South Lake Tahoe Travel Guide

This tour guide offers a comprehensive list of places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and more in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Introduction to South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is a picturesque city nestled in the mountains of Northern California. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, South Lake Tahoe sits on the southern shore of the pristine Lake Tahoe. Visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities and unique cultural attractions.

List of Places to Visit in South Lake Tahoe

There are so many places to visit and things to do in South Lake Tahoe that it can be overwhelming. Here are some must-sees for visitors to the area:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

South Lake Tahoe has a rich cultural history that is celebrated through a number of museums and historical attractions. Some of the most notable attractions include:

  • Tahoe Maritime Museum
  • Tallac Historic Site
  • Vikingsholm Castle
  • Gatekeeper’s Museum
  • Hellman-Ehrman Mansion

Natural Attractions of South Lake Tahoe: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

The stunning natural beauty of Lake Tahoe is one of the main reasons visitors flock to the area. From hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding, there is no shortage of outdoor adventures to be had. Some top outdoor activities include:

  • Heavenly Mountain Resort
  • Emerald Bay State Park
  • Glen Alpine Falls
  • Taylor Creek Visitor Center
  • Sand Harbor Beach

Hiking/Biking Routes of South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is renowned for its plethora of hiking and biking trails. There are too many to list, but some of the most popular include:

  • Tahoe Rim Trail
  • Mount Tallac Trail
  • Fallen Leaf Lake Trail
  • Cascade Falls Trail
  • Page Meadows

Best Things to Do in South Lake Tahoe: Activities and Tours

South Lake Tahoe offers a wide array of activities and tours for visitors to enjoy. Some of the most popular include:

  • Kayaking or paddleboarding on the lake
  • Hot air balloon rides
  • Horseback riding
  • Parasailing
  • Scenic helicopter tours

Week-Long Itinerary for South Lake Tahoe

For visitors who have the time, a week-long itinerary is perfect to explore all that South Lake Tahoe has to offer. Here are some top activities for each day:

Day Activity
Day 1-2 Explore the beaches along the southern shore and take a scenic drive around the lake.
Day 3-4 Go skiing or snowboarding at one of the many nearby resorts and enjoy hot chocolate by the fire.
Day 5-6 Take a hiking or biking tour and explore the beautiful natural scenery.
Day 7 Indulge in some local food and drink before departing.

Food and Drink Scene of South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe has an incredible food and drink scene, with something to suit every taste. Visitors should try some of the following:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Garlic Fries from Cold Water Brewery
  • Fish Tacos from Chimayo Street Grill
  • Prime Rib from Evan’s American Gourmet Cafe
  • BBQ Ribs from Sonney’s BBQ Shack Bar & Grill

Local Beverages

  • Cold Water IPA from Cold Water Brewery
  • Tahoe Blue Bourbon from Tahoe Blue Vodka
  • Freshly brewed coffee from Revive Coffee & Wine.

Where to Stay in South Lake Tahoe: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

South Lake Tahoe has a range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to high-end hotels. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • The Landing Resort & Spa
  • Marriott’s Timber Lodge
  • Basecamp Hotel
  • Big Pines Mountain House

What to Buy in South Lake Tahoe: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Visitors to South Lake Tahoe should take home some local products as souvenirs. Here are some top options:

  • Tahoe Blue Vodka
  • Ski Tahoe T-shirts
  • Handmade jewelry from Tahoe Forest Jewelry
  • Snowshoe Brewing Company beer glasses

Local Culture and Customs of South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe has a strong cultural identity, with a mix of Native American, Hispanic and European influences. Visitors should explore the local communities and take part in cultural events.

Best Time to Visit South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is an all-year-round destination, offering different activities and experiences based on the season. From skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking and paddle boarding in the summer.

Do’s and Don’ts of South Lake Tahoe


  • Respect local wildlife
  • Take care of the environment
  • Be mindful of fire safety
  • Stay on designated trails while out hiking


  • Leave trash behind
  • Trespass on private property
  • Make excessive noise
  • Swim alone in the lake

Safety and Health

Safety in South Lake Tahoe

Overall South Lake Tahoe is a relatively safe destination, but visitors should be aware of the following:

  • Altitude sickness - visitors should take precautions to prevent and treat altitude sickness
  • Wildlife encounters - visitors should keep a safe distance from local wildlife
  • Snow sports - visitors should be cautious when participating in snow sports like skiing

Health in South Lake Tahoe

Visitors should take precautions to stay healthy while visiting South Lake Tahoe. Here are some top tips:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly
  • Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn
  • Dress appropriately for the weather
  • Take care when participating in winter sports like skiing.

Getting to South Lake Tahoe: Transportation Options and Logistics

South Lake Tahoe is relatively easy to reach, with many transportation options available.

Airports Near South Lake Tahoe

  • Reno-Tahoe International Airport - approximately 65 miles away
  • Sacramento International Airport - approximately 111 miles away

Bus Stations Near South Lake Tahoe

  • South Tahoe Airporter
  • Amtrak

Other Options

  • Rental Car
  • Private Airport Transfer

How to Get Around in South Lake Tahoe

Visitors can get around South Lake Tahoe by renting a car, taking public transportation or using ride-sharing services.

Where to Go Next from South Lake Tahoe: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Visitors can take excursions to nearby destinations such as Reno or Sacramento. Alternatively, visitors can explore the surrounding mountain ranges and national parks.


South Lake Tahoe is an excellent destination, offering stunning natural scenery, an array of outdoor activities, unique cultural attractions, and a vibrant food and drink scene. Visitors will undoubtedly enjoy their time in this beautiful city.