Few outside the United States know about the giant freshwater lake shared between California and Nevada. Locals from around the country flock here in the summer to enjoy the outdoors. Others come in winter for skiing and snowboarding. Tourists can have any type of vacation they want from staying in traditional Lake Tahoe cabins and splurging on luxurious hotels to camping. But before you get online and book your dream trip, check out the following things every tourist should know before visiting Lake Tahoe.
The Best Way to Get to Lake Tahoe
Those living in California or Nevada can easily take a weekend getaway in Lake Tahoe. But if you’re coming from out of state or overseas, getting to the lake can be much more challenging. There are two ways to visit Lake Tahoe: Either drive or using public transport.
Let’s take a look at driving first. If you have your own wheels, it has several advantages over relying on the bus. For a start, it will often work out to be cheaper if you’re travelling as a family or group. Having a car also gives you the flexibility to go at your own pace, stop whenever you want and see more of the lake. If you’re driving from another state, there are two main routes leading to the lake from California and one road in Nevada. International tourists can rent a car at either California’s Sacramento or Nevada’s Reno and drive to the lake from the airport.
But not everyone has the luxury or desire to drive. Having your own car can cause an inconvenience when it comes to parking as well as the rental and insurance costs which can be quite pricey. A regular bus departs from both airports and costs around $50 per person one-way. However, it should be noted that the timetables and frequency of the bus change depending on the season. More leave in peak season while there are fewer in the winter. If you’re planning to come in the winter to hit the slopes, it might be a good idea to take the bus rather than drive. The mountain roads can be treacherous in icy conditions. Public transport around Lake Tahoe also follows a more limited schedule.
Know Where to Go
Lake Tahoe is divided between California and Nevada by a vertical border. And anyone who has spent time in the United States will know that these states have very different characteristics. If you stay on the Californian side, expect a more laid-back and relaxed style of travel. Outdoor activities are king here with thousands of tourists travelling to enjoy hiking, relaxing and water sports such as fishing. The shops and restaurants tend to close early giving the place a sleepy feel. Nevada, on the other hand, has several casinos and an active nightlife. It’s easy to find late-opening bars and to get any kind of entertainment at any time of the day. Think carefully about the experience you want before booking the trip. It’s also worth considering the southern parts of Lake Tahoe tend to be slightly cheaper.
The Best Time to Visit Lake Tahoe is…
Each season comes with different views, experiences and reasons to visit. After the first snowfall in winter, the ski resorts in the mountains start to open and cater for the winter sports fans. Early spring can still be a bit chilly, but the prices of accommodation and the number of tourists are much lower. If you don’t mind the cooler days and chillier nights, spring can be perfect to see the year’s first blooms and flowers. Late spring gets relatively few tourists compared to the summer, and the weather is still warm enough to take part in water sports.
Summer is peak season for obvious reasons. Warm weather and longer days makes it a much more attractive place to spend your time. But thousands and thousands of other tourists have the same idea making it feel very crowded. The most popular time of the year corresponds to summer vacations. Tourists often overlook fall. But if you can get past the chilly weather, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views. Picture a deep blue lake surrounded by forests blanketed in golden-brown and yellows. Lake Tahoe in fall is a real photographer’s paradise.
What to Do in Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is blessed with three out of four days bathing in sunshine. For this reason and the natural beauty of the region, tourists often visit to enjoy the outdoors. When the weather is warm, tourists can hike, go horseback ridings through the mountains, fish, jet ski, kayak and canoe. You can also have long strolls with the camera to capture the incredible views on film. But it’s also a good idea to try to explore more of the lake if you have the time. Lots of small towns and villages are found along the road passing around Tahoe. Adventurous tourists can also visit both the California and Nevadan sides to see the contrasts for themselves. Lake Tahoe in winter is a haven for skiers and snowboarders. But it also creates a winter wonderland with postcard pictures of snow-covered mountains. You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy the lake in winter.
Planning the Perfect Trip
Knowing what to expect before taking your vacation will not only help you plan the trip, but it also encourages you to get the most out of your time. In short, having a car at Lake Tahoe is better than using public transport, the area is beautiful at any time of the year and expect to take part in lots of outdoor activities.