How to Get to Lake Tahoe

If you’re heading to Tahoe, you’re likely heading to Reno International Airport (RNO). That’s where I landed at least. That’s also where 3.5 million other folks land each and every year. A lion’s share of them heading to Tahoe. And it’s ideally situated for that. Located just 35 miles northeast of the northern shores of the lake, you can reach it in about 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic.

If you’re heading to the South Shore, you’re looking at roughly an hour to an hour-and-a-half or more from the airport. Again, it all depends on traffic. The cool part? Tahoe is deeply embedded in the Sierra Nevada mountains. As you drive from that airport and make your way towards the lake, you ascend and descend across those mountains. The view as you reach the top is spectacular. Yes, even from the highway.

It’s as if you’ve been transported to another dimension. A place where one heavenly view trumps another one. Each time you gaze out, you wonder if you’ve ever seen something so spellbinding before in your life - and you haven't even started any of the activities that await you in Tahoe. In those 40 or so minutes it takes you to reach the north shores of the lake, you’ll gasp and gaze with eyes wide open. You will. I’m sure of it.

Do you need to rent a car in Lake Tahoe?

Before you ever travel to Lake Tahoe, you’ll probably ask yourself whether you need to rent a car. The answer? A resounding yes. Lake Tahoe, although not huge by any measure, still is a pretty vast area. Most of the streets twist and wind while dropping and increasing in elevation dramatically in areas. Simply put, not everything is nearby.

While you can rent a taxi in Lake Tahoe or even grab an Uber or Lyft, in the peak and busiest seasons, you’ll have a problem getting timely transportation. For that reason, you absolutely should rent a car. Whether you’re flying into the Reno International Airport or Sacramento, you can find car rentals from all the popular car rental companies.

In Reno, you’ll find 9 rental car agencies, all located in the baggage claim of the airport.

Alamo Car Rental
Avis Car Rental
Budget Car Rental
Dollar Car Rental
Enterprise Car Rental
Hertz Car Rental
National Car Rental
Thrifty Car Rental
Payless Car Rental (actual rental cars are located off-site)

Hotel Shuttles from the Airport

If you’re dead set against having a car in Lake Tahoe, then you could opt for one of the hotel shuttles that could take you from the airport to your hotel. Of course, if you’ve rented a condo or cabin in Lake Tahoe, that might not be a possibility. Still, you could opt to grab a taxi from the airport or even take an Uber or a Lyft as well.

However, there are some paid shuttles at the Reno Airport as well. You can find more information about the shuttle service near the baggage claim. You’ll find this in the A and B doors. It’s just west of the baggage claim. The following three are the paid shuttles you can find in the Reno International Airport:

Airport Mini-Bus Service: 775-786-3700 - www.bell-limo.com
North Lake Tahoe Express: 866-216-5222 - www.northlaketahoeexpress.com
South Tahoe Airporter: 866-898-2463 - www.amadorstagelines.com/lake-tahoe

The complimentary shuttles to their respective hotels are free. You’ll find them along the curb outside the D doors of baggage claim.

Atlantis Hotel - This shuttle runs from 4:45 am to 12:15 am at 15 minutes to and past the hour, every hour. 
Circus Circus Hotel - This shuttle runs from 4:45 am to 11:45 pm at 15 minutes to and past the hour, every hour. 
Grand Sierra Resort & Casino - This shuttle runs from 4:45 am to 12:15 am and departs every 15 minutes from the airport. 
Harrah’s Reno Resort & Casino - This shuttle runs from 5:00 am to 12:00 am and departs every hour on the hour. 
Nugget’s Casino Resort - This shuttle runs from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm and departs from the airport every hour at half-past the hour. 
Peppermill Hotel - This shuttle runs from 4:45 am to 11:45 pm at 15 minutes to and past the hour, every hour. 
Sands Regency - You’ll need to call this hotel for airport pickup. You can reach them at 775-348-2200
Silver Legacy - This shuttle runs from 4:45 am to 11:45 pm at 15 minutes to and past the hour, every hour.

If you need more information on how to get to Lake Tahoe, the best transportation from Reno, or where to stay around the lake, get in touch with our Vacation Consultants today. InvitedHome guests receive unparalleled care and attention, and we'll be in touch from booking to checkout to take care of anything you need. 

Want to keep reading?

Cms thumbnail1

Where to stay in Lake Tahoe

North Lake or South Lake? Donner or Northstar? Lake Tahoe has a wide range of terrain and activities, so before you choose where to stay, check out which neighborhoods are best for the type of Tahoe vacation you're looking for. 

Cms thumbnail2

4th of July in Lake Tahoe

Have you ever considered spending the 4th of July in Lake Tahoe? For those who have experienced it, they'll tell you it's unlike any other celebration in the country. Find out more about how to spend this summer holiday lakeside here. 

Cms thumbnail3

Top 15 Family Activities in Lake Tahoe

From mini golf to helicopter tours and easy out-and-back hikes, we detail the best activities in Lake Tahoe that the whole family will love, and will keep you coming back every year.  

We have 35 homes in Lake Tahoe, click to start your search