The city of South Lake Tahoe's raison d'être is tourism: the casinos of adjacent Stateline, Nevada; the ski slopes at Heavenly Mountain; the beaches, docks, bike trails, and campgrounds all around the south shore; and the backcountry of Eldorado National Forest and Desolation Wilderness. Less appealing are the strip malls, old-school motels, and low-rise prefab buildings lining U.S. 50, the city's main drag. Although in recent years a few jazzed-up motels and new boutique hotels have joined a few longtime high-quality inns, many places provide little more than basic accommodation. The small city's saving grace is its convenient location, bevy of services, and gorgeous lake views.
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