Lake Tahoe features clear-blue water, gorgeous surrounding mountains, and endless fun activities for the whole family. Take the family up the mountain for some snowshoeing, kick your feet up on the beaches of the lake, or make your own souvenir mugs at a local pottery class. No matter what activities you choose, nothing else can compare to the scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe.
Take advantage of the area's scenic beauty and explore nature
When you’re in Tahoe, you’ll experience all the natural bliss the outdoors has to offer. No matter the season, Lake Tahoe has plenty of options for outdoor adventures, so everyone in the family can find something they love. Feel like a local when you take part in what Tahoe’s nature has to offer.
If there’s snow on the ground, there’s no stopping the fun. Try out some skiing or snowboarding at one of the surrounding mountain resorts. If you're not quite into such high-adrenaline activities, check out the sledding and tubing trails that are also offered at most resorts. You can also find plenty of scenic places to take the family snowshoeing and experience the Sierra Nevadas firsthand. Whatever you choose, your options won’t be limited.
Summer vacation might be what you’re aiming for, and if so, Lake Tahoe has got you covered. Keep cool by splashing around in the crisp mountain waters or try out any of the many equipment rental facilities around the lake. Rent out a few stand-up paddleboards and make your way out over clear waters. Many beaches, like Zephyr Cove, offer canoe and paddleboat rentals. Why take the car to lunch when you can paddle your way across the lake instead?
A fun and unique way to take in the picturesque Tahoe National Forest is on a horseback ride. Several places offer horseback riding tours of the area, and they have great options for adults and children alike. The horses are well trained and tend to be very docile, making this the perfect option for a relaxing ride into the forest, mountains, and meadows.
There are many choices of trails to take around Lake Tahoe for any skill level. Whether you’re just looking to take a relaxing walk one afternoon or you want a trek that takes a little more effort, the Tahoe National Forest has it all. Check out the Tahoe Rim Trail for a true trek through the Tahoe mountains and meadows. Some trails will take you along the beaches and coastline, while others will wind up into the mountains.
Snowmobile rides and tours
Experience the glorious powder and winter scenery in a whole different way. Take the family out on a snowmobile ride through the winter wonderland of Lake Tahoe’s wilderness. You'll have several levels of rides to choose from, including easy-going circle tracks with lake views and meadows or a longer adventure along the Tahoe Rim Trail with full panoramas of the lake and a full day of adventure. Some tour centers offer a summer alternative of ATV and RTR tours when the snow has melted.
Enjoy some exciting activities outside
If you’re looking for some more unique options for your Lake Tahoe family vacation then try one of these interesting activities in the outdoors. Many events take place throughout the year and plenty of options for family-friendly activities. Everyone in the family will find their favorite adventure in Lake Tahoe.
Sleigh and carriage rides
Take a nostalgic tour of Tahoe while being pulled by an old-timey horse sleigh or carriage. These are offered year-round, with slight differences. In the winter, you’ll be pulled on a sleigh ride through the snow, perfect for singing "Jingle Bells" the whole way. In the warmer months, you can take the ride as a carriage.
Camp Richardson Resort
Stay at the Camp Richardson Resort right on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Swim in their private marina or enjoy some ice cream on the beach. Camp Richardson has a plethora of fun activities at this family-friendly resort. There is plenty of history here as well, as the resort has been building itself up since the 1800s. Take some time to learn about the native Washoe people who occupied the land before the resort was built.
Lake Tahoe’s Valhalla Renaissance Faire
Take your family vacation to the next level by making sure you visit during Lake Tahoe’s Valhalla Renaissance Festival. This annual festival will transport you back to the 16th century where Shakespearean plays were a staple and meat was eaten as a huge leg of mutton. The festival offers plenty of kid-friendly activities, including archery classes and crafting.
Lake Tahoe S’mores Tour
Take a tour of the lakeside and have a tasty s’more at each stop when you sign up for the Lake Tahoe S’mores Tour. A day spent in the great outdoors simply isn't complete without roasting marshmallows and creating a yummy campfire dessert. The kids will love this tour and, of course, all the tasty sweets.
Rum Runner cruise
If you happen to be perusing Lake Tahoe in the summer, make sure you take the Rum Runner cruise over to Emerald Bay. They offer alcoholic drinks for the adults and nonalcoholic drinks and snacks for the littles. Get an intimate view of this beautiful lake when you take the Rum Runner cruise across.
Try something new and stop by one of Tahoe’s disc-golf courses. Whether you want to take the sport seriously and play competitively or simply try it out for leisurely fun, disc golf is a sports activity the whole family can enjoy together. Bring your own discs or find a spot to rent a few, and make sure you bring your competitive spirit.
Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks
Experience Tahoe from the trees at the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks when you take one of their rope courses over the treeline. Test yourselves and bond as a family, no matter what skill level you’re at. They offer 10 courses at multiple skill levels and plenty of treetop platforms to take the perfect family selfie.
Heavenly Mountain Resort
One of the most popular ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area is the Heavenly Mountain Resort. Take a day trip up or stay here for your vacation. You’ll get panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and some of the best slopes in the area. If you aren't hitting the slopes, make sure you kick back and take one of their scenic gondola rides over the mountains.
Fuel up with Tahoe’s delicious restaurants
After all that adventuring through the scenic landscape of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding nature, you’re sure to work up a pretty good appetite. Make sure you have the fuel to keep the fun going by checking out some of these great spots for a bite to eat. Get a scenic view of the lake while you’re eating or just find your favorite local stop to try the next time you come back.
Bert’s Cafe and Ernie’s Coffee Shop
Start your day at one (or both) of these aptly named cafés that sit along the south shore of Lake Tahoe. Bert's Cafe and Ernie's Coffee Shop are locally owned favorites serving American-style breakfast and locally roasted coffee. Although the restaurants are not affiliated with or based on the show, Sesame Street fans young and old may still get a kick out of visiting both of these little eateries.
Red Hut Café
At Red Hut Café, you can enjoy the eats and atmosphere of one of the area's longest-running old-school diners, found right on the banks of the lake. You’ll get your pick of all-day breakfast items or anything else yummy on the menu. Experience some of Tahoe’s history before you head out for a long day of adventure.
Looking for something a little lower key for a quick lunch? Try out the Sno-Flake Drive-In for an old-timey fast-food lunch. Try a burger or one of their locally famous milkshakes, voted “Best Milkshake” by the Tahoe Daily Tribune for the last 7 years.
Cold Water Brewery & Grill
Finish off a long day with some local brews for the grown-ups and delicious comfort food for everyone. Cold Water Brewery & Grill brews their beers in-house and has a seasonal menu packed full of local, fresh ingredients. Nothing is better than watching the sunset coupled with local bites.
If you're having one of those days where everyone in the family wants something different to eat, take everyone to Heavenly Village, where there are tons of dining choices all in one place. Take your pick of burgers, pizza, ethnic foods, and local digs. A trip to Heavenly Village is a surefire way to make everyone happy for mealtime.
Take a break from nature with these fun indoor activities
Once you get your fill of all the wonderful things to see outside, there are some unique places to check out that offer fun indoors. Get in touch with your creative side, catch a movie with dinner, or find one of the local arcades. If you’re not so much of an outdoorsy personality, there are lots of choices for a vacation’s worth of indoor fun.
Puzzle Room Tahoe
Test your mind with one of Puzzle Room Tahoe’s escape rooms. They offer 4 rooms to choose from, all at varying skill levels. Escape from a bunker, disable a bomb together, free yourselves from an Egyptian tomb, and much more. The largest experiences allow up to 12 players, so bring as many friends and family as you can. Puzzle Room Tahoe is packed full of excitement that's perfect as a main event or just to top off your day.
Nothing’s better than food and a great show to go with it. Take a trip over to The Loft and catch a live theater event or an amazing magic show. Have a blast as your family's minds are blown by the Magic Fusion show, all while chowing down on something delicious from the expansive menu. An evening at The Loft is perfect for guests of all ages.
Why buy souvenir mugs when you can just make your own? Many of the local pottery and art shops offer kid-friendly pottery classes. Take the kids out to mold, fire, and paint your own ceramics. The kids will love being able to make memories, and they'll get a keepsake creation, too.
If sports aren’t your thing, then maybe challenging each other to some arcade games or bowling will be better. Lake Tahoe has many arcades to choose from that will pique the interest of everyone in your family. If you’d like more than just your classic arcade games, some establishments offer extra amenities like bowling alleys and eateries included. Arcades can be great for the end of an evening or killing time with the kids during the day.
Tahoe’s Old Time Photo
Transport yourselves back in time to the days of the Old West, the Roaring '20s, or the Victorian era and get a great commemorative photo. Tahoe's Old Time Photo provides tons of authentic costumes to choose from, including Bonnie and Clyde, The Jesse James Gang, flappers, saloon gals, and more. Mix and match what you like and create memories you’ll never forget.
Blue Granite Climbing Gym
Would your kids love to try some extreme sports that might ordinarily be out of their league? Look no further than the Blue Granite Climbing Gym, a kid-friendly setting where the whole family can try their hands—and feet— at a 42-foot climbing wall. The gym also offers other classes and activities, including yoga.