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Local's guide to Lake Tahoe

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AUGUST 09, 2023

In California, Lake Tahoe is a common tourist destination for people in the Bay Area, Southern California and even the Central Valley. Many Californians make the trek to spend some lake days with friends and family. This summer, I had the opportunity to live in Truckee, CA, and experience all the wonders that this area has to offer. From the best lakes, hikes and towns, Lake Tahoe truly has it all. 

First, it’s difficult to decide which side of the lake to spend the most time on. South Lake Tahoe boasts the biggest town with casinos and a never-ending supply of shops, restaurants and hotels. There’s also a variety of gorgeous beaches such as Zephyr Cove, and bike paths along the lake with stunning viewpoints. 

Truckee, on the other hand, doesn’t have much lake access, other than the stunning Donner Lake which is about a 10 minute drive from downtown Truckee. Truckee has a quaint downtown area that has an old-time feel. The main street has diners, bookstores and boutiques for tourists to peruse and, of course, buy some merch. The beaches are usually less crowded and warmer than South Lake Tahoe. The famous Truckee River also flows through downtown Truckee and provides access for anyone to sit by the river and enjoy the cool river breeze. 

When in the Tahoe area, Emerald Bay is a must-see. This section of the beach has the best lookout points of the whole lake and has a little island in the middle that is fun to swim, boat or kayak to. The water is also incredibly green and shimmers like an emerald. 

Kings Beach and Tahoe City are both small towns along the lake that have a really beach-town feel. These areas have pretty beach spots and lots of live music venues to enjoy. People travel from all around Lake Tahoe to attend the events in these two towns so don’t skip out on them. My favorite beach in the entire area is Meeks Bay, which is located in Tahoe City. There are also a variety of docks where you can rent kayaks, jet skis and boats for your days under the sun. 

Incline is another town on the lake — however, this one sits on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. Most famous for Sand Harbor, this beach is so sought-after that finding parking after 8 a.m. is nearly impossible. People love jumping off the rocks into the crystal clear water in the area. Sand Harbor is also home to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, where people can watch Shakespeare plays with a backdrop of Lake Tahoe. I would highly recommend for anyone to attend a show at this stunning venue. 

I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to call Lake Tahoe my home and love that so many others spend their hard-earned vacation days on visits to stunning Tahoe. Although the tourists can get annoying from time to time, I hope these tips can help make your stay at Lake Tahoe as enjoyable as possible. 

Contact Kendall Richter at 


AUGUST 09, 2023