Evey year I make a trip with friends to Lake Tahoe in the winter, and every year I don’t really know what to do. I don’t ski or snowboard, and the idea of spending a lot of money for a day of falling down a hill, knowing I won’t use what I learned for a year, just doesn’t seem worth it.
Normally, I just end up in our cabin reading books and relaxing. I love this but decided I want to get to know the Tahoe area and actually enjoy the beautiful environment off the couch.
So this year I headed up ahead of the friends and took in more of what the area has to offer. Starting with a relaxing night on the lake at Aston Lakeland Village. Finding along the way, delicious food, breathtaking views, and snow activity I actually like.
Note: Some tours, passes, and meals were provided at no cost to the author. All opinions remain my own.
Exploring Heavenly Village
I don’t often find touristy shopping areas worth wandering but there is something different about Heavenly Village up in South Lake Tahoe. Here I enjoy everything from wandering through North Face to watching all the skiers and snowboarders come off the gondola, to eating a Nestle chocolate chip cookie. It’s a good spot with art galleries and cute shops as well. A way to kill some time, especially on a nice day out.
Eat Delicious Local Cuisine
All around Lake Tahoe, you can find tasty local spots from breakfast to dessert. Hop on Yelp and find some local spots instead of eating at the big resorts when you’re in town. On the West Shore, you’ll find Fire Sign Cafe, a great diner for breakfast or lunch. On North Shore grab an afternoon cup of joe and relax at Global Cafe. On the other hand, dessert is a great chance to go somewhere fancy without spending a huge amount on a meal. Look at some of the lakeside restaurants like Jimmy’s at the Landing.
Walk on the Lake
Tahoe doesn’t freeze over entirely, it is 1000 feet deep in places and the largest freshwater lake West of the Mississippi, but it does freeze over along the shore. This gives you the unique opportunity to walk right out on the lake. Of course, be careful and don’t go to the very edge of the ice. Also, there are places you’ll see others doing it, I wouldn’t just venture off on every piece of ice you see. With that, South Lake has the perfect place to at Lakeview Commons Beach.
Snowshoeing with a View
A great way to get outdoors without heading down the slopes is snowshoeing. It’s an activity that really is for everyone and a great way to see the lake. Take a tour where you’ll have the equipment provided, a guide to help you along, and the perfect route to enjoy. I hopped on a Tahoe Adventure Company sunset tour. Our guide, Kelly, knew all about the lake and it’s history, took us along the trail so we ended up right on the top just in time for sunset. Plus, she brought along hot chocolate and cookies. You can also rent your own gear and head on trails around the lake.
Drive Around the Lake
A great way to get a feel for the entire lake, take the drive around it. Overall, it will take you about two hours, but instead of doing it in one stretch take you time and work in some of the above activities as you make your way around. This will allow you to do one more thing, enjoy the awe-inspiring views. You can stop at Emerald Bay or walk along Kings Beach. Make sure to get out a few times and see the different angles across the lake.
Relax & Enjoy
Even with all the things you can do in the Winter in Lake Tahoe, it is always a perfect place to relax. Whether you find a view to enjoy or just a cozy spot and a good book there is something about just kicking back in the mountains. Balance it with a good outside adventure plus, some good food and you’ll have the perfect trip.
For more information about Lake Tahoe check out these great books on Amazon including Fodor’s Northern California, Insiders’ Guide to Reno and Lake Tahoe, and Afoot and Afield: Tahoe-Reno: 201 Spectacular Outings in the Lake Tahoe Region.
Traveling to Lake Tahoe Soon?
Are you a skier or snowboarder? If not what do you like to do at winter destinations? Leave a comment below.