The Ultimate Lake Tahoe Bucket List: 11 Unforgettable Experiences

Updated on June 21st, 2023

Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you’re a local to Lake Tahoe, or thinking about moving and currently browsing Redfin to rent an apartment or buy a home, you’re in for a treat. Living in Lake Tahoe offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and natural beauty. But with so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming for new residents to know where to start. To help you make the most of your time living in Lake Tahoe, we’ve put together a list of must-try experiences and unique things to do. So grab your hiking boots and your sense of adventure, and get ready to dive into the ultimate Lake Tahoe bucket list.

1. Kayak on the lake in glass-bottom kayaks 

“Kayaking on the lake in glass-bottom kayaks is an unforgettable experience. The waters of Lake Tahoe are so clear that you can see up to 65 feet deep, and the company Clearly Tahoe offers both guided and unguided kayak rentals in their completely see-through kayaks,” states Mona Molayem, luxury travel blogger at Mona Corona. “You can choose from a variety of unique tours including scenic shorelines, bonsai rock, eco discovery, sunset, nighttime stargazing, and several others. On the tours, certified guides will lead you through coves and tunnels as they share the history and development of Lake Tahoe. Gliding through the clear blue lake as you marvel at what is both above and below the waters is surely one of the best ways to enjoy Lake Tahoe’s natural scenery.” 

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2. Take a scenic drive around the Lake

A great way to take in the beauty of Lake Tahoe is by driving around the lake. The drive is approximately 72 miles and takes about 3 hours, but the stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains are well worth the time. There are plenty of places to stop along the way and take in the scenery, go for a short hike, or grab a bite to eat. 

According to Tahoe Outdoor adventures, “going off the beaten path with professional guides is the best way to step out of your comfort zone, become a more experienced adventurer, immerse yourself in the vast wilderness, and learn interesting things about the area. By omitting tourist hotspots and usual tourist areas, you get to explore hidden areas without any crowds.”

3. Explore Lake Tahoe’s beautiful beaches 

Bask in the sun, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and relax on the sandy beaches of Lake Tahoe. With over 70 miles of shoreline, there’s a beach to suit every preference, from secluded coves to bustling public beaches. Swim in the crystal-clear waters of the lake, build sandcastles, or simply soak up the natural beauty of the surroundings.

“The best way to enjoy Lake Tahoe’s most beautiful beach, Sand harbor state park, is with a half day guided VIP tour with Around Tahoe Tours. You will have a prime spot on the white sand beach with the most Amazing view of Lake Tahoe. Umbrellas, chairs and other beach comforts including towels and toys await”. 

“No matter how much time you’ve spent in Lake Tahoe, the East Shore’s hidden beaches & clear water coves never get old, states Epic Lake Tahoe. “Hike down with a good book, paddle the turquoise waters on a kayak tour or rent a boat and anchor down in your own little corner of paradise. Pack layers and something for a happy hour toast—places like Chimney Beach & Secret Cove double as the perfect sunset spots.” 

Darloyn Skelton of Tahoe Dog echoes Epic’s recommendation, “the Eastshore beaches, a hidden gem located off highway 28, are definitely worth a visit. While they’re not the easiest to access, they offer a peaceful and dog-friendly environment. Plan ahead by bringing everything you need for the day and be prepared to hike a bit. Once you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with a choice of several beaches, each with its own unique charm.” 

4. Rent a boat and explore the lake

One of the best ways to experience Lake Tahoe is by boat. Rent a boat and spend the day exploring the lake, stopping at one of the many beaches along the way for a picnic or swim. There are plenty of boat rental companies to choose from, and most offer a variety of boats and water sports equipment.

One must do summer activity in Lake Tahoe is a private boat charter with Boat Tahoe.  With breathtaking views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe’s crystal clear water, it will surely be the highlight of your trip.  Plus the captains on this private charter know all the best spots of the lake to help complete your Lake Tahoe bucket list.

According to Marley Reel of RISE Designs, “you can enjoy a dinner cruise on the Tahoe Dixie. It leaves from Zephyr Cove, NV and cruises slowly around the lake for a fun, relaxing time. Another great boat tour option is Lake Tahoe Wine Tastings. They have a great old wooden boat that is quaint and a great way to experience the lake.”

5. Visit the Vikingsholm Castle

Vikingsholm Castle is a stunning mansion located on the shore of Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe. The mansion was built in 1929 and features unique architecture and beautiful gardens. Guided tours are available, and visitors can learn about the history of the castle and the woman who built it, Lora Knight.

6. Take an outdoor yoga class 

Lake Tahoe Yoga offers scheduled and private Yoga sessions on Nevada Beach and, on Paddle Boards, out of Lakeview Commons.  Not only are these classes accessible for everyone, your guide will adjust the practice to help you feel confident balancing on the moving earth and water.  Practices take place in the mornings and afternoons when the beaches and lake are quiet.  You’re guaranteed great views, connection with nature and some much deserved self care.

7. Explore the culinary treasures of Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe isn’t just known for its natural beauty – it’s also a food lover’s paradise. With an abundance of fresh and locally-sourced ingredients, the culinary scene in Lake Tahoe offers a diverse range of options that will delight every palate. From upscale restaurants with world-class chefs to casual cafes and food trucks, you are bound to find something you love. 

Riva Grill should be on your bucket list while visiting the Lake. Located at Ski Run Marina the restaurant has spectacular lake views. When at Riva you must try the Wet Woody®. This signature cocktail is a frozen drink with Light rum, 151 rum, peach schnapps, cranberry, Orange and pineapple juice, sweet ‘n sour and a float of Bacardi Select. Although Riva Grill is open daily, the locals favorite day to visit is on Wednesday when you can enjoy discounted Wet Woody’s.

“If you are visiting lake Tahoe you must try Basecamp pizza. They have amazing mac & cheese and pizza. Gluten free options as well,” recommends the the Admin Team of Luna Belle Beauty

8. Take a dip in the hot springs

Lake Tahoe is also home to several natural hot springs, and taking a dip in one is a must-do activity. Some of the most popular hot springs in the area include Grover Hot Springs, Travertine Hot Springs, and Sierra Hot Springs. Be sure to check the regulations before visiting, as some hot springs may be closed or have restrictions.

9. Take a cable car ride up to Heavenly Mountain 

Take your Lake Tahoe adventure to new heights with a cable car ride up to Heavenly Mountain. As you ascend the mountain, breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains unfold before you. Once you reach the top, you can enjoy a variety of activities such as hiking, zip-lining, and rock climbing, or simply relax and take in the views while sipping on a cold drink. According to, “no stop in Lake Tahoe is complete without a cable car ride up to Heavenly Mountain. No matter the season, there’ll be a ton of activities to do on the peak; and if you’re wiped out after a big day, just kick back and take in the views. ”

10. Start your morning off with delicious coffee and breakfast 

“If you’re staying in South Lake Tahoe, wake up early and head to Black Cabin Coffee, recommends Travel blogger Ruth Nuss. “We love the green smoothie and breakfast burritos (and, of course, don’t forget a coffee.). Take your food to-go and head to Baldwin Beach, just a 20 minute drive from South Lake. This is our favorite beach in Tahoe because of the soft sand and stunningly clear water. Get there early to snag a parking spot, and thank us later”.

“Breakfast at Heidi’s Pancake House is a must. Amazing food and quick service, states lifestyle blogger Kelly Lynn of Kelly Lynn’s Sweets & Treats. “Heidi’s is like your traditional mom and pop diner and we loved it. The create your own omelet and the French Toast Sandwich are great breakfast choices. The french toast was made out of two thick-cut slices of sourdough-Texas Toast, with one egg (your choice of preparation) and two slices of bacon served on the side. And then topped with the warm maple syrup they bring to the table. Best way to start your day.”

11. Rent a luxury home for the weekend 

Escape to the breathtaking natural beauty of Lake Tahoe by renting a home for a weekend. With proximity to the lake and mountains, you can unwind and recharge in the peace and quiet of this natural paradise. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a group retreat, there’s a home rental to suit your needs. 

Luxury vacation rentals Lake Tahoe: wander’s home in Tahoe is a luxury vacation rental only 15 minutes from the lake, and 3 minutes from the Ritz Carlton. Enjoy a home with a hot tub, smart-home technology, and fire pits any time of the year. Whether swimming, hiking, or enjoying the mountain, this is a great spot to be.

Lake Tahoe is a truly magical place that offers an abundance of outdoor activities and natural beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned local or a new resident, there’s always something new to discover in this breathtaking destination. From hiking to skiing to exploring the local cuisine, there are endless opportunities to enjoy everything that Lake Tahoe has to offer. By following our ultimate Lake Tahoe bucket list, you’ll be able to make the most of your time living in or visiting this stunning location. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure in Lake Tahoe today.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Lexi Klinkenberg

Lexi is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home would be a contemporary home with an open floor plan, lots of windows, and a waterfront view.

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