Around Tahoe Tours is your best bet for getting a true feel and knowledge of the local area. Created by Darin Talbot, the tour agency is a culmination of his knowledge that began in 1977 when he moved to the area with his fun attitude and amusing ways of sharing the tales of Tahoe. A musician and storyteller by heart, Talbot is able to create an entertaining and educational tour for the entire family. His tours range from in-person private tours to group tours to CD tours that are self-guiding. The tours focus on all of the various areas of the Tahoe Basin, from South Lake Tahoe to Truckee. Around Tahoe Tours also offers a GPS app to help visitors know the area and see hidden gems.
Of course Northstar at Tahoe Resort has skiing, but its range of offerings make the longtime Truckee fixture a four-seasons must visit. With upgrades, remodeling and the addition of a mid-mountain Ritz Carlton hotel, Northstar has upped its game in recent years. Considered to be the resort for families looking to ski on the North Shore, there is now more challenging terrain to be had amongst the resort’s 3,100 skiable acres, 100 trails all serviced by 20 lifts. Nine advanced runs have been created on the backside of Northstar, which is called, yep, The Backside. There are seven snowboarding terrain parks and pipes to give beginner and advanced riders more room to shred. Of course there is a world-class view of Lake Tahoe from atop the mountain’s 8,600-foot summit. But not all the fun is had on the slopes. There is a 9,000-square-foot ice rink in the middle of the village accompanied by live music, snacks and beverages for those not into skiing. Visitors will find dozens of places to eat and shop from sushi and pizza to Patagonia and The North Face. There is even a movie theater for visitors and locals alike. For those into hiking in the snow and skinny skis, there are 35 km of groomed and tracked trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The fun doesn’t end when winter does, however. Northstar features one of the earliest — and now most extensive — lift-assisted mountain bike parks in the country. Northstar features an 18-hole golf course and has a variety of lodging options from luxury hotels, condos and home rentals.
The sprawling Tahoe Donner subdivision and its 6,000-plus homes above Truckee is many things to lots of people. For some it is their home neighborhood; for others it’s where they rent a house for a few days in winter or summer. Locals and visitors all take advantage of the Tahoe Donner Association’s 7,000 acres and equally vast amenities available to homeowners as well as to the public. The association’s clubhouses are members only, but the public can experience Tahoe Donner for free or pay-to-play at top-notch offerings such as the 18-hole golf course, the equestrian center for riding lessons, the cross-country ski center and its 100 km of groomed trails and kid-friendly snow-play area. The downhill ski center is ideal for little kids (and adults) to learn skiing and snowboarding. More than 60 miles of trails and fire roads wind through nearly 3,500 acres of open space and can be explored for free on foot, bike or snowshoes. And after all that exploring, Tahoe Donner has a variety of places to dine. The Lodge Restaurant and Pub has indoor and outdoor dining next to the golf course. Pizza on the Hill also offers other fare plus a full bar and game room for the kids. Also keep an eye open for events open to the public held at various times in the season.
Go to the Truckee Bike Park and you’ll see teens and adults pulling off high-flying stunts and toddlers pushing their strider bikes. The bike park was designed for all ability types, so it’s a perfect place to spend several hours while the little ones get a feel for riding on easy tracks and the older and bigger ones take advantage of berms and jumps on the park’s pump tracks, flow trails and dual slalom course. A pump track, by the way, is a small, looping trail system that one can ride continuously without pedaling. It’s an ideal way to master bike handling and have fun at the same time. There are also drops of differing heights to ride over to practice before getting out on the trail. Helmets are required; knee/elbow pads are optional but suggested.
Lake Tahoe, 15 minutes away, gets all the attention, but Truckee has a gem of its own: Donner Lake. While not as big and broad as Big Blue, Donner Lake offers up a good bit of watery fun too. One of the best places to access Donner is West End Beach. In summer months during the day, there is a modest admission fee to enter the 10-acre west end area, but the sandy beach and roped-off, kid-friendly swim area is the place to take youngsters to build sand castles and splash in the water all under the watch of life guards. Operated by the Truckee Donner Park and Recreation Department, West End Beach also has paddleboards, kayaks and pedal boats available to rent. There is plenty of free fun once into the beach area: two playgrounds for kids to get their kicks on, a sand volleyball court, tennis court, a basketball court and horseshoe pits. A snack bar serves up soft drinks, hot dogs and ice cream. Get there early and stake out a picnic table and grill. There are shady group picnic areas available by reservation. Local's only tip: If you can wait until after the summer operating hours, access to the beach is free, but gates close at sundown so do your grilling quickly.
Adventure Mountain is an excellent way to get the entire family outside and having fun. An intimate setting ready to bring the giggle out in you with its sledding zones, snow play area and snowshoeing trails, this snow fun area is ready to help the whole family have a good time. Adventure Mountain provides all of the tools of the trade that you need to... read more
Set amidst its namesake aspen trees and with the babbling Third Creek running along one side, the Aspen Grove is the perfect setting for weddings, group picnics or other large celebrations. Accommodating up to 200 people, the Aspen Grove is an enclosed grassy area shaded by the aspens with a large barbecue grill and picnic tables. On premises is a 920-square-foot indoor facility with a... read more
One of the special aspects to Lake Tahoe is all of the amazing backcountry opportunities that surround her. This is especially the case when it comes to backcountry skiing. Both Truckee and the surrounding communities of Lake Tahoe are blessed with a plethora of skiing and snowboarding options in the natural and uncontrolled mountains. Here's a little sampling of the tasty runs that await if... read more
Baldwin Beach is a great place to enjoy the nature that Tahoe has to offer. It’s often uncrowded and walks along the wide-open sandy beach include dunes. Baldwin provides restrooms and some picnic tables, and there is a nearby campground for overnighters. The parking, which costs $8 per vehicle, is convenient for those who bring kayaks or other water toys as well as for visitors... read more
A part of the Tallac Historic Site, the Baldwin Museum showcases the early days of Lake Tahoe settlement. The museum offers displays that give an inside look into the plights and highs of the founding settlers, the toys of yesteryear that kept the children of the area busy as well as the way that a family kept themselves fed and thriving. The museum has a... read more
The Bijou Community Park is the only one of its kind in South Lake Tahoe. Created by the long-term locals of South Lake Tahoe, the park offers many amenities. For example, there is a public basketball court, bike park, a fenced dog park, public restrooms and volleyball courts. There is also a full-size skateboard park, one of the top disc golf courses in the country... read more
Slower than a car and able to cover more ground than on foot, the best way to get the lay of the land is by bike. With its downtown location, Bike Truckee Rentals is an ideal place to grab a bike for the family and explore the town. Bike Truckee Rentals offers inexpensive rentals for good-old single-speed cruiser bikes, comfort bikes with comfortable riding positions... read more
Boaters Beach is reached via the same trail system that accesses Chimney Beach, Secret Cove, Whale Beach and Creek Beach. The trailhead starts at the free public parking about 2.6 miles south of Sand Harbor on Highway 28. The hike begins as a steep downhill and then quickly levels off. When it flattens out take the trail to the left (right will take you to... read more
There is no missing Boreal Mountain Resort as its ski and snowboard runs are visible right off Interstate 80 at the 7,200-foot Donner Summit. It’s also hard to miss Boreal, as it is always proud to announce being the first Tahoe-area resort to open each winter. Boreal’s core customers are two-fold: terrain park shredders or those learning to ski or ride. With its modest vertical... read more
Borges Sleigh Rides is a family-owned and operated sleigh and carriage tour company taking you to the most beautiful places in Lake Tahoe. A truly unique experience that is fun for the entire family, Borges Sleigh Rides provides a way to see the Tahoe countryside like no other. The Borges family are longtime locals, helping the sleigh and carriage rides to also be filled with... read more
For more than a century, the Camp Richardson location has been a place for people to escape from the hectic urban life and rejuvenate their spirits in the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe. Operated today under a U.S. Forest Service special use permit (except for the marina, which is privately owned), the "Camp Rich" resort honors its storied history and continues to provide a vacation... read more
Carnelian Beach West is a nice sandy beach on the west side of the Sierra Boat Company, located in Carnelian Bay. The free public beach is a little more than 500 feet in length. Free parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to Gar Wood Grill and Pier. This beach offers a few different amenities including a shoreline promenade, picnic tables, BBQs, public restrooms... read more
Cave Rock is an esteemed part of Lake Tahoe. Considered sacred by the Washoe Indians, the 3 million year old rock formation is known as the Lady of the Lake due to the image of a woman's profile. Cave Rock is located 3 miles south of Glenbrook on Highway 50, the entrance to the park just a few feet south of the Cave Rock Tunnel.... read more
Chambers Landing Beach is a small pebbly beach next to the historic and iconic Tahoe fine dining restaurant Chambers Landing, located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. The beach doesn't offer any amenities like garbage cans or bathrooms. It does, on the other hand, allow dogs. Parking is along the street only.
Chimney Beach is one of the more spectacular beaches on Lake Tahoe. Located 2.6 miles south of Sand Harbor on Highway 28, it tends to be a little quieter than other beaches that are accessed via car as it is a bit of a hike to get to it. The mile-plus hike starts out to the right of the free parking area, with a steep... read more