Tag: Lake Tahoe

These Are The Best Things To Do In Lake Tahoe

There are thousands of amazing things to do in Lake Tahoe all year long. Afterall, there’s a great reason why this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in this part of California. The lake is renowned for its jaw-dropping natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and all kinds of activities for the entire family.

We have divided this blog post into the following categories:

Without further ado, let’s jump into each one!

Fun Things To Do In South Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay State Park is a must-visit spot in Southern Lake Tahoe.
by Eric Simon

Visit Emerald Bay State Park

A visit to the Emerald Bay State Park should be on any traveler’s itinerary visiting Lake Tahoe. This bay is home to some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the area, and it’s bound to leave you breathless.

Don’t miss the Vikingsholm mansion, which looks like a monumental castle. Note that you’ll need to hike for around a mile from the car park to reach this attraction. If you ask me, it’s well worth it.

Consider packing some snacks when visiting Emerald Bay. After touring the Vikingsholm mansion, you can unwind at the picnic area nearby. You can also rent a kayak from Kayak Tahoe at their Emerald Bay location.

Don’t miss the Eagle Falls waterfalls right off the main road. You can drop your car off at the free car park and hike along the Eagle Falls trailhead that will eventually lead you all the way up to Eagle Lake.

If you’re a fan of NPs and State Parks, check out this list of the 7 best National Park road trips in the US.

Hike At D.L. Bliss State Park

The D.L. Bliss State Park is yet another must-visit point in the southern part of Lake Tahoe. This natural wonderland is located directly north of the Emerald Bay State Park, so you can easily visit one after the other.

Some of the best attractions at this wonderful State Park include hiking trails, pristine sandy beaches, landmarks, and remote campsites to spend the night.

by Andy Kasper

Hiking is one of the best ways to spend the day here. Don’t miss the Balancing Rock, Rubicon Point Lighthouse, or the sandy Lester Beach.

You can spend the night at the campsite for as low as $35 per night. Note that it costs extra to stay at the campsite located at the sandy beach, though it is well worth it for the killer views!

Gambling & The Resorts

While Lake Tahoe is all about the peaceful getaway to a natural wonderland, some travelers may want to take a break and spend the evening at a resort.

Gambling is only legal in Nevada, hence all of the best casinos are located in the southeast tip of the lake at Stateline Lake Tahoe. Some of the best resorts here include Harveys, Harrah’s, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino,

Best Things To Do In North Lake Tahoe

Unwind At Kings Beach

Once you visit Kings Beach in the north part of Lake Tahoe, you are bound to fall in love. This cute beach town has an amazing vibe that will just make you want to stay here forever. Drive along Highway 28 to admire some of the picturesque local hotels and restaurants.

Naturally, the vibrant beach is the main reason most tourists visit this town. Feel the sand between your toes, sunbathe or go for a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the lake. Photographers should bring their cameras along, as the scenery is unforgettable.

You can drop your car off at the beachside car park, right off the main road. Click here for directions.

Discover Local History At Donner Memorial State Park

The Donner Memorial State Park is yet another place worth visiting in the Lake Tahoe area. This park is home to lengthy hiking trails, peaceful picnic areas, and a local museum that contains many artifacts from the 19th century.

Travelers who want to learn more about local history should definitely pay the Emigrant Trail Museum a visit. It’s located in the town of Truckee, a short 20-minute drive out of Kings Beach.

Don’t miss the nearby town of Truckee and its cute Historic Downtown.

Best Things To Do In Lake Tahoe In The Summer

Day trip to Yosemite National Park

Fancy a dramatic change of scenery? Consider going on a day trip to Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite is one of the most famous National Parks in the country, and for a very good reason. The scenery here is truly breathtaking. You won’t miss the monumental Half Dome, as this peak overlooks the picturesque valley. There are thousands of great things to do in Yosemite, anything from scenic driving to rafting.

Learn more about Yosemite in our Nevada road trip itinerary.

Go On A Road Trip

Yosemite National Park is far from the only amazing destination near Lake Tahoe. If you want to discover more of the local gems, it’s best to go on a road trip across California!

You could, for example, drive down along Highway 395 all the way until you end up in Los Angeles. There are lots of amazing spots to visit along the way, including Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite.

Afterward, you could continue further until you reach San Diego, or head back to Lake Tahoe via the Pacific Coast Highway, which is one of the best roads in the whole world!

If you’re planning to drive across California in a rental car, be sure to check out this blog post for insightful tips.

Beach Day

Take it slow, pack a towel and a pair of your favorite trunks, and head to one of the best beaches in Lake Tahoe.

There are tons of beautiful beaches dotted along the shore. Listing them all would take forever, these are our favorite picks:

  • Kiva Beach– a 200-yard long sandy beach in South Lake Tahoe, near Emerald Bay
  • Zephyr Cove Beach– this mile-long beach is one of the busiest in Lake Tahoe. Expect jet ski and canoe rentals, volleyball courts and a bunch of tourists especially during peak season
  • Conolley Beach– you can spend the day at the Tahoe Beach Retreat, a local beach club
  • Emerald Bay– Emerald Bay State Park is home to various pristine beaches, ideal for a refreshing dip after a hike
  • Kings Beach- one of the most popular beaches in North Lake Tahoe. Easily accessible and full of tourists
  • Sand Harbor Beach– easily one of the best beaches at Lake Tahoe, located at the east shore over in Nevada. Extremely busy during peak season

Don’t forget to take sunscreen!

Go On A Cruise or Rent A Kayak

What better way to make the most out of your time at Lake Tahoe than to spend the day on the surface of the lake (or beneath it).

Boat tours

Consider booking a scenic boat tour to see Lake Tahoe from a whole new perspective. Choose a trusted operator, such as Tahoe Cruises. The company offers an array of different tours to choose from, such as 2-hour long cruises around Emerald Bay, sunset cruises, or sightseeing tours around the southern shore of the lake. All cruises depart from the Ski Run Marina, located roughly halfway between South Lake Tahoe and Stateline.

Rent A Kayak, Canoe, or A Jet Ski

You can head over to one of the sandy beaches and rent a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or a bunch of other fun equipment. Sand Harbor Beach is home to a jet ski rental, while kayaks can be rented at various locations such as Emerald Bay.

During peak season, be sure to book your equipment ahead. Visit SUP Tahoe and their official website for information on pricing and availability.

Fun Things To Do In Lake Tahoe In Winter

Skiing and snowboarding is one of the main reasons tourists visit Lake Tahoe in winter. Snowboarders admiring the view at one of Lake Tahoe's ski resorts.
Photo by Nick Windsor

Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows Ski Resorts

Skiing and snowboarding fans will feel right at home at Lake Tahoe.

You simply have to visit Squaw Valley during your winter trip to Lake Tahoe. This renowned alpine resort is one of the best places to go skiing in all of North America. It even used to host the Olympic games back in 1960!

Although Squaw Valley is a year-round destination, it’s unarguably best to come here during the winter season. Afterall, this is when you can make the most of the 4 000 acres of ski terrain.

This resort is ideal for all skiing fans, no matter their skill level. As much as a third of the runs are aimed at beginners and intermediate skiers, while the remaining slopes are perfect for experienced travelers.

Both resorts are located a short 10-minute drive west of Tahoe City.

Northstar California Resort

This is yet another world-class alpine resort located near Lake Tahoe. If you have the time, be sure to visit Northstar California during your winter trip to Lake Tahoe.

Just like Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, Northstar California is ideal for all skill levels. Similar to the other alpine resorts at Lake Tahoe, Northstar California is a year-round destination. During the summer, you can come here to try out mountain biking, play a game of golf or hike to take in the views.

This ski resort lays a short 10-minute drive northwest of Agate Bay at the Northern tip of Lake Tahoe.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort

Although not as big as Squaw Valley or Northstar, Diamond Peak is worth visiting too! It’s typically less crowded than the more popular resorts. The runs are ideal for beginners and families. Nearly half of the 30 runs here are suitable for intermediate skiers.

Diamon Peak Ski Resort is located off Crystal Bay at the Northeast tip of the lake.

Bonus: What is the best way of getting around Lake Tahoe?

A private car is an ideal way of getting around Lake Tahoe. That way, you can visit all of the attractions throughout the lake, as well as the surrounding area.

If you plan to rent a car for this trip, be sure to check out Rentalmoose for the best deals. We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform!

Unsure about renting a car or taking your own vehicle? This blog post may help.

Highway 395 Road Trip- Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe

The scenic Highway 395 makes for one of the best road trips you could take in this part of California. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to drive across diverse landscapes and endless natural beauty, with two of the area’s most spectacular National Parks just a small detour away?

What car is best for this road trip?

Like any other road trip, the answer is largely subjective. If you’re a fan of sports cars, you’ll surely enjoy a lavish roadster or a classic American muscle car. No matter what car you’re after, Rentalmoose has got you covered. Browse through options from the industry leaders and ensure you get the best deal with Rentalmoose.

If you’re hesitant about renting a car for the Highway 395 road trip and would rather use your own vehicle, check out this blog post. It may just change your mind.

What to see on Highway 395?

That’s the crucial question. Some of the attractions along this road trip include Red Rock Canyon State Park, Lone Pine, Mount Whitney, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Bishop, and Mammoth Lakes. There are also optional detours to Death Valley and Yosemite NPs!

Don’t forget to check out our guide to renting a car in California before setting off.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe road trip itinerary!

Los Angeles

by David Mark

This road trip begins in the legendary City of Angels. It’s hard to think of a better place to begin a Highway 395 road trip!

For your maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from LAX. Note that airport pickup is usually subject to an extra fee added on top of your rental bill. If you want to avoid a premium location surcharge, it’s best to pick up your rental car somewhere in the city.

While Los Angeles may not be the best place to drive around, the traffic is not as bad as you may have heard. The notorious “LA Traffic” is nowhere near as bad as rush hour traffic in Paris, for example.

What are the best things to do in Los Angeles?

Despite what some first-timers may think, there is a lot more to Los Angeles than just Hollywood or the Walk of Fame. Mulholland Drive, for example, is easily one of the best driving roads in this part of California. You can spot hundreds of bikers and petrolheads enjoying this chicane-filled drive each day.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Don’t forget to stop at the Mulholland Scenic Overlook for those classic views of the skyline! Check the map for the exact location.

The two LA attractions listed below are simply ideal for fans of the outdoors. We all need a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy city every now and again.

Runyon Canyon Park

Runyon Canyon Park is the perfect getaway located in the Hills above the city. You can enjoy an early morning jog, or simply hike up to admire unbeatable views of the Los Angeles skyline.

The North Entrance of the park can be accessed directly off Mulholland Drive. That way, you can stop for a hike while driving down LA’s favorite scenic drive. What a fun way to spend the day!

The park is open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week. Entrance is free of charge. Your vehicle can be parked at the North Entrance off Mulholland Drive.

Griffith Observatory & Griffith Park

Griffith Park isn’t exactly a hidden gem. In fact, you have probably already seen it plenty of times in various Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows. Nonetheless, the iconic Griffith Observatory is the place to admire those picture-perfect views overlooking the LA skyline.

You can find more great things to do in Los Angeles in this travel guide.

After a memorable night in one of the best hotels in Los Angeles (these are our favorite picks in town), it’s time to hit the road and begin your Highway 395 road trip!

Next stop on your road trip: Red rock Canyon State Park, 2 hours

Red Rock Canyon State Park

by Matthew Dillon

To be completely honest, the Southernmost tip of Highway 395 is a little underwhelming. The route starts in the town of Victorville and the first stretch isn’t exactly picture-perfect. That’s why we recommend taking the chicane-filled Angeles Crest Highway via the Angeles National Forest. You will then reach Red Rock Canyon State Park via Lancaster instead. It is a much more exciting drive.

The scenic Red Rock Canyon State Park is located roughly 2 hours north of Los Angeles. Once you’re here, you can admire jaw-dropping natural beauty. The park borders the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada, it’s filled with scenic canyons and hiking trails that overlook it all.

You can access the hiking trails via the park’s dirt road network. It’s open to any street-legal car, so you can safely drive around in your rental car!

Camping at Red Rock Canyon SP

Moreover, travelers who wish to spend the night here can set camp at one of the 50 campsites situated at the Ricardo Campground. Up to 8 friends can share one campsite at $25 per site, no campgrounds for larger groups are available.

Next on your Highway 395 road trip: Lone Pine & Mt Whitney, 1 hour 20 minutes

Lone Pine & Mount Whitney

by Khun Hans Photography

After spending some time at the Red Rock Canyon SP, it’s time to head north into the beautiful landscapes of Sierra Nevada. A short 20-mile drive up will take you to the iconic Highway 395. Follow it for around an hour, until you reach the cute town of Lone Pine.

A slight detour to Death Valley National Park is an absolute must, especially if you haven’t been to this park before. You could even extend the trip further to see the Grand Canyon over in Arizona, too!

The village is a well-known spot for fishing. It’s also surrounded by some more spectacular natural beauty, complete with winding hiking trails to take it all in. These are some of the must-do attractions in Lone Pine.

Museum of Western Film History

Movie buffs have to drop by the Museum of Western Film History. The museum gallery is full of Western memorabilia that any enthusiast will love. Visitors can get an insightful look at how some of the most iconic Western movies were made.

You can watch a Western movie at what is perhaps the world’s best Western cinema, located within the premises. The cozy theatre can sit up to 85 guests.

The museum is open 10AM to 4PM Thursday to Monday.

Fishing in Lone Pine

Like we mentioned previously, the Lone Pine area is a popular spot among fishing fans who visit Sierra Nevada. There are plenty of fishing spots to choose from in and around Lone Pine, such as:

  • Independence Creek
  • George Creek
  • Diaz Lake

Check out this blog post by the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce for a guide on fishing in the Lone Pine area.

Hiking & Enjoying The Outdoors

Without a doubt, the best thing you can do in Lone Pine is simply enjoying the outdoors. There are lots of hiking trails, such as the Mobius Arch Loop Trailhead that will take you to the iconic Mobius Arch rock formation.

The Mt. Whitney Trailhead is worth paying a visit, too. From there, you could hike over to the Lone Pine Lake, which is around 6 miles (10km).

Whitney Portal Road Scenic Drive

Don’t let the short length of Whitney Portal Road fool you, this scenic drive is an absolute must-visit! The 13-mile (19km) scenic drive will take you through the heights of Alabama Hills. Movie buffs will instantly recognize this scenery from hundreds of Western films that were shot here. This area was also featured in High Sierra, an absolute classic from 1941 starring Humphrey Bogart.

Stay The Night

Before continuing further, Rentalmoose recommends spending the night in Lone Pine. Consider checking in at the cozy Dow Villa Motel. This family owned business has been welcoming guests ever since its opening in the 50s! Make the most out of the outdoor pool while you’re here.

Next on your Highway 395 road trip itinerary: Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, 1 hour 45 minutes

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

by Fred Moore

Technically, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest does require a small detour off of Highway 395. However, much like the Death Valley NP, it is highly recommended to visit it along the way. You will not regret adding merely an hour of driving, that’s for sure!

If, somehow, you’re still not convinced about adding Bristlecone Pine Forest to your road trip itinerary, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.

This precious spot is home to some of the oldest trees found on our planet. What exactly does that mean?

Well, many of the trees found in the Bristlecone Pine Forest are more than 4000 years old!

You can get more information about the area at the visitor center located at Schulman Grove. It’s open throughout the summer between 10AM and 5PM Thursday to Sunday.

After a hike through the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, it’s time to continue along Highway 395 until you reach Bishop.

Next on your road trip: Bishop, 1 hour

Bishop

by Jay Huang

Bishop is yet another cute town that’s situated along Highway 395. It makes for one of the favorite local getaways from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Its beautiful surrounding area makes for a great destination to visit on your drive up to Lake Tahoe.

Climbing the Buttermilks

Those who are into climbing are probably well aware of what Bishop has to offer. The nearby Buttermilks feature some of the region’s most accessible and diverse climbing areas. Every climber can have a great time enjoying these impressive boulders, no matter the skill level.

The climbs here range from beginner-friendly ones, all the way to some of the country’s most challenging routes. The Buttermilks are located only a short drive west out of Bishop. Simply follow the appropriately-named Buttermilk Road along the McGee Creek.

You can learn more about bouldering and climbing in Bishop in this guide.

Nature in Bishop

As Bishop is famous for its scenic natural setting, it is an absolute must to visit at least a few of the best sites in the area. Hike up and down the challenging trailheads, go on a thrilling mountain biking adventure, or simply take in the views from the comfort of your vehicle. Either way,you simply have to enjoy the outdoors when in Bishop.

The Four Lakes in the Bishop Creek Basin

The scenic Bishop Creek Basin is home to four spectacular lakes. Ideally, you’d want to visit all of them as each one offers a different landscape. If you only have the time to see one of them, we recommend going to the South Lake.

  • North Lake
  • Lake Sabrina
  • Intake II
  • South Lake

Next on your Highway 395 road trip: Mammoth Lakes, 45 minutes

Mammoth Lakes

by Jeff Sullivan

A short 45-minute drive along Highway 395 will take you to the scenic town of Mammoth Lakes. Without a doubt, this may just be the most exciting stopover during this road trip. If you only had the time for one break between Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles, I’d strongly recommend to make it here.

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Lakes is full of attractions, no matter the time of the year. During the magical winter, you should definitely head up to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. This resort is often considered to be the best of its kind in all of California!

Mammoth Mountain is easily the best place to go skiing in California. First-timers, as well as experienced skiers and snowboarders are all bound to have a good time here. If you’re not particularly into skiing, you can simply take the scenic gondola ride up to the summit. The views from there are magnificent.

Mammoth Mountain is a year-long destination. During the summer, travelers can play a game of golf or try out mountain biking. You can find more details about Mammoth Mountain on its official website.

Detour to Yosemite National Park

Did you know that one of the US’ best National Parks is just a small detour away? If you haven’t been to Yosemite NP before, it is strongly recommended to add a few days to your itinerary and visit it. You will not regret it, that’s for sure.

You can check out a guide around Yosemite National Park right here. Note that reservations are no longer required to enter the park!

Play Golf High Above Sea Level

Golf enthusiasts will surely have a good time when in Mammoth Lakes, as the town is home to two spectacular alpine golf courses:

You cannot go wrong with the Snowcreek golf resort. It was the first golf course in Mammoth Lakes, and is often considered to be the best one around. However, its elevation isn’t as high above sea level as the Sierra Star course.

Travelers can enjoy a game of golf accompanied by dramatic backdrops at each of the resorts. In addition, the Sierra Star golf course is also the highest-elevation 18-hole course in the entire state. You can see a driving increase of up to 10% when playing at this altitude, according to some experts.

Next on your Highway 395 road trip: South Lake Tahoe, 2 hours 30 minutes

Lake Tahoe

by m01229

This is it, the longest driving segment of your Highway 395 road trip. Follow the road up north for a little over 2 and a half hours, all the way until you reach the spectacular Lake Tahoe. The equally-amazing drive is perhaps the prettiest part of California’s stretch of Highway 395, too.

Welcome to one of the most beautiful lakes in the West part of the US! There are so many great attractions and fantastic things to do in this part of Lake Tahoe, it’d be impossible to list them all. Nonetheless, these are our top picks.

Vikingsholm Castle

Did you know that Lake Tahoe has its very own castle? The magical Vikingsholm is tucked away in the Emerald Bay, down at the southern tip of the lake.

Emerald Bay was the first destination where wealthy Californians would build their holiday homes in the late 1800s. The land where Vikingsholm is has seen summer cabins for over two centuries, though the beautiful castle erected in the late 1920s. It still remains here today, making for a truly magnificent spot.

by Mike McBey

You’ll probably quickly realize that Vikingsholm doesn’t exactly look like your typical North American building. The unique name is another giveaway of the property’s Scandinavian descent. In fact, Vikingsholm was commissioned by Mrs Lora Josephine Knight who had been in love with Scandinavian fjords. The natural setting of Lake Tahoe reminded her of Northern Europe.

Today, Vikingsholm welcomes tourists from across the planet. You can learn more about the property and all of its secrets during a guided tour.

Note that the property is 1-mile away from the car park, it is only accessible on foot or by boat.

Swimming & Sunbathing

Unwinding at a sandy beach does sound like the ideal way to spend the day. A well-deserved afternoon of relaxation isn’t exactly a road trip essential, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt. You should make the most out of the fact that swimming is permitted in Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the crystal-clear waters and impressive alpine backdrops!

These are some of the best beaches at South Lake Tahoe.

  • Kiva Beach
  • Zephyr Cove Beach
  • Conolley Beach
  • Emerald Bay
by Carandoom

Where to stay in South Lake Tahoe?

Travelers who wish to stay at a fun-packed resort should certainly consider booking a room or suite at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Resort. The 3-star property features spacious and modern rooms, though those who stay here will probably hang around the casino downstairs. Moreover, you can expect tons of live shows, cool bars to spend the evening at, and much more!

Alternatively, you could opt for the waterfront Beach Retreat & Lodge. At first sight, you may mistake the sandy beach of this hotel with an oceanfront resort on a Greek island or in Costa Rica. The 3-star property boasts modern rooms that overlook the lake, three waterfront restaurants, and a marina with kayaks and boat rentals.

Drop-off

After you’re done with your Highway 395 road trip, you could drive over to San Francisco and drop your rental car off there. Alternatively, you could drive back from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles via the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, one of the best driving roads on the planet.

Don’t forget to use Rentalmoose to find the best rental car deal for this road trip!

Post your pictures from your Highway 395 road trip online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in our travel guides.

Get your car from Rentalmoose, we plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

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