There is a multitude of things to do in Lake Tahoe all year long, making this alpine lake one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Western US, particularly for residents of California and Nevada. In the summer, boating, fishing, swimming, other water sports, and enjoying the beach are common, while in the winter, skiing and other winter sports are among the most popular Lake Tahoe activities. There are also hiking trails that are open year-round, though in the winter they may be snowed under.
Skiing is one of the most popular things to do in Lake Tahoe, as the area has the largest concentration of ski resorts in North America. The majority of the resorts are concentrated around the north side of the lake, though there are a few large ski resorts in the south end, such as Heavenly and Kirkwood. Squaw Valley in the north is the largest resort, with more than 170 ski runs. The ski season goes from November to April or May. Skiing is one of the best things to do at Lake Tahoe, as the area is blessed with 300 sunny days a year and plenty of snow. You can also get some great package deals with multi-day lift tickets, accommodation, and skiing lessons. In addition to skiing, snowboarding is also popular at the alpine ski resorts, and equipment can be rented at the ski resorts or in one of the nearby towns such Tahoe City and South Lake Tahoe, and the countryside around Lake Tahoe also offers many trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
In the summer, many Lake Tahoe activities center on the lake. The shores are lined with beaches, some secluded and some more touristy. You can hike into some beaches from trails in the forest, and spend an afternoon picnicking with your family, as well as swimming, kayaking, fishing, and various other water sports. Kings Beach, near the north end of the lake, is one of the major beaches, and with a gently sloping ocean floor is one of the warmest swimming areas of the lake. Some fun things to do in Lake Tahoe at the beach include renting jet skis and kayaks as well, and there are restrooms and a boat launch. Keep in mind that with consideration to environmental concerns and water quality, dogs and pets are not allowed on most beaches.
Hiking is one of the best things to do at Lake Tahoe if you just want to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. The famous Tahoe Rim Trail circles the lake, and gives you amazing views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The forests and wilderness areas around Lake Tahoe have hundreds of hiking trails for the intrepid trekker.
Camping at Lake Tahoe is one of the most fun and also economical Lake Tahoe activities, saving you quite a bit of cash on accommodations. It is also one of the best things to do at Lake Tahoe if you want to get in touch with the natural beauty surrounding you at this mountain lake. Many campsites are located near the town of South Lake Tahoe, and camping facilities range from RV rentals, campsites, and even cabins and lodges. In the summer, camping is quite popular, so you will probably want to reserve a spot in advance.
Gambling is also one of the popular activities in South Lake Tahoe, as the eastern side of the town is in Nevada, where gambling is permitted. After a day of enjoying the natural scenery of the region, you may want to check out some of the casinos, bars, and restaurants around this area. There are also casino hotels in the area, including Harrahs and Horizon, if you want to stay as close to the casinos as possible.
Image: Charles Shaprio courtesy of Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority