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Sometimes words fail to express exactly what your eyes see or what you feel! Have you ever felt something like this before?
A place, so beautiful and dreamy that it tranquilizes all your senses and leaves you falling short of words. That’s exactly what I felt, when we visited Lake Tahoe, in September last year.
During our visit to the USA (if you are following my blog or Instagram, you would probably know about this tour) Lake Tahoe was the last destination we planned to explore. I would call this a complete case of serendipity (discovery by chance) as I had no idea about it before I stumbled upon a beautiful picture on Instagram.
In this post, I am sharing a 2-day itinerary of our trip to Lake Tahoe, which we visited during the beginning of the fall season. So, if you are visiting Lake Tahoe for the first time, or somebody who is not too much into adventure activities or you are traveling with very young kids and have limited time available, I think this itinerary will help you explore best places to hang out at Lake Tahoe
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How we Zeroed Lake Tahoe
Honestly, Lake Tahoe was not a part of our itinerary. Initially, we planned a trip to Yosemite, but due to wildfire in California (especially around Yosemite), we have to cancel our bookings at the very end moment. Not wanting to waste our last weekend in the USA, we decided to drove to Lake Tahoe from San Francisco.
About Lake Tahoe
A large freshwater lake surrounded by the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, straddling the border of California and Nevada. Situated at the height of 6225 ft, Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine lake in North America and the second deepest lake (1,645 ft) in the USA.
A popular weekend getaway and tourist spot, known for its crystal-clear water and breathtaking vistas, Lake Tahoe is home to Ski resorts, outdoor activities, water sports etc.
Best time to visit Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe attracts visitors throughout the year as it has something or the other to offer. If you are looking for bright sunny days to chill and relax at the beach or enjoy walking trails and other adventure activities, then March to May or September and November (it’s beautiful during fall season) is the best time. However, if you are looking for winter sports like skiing, then you can plan a visit during Winter.
How many days do you need to visit Lake Tahoe?
Depending upon your interest and availability of the time, you can customize the itinerary. If you are not looking for any adventure activities like hiking, skiing, etc. then 2 days should be good to relax and bask in the beauty of this serene place.
Where to Stay
If you are traveling with family, try to stay around South Lake Tahoe city, as that’s the main tourist area and you won’t have to travel too far to find a restaurant or shops. We stayed at an Air BnB accommodation in Stateline area which located close to South Lake Tahoe city and heavenly village (happening hangout locations in Tahoe)
2 Days itinerary to Lake Tahoe with family
Here’s how we spent 2 memorable days at Lake Tahoe. We were 5 of us on this trip, my parents, sister and my 4.5-year-old son guess a group with all age groups So the idea was just to relax and soak in phenomenal beauty of the place.
Lake Tahoe is approx.200 miles away from San Francisco and it took us around 5 hours to reach. It was already dark by the time we reached our Air BnB accommodation in the Stateline area. After freshening up, we headed straight for Dinner.
Dinner at My Thai & noodles, Stateline
It was freezing outside with 7º C. we enjoyed the warm and delicious Thai cuisine at My Thai & Noodles restaurant in Stateline area. The food was delicious and the décor of the restaurant was cozy and comfortable. After filling ourselves with excess food and drinks, we headed back to our stay.
A blissful surprise in the morning – Our Air BnB
And when we got up in the morning, something incredible waited for us. A magnificent view of the lake with the backdrop of Sierra Nevada range (slightly snow-clad by then). Just blue and green till eyes can see. It was a view to die for and the best part of our otherwise beautiful Air BnB accommodation. Sipping our coffee at the patio, soaking ourselves in the heavenly view was an out of the world experience. Check out my review of the accommodation in my next blog.
Best places to visit in Lake Tahoe with Family
Although we wanted to start early, the peaceful and serene view made us spend time at our patio. Finally, around 11 o’clock, we headed to the town to explore Lake Tahoe and other attractions.
Heavenly Village – Gondola
Our first stop was Heavenly village, a popular and lively hangout in Lake Tahoe. From Heavenly you can take the Gondola to the top of the mountain and enjoy the bird’s eye view of the village and mountain range. Unfortunately, when we visited, the Gondola was shut down for maintenance.
But we enjoyed roaming around in the heavenly market, checking out the local shops and restaurants.
Brunch at Base Camp, Heavenly
We stopped by to have our brunch at The Base camp, which is a beautiful and lively place. It was fun sitting in the sun, enjoying our Pizza and drinks and listening to live music. Their Pizzas were sumptuous with fresh vegetable toppings. Do try their Bloody merry which was spicy and refreshing.
Driving across the Lake Tahoe Basin
As we dint get to experience the Gondola ride, we had a lot of time to drive through the Lake Tahoe Basin. During this scenic & mesmerizing drive, we stopped by at some of the beautiful vista points.
Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay State Park is one of the most popular and most photographed locations in Lake Tahoe. From here you can enjoy a breath-taking view of the Lake along with Fannette Island, which is the only island in Lake Tahoe. Emerald Bay state park also includes Eagle Falls and Vikings Holm, a 38-room mansion which is considered as the finest example of Scandinavian architecture in the United States. Emerald bay is the perfect place to capture some stunning pictures, from here you can enjoy the view from 2000 ft above.
Inspiration Point Vista
Although during the entire drive you come across many breathtaking views and you can stop by anywhere but some of the Vista points also provide interesting information, Like Inspiration Point Vista. Stop by at Inspiration Point vista to know interesting stories about the Fennette Island and Emerald bay.
Sugar pine point state park
Our next stop was Sugar pine point state park, we descended from the Emerald bay to enjoy the closer view of calm and crystal-clear waters of the lake. Water at the lake is so clear that you can see the pebbles at the base of the Lake.
Kings beach was one of our favorite spots in Lake Tahoe. Beautiful location with happy and relaxed vibes, where you can enjoy the sun and crystal-clear water of the Lake. Perfect spot for picnics, kayaking, swimming or just relaxing in the sun. We spent a lot of time at Kings beach, relaxing while my little one was busy running around and playing in the sun. There’s a small play area right outside the beach for children.
Cave rock Vista Point
By the time we started for our next Vista point, the Sun already started setting. And I can say there couldn’t be a better ending to this drive, than spending our time watching the sunset from Cave Rock Vista Point. A breathtaking and mesmerizing view beyond words. It was an altogether different experience to witness the sun setting, filling the sky with all the colors of orange and pink at the backdrop of the serene lake reflecting those beautiful colors. Although we didn’t walk up till the Cave rock and enjoyed this view sitting on the rocks near the parking lot. This was the best sunset experience of my life.
Shopping & Dinner at Heavenly
We returned to Heavenly for dinner. Heavenly is a very lively and fulfilled place during the evenings, you can enjoy live music and awesome food. Do check out the local shops for beautiful souvenirs and other handicrafts. Do check out the socks store, where you can find 100s of varieties of socks.
The restaurants are crowded during the evenings, most of them play live music & have fireplaces. There was a long queue for the best and most cozy places (near the fire) as it gets really cold outside. We enjoyed our dinner at one of the Mexican restaurants. Food was delicious and so was their smoked jalapenos margarita.
After spending an amazing day in the lap of nature, we returned to our humble abode. Spending the cozy night by fireplace watching our favorite tv show.
South Lake city Tahoe
Since our 4-year-old was accompanying us, we couldn’t visit any of the Casinos, but South Lake city is home to some of the big hotels and casinos.
We enjoyed our brunch at one of the restaurants in South Lake Tahoe city
Enjoy driving through Sierra Nevada mountain range
To witness and capture the fall colors was one of my wishes during our Trip to The USA. The trip was almost coming to an end, but still, I couldn’t click a beautiful fall pic. Although during our drive through Lake Tahoe basin we came across a few points, I couldn’t click any of them.
But while we were returning from Lake Tahoe, somewhere along the way we spotted the most spectacular fall colors accompanied by a beautiful river. I am not sure if it was any vista point, but it was simply breathtaking and there I got my best fall pic!
- Sunsets early at Lake Tahoe, so do check out the sunset time and reach the vista point accordingly so that you don’t miss out on it.
- Do carry a pair of extra clothing with you during the drive, just in case you decide to enjoy the water at the beach.
- Carry extra woolens and jackets for the evening as it gets really cold
- Carry water and light snacks along with you
Have you been to Lake Tahoe? Which was your favorite Spot?
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