I love snowboarding, but haven’t been in a few years due to the lack of snow in the Pacific Northwest lately. When I got the chance to spend a few days at a cabin in South Lake Tahoe and saw their snow report, I jumped on the opportunity. The flight from Seattle was less than two hours to fly into the Reno airport. It’s then about an hour southwest to get to the south part of town.
I had never been to Tahoe before, but it reminded of a typical ski resort town. It had a ton of cute shops for souvenirs, outdoor bars, and restaurants for apres-ski. There’s plenty of rental shops if you want to try a sport for the first time and don’t want to quite commit to buying your own gear yet, or if you’re flying and don’t want to deal with the hassle of bringing them with you. Here are a few other places to check out if you’re planning a trip there in the future.
The obvious activity in Tahoe is skiing or snowboarding. The gondolas up to Heavenly are conveniently located in the middle of town, so you can walk depending on where your lodging is. There’s also a parking lot and street parking. Heavenly has 97 lifts, and the craziest part is you can choose to ski in either California or Nevada. I’ve never been to a mountain that was split among the states!
As I just stated, the Nevada-California state line happens to split up the town. I thought it was pretty neat that you could get lunch in California, and then cross the street to gamble in Nevada. There are a handful of casinos such as the Hard Rock and Harrah’s on the Nevada side. Ski in California during the day, head back to your hotel to get freshened up, and then head out for a night on the town in Nevada!
It’s about half an hour south of town, but the valley is a perfect area for snow sports with its wide open space. I went there to snowshoe for the first time, which was a blast (and harder than you think when it’s just dumped two feet of snow!). I was vastly outnumbered by snowmobilers though, which I’d love to try next time. There’s a small bed and breakfast/general store/restaurant a few minutes away if you get hungry or need last minute supplies. Heads up – you do need a permit to be here, which I recommend getting in town (it’s only $5).
The lake itself draws plenty of visitors in the summer, but its deep blue color looked beautiful against the white, snowy backdrop. Head down to one of the public shores and walk around where people normally sunbathe in the summer. All the piers were covered with snow when I was there, and there were even a few visible snowmen.
Even if you’re not interested in skiing, take the gondola up to the first stop on the mountain. It does cost money, but the views are stunning. You can see all of the town and across the lake. Take it up to the top to grab lunch and a drink in the lodge. Bring snow shoes though, as you do have to walk a good 100 feet from the gondola to the lodge.
Where’s your favorite winter vacation spot?
Looking for more travel tips?
Sign up for my weekly newsletter to get travel tips, plus enter to win travel contests!