Outdoor Activities near Lake Tahoe

Real estate near Lake Tahoe offers a lifetime of outdoor recreation opportunities for residents, with unprecedented access to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, iconic ski slopes, and the famously clear waters of the lake itself.

Below is a guide to a few of the most beloved outdoor pastimes for this luxurious mountain enclave.

Emerald Bay State Park

Spend a day reveling in the breathtaking natural beauty of Emerald Bay State Park. This park is a must-visit for anyone looking to see Lake Tahoe at its finest. Emerald Bay is a small inlet on Lake Tahoe’s western shore, sheltered by towering trees and forested hillsides of glacier-carved granite. The waters boast a striking blue-green hue due to the bay being slightly shallower than the rest of the lake. Visitors can enjoy all the usual lakeside activities (kayaking, fishing, sunbathing) while also enjoying access to local history.

Be sure to visit the majestic Scandinavian castle, Vikingsholm. This 1920s home was built using various natural materials around Lake Tahoe, making it an authentic part of the surrounding landscape. The steep one-mile trail is worth trekking to see this piece of local history, though visitors should beware of wintertime snow and ice, making the trail a more complex undertaking.
Emerald Bay State Park, South Lake Tahoe, Photo courtesy of Caleb Bennetts,
Emerald Bay is also home to the Maritime Heritage Underwater Trail. Scuba divers can relish in an unmatched opportunity to view and touch fantastic underwater artifacts. After you’ve resurfaced, don’t forget to stop by Inspiration Point to see a birds-eye view of Emerald Bay from 600’ above.

Lake Tahoe Boat Cruise

If you’re looking for a leisurely way to explore Lake Tahoe, there’s no better way than embarking on a boat cruise. There are various companies offering cruises around Lake Tahoe’s North, West, and South Shores and Emerald Bay.

Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II is an exceptional choice for your boating adventure. This boat tour is a perfect way to soak in the alpine beauty of Emerald Bay and admire the Sierra Nevada mountain scenery with a cocktail in hand. You’ll cruise past Emerald Bay’s Fannette Island and Vikingsholm Castle, and the cruise features a screening of an informational video detailing the underwater features of the lake.

Lake Tahoe Balloons

See Lake Tahoe from new heights with Lake Tahoe Balloons. The company has operated balloon flights over Lake Tahoe for more than two decades and provides exceptional service, beautiful vistas, and an unforgettable experience. The Classic Tahoe Flight offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Mountain range and a full range of beverages and refreshments to enjoy onboard. Charter flight packages can accommodate larger groups (up to 16 people), including families, friends, or corporate groups.

El Dorado Wine Country Tour

If you’re interested in exploring the fantastic wineries near Lake Tahoe, go on the all-day El Dorado Wine Country Tour from South Lake Tahoe. The tour includes transportation by air-conditioned shuttle bus, wine tasting fees at the first three wineries, a picnic lunch, and complimentary hotel pickup and drop-off at select hotels.

Your day trip will begin with a drive along Highway 50 to the El Dorado AVA, a wine appellation near the historic city of Placerville. Your guide will then take you to a handful of wineries near Apple Hills, where you can spot apple farms and other fruit orchards peppered through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The actual wineries visited vary by day but often included Jodar Vineyards & Winery and Boeger Winery. Tastings at the first three wineries are provided before your alfresco lunch, including gourmet cheese, cured meats, veggies, fruit, and hummus.

King’s Beach State Recreation Area

King's Beach is one of the most extensive beaches in the Tahoe area and is located along Lake Tahoe’s north shore. Favorite local pastimes include swimming, sunbathing, and boating. Pack a basket to enjoy in the picnic area and watch your kids explore the playground. Visitors and tourists alike can soak up the sun, play ball on the basketball half-court, and enjoy water sports in the summer. If you’re a thrill-seeker ready to parasail, kayak, paddleboard, or jet ski, check out North Tahoe Watersports for rentals.

Squaw Alpine 

Lake Tahoe is known for exceptional skiing and snowboarding. Squaw Alpine is one of Tahoe’s best ski resorts, boasting a wide range of exciting runs and world-class terrain. It’s excellent for beginners and experts alike. Visit this winter to enjoy 4,800 acres of stunning ski terrain and blissful lake views.
Aerial Tram, Photo courtesy of Squaw Alpine
In the summer, you can head to the Aerial Tram to take a ride 2,000 feet above the mountainous landscape. When you purchase a tram ticket, you get free access to the Olympic Museum, where you can view memorabilia from the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley. The tram offers riders unparalleled views of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding landscape.

Adventurers love to climb Tahoe Via Ferrata. Put on some sunblock and experience an unmatched climb, scaling the iconic rock facade of Via Ferrata. If you prefer a walk amongst flower-strewn meadows, alpine lakes, waterfalls, and lookouts, there are plenty of scenic hiking trails accessible at the base of Squaw Valley and the top of the Aerial Tram.

Sand Harbor State Park

Sand Harbor State Park offers 55 acres of swimming, kayaking, and scuba diving opportunities. Lounge on the sandy beaches, discover hidden coves, and take shelter under shady pine forests. The docks at the boat launch are used by countless sailing, kayaking, and boating enthusiasts, while those who prefer to stay on land can head to one of the hiking trails.

The Sand Point Nature Trail is a shorter hike with beautiful lake views, while the Sand Harbor to Memorial Point Trail is a half-mile route with access to secluded beaches and rocky coves. For those looking to relax and find some shade, head to one of the many picnic sites to barbecue, kick back, and take refuge under the pines and cedars. Other facilities include the Sand Harbor Visitor Center, Gift Shop, and a casual eatery.

If you’re a Shakespeare buff, plan to attend the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival held at Sand Harbor every summer. The festival features performances highlighting some of Shakespeare’s most famous works in a gorgeous outdoor theater set amid a grove of soaring pine trees. The serene natural setting and starry night skies make this festival a unique and exciting experience. 
If you’re looking to move to Lake Tahoe, contact realtor Lexi Cerretti with all of your Reno-Lake Tahoe real estate questions. Lexi offers local expertise and trustworthy customer service to clients hunting for their Lake Tahoe dream house.

*Header photo courtesy of Jeremy Banks. Lake Tahoe near Emerald Bay

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Lexi doesn't focus on quantity, but rather on the quality of her relationships with select clients, valuing her time and hands-on approach. Her knowledge of Lake Tahoe's luxury and waterfront properties is second to none.
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