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Vacation Spotlight: Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe observation deck views from the Heavenly Village gondola ride - South Lake Tahoe, CA

One of my favorite vacation destinations, gorgeous Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border, offers a multitude of recreational activities no matter the season. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and the second deepest in the US. From beaches, scenic aerial rides, and boat rides in the summer months, to skiing, ice skating, and snowy carriage rides in the winter months, there are more ways than one to take in the picturesque views year-round at Tahoe!

Emerald Bay hike views - Lake Tahoe

Incredible views of the lake from Emerald Bay State Park, a must for any hikers/nature lovers visiting the area!

One of the most scenic areas in the US, Lake Tahoe is the perfect vacation destination for outdoor recreation! Add in casinos, great dining, and live entertainment, and you have endless options for a fun, nature packed vacation. Because the lake lies on the border of the California and Nevada state line, you have your choice of staying in either state. Both states offer plenty of attractions, with the casinos lying in Stateline, Nevada, and most of the outdoor recreation falling on the California side.

I have organized a handy guide of my favorite attractions, restaurants, and hotels in the area.

Top 5 Lake Tahoe Attractions

Emerald Bay State Park – Emerald Bay State Park is one of the standouts in Tahoe. This beautiful park is an incredible place to hike as you will find dramatic views of the lake and surrounding forests from every angle. Emerald Bay is also home to Vikingsholm, a Scandinavian styled mansion, which offers daily tours.

Views while hiking at Emerald Bay - Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay hike views - Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay hike views - Lake Tahoe

Heavenly Village Gondola ride – During the summer months, the ski lift at Heavenly village is transformed into a scenic tram ride. The entire 2.4 mile trip up to the top is breathtaking with views of both the lake and surrounding forests. The observation deck provides more beautiful panoramic views of the area – don’t forget your camera! At the top you will have access to hiking trails, restaurants, and more.

Views up the Heavenly Village gondola ride - South Lake Tahoe, CA

Scenic tram ride at Heavenly Village - South Lake Tahoe, CA

Views from the Heavenly Village gondola in South Lake Tahoe, CA
Aerial tram ride at Squaw Valley – This scenic ride is not as breathtaking as the Heavenly Village ride, nevertheless, the views as you ride over 8000 feet up to the High Camp are nothing short of spectacular! The difference here is more mountain views as opposed to the lake, which can be really gorgeous during the late spring season when there is still a dusting of snow. At the top, you will be able to roller skate, dine, hike, bike, and more.

I recommend visiting during the winter months as the pavilion transforms into an ice rink! Ice skating and snowy mountain views – what more could you ask for during a winter vacation? Squaw Valley features an Olympic Exhibit which commemorates the 1960 Winter Olympics games that took place in the area.

Aerial tram ride at Squaw Valley - Olympic Valley, CA

Squaw Valley Olympic Rings and ice rink - Lake Tahoe

The Village at Squaw Valley - Lake Tahoe

More activities and dining choices on the next page …


  1. I definitely agree on visiting Tahoe both in the summer and winter! Both seasons offer such a diversity of activities and the views are completely different!

  2. Emerald bay is a great spot to go during a outing in Tahoe. For anyone traveling to Tahoe I would recommend planning two trips. You have to see the beauty of Tahoe in both summer and winter. I really like the tips and photos you provided in this post. Thank you for sharing, I will l have to try to get on the Rubicon Trail soon.

  3. Your welcome! You are lucky to live in such a gorgeous area. I definitely have to get back out there one of these days to check out a few more hikes!

  4. I am lucky enough to live in Tahoe. You wrote a great guide here. I still haven’t done the Rubicon trail hike yet and need to put it on my list this summer. Thank you for the inspiration!

  5. Thanks! I am glad you enjoyed the post! It’s a beautiful area – hopefully I can get a trip in sometime this spring 🙂

  6. Just stumbled across this article and the pictures you provided are wonderful and the activity suggestions are great! I live in the Bay Area and feel lucky that we have such a majestic place that’s so great in both the summer and winter months near by. I’ll be sure to hit up some of the activities next time I visit.

  7. The Rubicon Trail looks gorgeous! I will have to look into it on my next trip! Thanks for the info.

    • Bgerard
    • September 30, 2013  at  8:41 PM

    Agreed Lake tahoe is a very beautiful place to visit no matter the weather, there s another factor about the lake that i think you missed to touch on. And that would be for the 4×4 enthusiast out there, Lake Tahoe is also well known for its of-road qualities as well, It has one of the hardest and most difficult trails in north america called Rubicon Trail its amazing to watch

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