Lake Tahoe is the perfect summer destination and an excellent place to take a quick getaway.
With moderate daytime temperatures and cool nights, it can be a refuge, a place to get a break from Central Valley heat or coastal summer fog. And there's plenty to do in and around the lake when it's warm. All of the roads will be open, and you won't have to worry about snow chains and whiteouts.
Why Should You Go to Lake Tahoe in the Summer?
Lake Tahoe is popular with all kinds of people, especially those who enjoy the great outdoors, but it's also a great place to take a lazy drive along the shore.
Summer's warmer temperatures and long days also bring out lots of concerts and other evening events.
Best Part of the Summer to Go to Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe can get annoyingly crowded on long holiday weekends. Try to go mid-week if you can. Or pick a non-holiday weekend if you can't.
Any time of year, a ride to the top of the mountain on the Gondola at Heavenly is the Lake Tahoe must-do. It offers the most stunning views you can imagine and lives up to the name Heavenly. The only reason not to go is if you suffer from altitude sickness. Or fear of heights. It's at 9,123 feet.
6 Great Things to Do at Lake Tahoe in Summer
- Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival: Even if you don't think you like Shakespeare, give this lakeside festival a try for its gorgeous surroundings and laid-back ambiance. Bored? Just lean back and look at the stars.
- Take a Boat Cruise: There's no better way to see the vast lake and its surroundings than to get out in the middle of it.
- Drive Around the Lake: You can get the top sights to see in this Lake Tahoe Photo Tour.
- Visit Vikingsholm: This Scandinavian-style house on the edge Emerald Bay is the former summer home of a millionaire heiress and worth a stop for its unique architecture and history.
- Hang Out at a Resort: Squaw Valley and Northstar are just as beautiful in summer as they are in winter. They also offer a full range of summer activities for the whole family, such as miniature golf and roller skating. You will also find excellent prices for lodging.
- Go Rafting on the Truckee River: If you're uncoordinated, you might get a little wet, but a self-propelled raft trip down the Truckee River is a fine way to spend a morning or afternoon.
To celebrate Independence Day, South Lake Tahoe hosts Lights on the Lake, the most impressive Fourth of July fireworks display in the western United States.
The Tahoe Summer Music Festival offers a variety of music: classical orchestral, jazz, bluegrass, country, pop, and Broadway hits, outdoors under the stars.
Tips for Lake Tahoe in Summer
- Lake Tahoe is even busier in summer than it is in winter. Plan ahead as much as you can, and if you don't like crowds, avoid holiday weekends.
- You may also want to check the average temperatures and climate at Lake Tahoe in this guide.
- Yes, Lake Tahoe casinos are popular, but why spend time inside a smoky, dark place with all the natural beauty outside? At the very least, try to start your casino time after the sun sets.
- Bring plenty of sunscreen. It's easy to get sunburned at the high altitude. Use this guide to find out more things you need to know before you go to the mountains.
- The lake is extraordinarily beautiful and romantic at sunset and in the moonlight. Plan ahead. Find out when the sun sets and what day the moon is full.
People who live in Incline Village say the Hyatt has one of the best brunches in town. The Log Cabin in Kings Beach at North Lake Tahoe serves great traditional breakfasts, and if you give them a call at 530-546-7109 when you leave your hotel, they'll put your name on their waiting list. On the south side of the lake, try Ernie's Coffee Shop or Cafe Zenon in Tahoe City.
Where to Stay
Use this Lake Tahoe hotel guide to find a place to stay that's just right for you. It isn't just a list of hotels, but a guide that will help you find out the pros and cons of the many areas where you can find lodging. You can also find the perfect place to go camping here.
The nearest airport is in Reno, Nevada. This handy guide gives you all the driving details to get there.