With two days to explore Lake Tahoe’s mountain landscape, you can take in alpine summits, discover the lakeshore, and dive into South Lake’s energetic nightlife. Since most of this Sierra hot spot’s action is outside, plans could go from snowy adventures to lake time. Here are some tips for enjoying Lake Tahoe in any season.
In winter, snag first chair for a day at one of the alpine resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe, including Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood; to save money, book lift tickets, gear, and a lesson all in one. In summer, get your mountain time on a gondola ride to the summit at Heavenly, with views towards the lakeshore.
After a day on—or above—the slopes, soar over the mountains with a sunset helicopter tour timed to catch the last light on the Sierra peaks. Watch for the distinctive pink “alpenglow” that sometimes illuminates the summits, and keep your camera ready from takeoff to landing.
Head to South Lake for a taste of Tahoe nightlife. Booking a spot in advance ensures you won’t spend the evening waiting in line as tables can fill up fast at popular venues.
Start your second winter day by escaping the crowded slopes and exploring the frozen landscape on snowshoes, cross-country skis, or bundled into a horse-drawn sleigh. In summer, make a beeline for the lake where you can hit the water in a cruise boat, jet ski, or stand-up paddleboard.
Recover from an active morning with a hearty lunch in town, where prebooking a table can be a time-saving alternative that lets you get back into action more quickly. A warm-weather alternative is to pack a picnic, rent a bike, and ride along the path that follows the lake.
For your last night in Tahoe, check for tickets to local shows. The casinos draw big names—making them a worthwhile stop even if you’re not a gambler—but you should book in advance to snag good seats.