As a native Nevadan (fourth generation), I grew up exploring our mountains and the beautiful jewel of water we are so lucky to have in our back yard, Lake Tahoe. My earliest, fondest memories are of swimming in that freezing water, building sand castles, burying my siblings in the sand (and if my dad was feeling up to it, he would let us bury him), learning how to water ski, or being pulled on a tube behind someone’s boat, barbecues, camping, horseback riding — the possibilities were endless!
Anytime I feel like I need some peace, or some nature, I know that in 20 minutes to an hour and a half, I can be in my paradise, the place I feel the most connected to my higher power, the place where my mind can truly be open to possibilities, or closed to the crazy world around me.
I have also been taking my boys there since they were only a few months old. There is so much to do for families, whether you are doing a beach day, taking a kid friendly hike, window shopping in the cute little towns all around the lake, or getting some great food at one of the many restaurants!
For the most part, we love doing beach days! We have a few favorites, but this year we wanted to explore a few new locations as well. With 72 miles of shoreline, the options are endless, and it’s so fun to check out all the different offerings — whether you like a rocky beach or the fine sand between your toes. Our top fave is Sand Harbor beach, which is gorgeous and very kid friendly. We love to be on the right side of the beach, where the boat dock is. There are beautiful rock formations and a great view, plus they have the options to rent stand up paddle boards and other fun water toys. Sand Harbor is great during the week if you can swing it, because the weekends get really busy and parking fills up fast! So either get there early in the morning, or try something else, because when the lot is full, there aren’t many options for other parking. Sand Harbor is also home to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, a nonprofit organization established for the cultural benefit and enjoyment of all residents and visitors to our region. They strive to plan, produce and advocate the finest cultural events at Lake Tahoe while educating future generations about the importance of including theater, music and art in their everyday lives. This can be an amazing date night, girls night, or they even have offerings for young Shakespeare that is for kiddos! Check out the website: www.laketahoeshakespeare.com.
We also like to go to Kings Beach — more parking, a playground, and the soft sand that reminds me of the ocean. The water here is also shallow for quite a ways out, so the kids love it because they can venture pretty far into the lake, and it’s a little warmer feeling! The town of Kings Beach is also super cute, with great little restaurants and cute mom-and-pop shops! If you want to feel like a local with a little “secret” knowledge, just past Kings Beach is a little beach called Moon Dunes. No entrance fees, great sand, and that shallow water, but also, no bathrooms — so we haven’t been here in a while due to my boys always needing to GO right when we sit down and set up our little beach area.
If you are closer to the east or south lake area, there are so many options! A popular one is Zephyr Cove, which is also the departure point of the famous M.S. Dixie. They have a restaurant, campgrounds, horse stables, lots of water toy rentals like paddle boards, paddle boats, and jet skis, barbecue areas and a dog beach for your furry family. A little further south of that is Round Hill Beach, which is probably my favorite of that area because they have a pool and a great bar for adult beverages while you sunbathe! If you venture past the casinos and Tahoe Keys, check out Camp Richardson: They have a great restaurant/bar with the famous Rum Runners (careful, these are deceptively strong drinks!), great campgrounds and cabins for rent, cute shops including an ice cream shop, great walking trails and historical buildings, and lots of live music offerings! My parents had their boat here for a few years, and it was awesome because it was a short boat ride to the absolutely gorgeous Emerald Bay!
Speaking of Emerald Bay, if you are into hiking, this is an amazing place to go! There is a 2-mile, round-trip hike complete with a castle. What kid wouldn’t want to see that? Half-hour castle tours are offered all summer long. Here is a great link with some more kid friendly hikes: https://tahoe.com/articles/10-great-lake-tahoe-hikes-kids.
I’m a food lover: I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love to find great local restaurants! There are some
awesome food offerings in Tahoe. I love Garwoods, home of the Wet Woody and located in the gorgeous Carnelian Bay. There I had one of the best brunches I have ever had! Another great one is Sunnyside Restaurant on the west side of Tahoe — amazing fish tacos, you can pull your boat right up to the dock and dine with a beautiful view! If you are near the casinos in South Lake, check out Fire and Ice, a super cool Mongolian-barbecue style restaurant where you build your meal and they cook it on a huge grill in front of you: entertainment and food, plus great cocktails in the beautiful Heavenly village! I mentioned Camp Richardson previously — their restaurant is called The Beacon. They have a more casual offering and also a fine dining option along with their summer music series.
As you can tell, I am a HUGE fan of Tahoe and everything it has to offer. Even living here for all my 35 years, I still find new things to do, and I love doing these things with my family! We are so unbelievably lucky to have this world-famous wonder of Mother Nature so close to us. I honestly think that we will never move out of state because of this magical place that we love so much! If you do get up to explore and play, I encourage you to unplug and really take it all in. The human race is not so kind to this Earth, and we need to do our part to help it out and preserve it for future generations and to truly enjoy it while we can.
Where are some of your favorite Tahoe spots? I’m always looking for more to explore!