Travel Log: Summer Days in Lake Tahoe, CA


Fall officially begins tomorrow!  Before I surrender to the new season, here's my last travel log of the summer from Lake Tahoe. I've written and shared photos from our annual family trip frequently (here, here and here!) but I've never detailed what we do outside of beaching and boating on the lake.  Maybe it's because that usually takes up a majority of our time, but we do sneak in other activities.

Hidden Beach , Lake Tahoe NV

Stay // 

I have a pretty large bias when it comes to which area of the lake to stay. Since my first trip to Tahoe (at less than a year old) my family has rented a property at Rubicon Bay on the West shore.

Summer at Rubicon Bay, Lake Tahoe CA

For a few years we switched it up and stayed on the north shore which has it's perks (closer to Tahoe City and beachfront property) but the west shore has a sentimental place in my heart AND you get to experience legendary sunrises. The kind you can't not get out of bed to capture.

Sunrise from Rubicon Bay, Lake Tahoe CA

There are no real hotel options here (which I prefer) so VRBO & Air BnB are the way to go.

Eat & Drink //

When you are traveling with a family of 8 + a baby, eating out can be quite the effort + expensive. Thankfully, we have a few people in the family who actually like to cook and make restaurant worthy meals.  We each take a night to make our specialities but on the occasion we do go out, here are a few great options.

 West Shore Market- A locally owned market featuring local goods, great sandwiches and a wine cellar!

Garwood's Grill & Pier- Ahi Poke Stack, fish tacos & the famous Wet Woody cocktail. Wednesday's are the infamous "Wet Woody Wednesday's" where the cocktail is 50% off all day (caution: brain freeze and sugar high are not just a possibility, but probably inevitable after more than 1).

Caleb at Garwoods, Carnelian Bay, Lake Tahoe (You can't tell from the photo, but my adorable nephew is wearing his "Wet Woody" t-shirt. :)

West Shore Cafe- This is a great dinner spot for a special occasion. Request a table outside on the deck and arrive early enough to sip a glass of wine and watch the sun set over the lake.

Beaches // 

We spend a lot of our hours on the lake, wake boarding and vegging out on the pristine beaches. The following are our standard stops.

Hidden Beach, NV

Summer days at Hidden Beach, Lake Tahoe NV

All the way across the lake from the west shore is Hidden Beach, my favorite spot on the lake.  The giant boulders make for fun adventuring (and picture taking obviously) and the water clarity is unmatched.  It's beauty brings the masses so you'll want to get their early to stake your sunbathing or boat spot.

Emerald Bay 

Summer at Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe

One of the more popular and well known spots on Tahoe, Emerald Bay is always a favorite and we tend to cruise around it frequently and anchor at least one day out of the week. A very busy area, arriving early will help secure a spot that you won't want to move from for the rest of the day. If you do feel like moving, you can walk along trails or visit Vikingsholm, a mansion that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Baldwin Beach

Summertime at Baldwin Beach, Lake Tahoe

Baldwin stretches for about a 1/2 of a mile with orange coarse sand, which feels like a wonderful exfoliation for your feet. The length of the beach gives ample room for boats, kayakers, stand up paddlers and vacationers on floaty devices.

Hikes //

Eagle Falls, Emerald Bay - Jared and I did a super short trail run to Eagle Falls, to the lake and continued up on the trail till I had had enough uphill and we turned around. Unfortunately the falls were really just a trickle due to the drought but Eagle Lake was a beautiful stop point. If at all possible, hike it on a weekday and understand that you will be hiking with a mass of other people.

Mt. Tallac- This hike requires a bit more effort but it is well worth the 10 mile round trip trek. We had every intention of waking up early enough to hike and catch the sunrise at the top.  That didn't happen but it ended up working out in our favor anyways. Smoke from a fire in the Bay Area had pushed it's way North and covered the lake. I had seen so many epic photos from the top of Mt. Tallac (9735ft) so it was a bummer to summit and not see the expansive views. Regardless, it was a great hike that had my quads aching and we saw a ton of wildlife including my first yellow bellied marmot!

hiking Mt. Tallac, Lake Tahoe

The summit of Mt. Tallac, Lake Tahoe CA

I admit I'm a creature of habit when it comes to where to go and what to do while in Tahoe, so if you have any original tips please share in the comments below. :)

For more travel inspiration and to track my wanderings, follow my instagram (@lschipper).