Picturesque village

Great Escapes: A Pristine Mountain Getaway to Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the United States and a year-round destination for adventure travelers. From skiing in the winter to hiking, mountain biking and water activities in the summer, Lake Tahoe offers rustic charm, five-star accommodations, and a plethora of outdoor activities.

With 72 miles of shoreline, the region has several areas around the lake that offer something unique. Nicknamed the ‘Big Blue’, the lake is known for its crystal clear water that changes color from a deep sapphire to a clear turquoise depending on which side you are on. It is surrounded by dense pine trees, jagged cliffs and rugged coastlines, rocky headlands and miles of sandy beach.

There are plenty of retro casinos (mostly on the Nevada side), motels, and restaurants that have been around since the 1960s and 1970s, but Tahoe is a burgeoning luxury destination that still retains small-town charm (without talk, fabulous skiing and hiking).

The lake straddles the California-Nevada border and is nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. From Truckee, California, to Incline Village to the South Rim, both in Nevada and beyond, here is our guide to the incredibly beautiful Lake Tahoe.

Clear Creek Tahoe Development, located in Carson City, Nevada.

Clear Creek Tahoe

TO STAY

Lake Tahoe has so many towns around the lake that it can often be overwhelming for first-time visitors. Where you stay can also change seasonally, depending on proximity to ski slopes or closer access to the lake during the summer months. This means that it is possible to never have the same experience twice, because there is so much to do and see.

Edgewood Tahoe on the South Rim in Stateline, Nevada, is the ideal base for those who enjoy incredible golf, spa treatments, and five-star accommodations. Its position directly on the lake, with a wide lawn and a wide expanse of sandy beach, makes it ideal for scenic nautical excursions. The 154-room hotel is set on 235 acres and offers dining at its three venues, all overlooking the lake, as well as an 8,500-square-foot spa, year-round heated pool, and lake-side skating rink in Winter. Its main draw is the golf course, designed by George Fazio in 1968 and renovated by his nephew, Tom Fazio, years later, which has hosted several prestigious tournaments and top players over the years.

Opened in 2009, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a mainstay for adventure seekers as it is a ski resort at the base of Northstar Mountain in California and exclusive lake access on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. There are 153 rooms and 16 suites, as well as two- to four-bedroom residential suites for large families. The hotel has a 17,000 square foot runway spa, five restaurants, and a Lake Club where guests can rent MasterCraft boats, enjoy kayaks and paddleboards, and more. There is also a ski concierge and a ski school. Residential suites include two-story penthouses, gourmet kitchens, fireplaces, and mountain, pool, or gondola views. This winter, the resort will offer a Champagne and Caviar Bar.

Tahoe’s prime position near Nevada also prompts potential buyers to take advantage of Nevada’s low property taxes. Clear Creek Tahoe is a development, located in Carson City, Nevada, that has attracted an influx of wealthy buyers thanks to its proximity to the lake (it’s just a 25-minute drive to the lake and 15 minutes to Incline Village); a Coore & Crenshaw golf course; a redesigned clubhouse; and the panoramas of the Carson Range.

If you want something closer to the lake, Tahoe Beach Club offers a more turnkey experience if you’re looking to get to Tahoe quickly. Located in Stateline, the unique Tahoe Beach Club development right on the beach is exceptionally rare, due to strict protection rules and building regulations near the lake.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a mainstay for adventure seekers, as it is a ski-in / ski-out resort in Northstar California Mountain.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

EAT DRINK

Lake Tahoe’s dining scene is both healthy and indulgent, and many restaurants focus on dishes made with local ingredients. Around the area there are several cozy cafes. Small batch roaster Black Cabin Coffee in South Lake Tahoe is a cute cabana-inspired boutique serving coffee with sustainable harvesting practices. For a hearty breakfast, Fire sign cafe in Tahoe City has been a staple since 1978. Come here for a heartwarming breakfast after a night of sipping local beers.

Tahoe is full of local craft breweries. There is even a South Tahoe Beer Trail that takes you to nine of them, each with their own hometown tours. Some favorites include South of North Brewing Company, located on the grounds of the Basecamp hotel, where you can enjoy an ice-cold pint with live music, as well as Sidelli, which serves its own barrel-aged beers in a relaxed atmosphere.

For dinner, Christy Hill in Tahoe City is a favorite among visitors and locals, and the place to go when you want the views as good as the food. Dine al fresco by modern American kitchen fireplaces while overlooking the lake. For those looking for a gastronomic experience, Trokay Restaurant in Truckee, one of the owners is the former Murray Cheese cheese maker in Manhattan.

There are over 300 sunny days a year, and it is rare to see clouds in the sky.

Tahoe Beach Club

TO LIVE

Being a year round destination, Lake Tahoe doesn’t really have a low season, and although there are a few “slow” months between summer and ski season (and vice versa), there is never a bad time to visit. With summer temperatures never exceeding 90 and fall temperatures between the 60s and 70s, Tahoe’s temperate climate attracts many travelers. There are over 300 sunny days a year, and it is rare to see clouds in the sky.

In winter, the main ski destinations are Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe; North Star near Truckee; and Tahoe Palisades, formerly Squaw Valley and host of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games; as well as some additional tracks. Almost all the mountains have trails that offer a view of the lake.

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also popular in the winter for all ages and can be enjoyed at Castle Peak, Emigrant Trail, Mount Rose, Donner Memorial State Park, and Spooner Lake. The ski resorts also have miles of slopes for those who do not prefer downhill skiing.

During the warmer months one of the most scenic hiking destinations is Emerald Bay State Park, with the Rubicon Trail from DL Bliss State Park to Eagle Point Campground on Emerald Bay. Another popular, albeit slightly strenuous, hike is the Mount Tallac Trail with 3,200 feet of elevation gain and stunning views of the lake and surrounding areas.

Activities on the lake are a must in summer and most hotels offer a lake experience. If you are staying with the locals and want to rent a boat for the day, Tahoe Yacht Charters has a variety of vessels for relaxation, wakeboarding or wake surfing, or jet ski rental. There are plenty of options including a spa day, hikes and aperitif time cruises, among others.