There are a handful of places in the world that I just can't stay away from. One of those places is Lake Tahoe. Shortly after my parents got married, they lived in Reno. They went to Lake Tahoe fairly often to partake in outdoor activities like hiking, sailing and skiing. As my sister and I grew up, we had the chance to visit Lake Tahoe numerous times with our parents in both the winter and summer seasons. It has become a really special place for my family and we visit over and over.
Back when my husband and I first started dating, I would tell him about all of the cool places I've been lucky enough to travel to. I would always talk to him about Lake Tahoe and I would tell him how I would love to take him there one day. That conversation turned into reality because we visited Lake Tahoe over Memorial Day weekend and during the week last week!
If you're planning a trip to South Lake Tahoe or you're interested in finding out more information about this picture-perfect destination, read on to learn about four things you can do in this uniquely beautiful area that both California and Nevada are lucky enough to have a piece of.
Gamble at the Casinos on the Nevada Side
South Lake Tahoe falls right on the California/Nevada state line. There are a handful of casinos including Harvey's, Harrah's, Hard Rock and MontBleu. The property lines for these resorts begin right at the Nevada state line. If you're visiting from a state in which sports gambling is illegal, you can get your fix at one of the casinos in South Lake. Whether you like table games like poker or roulette or you prefer hitting up the slots, luck could be on your side and you could hit the jackpot while visiting Lake Tahoe.
Go Hiking at Emerald Bay
Emerald Bay is simply gorgeous! It's one of the best places to hike in Lake Tahoe and it's just a short drive from South Lake. If you decide to visit Emerald Bay, be sure to arrive early as parking spots fill up fast, especially during peak times like Memorial Day weekend. When we visited Emerald Bay, we hiked down to Vikingsholm and then we hiked up the side of Lower Eagle Falls. Most people will take the hiking trail, but my family and I decided to blaze our own trail. We hiked up the side of the waterfall and although it was challenging at times, it was a lot of fun.
If you enjoy hiking, you'll want to make the trek up to Eagle Lake. Keep in mind that you'll be hiking into desolation wilderness if you decide to make your way to Eagle Lake. Make sure you get a permit before beginning your hike. Once you reach Eagle Lake, be sure to enjoy the view. There's something so cool about seeing a lake in the middle of towering mountains.
Eat Your Heart Out
There are tons of great restaurants in South Lake Tahoe. For breakfast, I recommend The Lakeside Inn. My family and I have been visiting this small casino/hotel for breakfast ever since I was little. The Timbers restaurant has a great breakfast menu. During my most recent trip to Tahoe, I ordered pancakes and they were delicious. If you're in the mood for more of a casual setting, The Brewery at Lake Tahoe is a great choice. The restaurant has a chill atmosphere and the menu has several different beers and entrees to choose from. For more of a high-end meal, hit up Riva Grill. In case you didn't know, Rivas are Italian wooden antique boats. You'll see details from Riva boats in this restaurant.
Take a Ride on the Heavenly Gondola
I had to save the best for last! Riding to the top of Heavenly Mountain on the Heavenly Gondola is something you must do if you visit South Lake Tahoe. The ride up the mountain is about 2.4 miles long and taking in the view from the Observation Deck is such a unique experience. You can literally see for miles! The deck has an elevation of just over 9,100 feet and as you walk to different points on the deck you'll be able to read different placards with details about Lake Tahoe and sights that are off in the distance based on the point you're standing at. My husband and I rode on the Gondola together and he really enjoyed all of the sightseeing as well! We even saw that there is a spot for wedding ceremonies! Could you imagine getting married on the top of the mountain overlooking Lake Tahoe?! I can’t think of a prettier backdrop!
Finding the Gondola in Heavenly Village is super easy. It’s right in the middle of the village and there’s a big sign by the road that says, “Heavenly Gondola.” You seriously can’t miss it! If you have any questions before purchasing your Gondola tickets or you want information, you can go to the Guest Services office on the left side of the Gondola building as you face the mountain.
Riding on the Heavenly Gondola is an activity that people of all ages would enjoy (as long as they're not afraid of heights). So, if you're in search of the best view of Lake Tahoe, taking the Gondola up to the Observation Deck on Heavenly Mountain is something you must do!
If you'll be visiting South Lake Tahoe later this June or even later this summer, you should check out Epic Discovery at Heavenly! At the top of the Gondola, Heavenly will have tons of activities including a mountain coaster, zip lines, rope courses, a climbing wall and much more! Doesn't that sound so fun?! I know I'd be first in the line for the mountain coaster!
Special thanks to Vail Resorts for providing passes for me to ride on the Heavenly Gondola during my recent visit to South Lake Tahoe. All opinions are my own.
Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe? If so, what was your favorite part of visiting? Or, if you've never been to Lake Tahoe, do you think that it's a place that you'd like to visit in the future? Let me know in the comment section below!