lake tahoe

A Date with Lake Tahoe California

Most people would advise spending more than just one day in Lake Tahoe California but alas, we are not most people.

lake tahoe

You see, we were camping at Thousand Trails Snowflower and Lake Tahoe was only 45 minutes away.  This should seem like nothing to people who live in a house on wheels but to us, that is an hour and a half sitting in a car that could be spent outside.  So we quickly made the decision to only drive into North Lake Tahoe once during our 5 day stint in the area.  I know some of you are already thinking we’re crazy…hang in there, we do have our reasons.

First, there is lot of hype surrounding all that is Lake Tahoe; second its freaking huge; and third our campground offered more than enough to explore (AKA, we felt like being lazy and we still had work to do).  Yes, the water is a brilliant, crystal clear shade of deep blue, it’s surrounded by snowcapped peaks in the distance and the national forest areas go on for miles in all directions, so it’s a nature lover’s (yep that’s us) paradise.  We would normally be all about exploring every nook, cranny and famed spot but we were realistic with our limited amount time here.

lake tahoe water

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America so trying to decide which part to visit, which hike to take, and on which day was giving us a headache.  With only 5 days, we would never see it all, not even close, so why stress it.  We forwent any planning, picked a day and said, “It’s a Date”!

It was the perfect excuse to go on a date day (yes most love birds have date nights but we have entire date days!) and it turned out to be one of the best ways to experience Lake Tahoe!  We walked, we drove, we oogled at each other and the water, we sat with our feet in the sand and indulged in just being alive.

feet on beach

Speaking of indulgence, the best part of the day was when we stumbled into what might be one of the best little bakeries ever!  I honestly don’t remember who told us about this little gem but whoever you were…thank you!!!

tahoe house

Now, I bet your wondering what it is we did with the other 4 days.  Remember excuse number two, our campground?  Well, it really was a destination of its own with trails, ponds and some seriously GREAT trees.  Even the Smart car got in on some of the off road action!  It was definitely one of those locations where work and play were very blurred lines.

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Best Almost Lakeside Affordable Grub: Tuna Nachos at Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company, not some wanker sized portion this appetizer was a meal in itself…and while you’re there get the tasting tray of beer, after all it is a brewery!

Best Bakery:  Tahoe House is amazing and if you get the Swiss Chocolate Dipped Almond Biscotti you will thank me.  It’s not on the main street, but it’s worth the short drive out of the city.  Don’t forget to order locally roasted coffee to wash it all down. YUM!

Best Stop in Truckee:  Fifty Fifty BREWERY has excellent brews and yummy Food, make sure you take a bottle home or you’ll be kicking yourself (like us…because we were being cheap). BTW – if you mail us a brew we’ll owe you one 🙂

Save Your Time: We didn’t find much on the northern Nevada side of the lake…unless you want to gamble at the random casino at the border.

Your Turn!  What’s your favorite Lake Tahoe sights and stops?

Disclaimer: While we were compensated to film the campground (thanks Thousand Trails!)…all of our experiences and opinions are NOT purchased and are still our own.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (5)

  • Shawn

    South Lake Tahoe is our family’s favorite summer destination. We have been camping at Fallen Leaf state park for close to nine years now. Started out in tent for six days. Two years ago moved up to toy hauler for two week trips. Coming from Las Vegas heat it is always a great place for cooling off. You are right though a week is not enough. We still have not done or seen everything there is around the Lake Tahoe area. Our top sight would be Mountain biking the Flume Trail. You can not beat the views! Thanks for all the great info.

  • Randy Spencer

    Glad you were here when you were, the place is buried in smoke from the Yosemite Rim fire right now. But any time you go take a camera. All my favorite cheesecake photos of the RV have been taken there.

    Likely my favorite place on earth, best snow on the planet (I know, Utah will disagree) so it is a winter wonderland. Just hours from the ocean (try that Utah) so I can spend a day in ALL seasons! Minutes from Reno, the biggest little town in the west, in case the shows and food at South Lake are not enough for you. There is still cheap lodging, even on the California side, though nothing like when I was a kid. Every winter for years I was up at South Lake skiing at Squaw, or Kirkwood or Heavenly ski resorts. My favorite is Alpine Meadows, because the parking lot only holds like 90 cars. Lots of room to spread out on the mountain, so DON’T go there! I don’t need the competition.

    Since it is off highway 80 you are never really socked in, even during the worst winter storms you can get out one way or another. Except that one New Year’s, but again, when I was a much younger. Kind of liked not being able to get back to work. It didn’t shut the town. It is also off highway 50, directly to South Lake Tahoe and points beyond, and highway 395 from those coming from the Mammoth ski resort, Mono Lake or Los Angeles.

    Truckee, at the other end of the lake, is a joy to visit, lots of amazing little businesses and places to stay, including a hundred year-old hotel. One of my favorite mini-vacations during the snow (Jan. or Feb.) is to hop on the commuter train from Emeryville (next to San Francisco) up to Reno. Leaves daily just after 9 am, for Chicago two days later. Spend the day in wonder at the beauty of California as you cross the bay, and up the river, winding your way up the glistening snow packed mountains, thru the gold-mining towns of yore. Before you get to Reno, hop off at Truckee and, like I said above, enjoy a fabulous dinner or spend the night.

    I know, you are wondering how to get back to the RV. Well, there is a return trip, by bus, so it’s quick and cheap, and since it will be night, mostly what you want at this point. One leaves just after 5 pm, and the other the next morning at 7 am. They take you almost directly back to the place you started in Emeryville. Sorry, yes, parking is expensive overnight, but next to Oakland at least the parking lot is watched!

    The folks at Amtrak figured this trip out and package it as the Snow Train, for only 3x as much, but it has dome windows! Thanks anyway, very happy with my just around a $100 each investment in a grand day of sight seeing. You can save money with advanced reservations, but I have just walked up to a sold out train and hopped on for a decent price. If you are in the Bay Area and don’t wanna drive the RV up a snow covered mountain, dealing with chains, check out the trains, but don’t forget to check out the Bay Area!


    • Randy,
      We’re looking for a “Non-Snowbird” spot to park it for a few weeks during winter and Tahoe is on our list among Park City and Breckenridge. Gotta get ourselves into some good powder this year for sure!
      Thanks for sharing all your experience in the area, we can’t wait to come back. We did get to explore a lot more 2 years ago during our first West trip, check out these 2 videos if you haven’t seen them yet:
      Cool Camping in Markleeville:
      Free BLM near Tahoe:

  • Terri DiMartino

    Thank you for sharing your Lake Tahoe adventures!

    • Our Pleasure Terri; it was a crazy 1 day trip but we loved every minute of it!


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