1. Emerald Bay State Park
Located at the southwest end of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay State Park offers camping, kayaking, hiking and even scuba diving. The park is also home to Vikingsholm, a Scandinavian-style mansion. Getting to this stunning home is not for the faint of heart – it’s accessible via a steep one-mile trail, which descends 500 feet in elevation.
2. Heavenly Ski Lift
Ride 2.4 miles up the mountain in a scenic gondola, which provides 360-degree views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. At the top, you’ll find an observation deck along with dining and activity options. In the winter, try out the slopes. In the summer, try zip lining, a ropes course and even “summer tubing.”
3. Lake Tahoe Beaches
In the summer, enjoy a day at the beach. On the south end of the lake, have a swim and a picnic at Pope Beach. On the north end, Kings Beach State Recreation Area is great for its cool activities, such as like parasailing and paddleboarding.
4. Hiking Trails
There are a variety of hiking trails, depending on your experience level. For breathtaking views, don’t miss the Tahoe Rim Trail. For a look at the beautiful upper and lower Eagle Falls, try the Rubicon Trail. Don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes and pack enough water for everyone!
5. Martis Peak Fire Lookout
You can drive almost all the way to this incredible viewpoint, which is located on Martis Peak Road (off Highway 267, north of Lake Tahoe). The lookout is most accessible during summer months, when the roadblocks and gate are open and the lookout is in use. Depending on weather and timing, you may have a short hike (about a mile) from the gate or a longer hike (about 4 miles) from the main roadblock.
6. Lake Tahoe Balloons
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take a hot air balloon ride over Lake Tahoe. This adventure actually begins and ends on a boat, where the balloon takes off and lands – the only vessel of its kind. If you’re lucky and out on a really clear day, you may catch a glimpse of Yosemite’s peaks from 150 miles away.
7. Adventure Mountain
During the winter months, find fun for the whole family at Adventure Mountain, off highway 50, south of Lake Tahoe. With pristine sled runs and snow tube and sled rentals available, hours of fun await your arrival.
8. Reno Museums
Try the National Automobile Museum and the Nevada Museum of Art. Both get rave reviews from visitors of all ages.
9. Resorts Galore
For adults-night-out, try one of the many glittering casinos. Consider an evening at Peppermill Casino or Atlantis Casino in Reno. But the big resorts are not just for grown-ups. For example, the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno is especially kid-friendly with mini-golf, go-karts, video arcades, laser tag and even a bowling center.
Or, if you’re staying at the south end of Lake Tahoe, the famous Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is located just across the state line.
10. Animal Ark Sanctuary
The kids will love a trip to this animal sanctuary, which features big cats, wolves, bears and more. It’s open to visitors late March – late October, plus some holiday weekends.
Anne Sandoval is a travel lover and marketing manager for HotelCoupons.com and Drive The Nation.
Top Things to Do in Tahoe and Reno
1. Emerald Bay State Park