7 Ideas For Weekend Getaways To Lake Tahoe This Summer

Lake Tahoe is a resplendent destination in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Frequented by over 3 million tourists per year, it’s also one of the most sought-after destinations on the planet. Thanks to the allure of this epic destination, people near and far are looking to escape here. Whether it’s just for a weekend, or for a multi-week-long stay, there are plenty of things to do in Lake Tahoe, no matter when you visit.

However, if you live nearby, and you’re looking for a quick trip, you’ll easily discover plenty of ideas for weekend getaways to Lake Tahoe this summer. Of course, summer is the season in Tahoe. While winter is fantastic for winter sports fanatics, in the summer, you get to truly experience Lake Tahoe’s outdoors, in all its glory.

This isn’t just about carving up the slopes or gazing at a winter wonderland. This is about exploring rugged alpine forests and taking a dip in the shimmering turquoise-and-azure-hued waters of the second deepest lake in the United States. The Great Lakes may be deeper, but they don’t offer the stunning environment found in Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe in the summer is truly breathtaking. The clean, crisp mountain air is intoxicating. The boundless Alpine forests beckon you with Pine-infused scents. And the sparkling lake waters will inspire an instant sense of nostalgia for years to come. There’s something about this place that just draws you in.

Now, while you have plenty of options when it comes to weekend getaway ideas, your options for accommodation are somewhat limited, especially during peak periods. So, unless you have your own Lake Tahoe cabin, consider booking early. Very early.

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Weekend Getaway Ideas

If you live near Lake Tahoe and you’re looking for some weekend getaway ideas, here’s the scoop. There are loads of things to do in Tahoe on a weekend break, especially in the summer. In the winter, you’re far more limited to winter activities, but that certainly doesn’t stop people from jetting or driving out on a weekend.

Even if you live halfway across the world, this is a great place to visit in the summer or winter. However, the summer is idyllic. It’s blissful. There are plenty of outdoor activities that work whether you’re coming as a couple or a family. What you choose depends entirely on the context. If you’re coming as a couple, and you’re looking to pop the big question or just enjoy some downtime, you’ll find a number of things that could enhance your connection.

If you’re coming as a family, and you’ve got the kids in tow, there are other things that could fit the proverbial bill. It all depends. Still, out of all the ideas for weekend getaways in a particular summer in Lake Tahoe, these 7 stand out the most. Why? Because they’re possibly some of the most frequently enjoyed activities by couples and families alike.

Why Spend Summer In Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe has a year-round residency of roughly 53,000. However, that hasn’t stopped property prices from ballooning. There’s plenty of outside investment flooding into Lake Tahoe, making housing prices largely unaffordable for locals who are still renting. That might be a hint as to just how popular Lake Tahoe is as a vacation destination.

Most of that allure has to do with Lake Tahoe having a duality in seasons. It’s a destination that’s frequented by flocks of tourists both in the winter and the summer. However, while there are some great reasons why you should visit Lake Tahoe in the winter, the summer is when most of the outdoor action happens.

It’s also a time when you can truly get to witness the brilliance of Mother Nature. From the golden-sanded beaches and the glacier-carved granite cliffs and beyond, Lake Tahoe is something you have to see to believe. There’s simply no other place on earth with the same brilliance and unfathomable beauty.

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1. Visit Emerald Bay & Eagle Falls Waterfall

One of the most picturesque destinations in Lake Tahoe is Emerald Bay. It’s a combination of epic mountains and forests and violent granite cliffs that curve into the beautiful bay that shimmers in the sunlight. The crisp mountain air combined with the idyllic views of snow-capped mountains and azure-hued waters makes this a place where you can get lost in time.

Spending the weekend at Emerald Bay is a great idea with plenty to do. You can easily lounge around the bay and visit Vikingsholm Castle, a Scandinavian-inspired mansion on the beach that’s open to the public. You can also hike up Eagle Falls Waterfall and catch a glimpse of breathtaking rushing waters falling down and listen to the sounds of nature that engulf you.

Whether you want to come with your loved one on a romantic excursion, or you’re coming with the family, this is an ideal place to spend an entire day or even the weekend. The hiking around Emerald Bay is said to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. In fact, Emerald Bay is one of the most photographed places on the planet for a reason.

2. Kayak to Fannette Island

Another option for a weekend getaway is to kayak to Fannette Island and spend the day hanging out at the “tea house” located at the top of the island. The tea house is an old stone building that was originally built by the owner of Vikingsholm Castle, which you’ll find on the shores of Emerald Bay. Fannette Island is the only island in Lake Tahoe and it’s located smack in the middle of Emerald Bay.

You can find kayak rentals in Emerald Bay. However, keep in mind that if you’re driving to Emerald Bay, especially in the summer, that you should arrive early. Although you generally can’t get the kayaks before 10am, you should arrive somewhere around 8am in order to find a good parking spot.

You should also consider a waterproof case for your phone if you’re going to kayak to Fannette Island. You never know how much water would enter the kayak and if you have your phone on you, you’ll be taking a big risk of incurring some water damage. Keep in mind that this is a short kayak tour at just about 10 minutes. So it’s not incredibly difficult at all.

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3. Truckee River Rafting

Spend the weekend on the Truckee River doing river rafting on rafts that accommodate from 2 to 10 people. If you’re coming with a group or you’re coming as a couple, this is the ideal getaway idea for Lake Tahoe. However, keep in mind that you’ll probably want to reserve this early on as spots fill up fast.

Come prepared with shorts or a bathing suit along with footwear, which is mandatory. Also, it’s important to be wary of taking things like phones and rings and purses and anything else that can get damaged or lost for that matter. The trip will last around 2 to 3 hours and parking is very limited so arrive early here as well.

If you’re coming with the family, it’s important to note that children 15 years and older can accompany you. If you have smaller children than that, you might want to come up with a different idea for some weekend fun. However, you can take dogs that are 50 pounds or less and on a leash.

4. Hike Mount Rose

Epic views can be found at the top of Mount Rose, which is the second tallest summit in all of Lake Tahoe. At 9,701 feet (2,957 meters), you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the entire brilliant landscape spread out before you. In the distance, view stunning vistas with lake waters taking center stage.

The hike up Mount Rose spans about 10.4 miles roundtrip and the gain in elevation is roughly 1,800 feet (548.6 meters). Keep in mind that this trail gets busy, especially in the spring and summer. You should budget roughly 6 hours for this entire hike. 3 hours there, and three hours back. This will definitely be an all-day expedition. But it will be well worth it.

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5. Heavenly Gondola Ride

The Heavenly Gondola Ride operates year-round. In the summer, you can take it up to the top of Heavenly Mountain and visit the observation deck, which has stunning views. This weekend getaway idea is terrific if you’re staying near Heavenly Resort in South Lake Tahoe. However, keep in mind that this ride is relatively pricey.

At the top, you can also hike around. This is perfect for the entire family, but also for couples. At the top, it’s about as romantic as it gets. Perfect for popping the big question. There are also restaurants at the top to grab a meal if you’re hungry. Both the ride up and the ride down are great, but taking pictures from the gondolas is difficult because of the scratches. You’ll need to save most pictures for the view at the top.

6. Horseback Riding

Lake Tahoe has a rich history of horseback riding. In fact, it’s a great area for equestrian lovers. Not only can you visit some state-of-the-art equestrian centers, but you can also go horseback riding on trails in and around Lake Tahoe. If you’re at all into horses, then this is a great way to spend a weekend.

You can find equestrian centers and horseback riding lessons, and even pony rides for children, either in North Lake Tahoe or South Lake Tahoe. From the Tahoe Donner Equestrian Center in North Lake Tahoe, to the Alpine Meadows Stables and beyond, there are loads of options in Tahoe for a quick jaunt on a steed.

7. Spend The Day At Sand Harbor

Filled with golden sands and gently crashing waves, Sand Harbor is a resplendent beach situated on the north shores of Lake Tahoe. You can quite literally get lost in the views at Sand Harbor. Here, you’ll discover Pines and Cedar trees that spiral into the heavens along with granite rocks and large boulders that hang lazily along the shoreline.

Sand Harbor also features a variety of rentals. You can rent kayaks, paddleboards, sailboats, and more. Spend the day on the waters amidst the awe-inspiring beauty of your surroundings. Gaze out towards sparkling waters and listen to the call of birds soaring high above. Out here, on these fresh waters, life comes back to the basics. You begin to appreciate the little things.

Of course, Sand Harbor has more than just that. Whether you’re looking for a meal, a drink or simply to lounge around in the sun, you can do it here on a weekend getaway. Here, you can also find picnicking, hiking, and even scuba diving. Keep in mind, during peak season, you’ll find parking difficult. However, during this period, you can grab a shuttle from Incline Village called the East Shore Express.

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