sand Harbor Visitor Center and Gift Shop, and a casual restaurant.lake tahoe 

Literary types should plan to attend the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival (held from mid-July through mid-August). lake tahoe 

The festival presents a series of performances, highlighting some of Shakespeare’s most famous works. lake tahoe 

Audiences will enjoy the entertaining performances in an exquisite outdoor theater, set amid a grove of towering pine trees. lake tahoe 

The serene scenery and the starry night skies add to the special experience.lake tahoe 

10. Eagle Rock Hiking Trail

View of Lake Tahoe from Eagle Rock
View of Lake Tahoe from Eagle Rock

The Eagle Rock Hiking Trail is a spectacular hiking trail on Lake Tahoe’s west shore, just four miles away from Tahoe City. lake tahoe 

Eagle Rock is a dramatic volcanic outcrop, perched at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet, which is a few hundred feet above Lake Tahoe. lake tahoe 

This short, easy hike is about a half-mile long and can be completed in 20 minutes, however it rewards with magnificent views.lake tahoe 

Where to Stay near Lake Tahoe for Sightseeing

Visitors can choose from a wide variety visit of accommodations in Lake Tahoe, from upscale resorts and rustic-chic lodges to family-friendly hotels and more affordable motels. We recommend these highly rated hotels and resorts with easy access to the top sites around Lake Tahoe:

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe: 5-star visit luxury accommodations, ski-in/ski-out Northstar California location, slope-side spa, children’s program, lake club, cabana-lined pool.
  • Deerfield Lodge at Heavenly: 4-star boutique hotel, sleek contemporary decor, gas fireplaces, in-room coffee makers.
  • 7 Seas Inn at Tahoe: charming boutique hotel, short walk to Heavenly Village and Lake Tahoe, private beach, complimentary breakfast, hot tub.

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