Lake Tahoe, situated on the border of California and Nevada, is a refreshing freshwater lake nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and is an ideal summer destination off the beaten path. This picturesque location offers a diverse range of activities for visitors to enjoy, whether you’re seeking a memorable family getaway or an adventurous mountain excursion. Summer is the perfect time to explore Lake Tahoe’s stunning scenery through hiking and biking trails, indulge in water sports or sunbathing, or simply breathe in the pristine mountain air. Transportation to and around South Lake Tahoe is now more accessible than ever, with a drive of 3.5 hours from the Bay Area or a short hour’s drive from Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
There are more Lake Tahoe summer activities than you could ever fit into one trip. Explore the Sierra by foot or by pedal, splash in turquoise water that’s so clear it looks tropical, take a swing on manicured golf courses, and zip by boat or jet ski to secret coves. With so much to choose from, it can be hard to decide what things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer. Here is an overview of the best Lake Tahoe summer activities.
Lake Tahoe Summer Sports
With stunning mountain vistas, meadows painted in wildflowers, and pristine alpine lakes, it’s no wonder that one of the most popular Lake Tahoe summer activities is hiking. You can explore near Tahoe’s south shore on mellow, scenic paths, or ascend into the Sierra when you hike on the Tahoe Rim Trail or into Desolation Wilderness. Other popular hiking trails include the Taylor Creek area, the Mt. Tallac hike, and the Rubicon Trail among many more. Regardless of which trail you choose, remember to practice Leave No Trace principles whenever you wander in the woods.
One of the best things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer is to explore the water. Lake Tahoe has plenty of water sports for adventure seekers. Emerald Bay, located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, is a breathtaking sight to behold. With its mountainous backdrop, the bay boasts a stunning blend of greens, turquoise, and blues that shimmer in the clear, deep waters of the lake. It is located within Emerald Bay State Park which is home to many landmarks like Vikingsholm Castle. You can rent a speedboat or jet ski and zip to Emerald Bay, soar over the lake on a parasailing adventure, take a scenic boat cruise on Ms. Dixie II, kayak or paddleboard along the shoreline to hidden beaches, or get your thrill on when you try wake-surfing and wake-boarding.
Cast your line into the crystal waters of Lake Tahoe. There are plenty of fishing charters on the south shore and these seasoned captains know the secret spots to get your line-jumping. Additionally, the rivers and streams that feed Lake Tahoe teem with trout, so whether you’re a fly-fishing expert or a spin-casting extraordinaire, you’re sure to land a big one on the south shore of Lake Tahoe.
Bikers get ready! The Lake Tahoe summer season is rife with biking opportunities. As a designated Bike Friendly Community, there are plenty of trails for every ability, from paved paths for social spins to single-track for downhill demons. Speed down heart-pounding trails and try to appreciate the mountain scenery as it whizzes past Corral Trail and the infamous Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. If you prefer a leisurely pedal with family and friends, take a cruise down the South Lake Tahoe Bike Path where paved trails wind to all the best beaches on the south shore. Other popular biking trails include the Flume Trail, South Shore Bike Path and Pope-Baldwin Bike Trail, and Tahoe Rim Trail. You’re never far from the water when biking in Lake Tahoe, so take a plunge after a sweaty ride.
Golfing in Lake Tahoe comes with spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the waters of the lake. The iconic Edgewood Tahoe is an 18-hole golf course located near Stateline, Nevada on the South Shore of the lake with spectacular views of Tallac and its beachfront location. Edgewood hosts one of Lake Tahoe’s most famous summer events, the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. Celebrities are set to come to Tahoe this July 12-16, to compete in an epic golf tournament, the most prestigious celebrity tournament in the sport.
Lake Tahoe Summer Relaxation
If you are looking for relaxing activities during your vacation, Lake Tahoe has got you covered. Sip artisanal cocktails at a waterfront restaurant, shop till you drop at the Heavenly Village, and enjoy live music at South Lake Tahoe summer concerts. Don’t miss seeing your favorite band play at the Harveys Summer Concert Series, which brings Grammy-winning musicians to the south shore, and check out the Live at Lakeview Summer Music Series for jamming tunes right on the beach.
A jewel on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Ski Run Marina is a hub of activities in South Lake Tahoe. A place for kids to experience fun, great art, great shopping, fabulous food, great boating, fishing, and proximity to nature that you can’t feel anywhere else. The area boasts a fine selection of retail stores with a variety of shopping choices. Ski Run Marina is home to Riva Grill, Artemis Lakefront Cafe, Art of Gelato, wine/art bar Lake Tahoe Paint & Sip Studio, Tahoe Cruises, and souvenir store Cabin Fever. Also, the highly anticipated sixth annual Tahoe Brewfest returns on August 26, 2023, in the heart of South Lake Tahoe at Ski Run Boulevard celebrating all that is special about their mountain culture, their beer, crafts, environment, and community.
Honestly, you just can’t beat a beach day in Lake Tahoe. The beaches are simply divine with fine-grain sand and the clearest water you’ve ever seen. Don’t feel guilty if you scrap the hiking plans and decide to laze the day away on a Lake Tahoe beach – there are few summer activities that can compete with such high-quality beach-bumming. Hit Baldwin Beach, Kiva Beach, Pope Beach, Nevada Beach, El Dorado Beach, Sand Harbor, and more for the best summertime fun.