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A Travel Guide to Lake Tahoe

Updated: 2 days ago


sand harbor lake tahoe turquoise water blue
Sand Harbor

The Sierra Nevada offers the most scenic landscapes in California—Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular destinations along this mountain range. An estimated 15 million visitors a year (yes... 15 million) visit Lake Tahoe for its turquoise water, dramatic mountain ranges, lakefront beaches, pine forests, abundance of outdoor recreational activities, and more. This guide will detail everything you need to know to plan your visit.


Quick Facts About Lake Tahoe

Second deepest lake in the United States with the deepest point at 1,645 ft.

Lies between the California and Nevada border

Over 2 million years old—making it one of the 20 oldest lakes in the world


Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

Accommodations can be found in both North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe. North Lake Tahoe is quieter, and offers an undisturbed lakeside experience. South Lake Tahoe is livelier, and offers entertainment including casinos, bars, and more.


There are several accommodation options in Lake Tahoe, including hotelsAirbnbs, and campsites.


Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park Lake Tahoe Turquoise Water Blue
Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park

When to Visit Lake Tahoe

Spring (March-May): Expect mild weather during the day and chilly weather at night. Spring is considered shoulder season. While you can expect pleasant weather during this time of year, snow in the earlier months is not unusual.

Summer (June-August): Expect warm weather during the day and cool weather at night. With temperatures in the high 70s, summer is the most popular time to visit Lake Tahoe as most outdoor activities become accessible—hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, jet skiing, biking, and more!

Fall (September-November): Expect mild weather during the day and chilly weather at night. Fall is also considered shoulder season. This is my favorite time to visit as Lake Tahoe becomes draped in vibrant fall colors. Watch my YouTube Short here!

Winter (December-February): Expect snowy and cold weather. During winter, the lakeshores, mountains, and trees become covered in a blanket of snow. This is another popular time to visit as Lake Tahoe is home to a handful of ski resorts.


Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe Winter
Sand Harbor (During Winter)

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe Winter
Sand Harbor (During Winter)

Getting Around in Lake Tahoe

The 72-mile road that ribbons along Lake Tahoe is best explored by driving a car as you can access more areas at your own pace.


Note that some sections of Highway 89 may be closed during winter. You can check current road status and conditions here.


Things to Do in Lake Tahoe


Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park Turquoise Lake Tahoe Water Blue
Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park

Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park: Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park features a wooden pier that sits atop turquoise water, overlooking the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and is nestled amongst pine and cedar trees.


Emerald Bay State Park Lake Tahoe Blue Water Fannette Island Inspiration Point Vista
Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay State Park Lake Tahoe Water Blue Fannette Island Kayaking
Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay State Park: Emerald Bay State Park is one of the most popular attractions in Lake Tahoe, and for good reason—here you'll find a deep blue lake surrounded by a dense pine forest. Be sure to stop by Inspiration Point Vista for a panoramic view of the lake!


Trail Secret Cove Beach Lake Tahoe Rock Formations
Trail to Secret Cove Beach

Secret Cove Beach Lake Tahoe Water Rock Formations Pine Trees
Secret Cove Beach

Secret Cove Beach: A scenic, 0.9-mile loop trail will take you to Secret Cove Beach—a lakefront beach lined with granite boulders.


Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe Rock Formations
Sand Harbor

Kayak Paddle Board Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe
Kayaking at Sand Harbor

Sand Harbor: Sand Harbor is one of my favorite places to visit in Lake Tahoe—you can find boulders along the shore and crystal clear, turquoise water. During the warmer seasons, I recommend taking advantage of the kayak and paddle board rentals available onsite!


Kings Beach North Lake Tahoe
Kings Beach

Kings Beach North Lake Tahoe
Kings Beach

Kings Beach: Kings Beach is a popular lakefront beach in North Lake Tahoe. Picnic benches can be found throughout the beach, making it the perfect place to enjoy a packed lunch or snack with views of the lake.

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