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3 Days in Lake Tahoe for Families

Organisiert von Jen Pengwho's lived in Lake Tahoe for nearly a decade.

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, beautiful Lake Tahoe offers lots of activities for outdoor lovers, including families with kids. From hiking and biking trails to ski trails, you can find easier options to suit the little ones and more advanced options for older children. In winter, kids of all ages enjoy the thrill of sledding and tubing down a hill.

There are also plenty of summer adventures around and on the lake, from playing on the beach, to getting out on the water on a kayak, paddleboard, or boat, or taking to the skies on a parasail. Here’s how to make the most of three days with the whole family in Lake Tahoe.

Bring layers. Temperatures dip at night in Tahoe, even in summer. In winter, plan for snow.

If you only have time for one thing, make it a day on the mountains.

Day 1

Spend your first day on the mountain. In winter, skiing and snowboarding are popular activities and make for a fun family day out. Book a lesson for your kids in the morning, then regroup in the afternoon to make use of their new skills. Prebook your ski and snowboard rentals at resorts, including Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe, for a hassle-free experience.

In summer, take the gondola up at Heavenly for scenic views and an adventure park with ropes courses, climbing wall, zipline, and a mountain coaster. Palisades Tahoe on the north shore offers an aerial tram and activities at High Camp. Or, head to Northstar for its mountain bike park.

Day 2

Head out to Carson City or Virginia City to take the classic V&T short line train. There are special themed rides at certain times of the year. In Carson City, families can also visit the Children’s Museum. In Virginia City, tour a mine and let the kids try panning for gold and gems.

Back in Tahoe, end the day with a horse-drawn sleigh ride in winter at Sand Harbor State Park or a horse-drawn carriage ride in summer.

Day 3

Spend your final day at or on the lake. Dozens of scenic beaches dot Lake Tahoe’s 72-mile shoreline and offer lake access and activities such as swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, boating, jet-skiing, and parasailing. A sightseeing cruise, like the M.S. Dixie II from Zephyr Cove lets you enjoy the beauty of Tahoe from on the lake. In summer, enjoy movies at Commons Beach in Tahoe City.

In winter, enjoy the snow by going sledding or tubing. Head to Northstar for ice skating in the village, followed by gourmet hot chocolate and s’mores around the fire pit at the Ritz Carlton.

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