Everything You Need to Know about Visiting Lake Tahoe

Everything You Need to Know about Visiting Lake Tahoe

Did you know that’s there’s a huge lake in the mountains sandwiched between California and Nevada? Most Americans in the southern States do but it’s not as well-known amongst international travelers. This is a perfect place to explore and take a vacation.

You have the option to visit one of the ski resorts in the winter or some of the Lake Tahoe vacation rentals in the warmer months. Regardless of the time of year, you’re certain to have a good time.

This article describes everything you need to know about Lake Tahoe before taking a trip. If you’re passing through the States at the moment, consider spending a few days here.

image of lake tahoe

How to Get to Lake Tahoe:

Before we start, let’s have a look at how to get to the lake. Most people drive because public transport is expensive and inconvenient. It can cost up to $50 for a one-way ticket!

If you’re in California, it takes around two hours to drive from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe. Some tourists fly into Sacramento Airport, rent a car and then drive to the lake straight away.

For those of you in Nevada, it’s only about a one hour drive from Reno. Again, you have the option to fly into Reno International Airport and hire a car to drive yourself. Most people prefer to fly into Reno as it’s easier and faster to get to the lake.

Another option is to include this in your itinerary as part of a longer road trip. The distance and duration vary from the city that you’re coming from. It took me almost four hours to get here from San Francisco. Check in advance and plan your journey.

However, not everyone can drive. You can take a shuttle from the airports in both Sacramento and Reno, but as I mentioned above it’s expensive. And the timetables change depending on the season.

lake tahoe

When is the Best Time to Visit?

Peak season is in both the summer and winter months. Water sports are popular when it’s warm and the skiers come when the snow starts to fall. Expect the prices to be quite high during this time of the year. In some of the more popular places, you may need to book up to three months in advance to secure a room.

If you’re travelling on a budget and want to miss the crowds, the best time is in mid-spring. The temperature is still pleasant around the low seventies with a lot of sunshine. It may be a little chilly to go swimming, but you’ll find cheaper places to stay and it’s going to be less crowded. A great spring activity is to rent a bicycle and cycle from town to town around the lake.

Flexibility is key. Weekends are always busy regardless of the time of year, which bumps the prices up. Check online for discounts and promotions. These are regular and can end up saving you a lot of money.

What Can I Do at Lake Tahoe?

There are lots of outdoor activities during the summer months, which include a range of water sports and hiking. You can go kayaking or rent a jet ski for a couple of hours. Another popular activity is camping. But, you should be aware that bears do live in these mountains and may approach you in search of food.

When the seasons start to change and the snow begins to fall, the ski resorts open for business. You can come and rent equipment when you arrive or bring it along, though this may not be possible if you’re not driving. The best time for snow sports is from November to April and it gets quite busy around Christmas.

Winter isn’t just a time for snowboarding and skiing. Lake Tahoe also becomes a winter wonderland that your kids will love. Visit some of the family friendly snow parks or just soak up the mountainous atmosphere. There’s nothing quite like waking up and having a warm coffee overlooking the snow covered mountains and lake.

Things to Consider:

The lake is huge and it spans across the border of California and Nevada. You can stay on either side or in the northern or southern towns. Southern parts of the lake tend to be cheaper.

Another issue is traffic. Congestion is a major problem and you may find yourself waiting in traffic for several hours. It’s not uncommon for people to aggressively honk their horns and for road rage to occasionally spill over. The winter months may see disruptions after heavy snowfall. If you’re visiting when it has the potential to snow, make sure you bring a shovel.

The Takeaway Message:

Lake Tahoe is a good place to visit during the spring when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are fewer. Expect it to be busy in the summer and winter. Be flexible with your plans and check online for any deals and offers, you might make huge savings.