Straddling the state line between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe lies 6,225 feet above sea level in the Sierra Nevada. The border gives this popular resort region a split personality. About half of its visitors are intent on low-key sightseeing, hiking, fishing, camping, and boating. The rest head for the glittering casinos and big-name entertainment of the Nevada side. Indeed, the welcome mat is out to both nature lovers and lucky shooters. Here’s how we’d recommend spending a fun-filled Tahoe weekend whether you’re a nature lover or a lucky shooter.
- Take a cruise. Catch a sunset aboard the Tahoe Queen out of South Lake Tahoe or the MS Dixie II out of Zephyr Cove.
- Get a birds-eye view. A ride on the Heavenly Gondola 2.5 miles up Heavenly Mountain should render everyone in your party speechless.
- Chow down in some of Tahoe’s best dining rooms. We love Plumpjack Café (photo, right), Evan’s, and Wild Goose for a special evening out.
- Brush up on your home decorating skills. Tour the Thunderbird Lodge, a massive mansion built in 1936 by George Whittel, a San Francisco socialite.
- Pitch a tent. The D.L. Bliss State Park Campground has great beach campsites; book early.
- Whisk down the slopes. The legendary powder of Squaw Valley USA and Heavenly Mountain Resort draws both serious snowbunnies and timid first-time skiers.
- Hit the jackpot. If you’re casino crazy, head to the high-rise casinos at Stateline.
- Tee off at one of Tahoe’s many golf courses. The water hazards at Old Greenwood are trout streams that you can actually fish in (and not just for your ball).
- Lace up your hiking boots. The mostly short trails at Emerald Bay State Park reward hikers with brilliant panoramas of the bay and lake.
- Rest up for the rest of your weekend. We suggest slumbering at the Black Bear Inn Bed & Breakfast (photo, right), Plumpjack Squaw Valley Inn, or the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe.
Look’s who’s headed there soon—Fodorites love talking about Tahoe in our forums: