The states of California and Nevada share the spectacular Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful and visited lakes in the United States, as well as the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon. It will be the incredible emerald color of the water, which seems to be the result of a particular retouching; it will be the enchanting frame of the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada or the crown of evergreen woods that surround the sandy beaches of the lake; will be the surprising bays of emerald water that open up in front of the eyes of those who walk along the scenic drive that runs along the lakefront; it will be the quiet villages and luxurious summer residences that rest on the coast … The reasons why Lake Tahoe attracts so many people are so many and all very valid.
The lake is a little off the traditional West Coast tours, but it remains very likely that you will happen to reach Lake Tahoe from San Francisco. You can do this by taking the classic rental car in San Francisco or with an organized tour that also includes a visit to Yosemite and Bodie.
This map explains the geographic distance between Lake Tahoe and some classic West Coast stops
If you have opted for the first option, you will also have noticed that the distance is considerable and requires a considerable deviation from the classic loops of the parks: in this sense, it can be interesting to combine the visit of the lake with that of a ghost town like Virginia City and then head south to begin a tour of southern Nevada in preparation for arrival in Las Vegas. But this is just an idea; another hypothesis is that of Lake Tahoe as a stage of passage between Mono Lake and the Fly Geyser along our unusual West Coast itinerary.
In this article, we want to give you some suggestions on what to see in Lake Tahoe on a circular itinerary that goes from South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe along both coasts: the West Shore and the East Shore. The Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway is a beautiful scenic road about 70 miles long that can be traveled in 2.30 hours without stopping, still enjoying many spectacular views; however, it is worthwhile to plan at least 5-6 stops to discover the beauty of this deep lake with incredible colors.
The tour can also be done in one day, but the ideal measure to enjoy the holiday in my opinion is 2-3 days, with an overnight stay in Kings Beach or Incline Village (North Lake Tahoe) and South Lake Tahoe. If you are someone from “lakes and mountains”, you have material to be there even a week, and in winter can easily turn into a skiing holiday, given a large number of ski slopes in the area. However, we must be careful: in the winter some roads may be closed due to inconveniences related to atmospheric conditions.
The southern side of Lake Tahoe has as its main landmark the town of the same name of South Lake Tahoe, the most touristy in the area. Here you will find the scenic Pope Beach, golf courses, exclusive lake-view resorts, mountain-style motels, and casinos (as soon as, needless to say, you cross the border between California and Nevada).
Can you swim in Lake Tahoe? The average water temperature in the summer months is between 18 and 20 °, with slightly higher temperatures in August. For many Italian vacationers (well accustomed …) these temperatures also discourage a quick swim, while Americans, on the other hand, in the warmer months dive into the water very willingly. If you are cold, avoid it. If, on the other hand, you think cold water is tempering, bring your swimsuit.
Not only that: South Lake Tahoe in winter is besieged by skiers and winter sports enthusiasts. From Heavenly Mountain Resort (Lake Tahoe Boulevard 4080) departs “The Gondola”, a gondola lift that takes you to the Heavenly ski slopes. Don’t worry: on beautiful summer days when the sky merges with the lake water, even those (like me) who can’t even put their skis on can get on the cable car and enjoy an unmissable view of Lake Tahoe and the peaks. surrounding granite. There is another chairlift, the Tamarack Express, which takes you to an even higher vantage point.