Visitor's Guide to Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is the deepest alpine lake in North America and one of the most voluminous lakes in the United States. It sits at 6,225 feet above sea level in the Sierra Nevada. Lake Tahoe is filled with many other natural wonders, such as mountains and forests, and year-round activities, which make Lake Tahoe (also the name of the surrounding area) an extremely popular tourist destination with around 3 million visitors a year.
Lake Tahoe is bordered by both Nevada (one third) and California (two thirds). The Lake is separated into two sides that are about an hour apart driving with different geographies and activities. There is Tahoe North, known for its natural beauty, gourmet food, and more relaxed atmosphere. North is less crowded and has higher-end shopping and quality resorts. Tahoe South is easy to get around without a car because all the action is in a compact area and has more of a party scene with plenty of casinos and nightclubs. South has great all-inclusive packages. There are many different resorts and towns on the two sides, each offering a unique experience.
Tahoe North Shore
Tahoe North is made up of towns Tahoe City, Tahoe Vista, Truckee, Alpine Meadows, Kings Beach, Northstar, Squaw Valley, Donner Lake, Diamond Peak, Mount Rose and Incline Village. Truckee is one of the most popular towns on the North Shore as a home base for your visit. It has some of the best shopping and dining in all of Lake Tahoe. Squaw Valley has a long season and is great for adventure. It offers a scenic Air tram for great views of the whole lake.
Tahoe South Shore
The South Shore has Kirkwood, Emerald Bay, South Lake Tahoe, Zephyr Cove, Tahoma, Heavenly, Homewood, Meyers, and Stateline. Kirkwood offers the best mix of outdoor activities with indoor partying and fun. Emerald Bay during the off-season is one of the most serene and beautiful places in Lake Tahoe.
Best Time to visit
For the best value, it is wise to visit Lake Tahoe during the off-season. Its prime tourist seasons are the summer (July 4th is the most expensive) and winter ski season (Christmas week will be crowded and pricey. The best time to visit is in September or October. The weather is still nice. The crowds are gone. And you can get some of the best deals at the resorts and hotels. Lake Tahoe in the summer is great for hiking and water sports. In the winter, it turns into a ski resort. Even in the summer, you’ll need to bring jackets because the temperature cools considerably at night.