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Famous for being one of the few places in the world where you can ski and swim in the same day, Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine lake in North America, covering almost 200 square miles and crossing the state line between California and Nevada. It’s also extremely deep - so deep that the Empire State Building could stand on the lakebed and be completely submerged. Tahoe draws visitors from all over the world for its excellent skiing and its wealth of summer activities in equal measure.
There’s really no bad time to visit Lake Tahoe, where 300 days of sunshine per year comes as standard. The winter months see an average of nearly 4ft of snow and fairly mild temperatures, while average summer temperatures stay around 80F.
The closest airport is Reno-Tahoe, which has direct flights to almost every major US city airport. From further afield you’ll need to transfer from an international flight at one of the major hubs before taking a domestic flight up to Tahoe. Alternatively, you can hire a car and drive the three and half hours from San Francisco.
Lake Tahoe boasts a dozen ski and snowboard resorts, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to a winter vacation here. Some of the most well known (and also those within close reach to the airport) are Northstar, Alpine Meadows, and Squaw Valley. Each has something different to offer.
Northstar is the most luxurious of Tahoe resorts, with excellent dining and shopping options and even heated sidewalks in the village. The resort village was built around an open-air ice rink which lends the place a movie-scene quaintness. Over 60% of the trails here are blue intermediates, and there are green runs too, which means Northstar is great for non-expert skiers who are confident on the mountain. Don’t be fooled, however; if you do want to challenge yourself you’ll find a variety of ungroomed black diamond trails. Our well-located Northstar rentals are a great choice for families or groups coming to the resort – the majority of our comfortable suites are just a few minute’s walk from the ski lifts and close to bars, restaurants, and shops.
Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley are owned by the same parent company and operated as one resort with a single lift ticket – although you need to use the resort’s shuttle buses to move between the two, and we don’t recommend trying to ski both areas in the same day. Alpine is popular with families and local skiers and has a more relaxed down-home feel than Northstar. It’s another option that will delight confident intermediates, as well as those who want to push themselves to try a few black runs. Absolute beginners will not find a huge range of terrain to try.
With miles of true expert runs, Squaw Valley played host to the 1960 Olympic Games and has been welcoming experienced skiers ever since. Expert options aside, it’s probably the best resort in the area for beginner skiers too; there’s a designated beginner zone that is quite expansive and has lovely views of the lake. Last but not least, there’s also a blues-only area, so Squaw Valley makes a great choice for a mixed-ability group looking for a ski vacation with options to keep everyone happy.
Tahoe is not all ski all the time – a summer vacation here makes a whole lot of sense.
When the snow melts and warm temperatures return, many local snow bunnies pack away their boards and skis in favor of paddleboards, Tahoe’s latest summer craze. Incline Village, on the Northeast side of the lake, is a great place to set out from – the collection of flat boulders along the lakeshore make it nice and easy to get up onto your board, while the calm waters are simple to navigate. With a nice sandy beach to boot, you can pack up a picnic and spend the day here.
165 miles long and circling the lake in its entirety, the Tahoe Rim Trail winds over ridges and peaks offering incredible views over the surrounding landscape. You don’t need to plan a mammoth trip around the entire distance – the trail is easy to access for short day hikes. Mountain biking is welcomed on roughly 50% of the trail too, so if you’re more comfortable on two wheels you’ll still have plenty of terrain to enjoy.
Tahoe has a number of championship golf courses, from the famous North Lake courses like Coyote Moon to Edgewood in the South. Coyote Moon offers challenging golf and uninterrupted views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. You’ll play alongside the water at Trout Creek and enjoy fields of wildflowers and plenty of fresh mountain air. Built right on the lakeshore, Edgewood also has plenty to challenge you, with greens wedged between the lake and in-built ponds as well as tricky bunkers. Your Luxury Retreats concierge can organize tee times and golf club rentals for you.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional-style log cabin on the banks of the lake, or a stylish apartment close to the ski lift, our warm and welcoming Lake Tahoe rentals have a lot to offer.
Close to golf courses, ski hills and the Reno/Tahoe airport, our North Lake Tahoe rentals are ideal for a quick getaway in the great outdoors. Our spacious mountain lodges have outdoor areas with BBQs, hot tubs and more. Some are built right along the lake with easy access to swimming, paddleboarding and more, while others have play equipment that will keep the kids amused for hours. Sleeping up to 14 people, there’s room for the whole extended family to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Surrounded by unspoiled forest and close to the Sugar Pine Point state park, Tahoma and the ski resort of Homewood, our West Lake Tahoe cabins are ideal if you’re looking to get back to nature, with a few added creature comforts. With lake access and even some homes with private docks, if you love to get out on the water you’ll be right at home here.