Lake Tahoe is known the world over for their epic ski slopes, the crystal blue lake for which it's named and the quirky vibe of the villages and towns that make it up. Although decidedly split, both North and South Lake provide ample experiences for any season – from skiing and snowboarding in winter to hiking and paddleboarding in the summer.

In addition, the top-notch hotels, high-end casinos and incredible food scene only add to the magic of this breathtaking region. From sipping cocktails at the Ritz Carlton’s Lake Club to skiing (or hiking) Squaw Valley's rugged peaks to noshing at the sprawling Edgewood Resort to attempting SUP yoga in Tahoe City or hitting Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe boasts a trip you'll never forget. If you're heading to Tahoe for the weekend, check out this guide on the best things to eat, drink or experience – no matter what time of year. 

A pink and gold sky is reflected in the still lake with mountains in the background
Lake Tahoe has pristine views and plenty of activities to keep you moving © Rachid Dahoun / Getty Images

Day 1

If you’re looking for a stay a little less formal, skip the hotel and opt for a luxury home nestled in the fir trees, overlooking the pristine blue lake and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range. Tahoe Luxury Rentals offers houses for all budgets. If money is no option, book the Laughing Waters lakefront villa. For over $9000 a night, you can enjoy seven bedrooms, a stone patio and private dock, expansive outdoor kitchen, an outdoor jacuzzi, five and a half bathrooms and a stunning timber design that screams mountain luxury.

If budget is a concern, the stunning Crow’s Nest is just $300-900 a night, and offers three bedrooms, a beautiful porch and jacuzzi. If you’d prefer the amenities of a resort, book a stay at Edgewood, South lake’s newest four-star hotel. Situated right on the crystal blue lake, Edgewood boasts a breathtaking lobby outfitted with a fireplace, a neighboring golf course, water sports, a world-class spa and transportation to and from the snowy mountains during winter for incredible skiing.

Evening

Once you’re settled, head to Christy Hill, a small American-style bistro with sweeping views of the lake. The menu changes seasonally, with dishes like pork belly dashi braised with kimchi and a perfect egg, and fresh tagliatelle pasta served with mushroom ragù and truffle oil. The restaurant is known for its olives, though, so don’t skip out on ordering a few warm batches for the table. If you’re up for it, head to Crystal Bay Casino for a night cap and a few rounds of craps or poker.  

A woman performs the downward facing dog yoga pose on a stand up paddle board in Lake Tahoe
Start your day with a SUP yoga class © Vernon Wiley / Getty Images

Day 2

Morning

Wake up early just in time for a SUP yoga class from Mountain Lotus Yoga. You’ll meet in Tahoe City right after sunrise and hit the cool waters of the lake on a provided paddleboard. Tailored for yogis of any skill level, the sessions will have you wobbling your way through downward dog and Vinyasa moves as you try to avoid splashing into the lake. Each class lasts about one hour and provides a breathtaking view of the stunning coastline. 

After a morning workout, head to Truckee. Once an old railroad town, this upscale hippie town has quickly become a must-see when visiting the lake. Since Lake Tahoe’s real estate costs a pretty penny, most locals who work the mountains and lake live in Truckee. Wander into Coffeebar, an industrial and beatnik java shop serving up the area’s finest drip coffees, along with home-brewed kombucha and Italian gelato. In time for lunch, stop at local favorite the Full Belly Deli. Specializing in thick deli-style sandwiches, this shop offers a host of mouthwatering picks, including the veggie press sandwich with warm mushrooms and pepperoncini or the short rib grilled cheese on Texas toast.  

A man and woman hike a ridge line with pine trees and a lake in the distance
With plenty of hikes in the summer or snowshoe trails in the winter, Lake Tahoe has lots of ways to get out and enjoy the view © Justin Bailie / Getty Images

Afternoon

Spend a few more hours exploring the colorful town of Truckee, stopping by some of the indie shops, like The Tree House Children’s Boutique, Bespoke and Tahoe Oil & Spice. If you’d rather burn off the calories of that grilled cheese, skip shopping and hit the Donner Lake hiking trail. The Donner Lake Rim Trail spans 23 miles and circles back in a loop through the stunning high country surrounding the lake. For a short trek, hit the Milk Lake trail, which is only 2 miles long and weaves around the peaceful Milk Lake. For something more treacherous, hit Castle Peak, which is 7 miles total (3.5 miles each way) and features an elevation change of over 1,850 feet. 

Related content: Uncovered and exposed: Secrets of pristine Lake Tahoe

Evening

Head back to your hotel or rental home and freshen up for a night out. Swing by for cocktails and amazing views at NorthStar resort at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. In the winter, the Living Room boasts floor-to-ceiling views of the mountains and a fully stocked bar. In summer, there’s no better place than the Lake Club's expansive lawn that extends all the way to the water's edge. Located down the mountain from the resort, this gorgeous club offers full bar service, snacks and rentable water sport equipment. 

For dinner, hit local favorite (and USA Today top rated) the Soule Domain. Family run and operated, this cozy bistro serves up French-inspired dishes with mountain fare. Sample Thai curry scallops with crispy angle hairs and coconut milk, fettucine with sliced organic chicken and pork belly or smoked venison sausage salad. Don’t leave without trying their famous Queen of Sheba flourless chocolate torte cake with fresh whipped cream. 

Late night

If the day hasn’t wiped you out completely, head down to South Lake, which is often dubbed “Vegas on the Lake.” Home to a vast collection of neon-clad casinos and bright, bold bars, this rowdy strip is the place to go for gambling, dancing, drinking and the like. Harvey’s, a mirrored high-rise that resembles an old-school Las Vegas casino. Try your hand at poker, or if you’d prefer, head up to the panoramic 19th floor for a pricey cocktail that’s well worth it for the view. For something a little newer, head to the Hard Rock Casino, one of the highest rated casinos on the strip. Here you can avoid the chimes of slot machines and enjoy live music from retro bands and an array of expensive libations.  

Three people on a chairlift with skis
If you love skiing or have always wanted to try, this is a great place to do it; in the summer a ride up the mountain is worth the views © Venture Media Group / Getty Images

Day 3

Morning

Start your day with an assortment of freshly baked donuts at Glazed & Confuzed. Their Jumbo Fritter is a crowd favorite (with $1 off on Fridays), but their specialty and regular or glazed are must-tries too. In addition to donuts, they also offer an espresso bar and incredible breakfast sandwiches, made with a bun or bagel and topped with a choice of meats (like pork apple sausage), cheeses and avocado or tomato. For a true indulgence, eat the Foghorn Leghorn, which is a hefty serving of crispy fried chicken served between two glazed waffle donuts and spicy maple-honey mustard. 

After a sugar-fueled breakfast, burn off some energy at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows – one of North Tahoe’s premier ski resorts. In summer or fall, the Stateline Lookout Trail offers stunning views from the 7000ft peak. From the lookout, you’ll get the Crystal Lake vista, which is astonishing during sunrise or sunset. During winter, you can get an all-day ski pass and shred down the hills on skis or a snowboard. The mixed-level mountains, ranging from a bunny slope to a black-diamond peak, are typically packed from late November to early April. Thanks to a recent $4 million renovation, including a new B3 helicopter, the slopes are safer than ever. 

Afternoon

Before you head out of town, pamper your tired muscles with a visit to the Ritz-Carlton spa. Touting 17 treatment rooms, a fitness center, a wellness program with a variety of fitness classes and a heated co-ed spa lap pool that looks out over the ski runs of NorthStar, you can easily spend an entire day soaking up the luxurious amenities. For a truly relaxing experience, enjoy the 90-minute journey through the forest treatment, which features a full body exfoliation, private soaking tub and a full body massage infused with a dose of forest air and native essential oils. For a taste of Tahoe, get the Tahoe Tree of Life, which is 75 minutes of bliss featuring a foaming salt soak and hot stone massage featuring stones from the lake itself. 

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