Adventure Itinerary

For the Avid Adventurer: Choose Your Own Adventure in Lake Tahoe

Everyone approaches a vacation differently. For some, a good trip is all about what gets your blood pumping and your heart racing. If that sounds like your idea of a great time, this itinerary is perfect for you. Even if you’re not quite the seasoned explorer, this is your sign to step out of your comfort zone a little and embrace all the adventures available to you within the Lake Tahoe Trifecta.

Day One: Activities On the Lake

As the second-largest alpine lake in the world, Lake Tahoe offers an endless array of unique experiences for any traveler. To kick off your lakeside exploration, grab a bite to eat and a quick caffeine boost at a nearby cafe. Some, like Java Hut in Kings Beach, are a short stroll away from the lakeshore, making it the perfect place to fuel up before you start your day.

In the spring and summer, you’ll definitely want to get out on the water. Spend an afternoon soaking up some rays on a stand-up paddleboard or explore the entire lake from a kayak. You can even soar through the sky on a parasail for a truly spectacular bird’s eye view of Lake Tahoe. Or, try renting (which greatly benefits local businesses) or bringing your own watercraft — there’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of riding a jet ski or steering a motorboat across the lake’s surface. Just remember, if you bring your own watercraft, even inflatable crafts like stand-up paddle boards, check it thoroughly for invasive species before it hits the water, so you don’t disturb Lake Tahoe’s natural ecosystem. Check out Tahoe Boat Inspections for more information on getting on the water safely.

If you’re here in the winter months, there are still plenty of opportunities for adventure by the lake. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and take in the stunning views of Lake Tahoe surrounded by snow — it’s a great way to explore the lake, and not a bad way to get some exercise in, too.

Of course, in between all this lakeside adventure, you’ll need to keep your energy up. Many of Lake Tahoe’s best culinary offerings can be found right there on the lake, so you won’t have to stray far for a midday meal or a hearty dinner to end the day. Check out our blog on lakeside dining to learn more.  

Day Two: Activities on the Mountain

With miles upon miles of breathtaking mountain wilderness to explore, Lake Tahoe has a mountainside activity for every traveler. The best way to start your day? Catching the sunrise over the whole of the Lake Tahoe region. If you’re able to get up early enough, the experience is well worth it. Strap on a headlamp, lace up your hiking boots and snag a quick breakfast before embarking on a hike to some of the best views in Lake Tahoe.

The hike to Eagle Rock Trail is a great choice for an early-morning adventure. It’s quick, totaling less than a mile there and back, meaning you can reach the peak in less than a half hour. Once you’re there, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountain peaks — what a perfect way to start the day. As with everywhere you go in the Lake Tahoe region, be sure that you do not leave any trash behind and always stay on designated trails. For a roundup of some of the best hikes in the area, check out our guide to the best trails in Lake Tahoe.

Now that you’ve soaked in some beautiful early morning views, treat yourself to something a little heartier before you return to your outdoor adventures. Somewhere like T’s Mesquite Rotisserie is the perfect stop for a filling midday meal. You’re sure to be talking about their famous burritos for a long time after you head home — just make sure you come prepared with cash, as they do not accept card payments. 

Once you’re ready to hit the ground running again, why not try spending your afternoon flying through the wilderness on two wheels? Whether you’re an expert biker or you haven’t pedaled in years, you’ll find a trail that’s perfectly your speed. It’s just like riding a bike, after all.

If you don’t have your own pair of wheels, that’s no problem. There are plenty of bike shops all around Lake Tahoe that offer rentals — as well as some, such as Tahoe Cross Country, that offer biking clinics so you can brush up on your skills. Once you’ve secured your bike, you can hit any of the numerous biking trails that will take you through Lake Tahoe’s incredible mountain vistas. We recommend the Tahoe Rim Trail, which loops around the entirety of Lake Tahoe and provides almost every mountain biking experience you could ask for, from challenging trails to get your blood pumping to mellow paths that allow you to cruise by and enjoy the views. Pro-tip — because this is such a popular trail, you’ll find it fairly busy on the weekends. Consider planning to experience this one during the week, when you have the chance to enjoy a bit more peace and quiet.

Ahead of any mountain biking activities, check out our page on biking resources so you’re brushed up on safety tips, trail maps and more.

Did you know that mountain biking can be a year-round adventure? If you’re here during the winter, you can try your hand at snow biking, which is exactly what it sounds like — riding a bike across the snow. Snow bikes utilize thicker tires that allow you to float over the snow-covered ground with no problem.

Snowboarding Granlibakken
Photo Credit: Granlibakken Tahoe

If you’d rather ditch the wheels, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for fun in the snow. We hardly need to say that Lake Tahoe offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding on the West Coast, but it doesn’t end there. You can also try your hand at snowmobiling, sledding, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and so much more. Check out all the winter activities we have to offer here.

Day Three: Activities in the Towns

With 12 towns to choose from, there’s no way to go wrong in spending your day exploring the best of what our towns have to offer. There’s enough to do that you can even devote a whole day to each town — and don’t worry, we have itineraries detailing how to do that, too. (Pro-tip: the more towns you visit, the more badges you can earn, getting you one step closer to joining the 12 Towners Club!)

Gaming in Lake Tahoe

The word “adventure” might make you think exclusively of outdoor activities, but it really involves so much more. During your day on the town, you’ll find adventure around every corner. For starters, there are always exciting events happening throughout each of our 12 towns. Depending on when you visit, you might be able to catch a music festival, farmers’ markets and so much more. Keep an eye on our events calendar to see what unique, locally-ran events you can experience on your trip.

For those who appreciate a friendly competition, mini-golf offers the perfect blend of challenge and entertainment. Pick from a handful of creatively themed mini-golf courses that promise fun for all age groups. Navigate through enchanted forests or putt your way around a pirate ship obstacle, and end it all with a trip to the arcade to try and win some prizes to take home. 

Feeling lucky? That’s a trick question — if you’re in Lake Tahoe, you’re definitely feeling lucky. So, it’s the perfect opportunity to hit the casinos and see if you win big. With three luxurious casinos offering a wide range of classic games, slot machines and table games, there’s something for every level of player. Beyond gaming, our casinos also offer thrilling live entertainment, to-die-for dining and beautiful lounging areas, making them great places to visit even if you’re not looking to place a bet.

A town adventure isn’t limited just to all the exciting activities we have to offer. For the culinary adventurers, our towns offer an exciting array of dining options that challenge the palate and invite you to try something out of the ordinary. Take Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique, for instance: as the name implies, you’ll find a cuisine like no other at this Lake Tahoe standout. “Cuisine Unique” refers to a blend of Asian and European flavors, all prepared with local ingredients that showcase the true wonders of Lake Tahoe’s local produce. A visit to this restaurant ensures you’ll try something new — and you might even leave with a new favorite meal. For the full list of exciting dining options in Lake Tahoe, check out our dining page.

Plan to Play, Plan Your Stay

There is so much more to explore in Lake Tahoe. Check out all the ways you can play on your trip here, and consider extending your stay to make the most of all the region has to offer. Explore the rest of the Tahoe Trifecta here.

SEE MORE TAHOE TRIFECTA ITINERARIES

Relaxation Itinerary | Culinary Itinerary

Play With Us in Lake Tahoe