San Francisco to Tahoe

Feb 10th, 2005, 04:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
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San Francisco to Tahoe

I am planning on spending 3 nights in SF in mid April. Thinking of driving to Tahoe and wondering if it is feasable to drive and spend just 1 night there? HOw long a drive is it and what part of Tahoe are the casino hotels? Which are recommended to stay at?
anncat71 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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If you travel outside of the normal commute hours, it will take you 4-5 hours to get from SF to Lake Tahoe. It is not a bad drive. The major casinos are located at South Lake Tahoe. People generally stay at either Harrahs or Harveys depending on which is offering the best deal.
Travelermebe is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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The drive from South Lake Tahoe to Sacramento takes you through a very scenic area with forests, streams and mountains (is it US 50?). The rest of the drive just north of Sacramento to SF is pretty boring however. I also like Harvey's or Harrah's as the best hotel/casino choices, same company actually. There are a few others nearby as well.
curiousgeo is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 08:39 PM
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Yep, the drive is very feasible for a one night trip. I have done it as a day snow trip multiple times from my house in San Francisco. I usually stay where ever I have a comp but if I was to pay I like Ceasars (mainly because of the round tub). Harveys and Harrahs are both nice also.

Check the weather before going. Although the snow is usually gone by then, I have pictures standing in the snow in front of Harrah's with snow all around us (in early April a couple of years ago).
kikahead is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 06:51 PM
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I would vote to stay at Caesars for the night. they have a great pool and you have a spa/bathtub in the room. You can sometimes find good deals on for Caesers. My co-worker just got $69 a night for the week of Valentines
mazuka is offline  
Feb 12th, 2005, 12:10 AM
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It is very doable as a 1 night trip. BUT - definitely try to arrange your schedule so you are not driving SF > Tahoe on a Friday afternoon, or Tahoe > SF on a Sunday afternoon.

The normal 4 hour drive could easily stretch to 7 or 8 hours at those times, and even longer if the weather is nasty.

yesterday (friday) the traffic has been bumper to bumper on both hwy 80 and hwy 50 almost all the way from SF through Sacramento to Tahoe and on Sunday the trip back will be just as bad.

But a mid-week or Saturday drive would normally not be bad at all.
janis is offline  
Feb 12th, 2005, 05:25 AM
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We are actually thinking of leaving SF on a Monday. From what I am hearing it is South Tahoe that I should be looking into going to. Is that where the mentioned hotel are all located. Have been to SF before since we have family but never taking that drive thru the mountains so I am really excited about it. Any particular favorite dining spots in the area? Thanks.
anncat71 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2005, 07:47 AM
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Monday is perfect. Wait until the worst of the SF rush hour is over (even tho' you'd be going against the major traffic, it will still be congested) Maybe leave around 9 a.m. - it will still be busy but not terrible and you will miss the commute trafic in Sacramento.

Yes - all the hotels mentioned are at the south end so you would take I-80 as far as Sacramento and then watch the signs for Hwy 50/South Lake Tahoe.

Another hotel you mught want to check out if you want to be away from the congested/casino-heavy south shore is the Hyatt at Incline Village. This is a very nice property on the north end of the Lake. Bothe end of Tahoe are wonderful - but in general the south is glitzier, busier and more touristy. The north is prettier, less congested and lower key. There are casinos at the north end but nothing like the big places down south.

If you do decide to go to the north end - then take I-80 and stay on it through Sacramento all the way to Truckee and follow the signs for hwy 267 which will take you to the lake.
janis is offline  
Feb 12th, 2005, 06:30 PM
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We are going from SF to Carson City in April and will visit Virgina City, take a cruise on the Lake stay overnight and go back the next day to SF. Do you think this is too much?
kit9172 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2005, 08:03 PM
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You want to drive from SF, take a cruise on the Lake, drive to Virginia City and back to Carson City in one day?

This is an awful lot. Count on 4+ hours to Tahoe, 2 hours for the cruise plus time to meet their sailing schedule (so let's say 3 hours), 45+ mins from Zephyr Cove to VA City, and at least 3 or 4 hours in VA City.

Could be done, but all that plus the drive back to SF the next day will be pretty tiring. I'd do Virginia City/Carson City the first day, and take the Lake cruise on the 2nd day before driving back to SF.
janis is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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That sounds like a better idea. Do you know what time it gets dark in April? I want to make sure it's light driving back to SF. Thanks
kit9172 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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Daylight Savings Time starts April 3 so you shouldn't have any problem since the sun won't be going down until after about 7:30 p.m. and it won't be dark until later than that.

But driving all the way back to SF with the sun full in your eyes might be a worse problem than driving in the dark. Hwy 50 is through the mountains/forest so you end up in and out of heavy shade/bright sun and it can be a tough drive if the sun is in your face. I'd try to leave Tahoe when the sun is still high in the sky like by 3 or 4 p.m. so you aren't driving into the direct western sun most of the way back.
janis is offline  
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