Lake Tahoe has always been one of my dream destinations. So when my girlfriends picked it as our next girl’s trip, I was ecstatic and immediately started planning. Tahoe is great for all types of travelers and groups. There are plenty of things to do for everyone. From hiking to water activities to enjoying scenic views, or having a few too many wet-woodys at Gar-Woods Grill – you name it, Tahoe has it! So read on – this Lake Tahoe Summer Itinerary will help you plan your perfect Tahoe getaway.
LAKE TAHOE TRAVEL TIPS
GETTING TO LAKE TAHOE
The closest Airport is in Reno, Nevada (Reno-Tahoe International Airport). The airport is on the smaller side and very easy to navigate. After arriving to Reno, I highly suggest renting a car and driving to Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is about an hour from the Reno Airport, so it is a very quick drive.
If you are arriving by car, well you can GPS the route yourself :-).
HOW MANY DAYS TO VISIT TAHOE
This Lake Tahoe summer itinerary is ideal for those who are spending a FULL 3 days in the Tahoe City area. We spent 4 nights and 5 days in total, but 2 days were mainly travel days. With this itinerary, you will have enough time to explore the entirety of the lake area without feeling rushed.
GETTING AROUND LAKE TAHOE
I was actually shocked at the limited amount of rideshare options. We visited in the high summer season of August and there was only one Lyft driver available in our area. That being said, I again, would rent a car or try calling AnyTime Taxi if no rideshares are available.
Lake Tahoe is a mass tourist destination, I suggest booking restaurants, boat rentals, car rentals, and flights ALL in advance. Especially if you plan to visit during a holiday weekend.
WHAT TO PACK
Check out my packing list on amazon! Bring lots of sunscreen, dress in lawyers, and wear a hat to protect your face from the sun.
Arrive to Lake Tahoe late afternoon and check into your hotel or vacation rental. We stayed in the Tahoe City area, which I highly recommend. If you are looking for seclusion but still want to be close enough to cute shops and restaurants, this is the place for you.
Once you are settled in, enjoy an iconic lakeside dinner at Sunnyside.
Today will be an active day! Have a hearty breakfast at Fire Sign Cafe, then start your morning off hiking Eagle Falls. This 2-mile scenic hike offers views of Lake Tahoe Basin, if you are looking for a short hike, check out Eagle Falls Vista Point Loop. This quick .5 mile has great views as well!
After hiking, make the trek down to Emerald Bay State Park. This is a great spot to eat a packed lunch while enjoying the beautiful crystal-clear water. You can also rent kayaks or SUP and explore Fannette Island. If you have time you tour Vikingsholm, which is Tahoe’s hidden castle.
If you are not hiked out and want more adventure, check out Rubicon Lighthouse Trail in DL Bliss State Park.
After a long day of activities, it is time for a drink! Freshen up at your accommodation and head to Gar-Woods Grill for a liquid lunch and some delicious seafood appetizers. Make sure you try the famous Wet-Woody Drinks!
Mel’s Travel Tip: Make all reservations in advance for restaurants, and if the weather is warm, make sure to book outdoor seating for lake views.
Time to drive around the entire lake! The circumference of Lake Tahoe is only 72 miles, so depending on how long you stop at each point it can take a few hours or an entire day. Below is a google map of all the stops we took. If you are limited on time, my top favorite stops were Sand Harbor, Bonsai Rock (a steep climb down), and Inspiration Point near Emerald Bay.
Driving around the entirety of the lake is captivating, you will find many hidden gems. If you find any spots you think I should add to the map, comment below!
Once back in Tahoe City, head to Spoon for a tasty dinner.
BOAT DAY! Now that you have explored the entirety of Lake Tahoe by land, it is time to check it out by boat. We booked the boat and captain through North Lake Tahoe Boat Rental. I cannot say enough good things about this company!
Your captain will take you all around the lake. However, if you are an avid boater, you do not need to hire a captain.
After a day of soaking in the sun on the lake, you will want to order pizza from Mountain Slice Cafe and Creamery.
Mel’s Tip: Order pizza the night prior, they are a smaller pizzeria and have a limited amount of dough storage.
I hope this blog post on how to plan the perfect “Lake Tahoe Summer Itinerary” is helpful and inspires you to add Lake Tahoe to your travel list! If you use this Lake Tahoe Summer Itinerary, tag me on Instagram @Mels_Scene and I will happily share your trip on my stories!
If you need any help planning or have any questions, please comment below or message me on my contact page! I would love to hear about how your trip went as well. Which area did you stay in? Which beaches were your favorite? Sand Harbor was definitely my favorite! Tell me in the comments.
Love this itinerary but don’t want to plan the trip? Check out my fully preplanned Lake Tahoe Downloadable PDF Itinerary. Once downloaded, this mobile-friendly PDF itinerary can quickly be accessed on phones, so even when the internet isn’t available, everything can still go according to plan!