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Celebrate California and North Lake Tahoe

Last updated: November 2023

North Lake Tahoe, known for its relaxing atmosphere mixed with adventurous activities, is comprised of small cities and towns located in both California and Nevada. For Nevada Day in October, we shared some can’t-miss events and attractions in the “the Silver State.” However, we didn’t want to leave California out of the fun, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite activities that the California side has to offer.

Photo Credit: Ryan Salm

Tahoe City

Once a destination for travelers to and from the Comstock Lode, Tahoe City’s century-old heritage, historic sites, haunted sites and museums provide an indulgent amount of history to explore. Visitors can enjoy four-star dining, homegrown coffee shops, art galleries, shopping, or a leisurely stroll through town on the lake-view sidewalks at any time. The area also lends itself to a perfect romantic winter getaway

We can’t think of a better start to a day in Tahoe City than a visit to Syd’s Bakery and Espresso which offers patio seating overlooking Lake Tahoe as well as bagels, breakfast and lunch food and all the perks of enjoying coffee with a view. If you’re ready to awaken more senses, try Mountain Lotus Yoga, which offers Bikram Yoga, Hot Pilates, Hot Vinyasa, Warm Yin and Aerial Yoga

If it’s adventure you desire, the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park offers a wide range of sporting options like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing  to allow you to get the most out of your day. There are also family-friendly activities like an ice skating rink and small sledding hills.

Photo Credit: Greg Kaye

Olympic Valley

Northwest of Tahoe City, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics continues to seduce ski enthusiasts to its famed slopes. Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley), situated in the heart of the Olympic Valley, is all about the spirit of adventure and exploration, offering 34 lifts, spanning six peaks, opening access to 4,000-acres of world-class terrain for skiing and riding.

The melting snow transforms Olympic Valley from a winter wonderland to an outdoor paradise with ski-in and ski-out access. There are miles of hiking trails, bike paths and activities such as paintball, disc golf, roller skating and swimming.

Olympic Valley is a must-visit for skiers and snowboarders — and golfers. The Links at Squaw Creek is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. resort golf course along scenic mountain terrain that showcases how Olympic Valley is truly a paradise for all sports.

And when it comes time to hit the hay, consider a stay at Squaw Valley Lodge. They have convenient ski-in, ski-out condominium-style luxury suites perfect for a winter trip.

Alpine Meadows

Alpine Meadows is best known as being a local favorite for skiers and snowboarders. Beyond the slopes, the River Ranch Lodge sits on the Truckee River, and makes for a great spot to stop for some food and a stay in this beautiful area.

Crest Café also offers a simple retreat from outdoor adventure with its comforting daily breakfast and lunch specials. The spot also has happy hour items all week long and even a special sushi night on Thursdays.

Palisades Tahoe Alpine Meadows features a classic après ski location, the Ice Bar. Nestled by the Sherwood Chair, you can kick back in a lounge chair and enjoy cold beverage as well as their famous barbecued bratwurst.

Photo Credit: Tor Johnson

The West Shore

The string of smaller Tahoe communities and state parks along Highway 89 is collectively known as the Lake Tahoe West Shore. It’s the Black Forest of Lake Tahoe that  boasts a mossy, deep-woods aesthetic, not to mention Sugar Pine Point State Park, one of the most captivating at the lake.

With half-priced skiing and sledding day tickets for lodging guests, Granlibakken Resort Ski Area makes it budget-friendly for everyone to get out on the slopes. Granlibakken’s wide variety of accommodations on site and its relaxed atmosphere are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Plus, you can top of a perfect stay with a visit to one of three Tahoe Tree Top Adventure Parks near Lake Tahoe’s North Shore. You’ll find 65 tree platforms connected by a variety of bridges and/or zip lines and beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses— all available during winter and summer.

Carnelian Bay

Carnelian Bay is a popular area for all kinds of fun from fishing to lakeside family fun. Year-round, Carnelian Bay is the spot for big Mackinaw trout, which are best experienced on fishing charters like Reel-Lentless Fishing Charters.  Prized vacation rentals line the area for easy access to the North Shore’s 11 Lake Tahoe ski resorts.

And if it’s variety you’re looking for, Magic Carpet Golf & Arcade has both indoor and outdoor fun for everyone. This facility has an arcade, two 19-hole courses and one 28-hole course overlooking Lake Tahoe, each with many colorful structures and challenging hazards.

Tahoe Vista 

As its name suggests, Tahoe Vista lodging is snuggled right against the lakeshore. Here you’ll find the North Tahoe Regional Park, which encompasses approximately 124 acres of predominantly active recreational activities. The Park sports year-round trailheads for mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, a disc golf course, public tennis courts, nature trails and two playground areas with slides, swings and jungle gym-style accessories.

North Tahoe Regional Park also offers a variety of wintertime recreation options including a snowmobile course (only available for rent), sledding hill and cross-country skiing (when snow and weather conditions permit). Mouth-dropping views are always included.

Kings Beach

Kings Beach

Kings Beach is a big lodging area for ski and snowboarding enthusiasts, but who knew it would be so easy to find art as well. Vista Gallery is a showcase for local and out-of-the-area artists and their work. The Gallery has one of the most diverse and eclectic ranges of art and artists in the North Lake Tahoe area.

The area is also chalk-full of shopping and restaurant options, especially quirky and unique. The Robin’s Nest is an eclectic gift shop that focuses on humorous lodge decorations and “Bearaphernalia.”

Northstar California

Northstar, a world-class ski resort, is perfect the spot for winter activities, even ice skating even on windy days. You’ll also find breezy fun at every turn, including at Northstar California Tubing Hill. Enjoy the exhilarating ride down the 200-yard hill as well as the unforgettable views that come with it. Tubes and riders are transported by tow lift to the top of the hill and tubers can slide down one at a time or in daisy chains. Their charming village is also a must-see.

After a day of totally tubular fun, enjoy the amenities offered by The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe which features ski-in, ski-out access paired with exceptional luxury.

For more information on planning your trip, visit the North Lake Tahoe lodging page.