Settled in the beautiful Sierra Nevada, sprawled between California and Nevada, you can find one of the most beautiful gems on the West Coast, the stunning azure Lake Tahoe. It’s one of the deepest lakes in North America and sixteenth in the world. If one doesn’t feel like being in the actual water, there are numerous sports, hiking trails, and vantage points to experience from afar.
As many of us have been trying to navigate how to enjoy our free time and travel with restrictions during this pandemic, people have been more aware of the beauty that surrounds them. Now more than ever, I have seen those that are quick to hop on a plane, like myself, research local things to do or consider vising attractions within the same county or state that we may have never even thought of before.
My family and I have been to Tahoe before but as we had to cancel our original travel plans we decided to drive up the three hours from our city to enjoy a weeks stay in the jewel of the Sierras this past July. We spent most of our time by the lake, hiking, and cooking. We took a mini road trip to a couple of towns in Nevada. This post will serve as a mini guide and a very short story telling session.
SUP and Kayak on the Lake
We have never been a water sports kind of family, we prefer to just swim or fish on the lake. Every now and then we will rent a canoe or kayak. Our uncle used to have a boat and we would hop on the towable, and unless an excursion is included in our time share, we stick to the sand. This trip we decided to switch it up and rent some paddle boards and a kayak. We had the time of our lives. It was a beautiful hot day, which made falling in even that much more enjoyable.
You can rent a board or kayak at San Harbor Rentals, which is located at Crystal Cove State Park. Due to corona we had to register in advance, a day before. Parking is limited inside the park so they recommend you arrive early, around 8 am I think it was, day of rental. They are located along the beach under a white tent, prices were reasonable.
Catch Some Sun on the Different Beaches
There are so many beaches to choose from, we spent the most time at Crystal Cove, Secret Cove, Cave Rock, and Emerald Bay. I suggest going early to whichever one you decide to visit, they can get packed. Bring some sun screen, good snacks, and an umbrella, it can get super hot, but if you forget it, there’s always the cold water to jump in.
I went on a family hike on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Besides that we hiked it down to Secret Cove Beach, and oh boy, that was a mission because there was no path, we just made our way down the super steep hill. That’s about it. We didn’t do a ton of hiking because we spent most of our time down at the lake. I do recommend it though! There are plenty of trails and beautiful vista points to admire the beauty around you.
Take a Drive to Virginia City
You can easily spend every day by the water or on land by the lake, but it may be of interest taking a drive over to Virginia City. A 42 mile drive northeast of South Lake Tahoe towards Nevada, you’ll be transported to 1859. In boomtown fashion, you’ll get the opportunity to walk on wooden sidewalks and pass by authentic and some remodified buildings and landmarks due to the fire of 1875.
It’s worth a trip and I can’t forget to mention that the drive up was very scenic and beautiful, we even spotted wild horses on the hillside. I will add, as I went during the pandemic and election year, the town as a whole is very much in support of 45. So I didn’t feel as safe walking around as there weren’t many people wearing masks or practicing any safety practices. I will definitely visit in the future depending on who wins the election.
Enjoy the Sunset by the Lake
There are so many lovely spots to watch the sunset from around here, you sort of have to plan your evening around it. We didn’t want to get stuck hiking down a mountain after watching the sunset, so we picked to either watch it from our 7th floor time share suite or Lakeview Commons, which is located off of Lakeview Ave. There’s giant steps leading down towards the water, a beach area, and a dock. It could get quite packed on the weekend but we went during the week and got to enjoy some beautiful sunsets.
Prior to arriving in Tahoe, we bought groceries for the week. We wanted to cook together as a family as much as possible. We did schedule some days to eat out and try the local food. Here are a list of a few places we tried.
Izzy’s Burger Spa
A cozy family friendly joint that offers some tasty burgers. Perfect spot once you enter the city or don’t feel like cooking lunch or dinner. Grab a seat on any of the benches or outdoor patio and enjoy.
Clyde’s Coffee Roasting Co
I’m not a coffee gal but I absolutely enjoyed the chai latte here. It was soothing, savory, sweet, and aromatic. My brother is a coffee drinker and made his way down from our timeshare every morning to enjoy a cup of joe. He was kind enough to surprise me with a random selection early on in the week and I ended up loving it and ordering it a few times.
Glazed and Confused Donuts
This was a fun place to pick up some donuts. The space is hip and eclectic, super 70s. Donuts were average, it was more about supporting a local business.
Tahoe doesn’t have many diverse selections but we did come across Empanash, which specializes in handcrafted Argentinian empanadas. They were tasty and a nice treat to have while walking around the shopping center and along the beach.
As we were walking through Carson City, we made a stop at this juice store to quench our thirst and refresh our body from the heat. It was good and one of the only juice stores I saw in the area. It’s a great “to go” spot if you’re just looking for something to give you energy.
Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory
On our way back from Virginia City, we saw the “Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory” sign and decided to pull in to get some goodies. It’s the perfect place to stop at and pick up some sweets for the road.
There you have it, just a few recommendations for visiting one of the gems of California/Nevada. Again, we went during the pandemic and tried to be safe, so were more reserved in our outings. I can’t wait to go back once it’s safer. Enjoy and stay safe everyone!