Lake Tahoe: The Perfect Destination for Both Summer and Winter

Lake Tahoe Sunset

Lake Tahoe is often known for its beautiful mountain ranges that surround the body of water, especially since they are sites for the most avid skiers. Even though the mountains are mostly used during the winter, there are still many opportunities to discover Lake Tahoe in the warmer months. 

Best Months to Go

If you want to travel to Lake Tahoe to take advantage of the warmer weather, then you should be going between March and May. This allows some of the snow to melt off of the mountains, and for the weather and water to warm up. There’s nothing better than swimming in the lake, and the summer months will give you the best chance to do that. Be aware though, as the weather can be a little unpredictable and storms can sneak up on you, so always check the weather before heading out. 

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How Many Days to Stay?

You can stay for however long or short you want, but the best range to explore as much of Lake Tahoe as possible is around three days. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend a whole week there and run out of things to do. 

Where is Lake Tahoe?

Lake Tahoe is located on the border of California and Nevada. Two-thirds of the lake lies in California, while one-third extends into Nevada at the northern and southern ends of the lake, as well as the eastern shore.

What’s so special about Lake Tahoe?

Lake Tahoe is incredibly clear – some places objects can be seen over 70 feet under the water. This is possible due to 40 percent of the precipitation that falls into the Lake Tahoe Basin falls right into the lake, while the other drains through marshes and meadows that filter the water. This means that Lake Tahoe is one of the purest bodies of water in the world with 99.9994% of the water being pure. In comparison, commercially distilled water is 99.998% pure. 

Must-See Locations

Heavenly Mountain

Lake Tahoe
Photo by Alexandria Wyckoff

Heavenly Mountain is one of 15 different ski resorts scattered around Lake Tahoe. Along with skiing or snowboarding during the winter, the mountaintop has a lot of summer activities that you can explore too. Some of these include gondola sightseeing, gemstone panning, summer snow tubing, a mountain coaster, and zip lining. You can spend a whole day at the top of this mountain, and if the activities don’t sway you, then the amazing view will. You can see nearly the entire lake on a clear day, and all the mountains stretching up towards the sky behind it. 

Pope Beach

Lake Tahoe: The Perfect Destination for Both Summer and Winter
Photo by Alexandria Wyckoff

If you’re looking for a beach day, then consider traveling over to Pope Beach which is only 3 miles from the city of South Lake Tahoe. Either drive to this three-quarter mile stretch of coarse sand, or you can bike or walk in through the Pope/Baldwin Bike Path. All along the water are food concessions, bathrooms, kayak rentals, or spaces to just set all your stuff down and lounge for the whole day. The picturesque views of the mountain complete this beautiful scene, and is a perfect way to enjoy nature on a sunny day. 

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Emerald Bay State Park

Located on Lake Tahoe’s west shore, Emerald Bay State Park is home to the surreal clear waters that make Tahoe so memorable. Declared a National Natural Landmark in 1969, in 1994 California State Parks included the surrounding water as part of the park as well, turning Emerald Bay into one of the first underwater parks of its kind in the state. This allows the treasures hidden on the bottom of the bay to be protected, as they are now part of a state park. 

Vikingsholm

Vikingsholm
Tahoma, California – Aug 18, 2020

Located in Emerald Bay, the Vikingsholm house was created in 1928-1929 by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight as a summer home. Knight was so inspired by Emerald Bay’s likeness to Scandinavian fjords that she designed the house to complement not only the land around her, but the land across the Atlantic Ocean that she remembered. Today, it is considered one of the finest pieces of Scandinavian architecture in the U.S. and is visited by many. 

Tallac Historic Site

Lake Tahoe: The Perfect Destination for Both Summer and Winter
Photo by Chris Mansker on Unsplash

A century ago, the Tallac Historic Site was known as the “Grandest Resort in the World,” being the site where three of San Francisco Bay Area’s socially elite families traveled to have a break from city life. In the present, the remains are now visited by thousands, exploring the buildings themselves or the grounds surrounding them. If you’re a history buff then this is the place to go and spend a day walking around a vacation retreat from a significant era in Lake Tahoe’s history.

Sand Harbor

One of the most popular parks in the Tahoe basin, Sand Harbor has 2,500 feet of beach where you can swim, sunbathe, or have a picnic. There is also a small launch site on the south end for non-motorized watercraft, where you can take kayaks and canoes out onto the crystal clear water. You want to make sure you get here early though, because after the parking lot is full, it is closed down until later in the day. 

If you’re looking for a fun summer vacation spot, then Lake Tahoe could be for you. Not only does it have a rich history, but the state parks and beaches make a perfect location for plenty of activities. I had an amazing time while I was in Lake Tahoe, and I bet you will too.

Alexandria is a News Editor, writer, and reader of all things literature. She graduated from the State University of... More about Alexandria Wyckoff