Lake Tahoe is one of those magical places that will make you believe in love at first sight. The largest Alpine lake in North America is only 3 hours drive from San Francisco, near the California/ Nevada border. Lake Tahoe is also the second deepest lake in North America (at 1645 feet or 501 meters). Picture coming down the ski slopes only under water! A beautiful drive through the winding mountains dotted with tall pine trees brings you to a blue water oasis surrounded by snow everywhere.
The water in Tahoe is one of the clearest and cleanest you will ever see. In fact, the locals say it is 95% pure, very drinkable and swimmable. Commercial fishing is not allowed at the lake and the residents ensure that that the environment in and around Tahoe are well preserved.
I asked several people if they like to visit Lake Tahoe during the winter to ski and winter sport, or during summer when they can go for a swim in the lake and enjoy water activities. They answer I got was – both! Lake Tahoe is charming all year round, but the peak seasons are summer and winter. If you like peaceful quiet time alone with nature, off season is perhaps the best time to go.
While there are many small towns and cabin rentals all around the lake, the largest city overlooking the water is South Lake Tahoe. Here you can find multi-story hotels with casinos, lots of shops and restaurants, a ski lift, skating rink, outfitters and more. The Heavenly Mountain Resort is located in this area, which is a lot of fun for the entire family.
A good way to start your familiarity with the lake is aboard the Tahoe Queen, a sightseeing boat cruise. Tahoe Queen runs out of Ski Run Marina and offers a 3-hour long slow paced tour to some of the most scenic areas on the lake, including Emerald Bay. The captain will also tell you interesting facts about the lake and some important history about the region.
There is also a road, Highway 50, that runs all around the Lake Tahoe and makes for a beautiful drive through California and Nevada. Several vista points along the highway offer breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains.