Ask any parent. Keeping kids entertained is a full-time job. But not so on vacation, especially if it’s North Lake Tahoe, where the region’s natural alpine setting makes for the best outdoor playground.
If you’ve got toddlers, you know they wake up at the crack of dawn with more energy than an adult could muster in a week. Start the day by taking them to the gourmet Tahoe House Bakery on the West Shore, where you can stock up on coffee and some of the best-baked goods on the lake, which are made onsite during the wee hours of the morning. Kids feel right at home by the cozy fire, with loaner crayons, colorings books and plastic and wooden toys – all of which keeps them busy as the wolf down their bagel.
Regardless of age, you’ve got to keep the party moving – and one of the best ways to do that is a steady hike along one of North Lake Tahoe’s myriad of trails. A popular place for a family outing is off the picturesque Mount Rose Highway (431) with its paths of winding trails that lead through wildflower meadows and to stunning vistas.
After a workout, who can resist jumping in the lake? Head back down the hill to the sandy beaches of Kings Beach State Recreation Area, Sand Harbor Beach State Recreation Area just outside of Incline Village or Meeks Bay Resort on the West Shore, where the Washoe Native Americans summered during Tahoe’s early years. The lake’s clarity will tempt even the faintest of heart to plunge in headfirst. Once you’re cooled off then hit the sand for hours of sandcastle building, while older kids will enjoy renting a kayak and silently exploring Tahoe’s pure waters.
Lunch stops are many and include the established Bridgetender Tavern & Grill right on the Truckee River in Tahoe City, where locals and visitors hang out to watch the rafters disembark, and also munch on juicy burgers and waffle fries. Another popular joint is T’s Mesquite Rotisserie in the heart of Incline Village, which specializes in Mexican fare. Mouths are watering as the wafts of succulent grilled meat makes its way out the door to the line waiting to order. No credit cards taken here, so bring cash.
Let the afternoon slide by with a leisurely bike ride along one of Lake Tahoe’s many paved paths. A favorite stop, and perfect for those with training wheels, is the mellow Truckee River Trail from Tahoe City to River Ranch with is car-free route and loads of fly fisherman to watch. Parents and kids can stretch their legs at River Ranch Lodge’s outdoor patio overlooking the river, while sharing an appetizer or two. For those that shred year-round, the Truckee Skate Park off Highway 267 is ideal for skateboarders, and gets the thumbs up from kids for its layout and flawless trannys.
North Lake Tahoe restaurants make dinner-to-go a no-brainer with picnic-type themed goodies for those catching an outdoor movie under the stars at dusk. In Tahoe City, flicks every Wednesday night until
For sit down service, Lanza’s Restaurant in Kings Beach gets kids. This Italian favorite has been owned and operated by the same family for years and pulls out all the stops for the younger ones. Everything on the menu is scrumptious, but locals swear by the jumbo shells stuffed with a special ricotta mixture then baked with marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese. Also popular on the menu, and always a kid pleaser, are their homemade pizzas with toppings that range from pepperoni to anchovies. Lone Eagle Grille, right on the lake in Incline Village, is also kid friendly and offers a majestic Old Tahoe setting with the some of the freshest seafood and best steaks – anywhere. Another favorite is Mamasake in the Village at Squaw Valley, where parents can dine on delectable sushi rolls, such as the Stop Drop & Roll and the Mama’s Basically Insane, while kids not ready for the raw can get grilled shrimp or seared salmon.
For more information about North Lake Tahoe’s activities and events, along with lodging, recreation and the best deals, visit our homepage or call North Lake Tahoe at 1-877-949-3296.