Top 10 Romantic Things To Do In Lake Tahoe

If you’re heading to Lake Tahoe with your significant other, rest assured that you’ll discover countless romantic things to do in this resplendent haven that straddles California and Nevada in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In fact, this iconic destination has long been one of the most sought-after places for proposals. If you’re thinking about popping the big question, then there are certainly few places in the world as iconically beautiful as Lake Tahoe to do so.

Even if you're not planning a big proposal and just want a romantic getaway with someone special, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities that will help you create memories you'll never forget.

Of course, time of year is important here. If you’re visiting Tahoe in the summer, you’ll be presented with far more opportunities for romantic excursions than you would be in the winter, when your options are far more limited. Still, no matter when you come to Tahoe, there are endless romantic things to do.

Looking for a romantic place to spend the week? Grab your significant other and watch a few of our video tours to see which home may be best for you. 

Romantic Things To Do In Tahoe

No matter where you stay in Lake Tahoe, whether you’re in the north or the south, you’ll find plenty of things to do with your loved one. Whether it’s summer or winter, you’ll unearth captivating activities you can enjoy with the family, and of course with your significant other.

While there are plenty of options when it comes to romantic excursions, the following 10 are some of the best things you can do that will truly impress your loved one. Keep in mind that whatever you do, there are always ways to put a unique twist or a spin on things.

Take the time to research and invest in planning things out properly. That’s especially true if you’re looking to propose to your future wife or husband, and it involves something that’s tour-related. If that's the case, contact the tour company and tell them about your plans to pop the big question.

Most tour operators have dealt with couples proposing to one another, and they can likely recommend the best options when it comes to doing just that. If you’ve never visited Lake Tahoe, then you’ll fast realize why this is such a popular place for proposals when you arrive here. It truly is a magical and epic destination.

However, romance in Tahoe doesn’t just involve proposals. There are all types of romantic dates you can plan, no matter what the occasion is. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary and you’re just looking to surprise your significant other or it’s a honeymoon or some other special occasion, Tahoe is ideal for celebrating just about anything.

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1. Explore Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay has been a national landmark since 1969. And there’s a reason for that. The stunning beauty of Emerald Bay is largely unsurpassed. It’s a place where snow-capped peaks meet glacier-carved granite cliffs. It’s where shimmering azure-hued waters envelop the space before your eyes. Where pine and fir-tree scents offer an intoxicating allure amidst the natural beauty that surrounds you. For an amazing stay near Emerald Bay, check out our homes in South Lake Tahoe.

Yes, Emerald Bay is quite the landmark. And this stunning area of Lake Tahoe offers the ideal opportunity for a romantic excursion. Spend time at the lakeshore while the sun sets. Tour the nearby, 38-room Vikingsholm Castle that was built as an ode to Scandinavian architecture found in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

However, Emerald Bay State Park offers more than that. It offers up 2 campgrounds where you can spend days roughing it in the wilderness. For a truly magical experience, you can rent a boat and head to the boat-in campground, where you can buoy your watercraft and sleep in a tent right next to the lake. Be sure to make a reservation though. Nearby, the Rubicon Trail offers up noteworthy hiking that takes you on a trail of magical beauty where windswept vistas and panoramas offer some of the most awe-inspiring views on the planet. Though it's only rated as moderate in difficulty, plan to spend the day on this hike. All told, it's just under 12 miles long. 

But there’s more. Take your loved one swimming or boating or kayaking and even scuba diving at Emerald Bay, weather permitting. Here, you can charter a private boat or simply gaze out from the golden sands of the beach while lazing around on a warm, sun-soaked summer day enjoying the good life.

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2. Watch the Sunset from Zephyr Cove

Zephyr Cove offers a casual environment for enjoying some downtime with your loved one. It’s a great place to come to relax and unwind and even have a cocktail or two while watching an epic red-and-auburn-hued sunset. Watch as the sun dips behind the mountains in the distance at this stunning Lake Tahoe beachfront destination.

Away from the beach, a short distance, you’ll discover a grassy knoll, perfect for lounging around or hanging out with that special someone as you gaze out towards the crystalline waters of the lake. Here, you’ll also discover a campground along with cabins along the beach. Plus, restaurants and horse stables for taking your loved one out on a guided horseback riding tour.

Want to get married in Lake Tahoe? The Zephyr Cove Day Use Area, run by the National Forest Service, is truly one of the best spots in Lake Tahoe, and hosts beautiful weddings at the edge of the lake with the entire mountain landscape as the backdrop. Even if you're not getting married, this would also be an excellent place to propose, or simply enjoy time with your loved one. 

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3. Take the Scenic Heavenly Gondola Ride

The Heavenly Gondola is a 2.4-mile long gondola ride that’s ideal for couples. Gaze out across a winter wonderland as you ascend Heavenly Mountain through a snow-encased Alpine forest. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to ski down or snowboard. Whether you’re partaking in the winter fun or not, you can always hang out at the observation deck and get a glimpse of what heaven on earth might possibly look and feel like from roughly 10,067 feet in the air.

At the top, after you’ve completed gazing out at the awe-inspiring beauty, hang out and grab a snack or a bite or a drink at Cafe Blue or head over to Tamarack Lodge. If you’re so inclined, ski back down or hop back on the gondola to cruise back quickly towards the base where your journey began. This is absolutely ideal for couples looking to enjoy the pristine beauty of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding landscape.

If you purchase your tickets online, you can get two Heavenly Scenic Gondola tickets for just under $100 - not a bad price considering it's one of the most romantic South Lake Tahoe things to do. 

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4. Get a Couples Massage at Sierra Hot Springs

Calm, relaxing and soothing. Enjoy the sumptuous hot springs offering a reprieve to you and your loved one. Situated north of Lake Tahoe, near Sierraville, these hot springs are one of the best things you can do when the romantic occasion calls for it. Hot and cold plunge pools abound here, giving you solace no matter what the temperature might be.

Here, you’ll also discover a meditation pool which is closer to the other parking lot, and not always that convenient. If you come here on a romantic excursion, it’s best to arrive early when you’re here during the peak months so that you won’t be battling all the crowds.

To really go the extra mile, sign up for the couples massage package, which may include a wide variety of modalities. Swedish, deep tissue, aquatic, foot reflexology, and shiatsu are all on offer.

Check out a few of these romantic retreats that are between 30 minutes and 45 minutes from the hot springs.

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5. Toast to Each Other on a Sunset Champagne Cruise

When the weather permits, take a champagne cruise during sunset. This two-hour guided tour on the lake offers an epic view of both the south and west shores. Gaze out towards the snow-capped peaks that surround you and watch as the sun sets, creating an explosive array of crimson red and vibrant orange against a fading blue backdrop.

This sightseeing cruise is ideal for couples. It includes a champagne toast, wine and beer, along with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres prepared directly on board the ship. During the cruise, you’ll also get a historic education on the Lake Tahoe area. You’ll come to discover how it was settled along with its evolution as one of the most sought-after vacation destinations on earth.

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6. Cuddle Up On a Romantic Sleigh Ride

The Borges family has been providing romantic sleigh and carriage rides in the Lake Tahoe area since 1967. These are ideal for couples looking to see Lake Tahoe from an entirely new perspective. Of course, sleigh rides are only available in the winter. You’ll find these close to Stateline.

You’ll ride through the Alpine forest and meadows through glorious wooded forests with Pines that spiral over a hundred feet into the air. Open from November through April, these rides are roughly one hour long and provide a narrative to the scenic beauty before you.

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7. Sit Back on a Lake Tahoe Venetian Gondola Cruise

Want the perfect romantic excursion to propose a toast in Lake Tahoe? The Venetian-styled gondola cruise is the ideal opportunity to pop the big question. Here, you’ll find yourself cruising through the Tahoe Keys marina, where you can enjoy a sun-soaked afternoon or a golden sunset while you shower your loved one with the surprise of a lifetime.

This is also ideal for an anniversary gift or any other romantic situation where you really want to impress your better half. The area resembles the canals of Italy and the cruise is commandeered by Tahoe Amore. They bring the romance of Italy right here to the resplendent waters of Lake Tahoe.

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8. Take to the Sky on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Lake Tahoe Balloons has been offering hot air balloon rides in Tahoe for over 20 years now. It’s an ideal way to celebrate an engagement, wedding, honeymoon or an anniversary with your significant other (or soon to be significant other). See Lake Tahoe from a perspective that will truly dazzle and take your breath away.

Rise up into the sky and peer down at the cobalt blue freshwaters of Tahoe, or gaze out on vistas filled with snow-capped peaks and Alpine forests. You can take a tour with a group, or arrange a private tour for just two, making it ideal for a romantic excursion. This unique tour starts from the Tahoe Keys Marina, which you’ll find in South Lake Tahoe.

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9. See the Sights on a Helicopter Tour

Want to see a side of Lake Tahoe that you’ve never seen? Take an epic helicopter tour that will paint a picture that will fill you with nostalgia for years to come. Helicopter tours are one of the most luxurious things you can do for your significant other. This romantic excursion is ideal for just about any special occasion such as an engagement or proposal, honeymoon, anniversary gift, birthdays and more.

Pacific North Helicopters offers a variety of tours in and around the Lake Tahoe area. Year round they depart from the following areas:

  • Truckee Airport Headquarters
  • Resort at Squaw Creek
  • South Lake Tahoe Airport 
They offer the following tours for exploring iconic Lake Tahoe:
  • Lake Tahoe Circle Tour from Truckee Airport or South Lake Tahoe Airport (60 minutes)
  • Sand Harbor Tour from Truckee Airport (30 minutes)
  • Zephyr Cove Tour from South Lake Tahoe Airport (20 minutes)
  • Alpine Lakes and Waterfalls Tour from South Lake Tahoe Airport (20 minutes)
  • Hidden Alpine Wilderness from Truckee Airport
  • Sunset Champagne Lake Tahoe Tour from Truckee Airport or South Lake Tahoe Airport (60 minutes)
  • Emerald Bay Resort at Squaw Creek (30 minutes)
  • And more
Pacific North Helicopters also has an academy and flying lessons for those that are interested in becoming helicopter pilots. They train you for elite, high-altitude flights and offer a variety of training and certification for those that are interested in learning how to fly.

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10. Kayak to Fannette Island for a Picnic

At the very top of Fannette Island, which is the only island in the Lake Tahoe area, situated smack in the middle of Emerald Bay, you’ll find a little tea house. One incredible idea for a romantic excursion would be to rent a kayak (about $25, available from many rental companies) and make your way to Fannette Island and head up to the tea house for a romantic afternoon date.

However, if you plan on doing this, remember that Emerald Bay gets incredibly crowded. So if you want to find a good parking spot, come early. The kayak rentals open at 10 a.m., but you should get here roughly 1 or more hours before that. Yes, you’ll have to hang out and wait while you enjoy the blissful setting before you. But it’ll be worth it to get a parking spot.

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Romantic Things to Do in Lake Tahoe

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