5 Underrated Things to Do in Tahoe

If you live in the Bay Area and haven't hit up Tahoe recently, you're truly a rare breed. Lake Tahoe is spectacular year-round, with epic, world-renowned snowsports in the winter and that indomitable lake in the summer. But if you're worried the lake life or relaxing at the beach isn't for you (we won't judge), there's a ton more to do around here that isn't lake-related! Leave room in your plans for some of these, too:

1. Float down the Truckee River

If you’re looking for the most relaxing way to enjoy Tahoe’s epic scenery, this is it. Straight out of Tahoe City and running along Highway 89, the Truckee River has about 5 miles worth of lazy river for you to get your float on - inflate the tubes, pack the coolers, bring your sunscreen, and get comfortable.

Although you can load in or head out at any point in this stretch, we recommend leaving from the Truckee Regional Park and getting off at River Ranch for the full experience (about 2-3 hours of floating) - a couple local raft companies can provide your gear and a pickup/drop-off service from these locations to make the trip stress-free. Expect mostly calm waters with some very light rapids to speed things along in between the flatter areas. And as with any place you visit, be sure to take your trash with you and don’t pack any glass. Leave no trace.


2. Take the Tram to Palisades' High Camp

It might seem like "take the Tram" is fancy way to say "sit in a box for a while" but summer Tram trips are surprisingly legit! The Tram ride itself is stunning - as anyone who's taken the Tram during the ski season can attest - but the summer landscape is just as awe-inspiring as the winter one.

And there's a ton of free stuff to do once you get to the top - strap on some roller skates and hit the roller rink, toss some discs on their 9-hole disc golf course, and of course, enjoy the spectacular hiking trails (protip: many are dog-friendly, as is the Tram itself)! When you're ready to duck back indoors, start at the Washoe Display to learn about the Washoe people's history and culture, then head over to the Olympic Museum to learn about the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Best part is, Basementeers get a special discount on Tram Tickets until the end of September!


3. Go Horseback Riding

If you've got children in your group (and yes, that includes your own inner child) then a scenic trail ride through the High Sierras might tick all the right boxes. There's a few different horseback riding spots around Tahoe, including Alpine Meadows Stables on the West side, Camp Richardson Corral in the South and Zephyr Cove Stables right near the state line. If you have riding experience you'll be pleased to find that most of them offer longer, more complex routes for experienced riders as well. Pony rides for the littlest kiddos, and basic, no-experience-required trail rides are available everywhere. If you want to go full cowboy, try out Zephyr Cove Stables' dinner ride, which includes a tri-tip steak meal at the end!


4. Stargaze

The latest images from the James Webb telescope have us itching to talk about stargazing - Lake Tahoe is perfect for it with up to 300 clear nights per year, and very little light pollution. Whether you’re bringing along a telescope or not, spots like Baldwin Beach, Emerald Bay State Park, Nevada Beach, or Sand Harbor Beach are great places to start (you can catch some pretty amazing sunsets here, too). Don’t forget to pack some chairs and blankets, so you can soak it all in comfortably.


5. Check out local Outdoor Markets, Fairs, & Concerts

There's no shortage of outdoor activities in Tahoe, but not all of them include working up a sweat or (casually) sliding down a mountain. One of our favorite picks is enjoying the countless farmers markets, craft fairs, or art and music festivals around the lake.

Take a look at events happening at Tahoe City, Truckee, King's Beach, South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, and Olympic Valley - there's a ton to see ranging from the Made in Tahoe Festival in Olympic Valley to the free Concerts at Commons Beach in Tahoe City (which happen every Sunday until September 13). Shop local and support the Lake Tahoe community on your next visit!


1 comment

  • Guess who says...

    There are dozens of raft-friendly rivers, lots of trams, hundreds of bars, etc. etc. (need i add golf courses, theaters, restaurants etc.) all over the state and the world but only one Tahoe. if you aren’t going for the lake, I’d say stay away.

    On July 18, 2022

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