Formed millions of years ago by glacier movement during the Ice Ages Lake Tahoe was carved out of the granite of the Sierra Nevada Mountings. The lake was later divided after a dispute that involved gunfire between California and Nevada giving California 2/3 of the lake and its shoreline and 1/3 to Nevada.
While these days most people venture to Lake Tahoe for skiing, you can avoid crowds and winter rates by visiting during the “off season.” For us, that is usually before Memorial Day at the Marriott’s Timber Lodge. But even in the summer, this mountain getaway is filled with numerous kid-friendly activities.
The lake is beautiful from the shore and road, but if you really want to appreciate the cold deep blue and bright emerald color water take a boat ride. Emerald Bay Cruise has a paddle boat that takes trips from South Lake Tahoe to Emerald Bay. From the boat, you’ll see amazing views of a lone teahouse built on top of a granite island in the middle of the bay.
If you’re up for a short drive Sand Harbor State Park on the Nevada side of the lake is one of the most breathtaking spots on the lake–maybe even in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. White sand beaches, rocky outcroppings, tall pine trees, and the western edge of the lake. It’s no wonder the people who owned this property, a wealthy family who made their money selling timber from the lake, had to be forced by judicial action by the state of Nevada to sell 5,000 acres to make Lake Tahoe State Park in, Nevada.
Back on the California side you can visit Fallen Leaf Lake, named by Lt. John Fremont in 1844, who was the first person of European descent to see the area. Fallen Leaf was the name of the Native American guide Lt. Fremont had on his exploration of the western U.S. This lake is home to some amazing homes and vistas.
If you just want to take the kids to the beach or just sun yourself, try the Lakeside Beach & Marina in South Lake Tahoe. Just make sure to bring some shoes or flip flops, this sand is made from granite and is not as soft as beach sand.
Want to catch a movie, eat a great dinner or just let the kid’s blow off some steam, head to Heavenly Village. Can’t find it? Look for the gondola cars just west of state line and you’re there. Sure it’s a little touristy but sometimes that’s just what you need. They have a variety of shops, many great restaurants (check out Base Camp Pizza for a good selection of craft beer), and activities for kids (putt-putt golf, jumpers amongst other).
What better way to end a day then watching the sunset over the largest alpine lake in North America. With the tall Sierra Nevada Mountains all around and the reflective deep blue water of the lake, what better canvas is there for the fiery red setting sun.
Do you visited Lake Tahoe? We love to connect with others, so feel free to leave us a comment and share your experiences! (Disclosure: Burbs2Abroad traveled to the above location as guests and was not compensated for this review. As always, our opinions are our own.)