Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite summer vacation spots.  From the sandy beach and water sports to hiking and mountain biking, there is something for everyone.  Not to mention the amazing weather!

My parents have been going in mid-July for almost 15 years.  We are fortunate enough to go with them as often as we would like!  Today I’m sharing my favorite things to do and see in the Lake Tahoe area in the summer.  We hope to go this winter and I’ll share those with you then.

About Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is partially in California and partially in Nevada.  We stay on the Nevada side so most of my experience is there.  Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine lake in North America and the second deepest as well.  The water is so clear and so blue!  Once you see it, you’ll understand the local motto:  Keep Tahoe Blue!  The Nevada side has several casinos but gambling is not allowed in California.  There are 12 ski resorts for winter fun.

Where to Stay

We stay in Incline Village at the at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino.  We typically stay in Hyatt condos.  They book up early if you are not an owner so start planning now for next summer.  We’ve also stayed in the hotel and really loved it.  They have great family rooms that are very large and have a king bed, built-in bunk beds and a window seat the size of a twin bed.  It was perfect for the 5 of us for a week.

The Hyatt has the best beach on the lake and great activities for the kids as well as a water sports center where you can rent kayaks paddle boards, etc. They also have a huge catamaran you can book a cruise on.  Sunday mornings are discounted, fyi.  Note: Don’t let the ‘casino’ bother you at all.  This is truly a family oriented resort.  It is set off to the side and we forget it is even there…

Rent a home – I only know Incline Village very well but I do think this is the most family friendly location on the Nevada side.  Tahoe City is a cute town but there can be a lot of traffic because it is a thorough fare between Incline and Squaw Valley.


View at Sunnyside

Dinner at Gar Wood’s

Where To Eat

Sunnyside – This is a great casual restaurant on the water with a gorgeous view of the lake.  You are fine in a Tshirt and shorts here.  They have a dock and it is fun to stop there for lunch if you are on a boat or just to watch them come it.  There is also a Lodge here that looks very nice.

Gar Woods Grill and Pier – This restaurant is a bit more upscale but nice shorts and a summer dress are still fine.  This is a great place for a special occasion dinner as well.  Many weddings are held here.  Can you imagine!  Gorgeous!  It is named for all the beautiful, classic wooden boats that are all over Lake Tahoe.

Austin’s – A very casual restaurant in Incline Village.  Great for salads and burgers.  We eat here when we arrive each year and also pick up take out as well.

Plumpjack Inn – This Squaw Valley restaurant and inn hosted us for dinner this year.  Their menu is upscale and inventive.  We had an amazing time with my parents.  They also have a lively lobby bar.

Tunnel Creek Cafe – This is a “hole in the wall” type place with great food at the trail head of the Incline Flume Trail (see hikes below.)

Flume Trail to Monkey Rock

Walking Lakeshore Boulevard

Hikes and Walks
Flume Trail and the Incline Flume Trail are good for mountain biking and hiking.  Make sure to see Monkey Rock!  Tunnel Creek Cafe is a little restaurant at the trail head that has good food.  Rent bikes from Flume Trail Bike Shop.  They will shuttle you to the trail head.  
The Flume Trail is one of Mountain Biking Magazine’s Top 10 trails.  
The Tahoe Rim Trail is the most famous trail and circles the lake.  There is a bike race here each year.
Almost every morning we walk along Lakeshore Boulevard.  It is a very easy walk and the homes are just gorgeous!

Other activities

Beach Barbecue – If you are staying at the Hyatt condos you are an “owner” for the week and can get a pass to go to one of the local beachfront parks.  We love to cook out at Incline Beach.  If you rent a home, this is probably the case well.  Be sure to check with the owners.  We always make my husband’s famous Frozen Margaritas!

Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival – We love to go to the Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.  This may sound like a bore but the stage has the lake as the backdrop and it is just magical to watch the plays outdoors.  My girls love it!  The food there is really good, too.  There is also a bar for cocktails and wine.  You can buy tickets at the box office or online.
Go Boating! – Hyatt High Sierra Catamaran, rent a ski boat or charter a sail boat
King’s Beach Putt Putt– We LOVE this place.  It is so old school!  Be sure to get ice cream across the street at The Porch.  They have the largest scoops you’ve ever seen!  Another one is on the same side of the street as the put put but a few blocks the opposite direction of Incline.  
Tahoe City Farmers Market is a fun activity and is open from May to October.  Lot’s of great produce stands and local artisans.
White Water Rafting – There are several outfitters here.  We didn’t do it this year because the record snow fall meant record river highs this summer!  It is a great activity for 10 and over.
Emerald Bay State Park – This park has a view of one of the most gorgeous parts of the lake.  We’ve seen Bald Eagle nests while boating near here.
A special treat this trip was borrowing the new Volvo V90 Cross Country.  It was so fun to drive!  It was the perfect car for sight seeing.  The sunroof was almost the entire roof of the car.  Great for the gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe.  There were so many wonderful features on this car.  Our favorite had to be the individual massage controls for the front driver and passenger seats.  Nothing like having a great dinner and getting a massage on the way home!  I’m thinking that would be a great perk of driving all my carpools!
We love this beautiful slice of heaven on earth.  If you have other questions about the Lake Tahoe area, let me know!
Thank you to PlumpJack Inn for the wonderful dinner and to Volvo for the complimentary use of the car for the week.  All opinions and photos are my own.

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