Lake Tahoe: Where Nature Meets Adventure
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe is a mesmerizing destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure, and entertainment. With crystal-clear waters, snow-capped peaks, and endless outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe has something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination! I have been lucky enough to visit twice, once in April and once in October. Here are some of my highlights and recommendations.
Clearly Tahoe is the original clear kayak tour company on Lake Tahoe! Their sustainable tours aim to give back to the environment while offering guests of all ages an incredible way to relax and enjoy all that Lake Tahoe has to offer. Through a completely transparent kayak, visitors can experience depths of nearly 70 feet. They have a wide variety of excursions to choose from, I chose the Clearly Explorer during my trip in October.
My adventure began by boarding a 46ft tri-toon (as seen in the video above) for a 3-hour all-inclusive charter. The knowledgeable staff took us on a short boat cruise until we reached our starting point. The starting points vary based on wind and weather. From there, we launched our kayaks directly off the tri-toon vessel itself and began our guided kayak tour. This experience provided a chance to explore Lake Tahoe on a path less paddled!
I highly recommend checking out Clearly Tahoe any time of the year. They offer activities for every season, with options such as Polar Paddle and snowshoeing for the winter, and LED Star Gazing kayaking or E-bike tours for the summer.
Lake Tahoe Hot Air Balloons:
Lake Tahoe Balloons has been successfully conducting balloon flights over Lake Tahoe
for more than two decades! They are the sole balloon ride company in the world whose entire ballooning process starts and ends on a boat's deck! This exceptional hot air balloon recovery vessel, the Tahoe Flyer, was constructed exclusively for the purpose of hot air ballooning!
This excursion was the highlight of my entire trip! The experience was truly one-of-a-kind, and I'll never forget the stunning views from above.
I took flight while visiting in October, which is towards the end of the season for hot air balloon rides over Lake Tahoe. Fortunately, the weather was perfect, however, if you're planning a trip and want to ensure the best possible conditions, I'd recommend going earlier in the season, between May and September, just to be safe! When I arrived as the sun was rising, the temperature was in the 20s, so it's essential to wear plenty of layers. As the day went on, the temperature rose to around 70 degrees!
We met at the Tahoe Keys Marina and boarded the Tahoe Flyer. During the cruise to the launch site in the middle of the lake, drinks and refreshments were served. The crew prepared and inflated the balloon directly from the upper deck of the boat. The first group took flight with the pilot serving as a guide, pointing out local attractions and breathtaking views. Each flight can hold a max of 16 people depending on weight. Watching the balloon take flight was so cool in and of itself, let alone the actual flight! The flight offers stunning views of numerous locations, such as Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake, Cascade Lake, Desolation Wilderness, and even peaks in Yosemite on some occasions! The adventure concluded with a graceful landing on the upper deck of the Tahoe Flyer, where the crew deflated and secured the balloon. As we returned to the marina, we celebrated with a traditional champagne toast. The entire experience lasted approximately four hours.
Whether you're a local or a tourist. It's a once in a lifetime experience that you won't forget anytime soon!
Zephyr Cove is home to so many activities, whether you want to try parasailing,
looking for a fishing charter, or just want to spend the day on the beach with a picnic, Zephyr Cove is a great spot!
It is also the home to MS Dixie II, the largest ship to cruise on Lake Tahoe! This is a fun activity if you are looking to spend some time out on the water and learn a little along the way. This tour went to Emerald Bay, across the lake, to see Fannette's Island and the Vikingsholm!
Vikingsholm is a historic mansion located in Emerald Bay, on the western shore of Lake Tahoe. It is known for its unique Scandinavian architecture and beautiful location, tucked away among the towering pine trees and overlooking the blue waters of Lake Tahoe.
Vikingsholm can be reached by boat or by walking a one-mile trail off of Highway 89. The home is open daily for tours in the summer months from June to September.
I just missed the window to visit since I went in April, but I will check it out the next time there!
Anderson Bike Rentals:
Anderson's Bicycle Rental is family owned and has been operating for over 43 Years! They are the only bike rental on the South Shore, located at the beginning of the National Forest Bike Trail (Pope/Baldwin Trail).
This was such a fun way to spend the afternoon! My favorite stop along the trail was at Pope Beach to visit the Beacon Bar and Grill for their famous rum runners! This bike trail was perfect because it was paved and away from traffic. This trail also goes by the Tallac Historic Site/Valhalla - Kiva Beach, the Visitors Center, Baldwin Beach and Fallen Leaf Lake!
In addition to the excursion listed above, here are a few local restaurants that I enjoyed while visiting:
Edgewood Tahoe is a gorgeous resort located right on the water. I had a wonderful brunch there and a delicious dinner in the evening as well.
Beacon Bar and Grill is a great little bar right on Pope Beach. Be sure to try the signature Rum Runner while taking in the views.
Sage Leaf Tahoe is located in incline village, right next to one of Clearly Tahoe’s meeting spots. They had really great cocktails!
California Burger Co. is located in the heart of Heavenly Village and is home to a great burger and there may or may not be a speakeasy located in this restaurant! Be sure to get there early to put your name in to get into the speakeasy. I arrived and put my name in (after I found it), had dinner and then was able to get into the speakeasy. It is a very small and eclectic vibe, they often have live music and the cocktails are really unique.
Clyde’s Coffee Roasting Company - Not only do they have great coffee but they have amazing fresh baked pastries daily! Be sure to get there early if you want the best selection because they go fast!