I love running out of town to ignore my responsibilities. When life gets a bit too busy and overwhelming, or when a new semester is just about to begin, I like to go somewhere relaxing but still fun to get in a better headspace of calm and optimism. Lake Tahoe is such a treasure for us in Northern California — these are all the things I did during my getaway!
If you are interested in, or a fan of, Vietnamese food, I highly recommend stopping at Quan Nem Ninh Hoa in Sacramento halfway through your drive. It’s recommended and vouched for by my mom, who is very picky about her own culture’s food, so you know it’s good. Their sauces were the star of the show and their menu is huge. I got the house special and banh beo, two dishes my mom didn’t make often as a kid so it’s always a special treat.
I stayed at a rental home which I think is the best way to go for small towns like Lake Tahoe — a small and cozy house on the north shore right next to Kings Beach. The town is so homely and quaint, I think staying in one of their many cabin-like rental homes is always the best decision. It makes you feel like you’re part of the town, more as a local than a tourist, and I love having a kitchen to stay in and cook.
For dinner I was so wiped from the drive that I just wanted a quick meal at home. We went to the grocery store just down the street, and got some snacks and ingredients for a quick pasta and garlic bread dinner. It was great to just relax in the house. I also just love pretending that I live in this super nice cabin that is way nicer than my Berkeley apartment.
The first day of a trip always feels a bit surreal to me. I’ve been to Lake Tahoe many times ever since I was a kid, but the awe of the trees, the lake and even the smell of everything always surprises me.
I spent this night reading on the porch and going on a walk around the neighborhood. It’s such a beautiful place to reset and recharge, settling down after the end of the summer session and taking a break from work.
I woke up when the sun was just starting to rise. I walked down to Kings Beach to see the sun rise over the lake. It was so beautiful.
A bit later we desperately sought coffee. We headed over to Incline Village and went to Drink Coffee Do Stuff, a super cute little shop with super nice baristas.
We drove around a bit to the seemingly abandoned ski resorts for some great views of the trees. The mountains are so big and vast it’s such a wonderful thing to be able to see, especially before they become covered in snow in the winter. It’s great to leave the city and bask in how beautiful the natural world can be.
We went down to Kings Beach where I laid, read and took a nap. It was glorious and very much needed. There’s ice cream shops and breweries along the water that are perfect for a little break. Everything in this town was within walking distance, so it’s great to get some exercise and fresh air.
For a late lunch, we went to Whitecaps Pizza. It was super good and they have benches on the sand overlooking the lake. The lake offers a bunch of amenities including kayaking, jet skiing and live music nights. While you can just relax in the sun and swim on your own, it’s really great that there are so many activities available for a packed weekend of fun.
For dinner, we went to Koi Sushi located in a Santa-themed shopping center in Alpine Village. I’m one of those annoying people who as soon as fall is beginning to loom, I’ve accepted that it’s essentially Christmas, so it was so fun to see all the lights and a small shed labeled, “Santa’s workshop.” The sushi was super good and cheap too. They’re open pretty late and offer all-you-can-eat as well as a la carte.
We started off our last day with a walk to JavaHut for bagels and coffee to take down to the beach. It’s my favorite kind of breakfast, simple, easy and can be taken out to eat anywhere. Soaking in the last moments of the views of the lake and the mountains, we took a moment to be grateful for being able to take this trip and have access to such a great place not too far of a drive from home.
For lunch, we stopped by Char-Pit for burgers — they were so good. It definitely satisfied my stomach before driving all the way back to Berkeley. It’s quick and simple, as the best burgers always are.
Lake Tahoe will always be an incredibly special place to me.
It’s nestled in the mountains like a secret world completely apart from my everyday norm. I used to call it “Narnia” as a kid when the winter snow would cover the trees and mountains, the journey it took to get there felt like I was transporting across realms. The natural beauty is something that will always take my breath away, reminding me of the simple beauties of this state as well as the immense joy that emerges simply from getting some fresh air.
I hope to return again in the winter when my excitement for Christmas will be more appropriate!