If you know me at all, you know that I love Lake Tahoe with a passion! It is hands down my favorite place to get away from everything. The air is fresh, the lake is blue as can be and the scenery is beautiful. It’s so peaceful. I used to go all the time when I was a little kid– the good times. There’s is no other place that gives such a sense of nostalgia. I’ve spent vacations there during both the winter and summer, with my family and with my boy friend’s, when I was a baby all the way up through my young adulthood and I can safely say it never gets old. Over this past summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to go twice to my beloved Tahoe. Here’s a neat, little guide to the things we did, ate and saw– and some of the things we didn’t have time for, but wish we did.
Tahoe is an outdoor enthusiasts dream! There are endless options when it comes to hiking trails– from easy strolls to the more strenuous treks. A couple of my family’s favorites are Eagle Falls and Emerald Bay. Both hiking locations have incredible views. Eagle Falls is great for all ages and though some parts are more exhausting than others, it’s not tough enough to make anyone turn around. As the name suggests, Eagle Falls has beautiful cascading water falls– they are really outstanding! Unfortunately, this time around everything was dried out. The hike is about two miles round trip and provides views of the famed Lake Tahoe and a top notch outdoor experience given the lush, green scenery, tall pine trees and the ginormous, looming mountain backdrop.
Emerald Bay is arguably one of the best spots to check out insanely picture perfect panoramic views of Tahoe. The Emerald Bay/ Vikingsholm trail starts up at the parking area on the north side of the bay and snakes down until you get to the bottom of the mountain– arriving at Emerald Bay Beach. Here is where you also find the world-famous Vikingsholm, a replica of a Scandinavian castle, which you can take a tour of! This Vikingsholm Castle was completed in 1929 and was inspired by Scandinavian architectural design. It’s definitely a cool and unique place to take a tour– you’ll feel like you’re back in the medieval times! And of course, with the beach right there, you can swim, rent kayaks and paddle boards and even check out Tahoe’s only island, Fannette Island.If you’re more of a chill and tan kind of person, then head to the lake for some sunshine and relaxation! Most of these beach spots have rentals for jet skis, paddle boards, kayaks… etc. if you’re feeling active. One of the best spots to enjoy the beach is at Sand Harbor. Unlike most Tahoe beaches, the sand here is nice and smooth. There are giant granite boulders and rock formations everywhere, fresh blue water and unparalleled scenery to take in. Plus, there’s an eatery that serves up great lunch, snack foods and drinks! I was all about those fruity margs myself, but they also have milkshakes and anything else you’d crave on a sunny beach day.
Other gorgeous spots, include any of the beaches in Incline Village– especially the one by the Hyatt! In addition to the alpine and lakeside panoramic views, the Hyatt provides lounge chairs, cabanas, volleyball courts and cozy fire pits! The entire area is pristine. Not to mention, there’s a fantastic 3 mile walking path along Lakeshore Blvd in Incline Village. I love walking past all the beautiful homes along the lake…. and imagining living in one, one day! The neighbor is super calming and the properties are amazing!
Lone Eagle Grille
The Lone Eagle Grille is a stunning rustic restaurant that sits right on the lake. The restaurant is ideal for viewing fireworks, sunsets, an exceptionally clear night or for just taking in the fantastic Lake Tahoe scenery! It serves wonderful American cuisine and great drinks, wines and craft beers. There’s lots of excellent meat entrees- elk, bison, rib-eye… so if you’re a carnivore, as I am, come here.
Big Water Grille
Big Water Grille is another elegant, unbelievable restaurant that has spectacular panoramic lake views. This modern restaurant also serves American cuisine, known for both meat and fish dishes. It’s nestled in the mountains and has huge beautiful bay windows- ideal for taking in the view! It also has a fabulous patio allowing you to be fully immersed in the woodsy, fresh air of Tahoe.
Jack Rabbit Moon
This was my first time at Jack Rabbit Moon and it was a solid dining experience! It’s a smaller and more intimate restaurant, providing a charming, warm vibe. The menu was outstanding and despite having fewer choices than other spots, is really unique. The menu is changed up every few weeks, depending on what’s in season. At dinner, I tried one of the most refreshing cocktails I’ve ever had- the Stockholm Syndrome- which had DSP citron vodka, cucumber, dill puree, aquavit and fresh lemon juice on the rocks. For my appetizer, I had the phenomenal and adorably prepared pork buns. My main was the flavorful Thai curry lobster stuffed tamale and for dessert we all shared the warm cinnamon sugar dusted old-fashioned doughnut holes with caramel dipping sauce. So delicious!
West Shore Cafe and Inn
West Shore is a fun place to enjoy the beautiful lake views on a great deck! It’s a casual place to eat a yummy lunch. I particularly loved all the colorful little boats scattered on the water.
The Red Hut Cafe
For an easy, cheap, satisfying all-American breakfast, go to The Red Hut Cafe! It’s a classic establishment that’s been serving up people’s favorites since 1959! I went full out for breakfast- waffles, french toast, bacon, eggs… and regret nothing!
There are lots of cool little shopping plazas in Tahoe, but my favorite area to peruse shops and boutiques is in historic Truckee, CA! The shopping here is very eclectic- you can find everything from homemade sweets, to clothing and jewelry, to random native American artifacts and handcrafted leather goods, to art, soaps and lotions to home goods and toys… the possibilities are endless! My personal favorite is the sweets shop. Obviously.