Take a Trip to Tahoe With Me
When you have three small children, road trips become smaller too. Setting off into the wild blue yonder is more of a challenge with extras like diaper bags, wipes and enough toys to last for six hours stuck in a car. Lucky for us, we live less than an hour away from one of the best vacation spots in the United States.
Lake Tahoe (part in California, part in Nevada) is our favorite place to go. It earns its description as the Jewel of the Sierras with 71 miles of shoreline surrounding crystal blue water. I have to be very honest here, and tell you that in the height of tourist season it’s almost like going to Disneyland. I’d advise going in early summer before schools have let out, or in the fall. The weather stays beautiful all the way up to October most years and you’ll run into a lot less people. Winter gets crowded as well since there are multiple world class ski resorts around the lake.
If you must come in the middle of summer, be ready for crowds. The whole place is built around tourism. The bad news is that it works, and many tourists come! The good news is that there’s really no way you can go wrong if you’re visiting and want things to do, places to stay, or great food. It takes hard work to find a bad restaurant in Lake Tahoe. There are regular buses around the lake that make a good alternative to driving, check out the Tahoe Area Regional Transit site for routes.
South Lake Tahoe is bigger, with more choices for you in activities and accommodation. Things tend to be more expensive there, although it’s still possible to find reasonable prices off Main Street. If you ever go, walk through downtown just to look at everything and then find a place to stay and food off the main drag or at one of the casinos on the Nevada side.
The North of the lake is smaller, with less tourist traps, and it tends to be the place we go. Instead of one big town like South Lake, the North shore has a string of many small towns (each lovelier than the last). It’s easier to find the public beaches, as opposed to the pay-to-park State Parks around the South shore, and a smidge less crowded.
Our Favorites: Regan Beach in South Lake Tahoe is public, which means free parking! It fills up fast in the summer. It’s such a favorite my husband and I got married there in 2011.
We do a lot of day hikes around the Lake; there are thousands of miles of trail all spread out over the area. One of our favorites is to sneak into Emerald Bay by starting at D.L. Bliss State Park (parking for the day costs around 10$) and hiking along the trail that goes from the park to the bay. We also hike trails off of Spooner Summit, Mt. Rose summit, above Emerald Bay and around the south parts of the Lake off of highway 89.
On the North shore we love to hit the string of towns starting with Incline Village or Kings Beach, go on to Tahoe Vista and end up in Carnelian Bay. The North Shore has many options for shopping, swimming, hiking, kayaking or bike riding.
The Lake is so beautiful, plain words can never capture the view. It rests the soul and treats the eyes. If you’re ever in the area it is worth the drive to visit. Perhaps we’ll see you there!
Regan Beach in South Lake Tahoe: Kid approved!
The author at Nevada Beach, 2008.
Zephyr Cove in April, 2017
Zephyr Cove, April 2017
Record high lake levels bursting through the Tahoe City dam, April 2017
Emerald Bay, from a hiking trail above.
S.E. White is currently unpublished, with a few finished manuscripts looking for a home. While wading through knee-deep Query rejections she is also a regular contributor to the blog Books Rock My World and a guest poster for various other sites like Writers Helping Writers and Women on Writing (WOW). A full time mom by day and a reader/writer at night her three children, husband and absurdly friendly black cat keep her running but there’s always time to read another manuscript, especially for a willing beta or critique partner. Follow her blog to get some of the tips, tricks, and fabulous resources she stumbles upon.