LOCATED IN THE PICTURESQUE Sierra Nevada mountain range on the border between northwestern Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe offers a postcardperfect destination for nature lovers. And there’s lots to love, from expansive ski resorts and luxurious hotels to gourmet cuisine and exciting outdoor activities that make the most of the region’s lush natural beauty, year-round.
Winter sports prove a big draw in Lake Tahoe, and they can be enjoyed from December through June. Among the top choices for skiing and snowboarding, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe wows visitors with the area’s highest base elevation at 8,260 feet. Eight chair lifts and more than 60 trails assure no one will get bored. Diamond Peak Ski Resort packs in lots of excitement, too, with the longest vertical drop in the region. Two new bars opened this year to provide more refreshment options near the slopes.
Nearby, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows — yet another must-see for anyone looking to schuss the slopes — features more than 6,000 acres and two mountains filled with skiing opportunities. It’s an especially good place for those still improving their skills since more than 65 percent of the terrain is ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers, and the resort’s app makes it easy for guests to plan their visit. Via Ferrata, among the newest features at Squaw Valley, offers a protected climbing route with excellent settings for both beginners and experienced climbers.
For an expert guided overview of Squaw Valley, consider a visit with Alpenglow Expeditions, a company offering outdoor adventures including Lake Tahoe ski tours, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows backcountry tours, private half-day Via Ferrata tours and private ski guiding. Upscale travelers can make good use of the private ski experience, which can be customized for up to four people.
Explore the extra amenities and services available at Northstar California, a family-friendly ski resort in North Lake Tahoe. The property’s Platinum level of services provides curated experiences with extras like personal mountain guides and afternoon Champagne toasts at the summit.
As the temperatures rise around Lake Tahoe, the region flowers into a different place, filled with a fresh array of outdoor activities.
One of the region’s newest warm-weather options debuted in October 2018 at South Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay Underwater Park on the western side of Lake Tahoe. California State Parks and the nonprofit Sierra State Parks Foundation created what’s billed as California’s first maritime heritage underwater trail. Visitors can follow the Underwater Heritage Route, which highlights the location of four sunken ships from decades past, via private boat charters as well as scuba diving excursions.
You can also appreciate Lake Tahoe’s pristine waters while paddling a transparent kayak. From May through mid-October, a company called Clearly Tahoe takes visitors on guided excursions. Action Water Sports, located at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, also offers a variety of water-based diversions including speedboat rentals, stand-up paddleboarding, jet skiing and parasailing.
Heavenly Mountain Resort’s Epic Discovery program offers a variety of decidedly breathtaking ways to enjoy the scenery, with canopy tours, an Alpine Coaster and guided 4×4 mountain tours among the options, as well as sky gondola rides, summer tubing, hiking and rock climbing. If you need practice before rock climbing, consider a visit to Blue Granite Climbing, offering year-round climbing classes and clinics and including youth programs for adventurous families.
The skies over Nevada and California provide yet another way to take in the region’s natural beauty. Lake Tahoe Balloons offers sunrise excursions sailing some 3,000 feet above the lake; consider a personalized way to experience it with a private flight for two, complete with beverages and other refreshments and a post-flight sparkling wine toast. For a faster-paced experience, Tahoe Helicopters offers year-round sightseeing flights.
Travelers looking for a relaxing way to enjoy Lake Tahoe will also do well with a private boat charter. Among the options, Lake Tahoe Bleu Wave takes passengers on its 1966 classic yacht outfitted with bar, fireplace, lounge and stateroom. The vessel operates lunch and sunset cruises for the general public; but if it’s comfort and privacy you prefer — or perhaps an unforgettable venue for a birthday, anniversary or other gathering — consider a private charter; there’s space for up to 47 guests aboard.
In addition to daily sightseeing and event cruises, the Tahoe Gal offers private excursions for corporate gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries and other events. Another luxury boat operator, Stellar Tahoe, operates out of Carnelian Bay with a Formula 33 SS boat perfect for private excursions — including all-day, morning, afternoon and even “bar hopping” outings, complete with catering and gourmet boxed meals.
Look for additional cruise options available from Tahoe Tastings. It offers wine tasting cruises to Emerald Bay featuring eight boutique wines from regions including Napa Valley, Monterey, Nevada and Central Valley aboard the Golden Rose, a 1953 Chris Craft boat.
Lake Tahoe’s naturally peaceful surroundings make it a logical place for harried globetrotters looking to relax and rejuvenate, and those who prefer a guided approach to inner well-being will find plenty of options. Wanderlust Yoga Squaw Valley offers yoga classes, including pre-ski and après ski classes and guided meditations. Also popular is Omni Tahoe, a fitness venue featuring the area’s only infrared heated yoga studio.
Wellness will be at the forefront this summer during the Wanderlust Festival, slated for July 18–21, at Squaw Valley in North Lake Tahoe. The gathering includes a wide array of activities such as meditation sessions, fitness classes and instruction from fitness and wellness leaders from around the country.
Lake Tahoe provides a unique setting for golf enthusiasts. The 30th annual American Century Championship takes place July 9–14 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, an actionpacked golf tournament hosting more than 80 athletes and celebrities. Edgewood’s course, designed by George Fazio in 1968 and later renovated by Tom Fazio, offers four sets of tees and challenges for golfers of every skill level. The 154- room Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe provides upscale accommodations for those looking to focus on their game.
Also noteworthy for those looking to tee off are the Golf Courses at Incline Village, home to the par-58 Mountain Course and par-72 Championship Course. The Lake Tahoe Golf Course, located in the Lake Valley State Recreation Area, offers 18 holes of excitement against a spectacular natural backdrop, while the Northstar ski resort provides warm-weather diversions with its 18-hole, par-72 course. Set at an elevation of some 6,000 feet in the Sierras, the vista from Northstar is enough to inspire any golfer. But then, it’s no surprise the view from just about anywhere in the Lake Tahoe region is consistently beautiful.
Lake Tahoe Info to Go
Reno/Tahoe International Airport, the main getaway to Lake Tahoe, services 130 daily flights from destinations around the country. Taxis and limousine service bring visitors to most Lake Tahoe hotels and attractions in less than an hour; an option is South Tahoe Airporter, departing from the airport’s baggage claim area.
Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe
HYATT REGENCY LAKE TAHOE RESORT, SPA AND CASINO This waterfront resort, a AAA Four Diamond property, overflows with amenities including the Stillwater Spa, warm-weather water sports rentals and the Fishable Lake Tahoe program providing guided fishing trips on modern fishing boats. 111 Country Club Drive, Incline Village, Nevada $$$$
RESORT AT SQUAW CREEK Sitting at the base of Squaw Valley ski area, the resort is home to a championship golf course, cross-country ski center and fly-fishing center. It offers ski-in, ski-out access to the nearby mountain. 400 Squaw Creek Road, Olympic Valley, California $$$
THE RITZ-CARLTON, LAKE TAHOE Perched scenically at Northstar California Resort, The Ritz-Carlton offers ski-in, ski-out access during winter months and ample opportunities for mountain biking, golfing and hiking in the summer. 13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court, Truckee, California $$$$
Restaurants in Lake Tahoe
CAPISCE? Yes, that question mark in the name belongs there. This casual, family-owned Italian eatery with roots in northern Italy serves handcrafted pasta with signature creations including Capisce gravy, a meatless, tomato-based sauce made with porcini mushrooms. 178 U.S. 50, Zephyr Cove, Nevada $$
JIMMY’S An enticing blend of Greek and Californian influences, Jimmy’s offers stunning views of South Lake Tahoe as well as an impressive, 1,500-bottle wine vault and diverse menu of upscale comfort food. 4104 Lakeshore Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, California $$$
WOLFDALE’S CUISINE UNIQUE Wolfdale’s serves an alluring lake view and dishes ranging from Pacific oysters and khao soi seafood stew to Argentine marinated beef filet. Chef Douglas Dale shares his culinary secrets during spring and summer workshops. 640 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, California $$$
First opened in 1742 by George William Wilton, a seller of oysters, shrimp and cockles near Haymarket in London, Wiltons continued drawing diners with its delicious food for more than two centuries. This summer, Wiltons celebrates its 280th birthday and its place as one of London’s most beloved fine-dining establishments with a unique dining experience.
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