Credit: Rachid Dahnoun / Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Experience the Best of Summertime in South Lake Tahoe With These 5 Unique Itineraries

Whether Your Travel Taste Skews Luxury or You’re Up for Some Outdoor Adventuring, South Lake Tahoe Has It All

When you find yourself craving a break from the city and a breath of fresh mountain air, load up the car and head to the shoreline of South Lake Tahoe. Wedged in the heart of the Sierra Nevadas, this wilderness playground will soothe your soul and quench your thirst for adventure.

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Known for its clear blue waters, luxe lodging and world-class outdoor recreation, South Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination whose beauty is evident in every season. With a resort to suit every personality and a world-class dining scene appealing to every foodie’s palate, it’s far too easy to fall in love with this paradise of a city.

We’ve curated the ultimate itinerary for every type of traveler, highlighting the best this alpine city has to offer—from sustainable abodes and thrill-seeking outdoor excursions to luxury spa treatments and everything in between.

 

For the Luxury Travelers

STAY

The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe

Credit: Brian Walker

Bringing a bit of the alpine terrain into its interior, The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe is inspired by the grand lodges of the American West and sits on the stunning shoreline of Lake Tahoe. From the rustic-chic Tahoe Rooms to the presidential Emerald Suite, each solarium-like abode features soaking tubs, a fireplace, a terrace or balcony and premium linens. We’re all for a treat-yourself moment, and this upscale Tahoe resort delivers on all fronts. Guests also have access to sumptuous amenities on this 235-acre pristine property, like outdoor fire pits, a heated lakefront pool and a full-service spa. Edgewood Tahoe embodies a sophisticated slice of mountain living in the heart of South Lake Tahoe

 

DINE

Chart House, Boathouse on the Pier, Wolf by Vanderpump, Community Speakeasy

Breakfast, lunch and dinner might be the easiest decisions you make during your luxe lake getaway. Fancying a fresh catch? The Mac Nut Mahi from Chart House is unparalleled, but their premier location means the sunset views have no contenders. When it comes to a gourmet meal, you simply can’t beat Boathouse on the Pier—which sits on the longest pier in Lake Tahoe. This South Lake Tahoe restaurant adds a bit of glitz and glamor to every plate, from the perfectly prepared Chilean sea bass to the decadent baked brie.

Up for a truly snazzy experience? Wolf by Vanderpump, located inside Harveys Lake Tahoe Hotel & Casino, brings extravagance and whimsy to the destination. It’s the newest restaurant in the Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd Collection, and the twinkling, garden-like atmosphere practically speaks for itself. Order Dirty Dog (an everything bagel martini) to sip on and don’t leave without trying the caviar and chips with 18k gold flakes.

After dinner, cozy up at Community Speakeasy at Social House for a nightcap to wrap up an evening of upscale lakeside dining. Let this cozy cocktail space whip you up a refreshing, gin-forward Velvet Mission for a taste of summertime.

 

DO

Shopping at The Crossing at Tahoe Valley, Golf at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Gondola Rides at Heavenly Village

Credit: Brian Walker

Whether you visit during the height of summer or your trip falls during sweater season, there’s always an excuse to rep a new style. The Crossing at Tahoe Valley is South Lake Tahoe’s premier lifestyle center that boasts several locally-owned shops and luxury labels.

Credit: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

If you’re on a couples retreat, your beau can tee off at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Lake Tahoe’s top-rated golf course perched 6,200 feet closer to the clouds. If it’s epic views you’re after, there’s no better way to spend your day than skimming the treetops in a gondola at Heavenly Village. Grab an iced latte from nearby Café Blue, enjoy the 2.4-mile ride up and get ready to explore the scenic hiking trails at the top.

 

DON’T MISS

Sipping at Sundown Cruise

A sunset sail on the Pacific is cool, but we’re totally in favor of charting the waters mountain-style. South Lake Tahoe’s premier Sipping at Sundown Cruise should be at the top of your Tahoe bucket list. Why? The canvas of sunset colors across the sky might have something to do with it, but a salty sea breeze and a cocktail makes it that much better. This summertime activity in Tahoe offers one of the best views of the Sierra Nevada from the boat deck of the luxury Tahoe Paradise yacht. Departing from Zephyr Cove Resort, on the edge of Lake Tahoe’s sparkling southern shoreline, these sensational sails are offered on select Saturdays. Toasting with a glass of champagne, light bites and live music, you can find us here all summer long.

 

For the Families

STAY

Margaritaville Resort Lake Tahoe

Credit: Visit Lake Tahoe

Between the salty mountain air and freshwater playground, Margaritaville Resort Lake Tahoe is the quintessential landing spot to forge those sweet summer memories with the whole fam. Don’t let its name fool you! Little ones will love the outdoor firepits, live music and heated pool at this island-inspired mountain resort. Things can quickly feel cramped when traveling as a pack, making this Tahoe resort’s premium suites a dream for families. Private bedrooms, living areas and walk-in showers are tucked perfectly into spacious rooms for a feeling of family-friendly luxury. Options are essential during family vacays, and their five on-site dining venues eliminate any arguments over where to dine for dinner. The untamed wilderness of South Lake Tahoe is at your fingertips, with Tahoe summer activities like boating and hiking located just steps from this retreat.

 

Resthaven Tahoe

Resthaven Tahoe is an excellent choice for families looking for a comfortable and conveniently located place to stay while enjoying the scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe. This hotel is known for its spacious rooms, providing a relaxing environment to unwind in after a day of adventures. Resthaven Tahoe is pet-friendly, allowing guests to bring their furry friends along for an additional fee. Experience the charm of the outdoor fire pit, a perfect spot to gather and create cherished family memories. After an evening grilling your favorite dinner, indulge in the timeless joy of roasting s’mores under the starlit Tahoe sky. This serene setting provides a splendid backdrop for warm conversations and laughter with your loved ones.

 

DINE

The Red Hut Cafe, Flatstick Pub, The Getaway Cafe, LandShark Bar & Grill 

For a leisurely breakfast or brunch, pop into The Red Hut Cafe, a vintage, Western-style 50s diner. Advocates for serving breakfast food at all hours of the day, this cafe’s short stack of pancakes, coconut waffles and Western Omelet are house specialties. Of course, classic diner food, like shakes, malts, sandwiches and burgers are all made-to-order.

The secret to a carefree getaway with kiddos? Keeping them fed and entertained! Flatstick Pub does both, with mini golf, Duffleboard™, cornhole and plenty of tacos to go around. The only thing missing is a local craft beer from their sports bar, which is best enjoyed under a cabana on the patio or cozied up next to their roaring outdoor fireplace.

Starting your day with breakfast at The Getaway Cafe is an experience that blends hearty comfort with culinary delight. Located in Meyers, just off of Highway 50, this quaint cafe has been a local favorite for years, offering a cozy ambiance that perfectly complements its satisfying dishes​​. During the spring and summer months, you can enjoy your breakfast or lunch on their spacious, dog-friendly patio, making it a perfect spot for both locals and visitors looking to soak in the serene Tahoe environment.

Another great spot for families, LandShark Bar & Grill at Margaritaville boasts a sunny patio and a menu of American tavern fare and refreshing drinks. They have a kids menu for the little ones, but the adults will want to sip on either the Rum Runner or Perfect Margarita with an order of fish and chips.

 

DO

Marina Activities, Horseback Riding, Ziplining and Arcade Games

Credit: Ally & Bobby Talley / Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Is there a rule that says summer camp is reserved for kids? We think not! Relive that nostalgic, youthful era with a couple of kayak and paddleboard rentals from Camp Richardson. Perched on the soft golden sands of South Lake Tahoe, the camp is sheltered by a grove of aromatic Jeffrey pines and is a stellar spot for all kinds of recreation. Alternatively, saddle up for a trail ride at Camp Richardson Corral, located adjacent to the historic Camp Richardson Resort. These scenic mounted tours leisurely traverse mountain meadows and national forest grounds.

Indulge your adventurous side with ziplining at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Skim the treetops at an elevation of 1000 feet, reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour! For an indoor excursion (or maybe just a simple way to entertain your kiddos), head to the Arcade at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe for a game of air hockey or skeeball.

Credit: Erik Hale

Local Insight: Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Noel’s Coffee & Apothecary is located just down the street from Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. Pop in for a pour-over before 1 p.m. because, after that, this hotspot turns into a craft cocktail bar!

 

DON’T MISS

Magic Show at The Loft

Credit: The Loft Tahoe

Slide into a black vinyl booth for a bit of family fun and mystique at The Loft. Tucked in South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Village, this live theater dining lounge combines award-winning entertainment with a menu of American tapas. Magic and comedy shows are a nightly occurrence under this roof. A low-light ambiance, sparkling chandeliers and fire pits set the scene for a “magical” night out with the fam. The casual, bistro-style menu is composed of nothing but scratch-made dishes featuring local, seasonal ingredients. It’s a struggle not to overindulge in the ricotta gnocchi, grilled elk tenderloin and grilled chicken skewers after the red curtain falls, and don’t even get us started on the tableside s’mores—an ode to those sweet summer nights underneath the stars.

 

For the Wellness Gurus

STAY

The Landing Resort & Spa

Credit: The Landing Resort & Spa / Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Wellness trips seem to be the trend right now, and we’re here for it. Jetting off to Cabo may be what the ‘gram is suggesting, but we’re in favor of a mountain moment at The Landing Resort & Spa. Say hello to lakefront living with its mountain-chic suites and studios, complete with all the perks any wellness guru could ever want. We’re talking about heated bathroom floors, European rain showers and your own Lavazza coffee machine. Backed by acres of serene mountain vistas and picture-perfect hiking trails, guests can enjoy a trek in the fresh mountain air and, afterward, a soak in the warmth of the hotel’s heated outdoor pool and hot tub. Cap off a day well-spent by the roaring fireplace on the rooftop deck with a martini in hand from Jimmy’s Restaurant.

 

DINE

Sprouts Natural Cafe, Verde Mexican Rotisserie, Artemis Lakefront Cafe

Sprouts Natural Cafe is where you’ll be ordering all your morning green smoothies, breakfast bowls and soulful salads. This health-focused cafe in Tahoe was founded on a passion for sustainable, nourishing food, and that mission is still evident in every dish that leaves the kitchen.

Credit: Sara Lynn Hunt-Broka

If you’re missing a taste of that SoCal Mexican food, Verde Mexican Rotisserie is a modern Mexican cantina with everything from housemade margaritas to dishes like the rotisserie chicken plate and the Verde Burrito. Each plate here is made using high-quality ingredients, like grass-fed cheese and non-processed oils.

To round out your culinary journey, head to Artemis Lakefront Cafe! We love a good Mediterranean moment, and this rustic restaurant will satisfy all your Greek food cravings. Fresh, quality ingredients fill their tasty pita wraps, souvlaki plates and baklava, catering to all the health enthusiasts out there.

 

DO

Spa Treatments, Japanese Cedar Detox Baths, Coffee Breaks and Shopping for Wellness Essentials

Best Lake Tahoe Travel Itineraries
Credit: The Landing Lake Tahoe Resort & Spa

Nothing says “wellness weekend” quite like a Spring Renewal Facial from The Landing Resort & Spa. It’s loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, prepping your skin for the new season while promoting a youthful glow. After your facial, get your soak on with a Japanese Cedar Enzyme Detox Bath—a time-honored tradition in Japanese culture. Tahoe Forest Baths replicate the benefits of these warming soaks, resulting in a rejuvenated metabolism, joint pain relief and improved circulation.

It’s a universal fact that a wellness gal’s best friend is a quality cup of coffee in a trendsetting cafe. Cuppa Tahoe doubles as an espresso bar and a bookshop, merging the best of both worlds. After browsing the shelves, keep your immune system strong with custom tea blends, holistic healthcare products and supplements from Elevate Wellness. This wellness clinic combines traditional Chinese medicine with functional medicine practices—the perfect place to hit the reset button.

 

DON’T MISS

OMNI Tahoe Yoga Festival

Best Lake Tahoe Travel Itineraries
Credit: Gabrielle Pellegrino and Myles De Laurentis

Mindful movement is the therapy that sings to our souls. You don’t have to sacrifice your fitness routine just because you’re on vacay, at least not with OMNI Tahoe around the corner. This boutique fitness studio is South Lake Tahoe’s premier hot yoga and fitness space. Get ready to sweat and sculpt in this 800-square-foot infrared heated studio that reaches temperatures between 85 and 102 degrees. Finish with some post-sweat relaxation in their luxury steam room.

Make sure to plan your visit in August to catch the second annual OMNI Tahoe Yoga Festival on August 10 and 11. This once-a-year retreat invites yogis to celebrate the sacred mind-body connection amidst Lake Tahoe’s serene wilderness.

 

For the Adventurers

STAY

Basecamp South Lake Tahoe Hotel

Best Lake Tahoe Travel Itineraries
Credit: Basecamp Hotels

While it may be a slight step up from glamping, Basecamp South Lake Tahoe Hotel was designed to emulate a backcountry camping experience, bringing the great outdoors inside the walls of its cabin-themed interior. This boutique hotel in South Lake Tahoe offers the luxury amenities of a modern resort without distracting from the area’s blissful natural surroundings.

The Great Indoors Suite will bring back childhood memories with an indoor tent, a picnic table and a faux log fireplace. Rather than grilling hot dogs over an open fire in the backwoods, head down to the courtyard and check out the South of North Brewing Co. Beer Garden or Trailfolk Coffee Co. for all your culinary essentials. Of course, roasting s’mores is essential on every camping trip. You’ll find the fire pits on the lobby deck underneath a canopy of festoon lighting right next door to the property’s spa deck.

 

DINE

The Grove at Camp Richardson Resort, The Hangar Lake Tahoe, FiRE + iCE Tahoe, Sidellis, Beer Trail

Situated on South Lake Tahoe’s sun-soaked shores, The Grove at Camp Richardson Resort invites guests to sit down to a seasonal-inspired meal. Munch your way through burgers and oysters over live music sets at this vibrant lakeside venue.

We also couldn’t forget to give a shout-out to The Hangar Lake Tahoe—after all, they’re known for brewing some of the best beer in the city. Featuring backyard vibes, live music and a sprawling outdoor picnic area secluded by pines, you’ll feel the endless summer vibes.

FiRE + iCE Tahoe’s buffet-style venue and interactive grill will satisfy extra-ravenous explorers, prepping you for an expedition along the South Lake Tahoe Beer Trail. This thirst-quenching voyage highlights the region’s top breweries, including Lake Tahoe AleWorX, which has a stellar selection of brews, an outdoor patio with a fire pit and a killer margarita pizza and Cobb salad.

 

DO

Parasailing, Hiking, S’mores, Hot Air Ballooning and Biking

Best Lake Tahoe Travel Itineraries
Credit: Lake Tahoe Balloons

Parasailing at Zephyr Cove is the closest you’ll get to taking flight, and the panoramic views you’ll get of the lake are unparalleled. For more sky-high fun, book a ballooning experience with Lake Tahoe Balloons, where you can float above the clouds in the world’s only balloon aircraft recovery vessel. For those who prefer to keep their feet a little closer to the ground, South Lake Tahoe is blessed with an abundance of hiking trails, like the Cascade Falls and Rubicon Trail. While on the other hand, cyclists will be enthralled by Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Trail—a rocky, six-mile downhill biking adventure. End the day with a s’mores roasting session on the lobby deck of Basecamp Hotel for a way to cap off your day of adventure.

Credit: Erik Hale

Local Insight: Feel like chasing waterfalls? Take a drive or hike to see Glen Alpine Falls! This 30-foot waterfall is worth the trek and the photo op. For directions, click here.

 

DON’T MISS

Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster

You could traverse the forest floor by foot, but where’s the fun in that? The Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster is a far better option, snaking through the dense woodlands and over the natural rock formations that give South Lake Tahoe its breathtaking beauty. This alpine coaster is powered by gravity, giving riders the ability to control their speed during their journey down. Sledding was never meant to be a solo experience, and their metal sled carts can fit up to two passengers in one, allowing riders to savor the experience alongside a friend. Hitch a ride up to the base of this mountaintop coaster on the ski lift, then gear up for an exhilarating mountain ride!

 

For the Environmentalists

STAY

Desolation Hotel 

Credit: Brad Scott

Sustainability is the heart and soul of Desolation Hotel, amplifying eco-friendly practices throughout its luxury Scandinavian-style property. Tucked among the pines and The Sierra Nevada, this micro resort is posh yet homey with ultra-modern amenities. Each of their “wildernests” is outfitted with Frette linens and robes, alternative down comforters and custom holistic bath products from Grown Alchemist. In-room fireplaces, blackout curtains, kitchenettes and private outdoor soaking tubs add a luxurious edge to the suites at this elevated Tahoe hotel. Grab a craft cocktail from the poolside bar and dip your toes in the outdoor saltwater pool. The sauna and cold shower plunge keep this resort on-trend while catering to guests’ every wellness need from a holistic, eco-luxe perspective.

Credit: Brad Scott

Local Insight: At Desolation Hotel, environmental preservation is always top of mind and the property does everything it can to reduce its carbon footprint. To learn more about their sustainability efforts, click here.

 

DINE

Maggie’s Restaurant, Thai on Ski Run, Kalani’s Lake Tahoe

Cooking with ingredients native to South Lake Tahoe, Maggie’s Restaurant at Desolation Hotel is a quaint eatery that delivers an upscale dining experience. From pumpkin pancakes and apple cinnamon French toast for brunch to chicken roulade and mushroom arancini for dinner, there’s always something innovative and delicious cooking at this contemporary venue.

Credit: Paje Victoria / Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

In the mood for some noods? Thai on Ski Run’s name says it all! The perfect fly-by spot in the winter for long days out on the slopes, this Thai restaurant’s menu is rich with fresh, natural ingredients and many of the dishes come directly from owner Thanya Starr’s family recipe book! In the summertime, diners can enjoy the delectable dishes with a side of fresh air at the picnic tables on the patio.

Credit: Emily Taylor / Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

If it’s seafood you’re after, head to the Puka Lounge and Sushi bar at Kalani’s Lake Tahoe. Inspired by the Hawaiian Islands and Pacific Rim regions, this island-themed tiki bar boasts everything from baby back ribs and Dungeness crab cakes to seasonal salads and sushi rolls.

 

DO

Shop for Decor and Plants, Bike and Drink Tahoe Tap!

Credit: High Mountain Greenery

Wildwood Makers Market is a creative’s happy place. This women-owned studio offers jewelry and home decor from local, independent artists in the Tahoe Basin area. Whether or not you have a green thumb, High Mountain Greenery takes the crown as an aesthetic plant shop, operating as a workshop space and a “planterior” design store.

When you find yourself desperate for some fresh air and movement, cycle the terrain with a Summit Roots E-Bike Tour—a four-hour cycling journey through the summit lakes and forested undergrowth. And with plastic bottles banned throughout South Lake Tahoe, you’ll want to pick up a reusable water bottle from Drink Tahoe Tap to carry with you on your adventures. The brand has virtual maps highlighting various water stations in the area where you can refill your bottle with 99.9% pure water.

 

DON’T MISS

Hiking and Volunteering

Best Lake Tahoe Travel Itineraries
Credit: League to Save Lake Tahoe

Hike the trails of Van Sickle Bi-State Park, one of the most accessible parks in South Lake Tahoe. This low-impact, car-less outing showcases the natural heritage of this mountain region. The Tahoe Rim Trail, in particular, has been declared one of the top hiking trails in the nation. 

Round out your environmentalist trip by showing this alpine lake region a little extra love and volunteering with Tahoe Blue Crew. The team stewards a passion for their lakefront home through volunteer outings that work toward creating a litter-free landscape. Organized trash pick-ups are just one way this crew is making a positive difference, but it’s not the only one. You can also contribute to the cause on your own time, using the Citizen Science Tahoe app to target particularly litter-heavy areas.

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