Thinking of heading to one of North America’s favorite lakes? Consider visiting Lake Tahoe, the one that’s split between both Nevada and California, for a few days. Visitors have access to a wide variety of hotels, campsites and Lake Tahoe cabins to suit everyone from the budget conscious traveler to those looking to splurge on luxury. If this is your first time to the lake, keep reading and learn the essentials of planning the perfect getaway.
Why Visit Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is a household name for most Americans. But relatively few outside the United States are familiar with the country’s second largest freshwater lake. Every season is different from the spring blossom and summer hikes to a world-class ski resort in winter, Lake Tahoe has something for everyone and is very safe to travel in. The Californian side features several activities suitable for the outdoor enthusiasts including, but not limited to, hiking, water sports, camping and horseback riding. Nevada’s portion boasts an impressive nightlife and entertainment scene along with bars and casinos. But the biggest reason tourists visit is for the breath-taking beauty. Lake Tahoe is an incredibly photogenic spot at all times of the year, and it keeps bringing more and more tourists.
Getting to Lake Tahoe
The fastest and most convenient way to reach Lake Tahoe is to drive. Either drive from home or rent a car when you arrive in California’s Sacramento Airport or Nevada’s Reno. The journey takes approximately two hours from Sacramento and just an hour or so from Reno. If you’re unable to have your own set of wheels, regular shuttle buses run from both airports and cost around $50 for a one-way ticket. Bus timetables vary depending on the season. Another option that’s beginning to gain popularity is visiting Lake Tahoe as part of a larger road trip throughout the United States.
When is the Best Time to Visit Lake Tahoe
The best time depends on your interests. Both the summer and winter are considered to be Lake Tahoe’s peak season. Visitors come in the summer to enjoy the outdoors while skiers and snowboarders flock to the mountains in winter. As with most places around the world, expect prices to be high during these times. If money isn’t a concern and you don’t mind the crowds, summer is the best time to visit. Not only are you able to enjoy the trails and the outdoors but the water is warm enough to swim. However, expect rooms to fill up fast, and you may need to book weeks, if not months, in advance to secure your dream cabin.
Travelling off-season has all kind of advantages including reduced rates, fewer tourists and a somewhat different experience. Spring sees comfortable temperatures hovering in the 60s or low 70s, and brave swimmers can still take a dip in the water. If you arrive in early spring as the snow begins to thaw, temperatures are a bit chilly but the blossoming of the year’s flowers is a beautiful thing to see and photograph. A favorite activity during spring is to rent a bicycle and cycle along the roads around the lake. Cyclists will pass through several small towns and villages and find plenty of hidden spots for photographs. Fall is also worth visiting to see the leaves in the forests transform from lush green to golden brown.
The Must-Do Activities at Lake Tahoe
Outdoor activities galore make Lake Tahoe a favorite destination. From hiking along trails through the forests and mountains to fishing in the lake, kayaking or jet skiing, any fan of nature will find what they’re looking for here. If you have a car, travel to the smaller towns away from the touristy areas to get a feel of what the place is like. And don’t forget to explore both sides of the lake too. California and Nevada are very different places offering different experiences.
As winter creeps in and the snow starts to fall, the mountains transform into ski resorts. The best time for skiing and snowboarding is between late November and early March. But expect the resorts to be crowded around Christmas and New Year. Even if you’re not into winter sports, Lake Tahoe can be a snowy wonderland providing the perfect environment for a weekend of relaxation and recuperation.
Important Things to Know Before Your Trip
First, expect congestion during popular times of the year. The road into and out of the lake gets filled with cars and traffic jams can sometimes last hours. You can reduce the risk of being stuck by travelling off-season or on weekdays. If you plan to visit in the winter, expect snowy and icy conditions. It’s not a good idea to rent a car and attempt to drive to the lake when you’re not confident behind the wheel in wintery conditions. For those looking to save a little extra, the southern parts of the lake tend to have slightly lower prices. And finally, remember that wildlife including bears living in the forests. You need to be extra careful and vigilant when you follow the trails deep into the woods and be especially wary if you plan to go camping.
So Now You Know
Hopefully, this article has provided some valuable tips and suggestions to help you plan a dream trip to Lake Tahoe. It’s possible to drive from either Sacramento or Reno Airports, peak season falls in summer and winter, and the region has an abundance of outdoor activities. Just remember bears live in the forests and to avoid driving in snowy conditions if you’re not confident behind the wheel.