The only downside to planning your vacation to Lake Tahoe in summer is not having enough time for all the fun things you can do there.
Lake Tahoe is actually the name for an all-encompassing mountain, lake, and hundreds of fun experiences.
South Lake Tahoe is a city on the California side of Lake Tahoe, right at the border to Nevada. Thanks to its animated nightlife, South Tahoe is a more popular travel destination. The local community on the south side is higher, and the area is better known for its travel attractions than the north Lake Tahoe.
If you’re planning to travel to Lake Tahoe in summer without a car, your accommodation and all the fun activities in South Lake Tahoe are within walking distance of each other. In addition, the south side also has public transport to get around if you don’t drive.
Whether you choose to spend your vacation at Lake Tahoe in summer in the north or in the south, you’ll be happy to learn that both sides offer lots of entertainment, shopping, and outdoor lake activities. Your only difficulty will be to find the time to do them all this summer!
Where should I stay at Lake Tahoe in summer?
The first order of business to plan a vacation to Lake Tahoe in summer is to find the right accommodation. You’ll find a variety of options ranging from budget motel rooms to luxury hotel suites. There are also plenty of campgrounds in the area, whether you prefer tent camping or hauling an RV.
The south and north sides of Lake Tahoe each offer a variety of entertainment and recreation options. Just make sure you choose your accommodation based on the activities you want to take part in, as the north and south sides are separated by the lake and they’re quite far apart. While it is possible to go from one side to the other, it is not as easy as picking one side and staying there.
If you choose to stay at Lake Tahoe in Summer away from the downtown glitz and glitter, campgrounds may be the ideal option for you. There are so many to pick from, it’s only a matter of narrowing down the facilities and place of your choosing.
As for every other accommodation, book early as Lake Tahoe in summer is quite a popular travel destination, and campgrounds and RV parks fill up fast.
Is Lake Tahoe a good summer vacation?
While at Lake Tahoe in summer (July-September), you can enjoy a large number of outdoor events and activities. For example, Lake Tahoe normally features three straight nights of fireworks during the week of 4 July. The city also hosts the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Concours d’Elegance Wooden Boat Show, and the Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival.
If you enjoy going on active vacations, travel at the end of the summer season to Lake Tahoe. The city usually has a series of marathons at the beginning of October, which includes a three-day triple marathon, a 72-mile Tahoe Ultramarathon, a triathlon, a marathon, a marathon relay, 5 K and 10 K runs.
Because Lake Tahoe in summer is so popular, it also has giant musical concerts. In the past, they held concerts of bands like The Eagles, Alabama, Sammy Hagar, and the Wallflowers.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a mountain-full of hiking, fishing, and boating. You’ll find hundreds of mountain biking and hiking trails on the mountain and around the lake.
The Tahoe Rim Trail, a 165-mile long path that circles the lake, is one of the most popular trails to explore at Lake Tahoe in summer. The Tahoe Rim Trail varies from 6.240 feet to 10.338 feet in elevation, so it’s not for the faint of heart, but for adventurous hikers and mountain bikers. And the panoramic view of Relay Peak makes the trip well worth the effort.
For those who are searching for a fishing adventure at Lake Tahoe in summer, there are fishing opportunities for novices and experts alike. Many charters and guided fishing trips are available all summer long on both the California and Nevada sides of the alpine Lake Tahoe. Some charters promise that you’ll catch a fish, and some offer drinks and lunches as part of the package.
In fact, if you don’t feel like fishing but want to go on a boat trip, certain charters can fit you for a standard fare amount. Just make sure to book early, as Lake Tahoe in summer is busy, and most fishing charters fill up fast.
If you’re looking for more serene and private Lake Tahoe summer activities, there are several anglers offering private backcountry fishing lessons. They are obviously more expensive than the group of chartered fishing boats on the lake, but they can offer just the right amount of training, relaxation, and bliss. If you’ve always wanted to fish but never learned how a private fishing lesson is priceless!
Outdoor lovers who like to be on the water can enjoy sailing, parasailing, kayaking, canoeing and paddle boating. Several rental facilities offer access to kayaks, boats, canoes, and sailing boats at reasonable hourly rates.
If you’re looking for something faster, there’s a variety of motorized sports on the lake. Bring your own boat and jet skis, or rent one while on the lake. Several campgrounds have docks for you to hold your boat, as well as boat launches when you’re ready to play.
If you’ve come to Lake Tahoe to gable, there are dozens of casinos on Lake Tahoe South. While Reno, Nevada is a much smaller gambling town than Las Vegas, it offers a certain charm you’ll only find in a bustling mountain community. And although much smaller in size than Las Vegas, the abundant number of casinos will keep even the most seasoned players happy.
Though numerous smaller establishments can keep every player satisfied, Harrahs and Harveys are the two most successful casinos providing the most variety of entertainment. Harrahs offers amenities such as a full-service spa and salon, a swimming pool, and various golfing packages, together with luxury accommodation. In addition, Harrahs hosts a wide range of events and entertainment nearly every night of the summer.
While some in your group of travelers may want to spend their time hiking, biking, fishing, or jet skiing, there are others who are less inclined to play outdoors and would rather go shopping. If you’re hunting for a great holiday souvenir or a new wardrobe, you will find it while shopping at Lake Tahoe in summer.
There are six shopping spots in the Lake Tahoe area that are not to be missed: Carnelian Bay/Tahoe Vista/Kings Beach, Incline Village, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Tahoe City, The Resort at Squaw Creek, Truckee, and Village at Squaw Valley. Whether you’re looking for large brand stores or local boutiques, you’ll find them all at Lake Tahoe!
One attraction you absolutely shouldn’t miss at beautiful Lake Tahoe in summer is the Heavenly Aerial Tram. This is a tram-type gondola that crosses the mountain, climbing up to 2,000 feet above the lake, with a final elevation of 8,000 feet. Make sure you wear sunscreen for this high-altitude summer trip and enjoy the magnificent view of the Tahoe basin from the summit.
Tl;dr? YES, Lake Tahoe is a great choice for a vacation in the summer season! So if you’re planning the perfect summer holiday in the US this year, add this wonderful travel destination to the top of your list!
Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger living in the South of France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe, creator of unique free travel guides, local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.
You should also read these travel blog posts on The Travel Bunny
Summer in Breckenridge Colorado
Summer vacation in Colorado: Visit Ouray
Summer vacation in Michigan: 12 best things to do