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Looking for suggestions for activities in Lake Tahoe

Our family four with two 10 year old kids are traveling to Tahoe this summer. Suggestions on kid friendly activities. Thanks!

3 Replies

Hi @Marley - Thanks for reaching out!

Lake Tahoe is such an incredible area. One summer recommendation I have is Emerald Bay and Eagle Lake. There is central parking that works for both of these. Walking down to the lake is gorgeous on Vikingsholm Trail and there is an old castle down amongst the huge trees. Above the road, there is a hike to the Eagle Lake, which gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe the whole time. Not a long hike, but you do gain some elevation, so it can be done as slowly as needed with kids along. 

I hope y'all have a great trip!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thank you for the suggestions!


Get on / in the water. Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.

Adventure Courses are available at multiple sites, including a couple of the ski areas.

The ride up the Heavenly Gondola is an incredible view with hiking trails and a restaurant along the route.

There are also mountain bike rentals, and the choice to only go downhill at Northstar, where they take you up on the Winter Ski lifts. I don't know how adventurous your 10 year olds are, but I know others will be monitoring this post.

Echo Lakes has a boat ferry that goes through an interesting channel between the two Lakes it traverses. Walk up to Tamarack Lake from the pier.

Angora Lakes is a classic old style resort. You have to walk the last mile or so. They have incredible homemade lemonade. It's possible to swim or boat across the lake to jump off cliffs into the water. It's not possible to walk all the way around the lake because of the stunning cliffs that drop into it. Years ago you used to be able to jump off a 80 ft cliff. Many people have died on that cliff and there are signs stating so. I jumped off the 65-ft cliff. My girlfriend thought I was crazy and the relationship ended that day. It's good to know I guess.

The lakes nearby Lake Tahoe are all warmer than Lake Tahoe. The exception is the Incline Village area, where prevailing winds make the water temperatures 5° warmer than elsewhere. One of the warmest lakes around Lake Tahoe is Granite Lake above Emerald Bay. It's only a one mile walk, but definitely uphill with stunning views. The parking lot fills early as this trailhead also accesses Cascade Falls.

The all too well known secret of Lake Tahoe are the East Shore Beaches. There are a string of them between Sand Harbor and Glenbrook that are accessed by hiking from the road. You have to find a parking place early, usually before the sun has hit you. Go ahead and walk down to the water and it'll warm up once the Sun comes to you.

The easiest peak to climb with an absolutely stunning view of the lake is Relay Peak along the Tahoe Rim Trail just west of Tahoe Meadows along Mount Rose highway. Another very nice stretch of the Tahoe Rim Trail goes north from Spooner Summit.

There are still multiple stables set up at Lake Tahoe for an hour or two horseback ride. This is always memorable for kids if they haven't done it before.

Lastly, you have to go to the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center in between the community of South Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay, where I used to work. The nature walk is very beautiful, with a stream profile chamber where you're able to see the fish that live underwater. take the tour of the Tallac Estate. The same parking lot accesses the only free beach in the area close to a parking lot. Walk over to Taylor Marsh to see tons of wildlife.

Be sure to not put too much on the plate. We need lots of time sitting next to the water just absorbing the peace of being surrounded by so much blue.

As a side note, and a quick story about my past, don't walk into your backpacking department of the local sporting goods store asking for the most biologically appropriate shampoo to wash your hair in Lake Tahoe. There is no such thing, even though there is a rumor of how soft your hair will be after you wash your hair in Lake Tahoe.

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