Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe offers watersports on the lake and hiking, biking and all kinds of other activities around the lake. (©Asif Islam/Shutterstock)

Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in Summer and Fall

By Chaco Mohler & Dustin Turner on 01/05/16, updated 02/02/16
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The warm seasons are perfect for exploring the wonder that is Lake Tahoe—one of largest, clearest lakes in North America. There are plenty of things to do: Get your toes wet at a white-sand beach, go for a snorkel among granite boulders or get out on the lake on a cruise boat.

The mountains that surround Lake Tahoe are more than 9,000 feet in elevation, with tremendous hikes and endless mountain-bike rides. Squaw Valley and Heavenly Resort offer plenty to do, with tram or gondola rides to their upper mountains, which include pools, zip lines and other attractions. Free concerts are scheduled throughout the week during summer at El Dorado Beach, and you can see Shakespeare on the stage at Sand Harbor.

Tahoe also is famous for its casinos at Stateline in South Tahoe and at Incline Village and Crystal Bay in North Tahoe. The odds are definitely in your favor that you'll find plenty of fun things to do around Lake Tahoe.

Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay (©Frank Schulenburg/Flickr, Creative Commons)

 

Areas to Explore

Emerald Bay State Park

Spectacular in every season, this is Tahoe's signature, world-renown view: Teardrop-shaped Emerald Bay, dotted at its center by a single island. Emerald Bay State Park includes two campgrounds: Boat-In Camp (accessible by boat or foot only) and Eagle Point Campground. The scenic Rubicon foot trail wraps around Emerald Bay.

Vikingsholm Castle

(Dawn Ellner/Flicker, Creative Commons)

 

Attractions, Areas to Explore

Vikingsholm Castle

In Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay State Park, this 39-room castle is one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in North America. Our pick for a fun thing to do: Tours are offered from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Squaw Valley

The High Camp Pool at Sqauw Valley. (Ray Bouknight/Flickr, Creative Commons)

 

Activities, Attractions, Hotels

Squaw Valley

Host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley is a year-round mountain destination offering world-class adventures in every season. In warm weather, visitors can experience an array of exciting activities in a spectacular mountain setting, including swimming, hiking, roller-skating, disc golf and geocaching.

Flume Trail

(©Brian Holsclaw/Flickr, Creative Commons)

 

Activities

Flume Trail

The Flume Trail is one of Lake Tahoe's premier mountain-bike rides. It has been featured in mountain biking-magazines and can get pretty crowded on summer weekends. You'll get a good workout getting up to Marlette Lake from Spooner Lake to start the trail, but once on the Flume, the views will quickly erase any memory of the climb.

Lake Tahoe

Tallac Historic Site (Ken Lund/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Attractions

Tallac Museum & Historical Site

This Tahoe site is home to three estates used as summer retreats during the roaring '20s by wealthy California families: the Popes, Baldwins and Valhallas. See the opulent past at these historical estates. The Baldwin House is now home to the Tallac Museum, showcasing exhibits about the resort and Tahoe’s original people, the Washoes.

Lake Tahoe

The MS Dixie II gets ready for a tour of Lake Tahoe. (Don Graham/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Attractions

Lake Tahoe Cruises

There's no better way to appreciate Lake Tahoe's water clarity and scale than to get out on its surface. Multiple cruise boats, charter fishing boats and sailboats leave from South Tahoe and North Tahoe marinas. Larger boats such as MS Dixie II make regular visits to Emerald Bay.

Desolation Wilderness

(©Ray Bouknight/Flickr, Creative Commons)

 

Areas to Explore

Desolation Wilderness

Trailheads off every mountain pass, lovely shoreline paths and high-country, open granite make the Tahoe Sierra a hiker's paradise. Desolation Wilderness is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the country.

Truckee River Rafting

(©ClatieK/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Activities, Areas to Explore

Truckee River Rafting

Truckee River empties out of Lake Tahoe from a dam in Tahoe City, and the 4-mile stretch of Class-Two water from there to River Ranch Resort is one of the most popular floats in the Western U.S. Rafting companies provide all you need, or do it yourself with nothing more than an innertube on warm days.

Lake Tahoe

El Dorado Beach at Lake Tahoe (Courtesy LakeTahoePublicBeaches.com)

Attractions

El Dorado Beach and Boat Ramp

South Lake Tahoe has a free concert series on Thursdays at El Dorado Beach. It is the place to go for large picnics, launching your boat, renting a kayak or water toy, viewing the lake or simply relaxing. Amenities include a bike trail, boat launch with floating dock, a large picnic area and more.

Sand Harbor

(©Ken Lund/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Attractions

Sand Harbor

A scenic jewel on Tahoe's East Shore, this Nevada State Park has a boat launch, walking trails and a long white-sand beach. The annual Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival takes the stage on summer evenings with numerous productions in front of a large, natural sand amphitheater. And don't miss the delicious food stands.

Lake Tahoe

The Discovery Forest at Heavenly Mountain Resort. (©jcookfisher/Flickr, Creative Commons)

 

Activities, Attractions, Hotels

Heavenly Mountain Resort

Take a ride up the Heavenly Gondola for incomparable views. During the warmer months, Heavenly has plenty to do, including scenic gondola rides, zip lines, tubing, ropes courses and a mountain run.

Lake Tahoe

Crystal Bay Club Casino (Richard Bauer/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Entertainment, Nightlife

Crystal Bay Club Casino

Gamble and bet at the Crystal Bay Club Casino, featuring table games such as Blackjack, Double Odds Craps and Roulette. This casino also offers a full-service sports book where guests can catch all the action on HD plasma monitors and bet on their favorite teams while relaxing at the sports bar.

Lake Tahoe

Harrah's Lake Tahoe (Gary Lerude/Flickr, Creative Commons)

 

Entertainment, Nightlife, Hotels

Harrah's Lake Tahoe

Harrah's Hotel & Casino offers casino games, online games, a spa, an indoor pool, shopping, weddings, three nightclubs and space for groups and meetings. Eight restaurants on the property include quick bites at Starbucks or FatBurger, a buffet, an upscale steak and seafood grill, an upscale Asian restaurant and more.

Lake Tahoe

Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino (FolsomNatural/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Nightlife, Restaurants, Hotels

Hard Rock Café Lake Tahoe

When you step into Hard Rock Café in Harveys, you feel like you entered a Sierra Mountain lodge. But then you look around and realize that you’re surrounded by rock and roll history. Known for serving classic hamburgers, barbecue ribs and salads, the spot turns up the volume at night, from family-friendly restaurant to late-night hangout.

Lake Tahoe

Camp Richardson (Courtesy Camp Richardson)

Activities, Attractions

Camp Richardson Historic Resort & Marina

Lively summers, winter adventures, boat and watercraft rentals, Emerald Bay cruises, beautiful sandy beaches, lakeside dining, cross-country ski trails, a mountain sports rental center and more make Camp Richardson Resort truly spectacular, whether you spend the day or the week.

Map of Things to Do in Lake Tahoe in Summer and Fall