Lake Tahoe, the beautiful blue lake surrounded by mountains, is one of my favorite getaways in Northern California, ever since I fell in love with San Francisco. And while it is very popular in winter with plenty of ski resorts to enjoy the snow, it’s also a fun summer getaway. You can enjoy the beaches along the lakeshore or go hiking during the day and enjoy dinners, entertainment and gambling in the casinos at night – or just enjoy the lake views with a good book in a comfortable chair and do nothing!
One of my favorite views around Lake Tahoe is from up high over the deep blue Emerald Bay and the lake beyond on the Southern shores. Lake Tahoe is just over 500 meters deep – and when you look into those waters, it’s easy to believe.
And while you can enjoy views of Emerald Bay from the parking lot right next to the road, it is a very different experience when you leave the cars and crowds behind and head to one of the many hikes into the forest and up the mountains in the area. Despite being so close to the busy viewpoint, the Cascade Falls Trail starting on the other side of the road does not get too many people. It’s a 2.3km (4.5km round trip) long trail along the peaceful Cascade Lake to the small falls at the top. It’s a moderate hike, with mostly sandy trails and some rocky climbs, so bring hiking boots or at least sneakers. There is plenty of space at the top with views over Cascade Lake to take a break from the world, enjoy your lunch or just relax in the sun! After spending so much time in hectic cities, I can never get enough of peaceful places like that to relax and recover!
If that sounds like too much work, some beach time on the sandy shores of Lake Tahoe is a great alternative. The views over the lake with the steep mountains as backdrop are stunning. And you are never far from the food, drink and amenities of lakeside restaurants and hotels! There is a nice, public beach near the Timber Cove Marina and a private beach with day passes near the Lakeside Marina. Each has a nice stretch of sand to lay out and some basic services like toilets or food and drink nearby. I went on a long walk along the lake from the Lakeside Marina and after a few minutes had the beach pretty much to myself. It never seizes to amaze me, how easy it is to leave the crowds behind for some quiet time, if you are just willing to walk for 10 minutes!
After a day in the sun, you’ve earned a nice dinner. There are plenty of choices and if you want to combine the dinner with some entertainment, the casinos on the Nevada side of the stateline offer lots of it. The Hardrock, Harvey’s and Harrah’s casinos are right next to each other, so you can check them out for a bar, restaurant or game of your choice. Keep in mind that you are no longer in California – and smoking is allowed in the casinos.
If you are living or visiting in the San Francisco area, Lake Tahoe is a wonderful summer getaway for some quiet time in nature, with sunny beaches, forest and rocky peaks surrounding the deep blue lake, it’s easy to clear your head and find your inner peace. And that’s always worth the trip!